Are too many governing bodies and belts holding boxing back?

It seems as if the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko fight is in jeopardy of happening. This is due to the WBA not sanctioning the fight. This shows how many different things are needed in order to make a mega-fight. This article will focus on how different governing bodies and belts have devalued the sport and the meaning of being a world champion.

With 17 weight divisions and over 100 different variations of world championship belts, it seems as if world titles are being handed out more easily than ever. Each of the governing bodies now operate with a minimum of 4 world champions. However the introduction of ‘regular’ and ‘super’ champions has only gone and increased this, making world championships less valuable by the day.

As well as this, there are different belts on offer to secure ranking positions in each governing body. Titles such as the ‘silver’, ‘international’ and ‘interim’ belts have made the standard of world championship champions diminish greatly. There is an argument that it is too easy for fighters to win world championships in this era with many people calling for a return to having one world champion per division.

These ranking based belts give the chance for fighters to work their way up into a ‘mandatory’ position for a world title shot. Although this provides a clear pathway for fighters, it can also lower the standards of mandatory world title defences which used to be a way of forcing exciting fights should boxers opt for easier voluntary title defences. Working in a way where the rankings for each governing body are so different makes it harder to make the most high-profile fights in boxing. For example, the likely fight for the WBA ‘super’ title is to be Lucas Browne vs Klitschko due to Browne’s ranking and affiliation with the WBA, rather than a more attractive fight between Wladimir and Joshua.

With so many political issues surrounding the making of fights in the sport, it is no wonder that so many fights are not being made; much to the dismay of many fans. Other reasons such as the choice of commentators and whose name will appear first on the fight posters have also been cited as reasons for fights falling through, making a promoters job almost impossible at times.

In addition to different rankings between the governing bodies, some bodies also have different rules regarding sanctioning fees and weigh-ins before a fight. The IBF have a 10 pound rule where a fighter cannot put on more than 10 pounds from the weigh-in until they step into the ring. This is a step which was taken for the safety of fighters as it prevents huge weight mismatches when it comes to fight night, meaning if one rehydrates more than his opponent, he has a significant size advantage. This means fighting for an IBF title is a much different experience and is another example of why fighters may not agree to certain fights.

It seems as if the big fights are becoming increasingly difficult to make due to the governance of the sport. Promotional and political disputes are more common than ever due to the numbers of belts and fighters contending for different prizes, meaning there is always a queue of fighters waiting for world title shots through fighting eliminators. This has gone a long way in devaluing the sport and it may take a drastic change to make these world title prestigious once again.

 

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Can managers get second-time success by going back to former clubs?

Seventeen months after being sacked for not achieving promotion with the club, Steve McClaren has been appointed as the manager of Derby County yet again.

Returning to manage former clubs is something which has not proved success for a lot of managers and here we will look at five managers who must wish they never returned home:

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Kenny Dalglish – Liverpool (1985-1991) (2011-2012)

‘King Kenny’ began his spell as Liverpool manager in 1985, already as a Kop idol due to his legendary playing career at Anfield. His first spell in charge did nothing to change this status. Dalglish won three league titles and two FA Cups in six years; creating a dynasty during this period, making Liverpool the most feared team in England.

Trophies won in first spell: Division One (x3), FA Cup (x2), Charity Shield (x4)

Exactly twenty years since his first spell, Dalglish returned to the club in a time of crisis. Despite his best efforts, Liverpool finished the season in eighth place and he was later relived of his duties. Dalglish did win a League Cup in his second spell; however his tenure was marred with disappointment with poor results and issues surrounding Luis Suarez’s racism case. Kenny must wish he had never returned.

Trophies won in second spell: League Cup (2012)

 Kevin Keegan – Newcastle (1992 – 1997) (2008)

After arriving in one of the clubs most turbulent times, Keegan saved the club from relegation to the Third Division and then went on to take the club back to the Premier League the following year. He then guided the club to a third place finish, securing European qualification. Newcastle began to establish themselves as perennial title contenders and narrowly missed out on the title on more than one occasion. Unfortunately Keegan failed to win a major trophy in this spell, something the club have failed to do since 1955.

Trophies won in first spell: Division One* (1992-93)

*The second tier at the time due to the introduction of the Premier League.

Keegan was unexpectedly brought back to the club in 2008 in an attempt to save the club from relegation to the Championship. After failing to win any of his first eight games in charge, the pressure began to mount on ‘King Kev’. However, a great run towards the end of the season saw the club finish comfortably in mid-table. Despite this relative success, Keegan’s reign was over due to disagreements with club owner Mike Ashley over transfers, leaving fans furious.

Trophies won in second spell: None

Steve McClaren – FC Twente (2008-2010) (2012-2013)

Yes, Steve McClaren has indeed returned to a former club before. After a reputation shattering period in charge of England and Nottingham Forest, McClaren found himself in charge of the fast improving Dutch club FC Twente. McClaren’s astonishingly went on to secure the clubs first league title in their history, in just his second season in charge. Despite having a great rapport with the fans, McClaren left the club to join Wolfsburg in Germany the following year.

Trophies won in first spell: Eredivisie (2009-10)

McClaren returned to Twente in 2012 after a failed spell in Germany. Twente themselves hadn’t faired very well since his departure and his return to the clubs was well received by the clubs supporters. Unfortunately his second spell proved to be a disappointing one and after growing pressure from the supporters for questionable transfers and tactics, McClaren lost his job with the club languishing in sixth place in the Eredivisie.

Trophies won in second spell: None

Jose Mourinho – Chelsea (2004-2007) (2013-2015)

‘The Special One’ entered English football with a glowing reputation following his Champions League triumph with FC Porto. The hype later proved to be worthy. Mourinho ended the clubs fifty year wait for a league title and also broke English records for points won (95) and least amount of goals conceded (15). Chelsea also won the league the following year, making Mourinho the most successful manager in the clubs history. However, failure to win the Champions League and a fractured relationship with owner Roman Abramovich meant that ‘The Special One’ left the club much earlier than anyone anticipated, leaving many fans disillusioned and disgruntled.

Trophies won in first spell: Premier League (x2), FA Cup (2006-07), League Cup (x2), Community Shield (2005)

Mourinho famously returned to Chelsea in 2013 following pressure from the clubs supporters to bring him back. The squad he inherited this time around was much less competitive and Mourinho himself admitted that winning the title in his first season was unrealistic. Chelsea ended the season in third position. However, the following season Mourinho led the club to yet another league and cup double, losing just three games all season. Despite such success, a poor start to the following season saw Mourinho’s relationship with his players became strained and once again, Jose was rushed out through the exit door of Stamford Bridge.

Trophies won in second spell: Premier League (2014-15), League Cup (2014-15)