Super Middleweight World/Lineal Champions (168lbs)

Further to the WBA deciding to recognise the weight division, the contest between the IBF champion, Chong-Pal Park, and Jesus Gallardo (18 wins and one defeat), a southpaw, should be seen as involving the lineal title. Only the second man to have contested the 168lbs title which began in March 1984, Park had been the inaugural IBF champion, beating Murray Sutherland, Roy Gumbs, Vinnie Curto (2), Lindell Holmes (2), Marvin Mack, Doug Sam and Emmanuel Otti prior to meeting Gallardo. With 44 wins, one draw, three defeats and a technical draw on his tab, Park had been the OPBF champion at middle and light heavy.

Chong-Pal Park (6/12/1987 - 23/5/1988)

Fulgencio Obelmejias (23/5/1988 - 28/5/1989)

In-Chul Baek (28/5/1989 - 30/3/1990)

Christophe Tiozzo (30/3/1990 - 5/4/1991)

Victor Cordoba (5/4/1991 - 12/9/1992)

Michael Nunn (12/9/1992 – 26/2/1994)

Steve Little (26/2/1994 – 12/8/1994)
Frankie Liles (12/8/1994 – 12/6/1999)
Byron Mitchell (12/6/1999 – 8/4/2000)
Bruno Girard (8/4/2000 – 3/3/2001)

Girard forfeited the WBA version of the title on 3 March 2001 after refusing a rematch against Siaca due to contractual problems, before moving up to the light heavyweight division and vacating the lineal title. The next time that the lineal title was on the line, came when Sven Ottke, the IBF champion, met the WBA’s Byron Mitchell in a unification contest. Mitchell, who had 25 wins, one draw and one defeat on his tab, had regained the WBA title he had lost to Bruno Girard when beating Manny Siaca. He then defended it against the same man and Julio Cesar Green before coming up against Ottke. A former two-time European amateur champion, and a man who was unbeaten as a pro with 29 wins, Ottke had won the IBF title when beating Charles Brewer on 24 October 1998, going on to make successful defences against Giovanni Nardiello, Gabriel Hernandez, Thomas Tate (2), Glen Johnson, Lloyd Bryan, Tocker Pudwill, Brewer, Silvio Branco, James Crawford, Ali Ennebati, James Butler, Anthony Mundine, Rick Thornberry, Joe Gatti and Rudy Markussen.

Sven Ottke (15/3/2003 - 27/3/2004)

Ottke announced his retirement from boxing immediately following the Krajnc contest. Almost two years later, when a match was made between the top-ranked WBO champion, Joe Calzaghe, and the IBF’s Jeff Lacy, rated at number three, the contest would carry a lineal dividend. Lacy had won the vacant IBF title when beating Syd Vanderpool and had successfully defended it against Omar Sheika, Rubin Williams, Robin Reid and Scott Pemberton. Both men were unbeaten, Lacy on 21 and Calzaghe on 40, but while Lacy was seen as a good puncher the southpaw Calzaghe could not only hit hard but was a clever all-rounder. Having won the WBO title when outpointing Chris Eubank on 11 October 1997, Calzaghe had made successful defences against Branko Sobot, Juan Carlos Gimenez, Reid, Rick Thornberry, David Starie, Omar Sheika, Richie Woodhall, Mario Veit (2), Will McIntyre, Charles Brewer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Tocker Pudwill, Byron Mitchell, Mger Mkrtchyan, Kabary Salam and Evan Ashira.
Joe Calzaghe (4/3/2006 – 26/9/2008)

On 28 June 2008, Calzaghe relinquished the WBC title to pursue a fight at the light heavyweight limit against Roy Jones. Once a match against Jones at 175lbs was signed and sealed, Calzaghe relinquished his WBO, WBA and lineal titles on 26 September 2008 as he felt that regardless of his forthcoming contest he would find it too difficult to make 168lbs again. The lineal title was once again up for grabs when Carl Froch, the WBC champion, came together with Andre Ward, the WBA title holder, in the final of ‘The Super Six Tournament. The big-punching Froch, who had lost just once in 29 contests, was a two-time WBC champion, having beaten Jean Pascal for the vacant title before making successful defences against Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell. He had then lost his title and unbeaten record when outpointed by Mikkel Kessler, but had come back to regain it when beating Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson prior to meeting Ward in the final of the ‘Super Six’. A former Olympic champion, Ward, who was unbeaten after 24 contests, had won the WBA title when defeating Kessler and had made successful defences against Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Abraham before the dust-up with Froch. Ward was an extremely clever box-fighter who could go either way and was difficult to hit flush.
Andre Ward (17/12/2011 – 19/2/2015)

Due to Ward’s long-term shoulder injury, the WBC vacated the title on 11 April 2013, whilst the lineal title was left vacant on 19 February 2015 due to him not making a defence against a top-five man for over two years. Finally, on 12 November 2015, Ward decided to move up a weight division. The next time the lineal title would become available was when the top-ranked Arthur Abraham defended his WBO belt against Robert Stieglitz, who had 47 wins and a draw in 52 outings and was rated at number four. A former undefeated IBF middleweight champion, Abraham, who had 42 wins and four losses on his tab, would be coming to the ring as a two-time WBO title holder at super middle. His opponent, Stieglitz, had first won the WBO title when defeating Karoly Balzsay, and had successfully defended it against Ruben Eduardo Acosta, Eduard Gutknecht, Enrique Ornelas, Khoren Gevor, Henry Weber and Nader Hamdan before losing his belt to Abraham, who beat Mehdi Bouadla before Stieglitz regained his crown. Although Stieglitz went on to make successful defences against Yuzo Kiyota and Isaac Ekpo, he again lost the title to Abraham. Further to Abraham turning back Nikola Sjekloca and Paul Smith twice, this would be the fourth meeting between the pair.

Arthur Abraham (18/7/2015 - 9/4/2016)

Gilberto Ramirez (9/4/2016 - 28/9/2018)

While still recognised as the WBO champion, Ramirez forfeited the lineal title on 28 September for not meeting a top-five opponent for well over two years. With Callum Smith, rated at number three, and the top-ranked George Groves meeting to decide the World Boxing Super Series final on 28 September, it was clear that the winner of the fight should be seen as the new lineal champion and not be held back by Ramirez. After two defeats at the hands of Carl Froch and a loss to Badou Jack, Groves had come back strongly to win the vacant WBA title when beating Fedor Chudinov and making successful defences against Jamie Cox and Chris Eubank Jnr. While Groves had recorded 28 wins in 31 fights, Smith had a perfect 24-fight record, 17 of them coming inside the distance, having beaten Ruben Eduardo Acosta, Nikola Sjekloca, Rocky Fielding, Erik Skoglund and Nieky Holzken.

Callum Smith (28/9/2018 -