(Interview by Robert Brown) The International Boxing Organization is headed by president Ed Levine, and has established itself of one of the most respected ranking organizations in boxing. Since 2000, Levine has seen the IBO grown in recognition and respect through it’s consistant computerized ranking system, and the integrity that it has operated under. Currently the IBO has well known champions such as Wladimir Klitschko and Gennady Golovkin, and has sanctioned title belts all around the world. I recently had a chance to interview Mr. Levine, and asked him about the organization that he represents and what the IBO has coming up in the future. Here is what Ed Levine had to say.
Robert Brown: What were some of the main reasons and purposes behind founding the IBO?
Ed Levine: Honesty, integrity, trust. As the President of the IBO, since 2000 it has been my goal to bring these qualities to a sanctioning body. The record shows that we have been, and continue to be successful while maintaining our reputation for honesty, integrity and trust.
Robert Brown: How do you respond to the critics who say that boxing already has too many sanctioning bodies, rating systems and belts, therefore the IBO is just adding another layer of confusion to an overcrowded sport?
Ed Levine: As to adding to the confusion, in the year 2000 when I started this journey, including the IBO there were 5 sanctioning bodies with each one offering 17 divisional world titles, a total of 85. Too many, yes, but today the same 5 sanctioning bodies offer over 200 world titles.
Has the IBO been one of those that have added to the confusion in the last decade? The answer is no. Clearly also, the only sanctioning body that has an objective computerized rating system is the IBO.
Robert Brown: Your motto is one belt per champion per division, which is a direct contradiction between the IBO and most other sanctioning bodies, explain the reason behind that stance?
Ed Levine: That is correct, we feel that we should designate only one world champion per each weight division. In an ideal world there would be only one world champion for each weight division and no multiple sanctioning bodies. Nevertheless the boxing business has in the past few decades demonstrated that there are financial rewards to the people in the business, that is the fighters, managers, promoters etc.. when there are more world titles available.
The demand is there and sanctioning bodies fulfilled that demand. However, we believe it is the responsibility of world sanctioning bodies in the interest of maintaining as much clarity as possible to limit the dilution of world champions to one from each sanctioning body. That remains our commitment. The decisions of other sanctioning bodies is theirs to make based upon their own perceptions or goals.
Robert Brown: The IBO is now represented by champions of the caliber of Wladimir Klitschko and Gennady Golovkin, what does this mean for the organization, and are you gaining respect in the boxing establishment by having such champions represent the IBO?
Ed Levine: We have had respect for many years. Marque champions holding IBO world titles in key divisions such as Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Roy Jones Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are just a few. Every major heavyweight and light heavyweight champion for the last decade or so has held the IBO title. Have we gained the same traction as the other major sanctioning bodies? No we have not, our business model does not permit it.
Robert Brown: When a fighter wins an IBO belt now and into the future, what do you want that belt to mean to them?
Ed Levine: That they are the champion of an organization that is respected, honest and trustworthy, an organization that will protect their interests and not mandate fights that are self serving or to generate revenue.
Robert Brown: Give us an idea of who may be the future IBO champions we might want to look out for in the near future.
Ed Levine: We have been carefully building young talented fighters through our Intercontinental Championships. After they defend their I/C titles a minimum of three times, which must include a defense against a top ranked opponent, they may be given a mandatory opportunity against our world champion.
A few of these fighters come to mind, Zapir Rasulov and Isa Akberbayev to name a few. They are young, talented and still have a way to go but there is a clear path to an IBO World Championship opportunity.
Robert Brown: What are some of the great matches coming up for the IBO title belts?
Ed Levine: Clearly, any match involving Gennady Golovkin is what the public wants to see. He is a throwback to another era where world champions will fight anyone and he combines knock out power with superb boxing skills. Wladimir Klitschko will be defending his title against Pulev in September. He is an undefeated heavyweight and should be a very good opponent.
Robert Brown: What is the policy of the IBO in regards to enforcement of mandatory defenses?
Ed Levine: Our Championship Rules give the IBO the option to impose mandatories if our world champions are not meeting quality opposition. If they are meeting top opposition we prefer to let the TV networks as powered by public demand dictate who challenges for our title. As previously mentioned, we also have mandatories for I/C Champions who earn that right.
Robert Brown: The IBO is now currently sponsoring “On The Ropes” Boxing Radio, the premier boxing radio show in the world, sanctioning bodies don’t generally associate in this area. Explain why the IBO chose this avenue to promote there organization.
Ed Levine: We chose this avenue because “On the Ropes Boxing” is on the cutting edge of today’s boxing scene. It’s dynamic, investigative and provides complete coverage of IBO activity. We direct much of our marketing revenue to boxing sites that include the IBO in their reporting.
Robert Brown: How can people find out more about the IBO?
Ed Levine: We publish a monthly Top 100 which is now distributed to over 10,000 recipients by email and our website www.iboboxing.com contains all current champions and upcoming fights. The IBO Top 100 can be ordered with a simple email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org and monthly updates will be provided automatically.