A few weeks ago whilst looking at the schedule of up coming bouts we stumbled upon a bout for the ridiculously named "IBF East/West Europe Light Heavyweight title". The title was on the line as Nenad Stankovic of Serbia (East Europe) faced the amusing Hamza Wadera of Sweden (via Uganda) which as far as we're aware is northern Europe.
Whilst we're no problems at all with European titles we've got to merely wonder what an "East/West Europe" title is actually about. We came up with a few ideas but we're actually unsure.
In Japan the country has a rookie of the year competition in which the best rookie fighter from the East of the country fights the best rookie fighter from the West of the country.
Could it be that an "East/West" title was designed to be the European equivalent to the Japanese Rookie title? Or could it possibly be a title for fighters who aren't from central, northern or southern Europe to fight for? Could it be a title to try and just claim a sanctioning fee from those as confused as ourselves?
We've come to the conclusion that we will never really know (nor will we know how a Ugandan fighter who has only fought in Europe a handful of times qualifies for a shot at any "Europe" based title) though our conclusion is that the IBF are taking the title movement to the next, obvious direction.
We here at weirdboxing would like to congratulate the IBF on their announcement of a new series of belts including:
The IBF North/South Europe title
The IBF North/West Europe title
The IBF North/East Europe title
The IBF South/West Europe title
The IBF South/East Europe title
And of course the IBF "only certain parts of Europe but feel free to pay our sanctioning fees and we'll let you fight for it anyway title", sure it's not a catchy title but it'll do for now!
If you've taken a look at the recent rankings published by the WBC you'll likely have spotted a few oddities though the most obvious one concerns former Light Welterweight title holder Amir "King" Khan (27-3, 19) who the WBC have shockingly placed at #2 in the Welterweight division.
Whilst Khan is a big name in the sport and a former WBA "super" and IBF champion at Light Welterweight his ranking here genuinely leaves a lot of question marks regarding the WBC ranking process.
First how has Khan gotten such a high ranking in a division he has never fought at before. The heaviest weight Khan has ever fought 140lbs (dead on the Light Welterweight limit), the highest weight any opponent Khan has ever weighed has been 140lbs (again, dead on the Light Welterweight limit). Had Khan weighed in or above 140 whilst fighting a guy in the low to mid 140's then a ranking (not as high as #2 admittedly) could at least be explained in that he had tested the water there, in a similar way to how Akira Yaegashi was ranked at Flyweight after his victory over Saenmuangloei Kokietgym.
Secondly Khan is now 1-2 in his last 3 bouts with his only win coming against Carlos Molina who himself is nowhere to be found anywhere on the WBC's rankings (which place 40 fighters per division). Molina isn't ranked at Lightweight, Light Wetlerweight or Welterweight (where ironically he has fought).
Whilst Khan's loss to Lamont Peterson is highly questioned (with Peterson having tested positive for a banned substance in the build up the a rematch) his 4th round TKO loss to Danny Garcia isn't up for question at all. In fact not only is Khan 1-2 in his last 3 bouts but he is without a notable win in over 18 months (since stopping Zab Judah in July 2011).
Whilst it's fair enough that the WBC don't rank champions from other organisations. They also don't rank (for various reasons) any of Manny Pacquiao (medical), Kell Brook, Mike Jones, Victor Ortiz (medical), Keith Thurman, Anton Novikov (legal) or Ruslan Provodnikov (amongst others). Which is part if the reason their rankings in the division are so bizarre, though it still doesn't excuse them for ranking Khan so highly.