Bunce Diary: A brief (and ridiculous) history of the WBF heavyweight title

By Steve Bunce

JOE BUGNER became a world heavyweight champion in 1998 after separating James Bonecrusher Smith’s shoulder with a powerful right cross in Australia. At 48 years and 110 days, Bugner claimed the World Boxing Federation belt, his first heavyweight title since losing to Muhammad Ali in 1975. Despite the unusual circumstances of the fight, Bugner proudly wore the belt.

The WBF belt has seen its share of unconventional matchups, with fighters from different countries competing for the title. The first WBF heavyweight title fight took place in 1993 between Lawrence Poncho Carter and Pinklon Thomas, with Thomas fighting to overcome personal struggles and find redemption in the ring.

In another memorable fight, Thomas faced Carter for the WBF title, but suffered a shocking end after being stopped due to a concussion. Carter’s reign as champion was short-lived, as he was defeated in his next fight by Phil Jackson. The belt changed hands multiple times in various countries, creating a unique and unpredictable landscape in boxing.

Bugner’s career spanned 32 years, culminating in a victory over Levi Billups in 1999 before retiring from the sport. Despite the bizarre matchups and unexpected outcomes, Bugner’s legacy as a fighter remains intact.

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