When Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington square off on October 7 at the Sheffield Arena, a world championship will be at stake. Wood is holder of the WBA featherweight crown, having recently regained it by outpointing feared Mexican puncher Mauricio Lara.
WATCH: Wood vs. Warrington, exclusively live on DAZN
Wood, however, is not the only featherweight champion.
The amount of world titles available in each division has long gone past the ridiculous stage. In the 1940s, only eight men on the planet could call themselves a “world champion”. Now, including WBA “regular” and “interim” versions, we’re well over the 100 mark.
However, the Wood vs. Warrington fight is an authentic matchup with an authentic world title on the line. And the good news is that the winner will be looking toward unification fights against rival champions. The more unified and undisputed champions in boxing, the better it is for the sport.
So who are today’s featherweight world champions?
(Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
IBF Featherweight Champion: Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs)
Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez took the IBF title from Josh Warrington via razor-thin majority decision in December 2022. What was particularly impressive about this result is that Lopez ventured to Warrington’s First Direct Arena fortress in Leeds to spring the upset. There’s hostile, then there’s Leeds hostile.
Lopez, 29, got off to a strong start and survived the Englishman’s late-round charge to claim a career-best triumph and his first world title. He has since made successful defences against both Michael Conlan (TKO 5) and Joet Gonzalez (UD 12).
Mark Robinson/ Matchroom Boxing
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WBA Featherweight Champion: Leigh Wood (26-2-1, 19 KOs)
Wood, 32, is a two-time WBA champion with plenty of ambition left.
The Nottingham man is desperate to secure a fight at the City Grounds and he would take on any featherweight in the world for that opportunity. However, with a seasoned operator like Warrington up next, it’s best that Wood remains focused on the task at hand.
Frequently written off, Wood has scored upset wins over Mauricio Lara, Michael Conlan, and Can Xu over the past two years. He’s the favourite to beat Warrington, and if he does, then the amiable Englishman would not hesitate to take on any of the rival champions on this list.
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WBC Featherweight Champion: Rey Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs)
Despite coming off the first loss of his professional career, Rey Vargas remains the WBC featherweight champion of the world.
In February, the Mexican stylist moved up to 130 pounds in a bid to win a third divisional title. However, he was stopped in his tracks by new kid on the block O’Shaquie Foster, who claimed the vacant WBC super featherweight crown by 12-round unanimous decision.
Brandon Figueroa currently has recognition as the WBC’s interim featherweight champ. Given that Vargas hasn’t made a defence of his title since July of last year, one would expect the Mexico-based organisation to order that fight imminently.
(Mikey Williams/Top Rank)
WBO Featherweight Champion: Robeisy Ramirez (13-1, 8 KOs)
You can’t call Ramirez the dark horse of the division anymore because everyone knows how good he is now.
The Cuban star is a double Olympic gold medallist (2012/ 2016) and has now put a shocking upset loss in his pro debut behind him to emerge as a world champion. The quick-fisted southpaw battered former titleholder Isaac Dogboe over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBO crown and he’s defended once against Satoshi Shimizu (TKO 5).
Ramirez’s lone defeat to Adan Gonzles was also avenged and many believe the 29-year-old lefty is the best 126-pounder in the world today.
Shabba Shafiq/ SW33TSCIENCE Photography
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Ring Magazine Featherweight Champion: Vacant
There hasn’t been a Ring Magazine featherweight champion since multi-division titleholder Mikey Garcia in 2013.
While the division has seen plenty of world-level action over the past decade, “The Bible of Boxing” hasn’t deemed any of the matchups to be worthy of their championship.
A vacant title is ultimately contested if The Ring’s No. 1 and No. 2 featherweights face off. Right now that would be No. 1 Lopez vs. No. 2 Vargas.
In terms of boxing history, whoever wins this belt next will be in esteemed company. Previous holders include Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Salvador Sanchez, and Alexis Arguello.
Unfortunately, Lopez vs. Vargas would also mean Top Rank vs. PBC, and that’s a matchup we rarely ever see. Don’t hold your breath.