Boxing’s four-belt era began in 2004 when four major world title sanctioning bodies came together to establish their world title belts. These sanctioning bodies are the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
With four major world title belts in circulation, it has become increasingly difficult to win a championship in boxing, even more so win and hold them all simultaneously. Yet some very special fighters have been able to accomplish that amazing feat.
While moving up and down weight classes and winning world titles in multiple divisions is an incredible achievement on its own, staying in one weight class and absolutely dominating the competition is just as admirable.
It takes massive effort to do what these fighters have done, but many of them have made it look easy. That’s just proof of their otherworldly skills.
Let’s take a look at these special fighters. Today, Evolve Daily shares the eight undisputed world champions of boxing’s four-belt era.
1) Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Mexican boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is one of the greatest fighters of his generation. He is a multiple-division world champion, but arguably his greatest work has taken place in the super middleweight division, where he reigns as undisputed king.
“Canelo” captured the WBA and the WBC super middleweight belts with a decision victory over Callum Smith in 2020. He later added the WBO super middleweight title with a stoppage win over Billy Joe Saunders in 2021. Later in that year, he became the undisputed super middleweight champion after his 11th-round technical knockout victory over Caleb Plant, in which he added the IBF world title to his collection.
2) Jermell Charlo
American fighting sensation Jermell Charlo is one-half of boxing’s incredible Charlo twins and is currently the undisputed super welterweight world champion.
Charlo had long held the WBC super welterweight title before he suffered his first career defeat to Tony Harrison in 2018. But after he regained the belt in a rematch a year later, Charlo went on a belt-collecting spree. He defeated Jeison Rosario in 2020 to lift the WBA and IBF super welterweight world titles.
A draw against Brian Carlos Castano in 2021 foiled his first attempt at undisputed status, but a rematch the following year finally cemented it, as he added the WBO belt to his trophy case.
3) Terence “Bud” Crawford
Pound-for-pound great Terence “Bud” Crawford doesn’t nearly get the respect he deserves, given his body of work. But there’s no denying his status as one of the most accomplished fighters of today.
The undefeated American first captured the vacant WBO super lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Thomas Dulorme in 2015. He then added the WBC belt with an unanimous decision win against Viktor Postol the following year. Then in 2017, Crawford unified the world titles, collecting both the IBF and WBA super lightweight belts from Julius Indongo to become the undisputed ruler of the 140-pounders.
Crawford, who has since moved up in weight, now holds the WBO welterweight world title and is looking to unify his next division.
4) Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins
American boxing legend Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (also known as “The Alien”) is one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing. His body of work certainly precedes him, and in 2004, he became the first-ever undisputed world champion in boxing’s four-belt era.
Hopkins first won the IBF middleweight world title with a TKO win over Segundo Mercado in 1995. He defended that belt successfully for many years. In 2001, “The Executioner” added the WBC middleweight world title to his collection with a victory against Keith Holmes. In his next fight, Hopkins took the WBA belt from Felix Trinidad in another knockout performance.
Then in perhaps his signature victory, Hopkins knocked out Mexican-American legend Oscar de la Hoya in the 9th round to claim the WBO middleweight world title.
5) Devin “The Dream” Haney
The most recent addition to the undisputed world champions in boxing’s four-belt era list is unbeaten 23-year-old Devin “The Dream” Haney.
The young American earned the WBC lightweight world title when he took home a unanimous decision over Alfredo Santiago in 2019. Haney defended that belt successfully on multiple occasions, but for the most part, he was a fighter that many potential opponents avoided largely due to his enigmatic fighting style. That was, of course, until Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. was brave enough to step up to the plate.
Kambosos won the WBA, IBF, and WBO lightweight belts from Teofimo Lopez in 2021, and was looking to become an undisputed world champion himself. However, Haney spoiled that party in June of 2022 to earn the distinction himself, after beating Kambosos by unanimous decision in Melbourne.
6) Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor
After Bernard Hopkins’ reign over the middleweight division, there was Jermain Taylor, and “Bad Intentions” was knocking guys out on a consistent basis heading into his matchup with “The Executioner.” That made his fight against Hopkins highly anticipated, and Taylor delivered.
In fact, Taylor took all four middleweight belts from Hopkins in 2005, a mere year after “The Executioner” became the undisputed king. It was a close fight, but Taylor pulled out a razor-thin split decision victory to capture the WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF middleweight world titles.
He fought Hopkins in a rematch months later, and won again, taking a clear-cut unanimous decision to solidify his reign atop the division.
7) Josh “The Tartan Tornado” Taylor
Unbeaten 31-year-old Englishman Josh Taylor is the second Scotsman in history to become an undisputed boxing world champion and the first from the United Kingdom to accomplish the feat in the four-belt era.
Taylor won the IBF super lightweight world title from Ivan Baranchyk in 2019, capturing the belt via 12th-round unanimous decision. In his next fight, Taylor added the WBA super lightweight strap to his collection with a close majority decision over Regis Prograis. In 2021, “The Tartan Tornado” sent Jose Carlos Ramirez crashing to the canvas twice to capture the WBO and WBC belts to establish his dominance in the division.
Taylor most recently survived a close call against Jack Catterall earlier this year to retain his world titles but vacated the WBA belt in May to get married.
“I do not want to delay a fellow fighter from fulfilling his dreams. For that reason, I must vacate,” said Taylor.
8) Oleksandr Usyk
Last but not least is the undefeated heavyweight sensation Oleksandr Usyk.
The hard-hitting Ukrainian southpaw lifted all four heavyweight belts when he shocked the world with a dominant unanimous decision victory over highly-regarded Englishman Anthony Joshua in 2021. The victory earned Usyk the WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF heavyweight world titles.
Usyk famously chose to stay in his native Ukraine earlier this year to help defend his country from an ongoing Russian invasion, risking his life for his people.
Now that the fighting has slightly subsided, Usyk is out of the country and back in training for a brief period as he prepares for a blockbuster rematch with Joshua, slated for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in August.
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