The Ring Magazine

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Creation of The Ring Magazine

Self-proclaimed "The World's Foremost Boxing Magazine," then "The World's Official Boxing Magazine," and today, since its June 1972 issue, "The Bible of Boxing," The Ring magazine is the oldest existing sports publication in the United States. It was first published in February 1922 from New York City. The magazine was created by Nat Fleischer, with help from promoter Tex Rickard, and partners Ike Dorgan, Madison Square Garden secretary-treasurer Frank Coultry, and I. C. Brenner of Golfer's Magazine. The latter two partners left within six months of The Ring's debut, while Dorgan remained until his retirement in 1930. Rickard, the "silent financier," died in January 1929.

Fleischer died in 1972. His last issue as editor and publisher was September 1972. The October 1972 issue saw Nat Loubet, Fleischer's son-in-law, take over those responsibilities, which he held for the next seven years. Bert Sugar became editor and publisher with the October 1979 issue and continued until the February 1984 issue. After Sugar's departure, the editor and publisher duties were separated. Later editors-in-chief included Randy Gordon (February 1984 - December 1984), Nigel Collins (January 1985 - May 1989, Holiday issue 1997 - 2011), Steve Farhood (January 1990 - December 1997) and Michael Rosenthal (2011 - Present). Later publishers included Denis Blanck (March 1984 - August 1988), Don Hanrahan (September 1988 - May 1989), Stanley Weston (January 1990 - October 2002) and Stuart M. Saks (November 2002 - 2009).

In September 2007, The Ring and its sister publications (World Boxing, KO Magazine, and Boxing 2005) were sold by the Kappa Publishing Group to Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises.

Read an expanded history of the magazine here.

The Ring Championship

The Ring Championship Belt

The Ring began awarding championship belts in 1922. The very first Ring belt was given to World Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey shortly after the launch of the magazine.

Inspired by Walter Camp's annual All-America football team, Fleischer pioneered the concept of boxing rankings and published the very first of its kind in the February 1925 issue of The Ring.

The Ring stopped awarding championships when Steve Farhood became editor-in-chief with the January 1990 issue. In 2002, The Ring once again started to award championship belts. Their new Championship Policy was presented in the April 2002 issue.

From 2002 to 2012, there were two ways a title vacancy could be filled: A fight between the magazine's #1 and #2 rated contenders or, in some cases, a fight between the #1 and #3 contenders.

In 2012, a new policy was announced: If the #1 and #2 contenders chose not to fight one another, a title vacancy can also be filled if the #1 or #2 contender fights the #4 or #5 contender. The new policy was controversial and some members of The Ring ratings panel resigned. Cliff Rold, one of the members who resigned, wrote, "The Ring making it possible for a number two to face a number five and be declared a World Champion is antithetical to the notion of crowning legitimate, strong Champions."

There are seven situations in which the Champion can lose his belt: (1) The Champion loses a fight in the weight class in which he is champion. (2) The Champion moves to another weight class. (3) The Champion does not schedule a fight in any weight class for 18 months. (4) The Champion does not schedule a fight at his championship weight for 18 months (even if he fights at another weight). (5) The Champion does not schedule a fight with a Top-5 contender from any weight class for two years. (6) The Champion retires. (7) The Champion tests positive for a banned substance.

List of The Ring World Champions


Don King's "United States Boxing Championships" kicked off in early 1977 and was promoted as a tournament to name America's best fighters in each division. Funded by ABC Television and supported by The Ring, King would leverage the ABC money and exposure into an attempted power grab to sign the country's best talent to exclusive contracts. The Ring, running interference for King, would falsify records and inflate the rankings of at least eleven fighters in order to gain entry into the tournament. Underground boxing scribe Malcolm "Flash" Gordon and ABC associate producer Alex Wallau uncovered the shady dealings and encouraged the network to cancel the entire deal. The Ring would clean house after the scandal and two of Don King's associates would be sanctioned for their roles in the scandal. Don King, however, would suffer no official discipline. [1]

The Ring Magazine Covers

Feb 1922 debut issue, with Tex Rickard & Lord Lonsdale Aug 1932 cover Sept 1943 cover, with Sugar Ray Robinson Jan 1951 cover April 1964 cover, with Muhammad Ali Jan 1973 cover, with George Foreman May 1987 cover, with Mike Tyson Sept 1995 cover, with Oscar De La Hoya Extra 2005 cover, with 'The Contender' March 2013 cover, with Juan Manuel Marquez
The Table of Contents is provided for issues marked by an asterisk*
1920s: 1922|1923|1924|1925|1926|1927|1928|1929|
1930s: 1930|1931|1932|1933|1934|1935|1936|1937|1938|1939|
1940s: 1940|1941|1942|1943|1944|1945|1946|1947|1948|1949|
1950s: 1950|1951|1952|1953|1954|1955|1956|1957|1958|1959|
1960s: 1960|1961|1962|1963|1964|1965|1966|1967|1968|1969|
1970s: 1970|1971|1972|1973|1974|1975|1976|1977|1978|1979|
1980s: 1980|1981|1982|1983|1984|1985|1986|1987|1988|1989|
1990s: 1990|1991|1992|1993|1994|1995|1996|1997|1998|1999|
2000s: 2000|2001|2002|2003|2004|2005|2006|2007|2008|2009|
2010s: 2010|2011|2012|2013|

Annuals & Special Issues:

The Ring Magazine Awards

The Ring Magazine Hall of Fame

The Ring Magazine Ratings

Lists Compiled by The Ring Magazine

Related Pages

Official Site & Contact Information

Sports & Entertainment Publications, LLC
6198 Butler Pike, Suite 200
Blue Bell, PA 19422

Phone: 215-461-0583
Fax: 215-643-3176
Subscription Inquiries: 1-800-846-6438
Letters to the Editors: