But Rickard died unexpectedly in 1931 of appendicitis and the NBA had to rely more on their champions’ ability to make themselves household names. By then, the great and legendary Joe Louis was approaching his championship years, and he won the Heavyweight title in 1937, holding it until 1949, and taking the NBA and boxing through another war. The fact Louis and many other champions joined the war and often came back to the United States to defend their titles made NBA boxing champions look even more heroic and patriotic.
Boxing became more and more popular with the advent of TV during the 1950s, the homecomings of many fighters and the appearance of many new, young talented fighters. In 1962 the NBA, faced with world changes after World War II and the Korean War, and with the growth of booing’s popularity world-wide, changed its name officially to WBA, or World Boxing Association. Through the years, many competitors who also recognized world championship competitions sprung, and in that line, the WBC started out in 1963, the IBF in 1983, the WBO in 1988, and nearly a dozen others.