The WBO's first president was Ramon Pina Acevedo of the Dominican Republic. Soon after its beginning, the WBO was staging world championship bouts around the globe. Its first championship fight was for its vacant super middleweight title, between Thomas Hearns and James Kinchen; Hearns won by decision. In order to gain respectability, the WBO next elected former world light heavyweight champion Jose Torres of Ponce, Puerto Rico, as its president. Torres left in 1996, giving way to Puerto Rican lawyer Francisco Varcarcel as president. Varcarcel has been there since.
The WBO was made popular by boxers such as Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera, Naseem Hamed, Michael Carbajal, Johnny Tapia, Harry Simon, Nigel Benn, Gerald McClellan, Joe Calzaghe, Steve Collins, Michael Moorer, Dariusz Michalczewski, Chris Eubank, Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko and Chris Byrd in the 1990s.
The WBO twice moved Darrin Morris up in its super-middleweight rankings in 2001, despite the fact that he was dead. Morris was #7 at the time of his death and #5 when the WBO discovered the error. Varcarcel said "we obviously missed the fact that Darrin was dead. It is regrettable." One week after British newspaper The Independent broke the story, one of the three men ranking the boxers, Gordon Volkman, still had not heard that Morris was dead.
|Weight class:||Title holder:||Date won:|
|Mini flyweight||Donnie Nietes||September 30 2007|
|Junior flyweight||Ivan Calderón||August 25 2007|
|Flyweight||Omar Andrés Narváez||July 13 2002|
|Junior bantamweight||Fernando Montiel||April 9 2005|
|Bantamweight||Gerry Peñalosa||August 11 2007|
|Junior featherweight||Juan Manuel Lopez||June 7 2008|
|Featherweight||Steven Luevano||July 14 2007|
|Junior lightweight||Nicky Cook||September 6 2008|
|Lightweight||Nate Campbell||March 8 2008|
|Junior welterweight||Kendall Holt||July 5 2008|
|Welterweight||Paul Williams||June 7 2008|
|Junior middleweight||Sergiy Dzinziruk||December 3 2005|
|Middleweight||Kelly Pavlik||September 29 2007|
|Light heavyweight||Zsolt Erdei||January 17 2004|
|Heavyweight||Wladimir Klitschko||February 23 2008|