The original sanctioning body of professional boxing, the World Boxing Association (WBA) can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association, which was organized in 1921, the first bout recognized by the organization being the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier Heavyweight title bout in New Jersey.
The world at the time was recovering from a war, and many athletes had joined the military to defend their colors, so boxing became a way for many to entertain themselves.
Promoter Tex Rickard, an NBA benefactor and the Don King of his day, helped to put some of the NBA's title fights, many of which made history.
But Rickard died unexpectedly in 1931 of appendicitis and the NBA had to rely more on their champions' ability to make themselves household names. By then, the great and legendary Joe Louis was approaching his championship years, and he won the Heavyweight title in 1937, holding it until 1949, and taking the NBA and boxing through another war. The fact Louis and many other champions joined the war and often came back to the United States to defend their titles made NBA boxing champions look even more heroic and patriotic.
Boxing became more and more popular with the advent of tv during the 1950s, the homecomings of many fighters, and the appearance of many new, young talented fighters.
In 1962 the NBA, faced with world changes after World War II and the Korean War, and with the growth of boxing's popularity world-wide, changed its name officially to WBA, or World Boxing Association.
In 1982, many WBA world title fights ended in controversy or tragedy. On November 12 of that year, when Aaron Pryor defeated Alexis Arguello for the WBA's world Jr. Welterweight title, a controversial bottle was introduced into Pryor's corner after he had been shaken in round twelve, and the contents of the bottle were never known, but a rematch was ordered by the WBA. The following day, November 13, Ray Mancini defended his WBA world Lightweight title against Duk Koo Kim, who died five days later as a consequence of the blows received during the tragic fight. And on December 10, referee Joey Curtis, affected by Kim's death, abruptly stopped the WBA world Heavyweight championship fight between challenger Michael Dokes and champion Mike Weaver, sixty three seconds into the bout. He said that he had been affected by Kim's death, and an immediate rematch was ordered.
Nowadays, the WBA has created a new concept named Super-Champion, something many boxing fans consider to be ridiculous and harmful to the sport. A "Super Champion" is recognized when a boxer wins the WBA title, as well as one sanctioned by the WBC, IBF or WBO.