Written by Ho Bien Sing. 

WHEN IS A WORLD CHAMPION A "TRUE"  'WORLD CHAMPION'? This question is not easy to answer. However, to define who is a World Champion, is simple. There are no such words as 'World Champion' or ''World Championship! Why? Because the phrases or definitions do not appear in any dictionary. Therefore, they cannot exist! Yet we all have seen great promotions that have sponsored "World Championships", and we have read of such glorious events that have produced World Champions, but the fact still stands that, by definition of the phrase or phrases, they do not exist.

That was until 1997, when an certain man who wishes to remain discreet, came up with the definition of the phrases.

DEFINITION OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: "An event or events; World Championships, of a distinctive sport among persons, associations, or teams, representing various nations and countries in a contest, pertaining to their sphere of interest, held to determine the overall title of a Champion throughout the World." ...see 'World Champion.'

WORLD CHAMPION: " One that is acknowledged to be better than all others, throughout the entire World, in a sporting competition, that has determined the position or overall title of World Champion." ...see 'World Champions.'

WORLD CHAMPIONS: "Persons, associations, or teams, representing various nations and countries that are acknowledged to be better than all others, throughout the entire World, within sporting competitions, that has determined the overall titles of World Champions.

" Who is the Heavyweight World Champion? Most people could answer that, so let's take Boxing for example. Who's is the Heavyweight Champion of the World? Let's say it's ' X.' That's a good answer. Now let me ask you some questions. (1.) How did ' X ' get to be champion? Answer: He fought ' XX ' for the title.( 2.) OK, Who did ' XX ' fight to get to the championships?? I presume that who ever they fought, should also have been a champion of sorts, i.e. European, Inter-Continental, etc., etc. it's similar to the pyramid system, meaning all fighters have to start at the bottom of the pyramid to get to the top.

Let's take Muay Thai and use the USMTA's system as an example. You first have your Heavyweight fighter compete in the State Championships, and he wins, then he enters the Tri-State Championships, and he wins again, so you enter him in the Regional Championships, he wins again, so you enter him in the East and Western Divisional Championships where he is once again successful. He now can compete in the National Championships. Guess what? He wins and becomes the U. S. National Heavyweight Champion. He is now ready to compete against the Worlds other Heavyweight Muay Thai Champions. The USMTA's system is pretty standard in the way it has produced its Heavyweight Muay Thai Champion, with a back-up record to prove it.

Now, you would presume that the rest of the World's competing countries would have a similar system that should be producing their own Muay Thai Champs. Now that the World has a listing of available Heavyweight Muay Thai Champions, how do you get them to compete for the World title? And which governing body is the Official holder of the titles? As in Boxing you have several different International organizations that lay claim to the "Official" title, i.e. WBC, IBF, WBO, etc., etc. Bearing this in mind, each country also has different organizations that compete for their National Thai Boxing Federation or Muay Thai Organization. Each one claiming to be the best and the biggest. You can see how difficult it becomes, when you have fighters competing for several National organizations Championship title belts, at the same weight division. And each organization claiming to be the "Official" National organization.

In the end, as usual, it all boils down to which organization has the most money. And the majority of fighters having no regard to the system, will always opted for the money. When it comes to the World Championship events, and based on the above, it would mean that all Muay Thai or Thai Boxing organizations would have to agree with a one overall governing institution to hold the reins of the World Championship criteria, which we all know will never happen, because money and a greedy and bias media will dictate the terms and conditions of the championships. Ain't that a shame? At this moment I am only referring to Muay Thai, but the same calculations and applications can be applied to the majority of contact sports.

The closest organization to perfection is the IOC "International Olympic Committee". The IOC had the best formula for entry into the Olympic Games, it stated that 75 nations had to compete within a particular sport, on all five continents, before the IOC would acknowledge the sport. The only problem is that the IOC is also governed by money and media. But if you used their formula compiled for a particular the sport, i.e. Muay Thai, then the principle effect would be almost perfect, producing the correct World Champions. Each Heavyweight Champion from each country would have to compete against all the other champs on its own continent first, dropping the odds down to 5 or 6 Continental Heavyweight Champion fighters, who would then compete against each other to produce a 'true World Champion'.

Of course, it will not change the format of the Olympic Games or other sporting events such as Boxing, Karate, Kick-Boxing or Muay Thai for that matter, or at least not in the near future, but it would be a nice dream to see applied in reality. As to the term 'World Champion', it is still not written in the World's dictionaries, only in the media and the vaults of the banks, but a clear and precise definition can now be applied to the term of " World Champion" which had never existed before.


Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.