BOXING’S sanctioning bodies are like vampires. They’ll enter only if invited. Let them in, though, and it won’t take long for the blood-sucking to begin.
On March 31 in Cardiff, Anthony Joshua opened the door. Covered in belts, having added another to his collection with victory over Joseph Parker, he acknowledged them, one after the other, and welcomed them into the room: “I have the IBO, WBO, IBF, WBA…”
Few in attendance noticed the back-to-front order, much less cared. To them, these are merely belts; they all look the same; a bit of leather, a bit of metal; three letters. Yet invites and order are important in this free-for-all of a sport, and for as long as Joshua claims an IBO title as one of his four children, he not only leads WBC champion Deontay Wilder by a score of 4-1 but inadvertently legitimises a sanctioning body, the International Boxing Organization (IBO), long ignored by purists intent on keeping this mess as streamlined as possible.