International Boxing Union

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The International Boxing Union (IBU) was created June 1913 in Ghent, Belgium. It was an attempt to create a unified international governing body for professional boxing. Signators of the Protocol for the IBU were: Paul Rousseau (President of Fédération Française de Boxe et de Lutte) for France; Fred Tilbury (an Englishman, Master of Boxing, and President of Fédération Belge de Boxe) for Belgium; and Victor Breyer (President of Société Française de Propagation de la Boxe Anglaise), having an official mandate by the New York State Athletic Commission, and consequently acting on behalf of some American boxing authorities. Switzerland joined the IBU in November 1913.

The IBU suspended operations with the outbreak of World War I, but resumed action on February 5, 1920--this time headquartered in Paris. Eventually, by the end of 1942, the IBU was in the hands of the Nazis and Fascists, who transformed it into the "Associazione Pugilistica Professionistica Europea" (APPE). By December 1, 1944, the IBU/APPE was extinct. In 1946, from the ashes of the APPE, the European Boxing Union (EBU) came into being.

The fight record database indicates IBU title bouts as, for example: IBU (1913 - 1946) flyweight title.

(Information courtesy of Mr. Gherardo Bonini.)

This old organization is not to be confused with the International Boxing Union that was formed in 1996.


  • 1925-06-07: The IBU rules that title bouts will now be 15 rounds, no longer 20 rounds. Newspaper wire report, The World (New York, NY, USA)
  • 1938-04-16 & 17: The 28th IBU Congress is held in Milan, Italy, but few countries attend: Italy, France, Germany (including Austria), Belgium, Romania, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. Italy proposal to use a stick inside the fist to help close elastic bandages is approved, with the backing of France. Francesco di Campello is the newly-elected President of the IBU. A few days later, Rome hosts the World Conference on Boxing April 19-20, 1938, with 63 delegates attending, including representatives from the National Boxing Association (NBA), New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), and the British Board of Boxing Control (BBBoC). All bodies agree that world championship bouts, qualifications, and semi-finals for world titles must be 15 rounds. The BBBoC, however, takes exception, because some countries authorize fewer rounds for such bouts. The World Congress also compiles a list of the recognized World Champions: Benny Lynch (fly), Sixto Escobar (bantam), Henry Armstrong (feather), Lou Ambers (light), Barney Ross (welter), Freddie Steele (middle), John Henry Lewis (light-heavy), and Joe Louis (heavy). Louis was warned to defend his title by June versus Max Schmeling, or be stripped of the title, with Schmeling to be declared the Number One Contender for the vacated crown. Finally, a Commission composed of representatives of the IBU, NBA, NYSAC, BBBoC, Canada, and Australia was formed to decide world champions.