The original organization in professional boxing, was the World Boxing Association (WBA) which can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association (of the United States), which was organized in 1921, the first fight recognized by the organization being the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier Heavyweight title fight in New Jersey. The world at the time was recovering from a war, and many athletes had joined the military to defend their colors, so boxing became a way for many to entertain themselves. Promoter Tex Rickard, an NBA icon and the Don King of his day, helped to put some of the NBA’s title fights, many of which made history.
But Rickard died unexpectedly in 1931 of appendicitis and the NBA had to rely more on their champions’ ability to make themselves household names. By then, the great and legendary Joe Louis was approaching his championship years, and he won the Heavyweight title in 1937, holding it until 1949, and taking the NBA and boxing through another war. The fact Louis and many other champions joined the war and often came back to the United States to defend their titles made NBA boxing champions look even more heroic and patriotic.
Boxing became more and more popular with the advent of TV during the 1950s, the homecomings of many fighters and the appearance of many new, young talented fighters. In 1962 the NBA, faced with world changes after World War II and the Korean War, and with the growth of booing’s popularity world-wide, changed its name officially to WBA, or World Boxing Association. Through the years, many competitors who also recognized world championship competitions sprung, and in that line, the WBC started out in 1963, the IBF in 1983, the WBO in 1988, and nearly a dozen others.