Initially, 12 countries met in Mexico City to offer sponsorship to the WBC, the countries being: The United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Great Britain, and the Philippines. That meeting was called by then Mexican President Alfonso Lopez Mateos. Nowadays, the WBC has relations with more than 170 countries, including Kuwait, where the first world title fight in an Arabian country was held there in 1986 when the WBC's world Bantamweight champion Khaosai Galaxy of Thailand defended his crown with a 12 round unanimous decision win over former world Jr Flyweight and Flyweight champion Freddie Castillo of Mexico.
The WBC's championship belt portrays all of the flags of the countries that back up the organization, but the flags of the first 12 countries to accept them are displayed on the center of the belt along with a boxer raising his hand, to honor those 12 countries.
The WBC's relationship with the WBA has improved and over the years, WBC and WBA world champions have been able to hold unification bouts. WBC champions have also unified titles with IBF world champs, another organization with which the WBC enjoys a good relationship. The only world championship organization that the WBC has refused to have diplomatic relationships with so far, is the WBO.
In 1983, the WBC made a huge advance towards protecting the health of boxers worldwide by reducing the distance of its world championship bouts from 15 rounds to 12. This was decided upon after a medical study revealed that boxers received most of their punishment from rounds 13 to 15. The WBC launched the study after one of the most famous tragedies ever to hit boxing: The WBA world lightweight championship bout between champion Ray Mancini and challenger Duk Koo Kim, who lost in 14 rounds and died 6 days later.
The 12 rounds limit distance rule was later adopted by all other world championship organizations.
Among the WBC's world champions are Wilfredo Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Salvador Sanchez, Hector 'Macho' Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran, Juan Laporte, Felix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Mike Tyson, Alexis Arguello, Lennox Lewis and, on the female side Christy Martin.
Former WBC Presidents include Mexicans Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velazquez, British Onslow Fane and the Philippines' Justiniano Montano. The current President is the half Mexican-Half Lebanese Jose Sulaiman. The WBC has also maintained a close relationship with controversial promoter Don King.
In 1998, Roy Jones Jr announced he wanted to leave the WBC's world Light-Heavyweight championship vacant. Because of this, the WBC ordered a fight between Graciano Rocchigiani and former world champion Michael Nunn to take place, and it was billed as a world title bout. Rocchigiani won and was originally recognized as the WBC's new world Light-Heavyweight champion, and given a championship belt. But then Jones Jr. decided he did not want to abandon the Light Heavyweight division, and the WBC sent Rocchigiani a letter, informing him that the WBC had committed a typographical mistake of their part to call him a world champion, and they removed recognition from Rocchigiani as well as the title belt, giving the recognition back to Jones Jr. As a consequence, Rocchigiani filed a lawsuit against the WBC.
On May 7, 2003, a judge in New York City reached a verdict, deciding that the WBC had to pay Rocchigiani 30 million dollars, return him a world title belt and recognize him as a past world boxing champion.
The following day, the WBC declared itself in bankruptcy, to avoid having to pay Rocchigiani the 30 million dollars.