WAKO’s History is tightly connected with the history of Kickboxing in the western world. Already in 1970, WAKO’s legend, Joe Lewis had his first “Kickboxing fight” against Greg Baines in the USA. This was the first fight where boxing gloves were used and the name Kickboxing was mentioned in the announcement.
But it was not until 1974 that the first official “World Championship in Full Contact” took place in Los Angeles. Joe Lewis and Mike Anderson were the main organizers at that time. WAKO legends Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith and Joe Lewis were the first Full Contact World Champions.
Creating a new, lasting and strong World Organization was not easy during those turbulent times in the martial art world. It was primarily George Brueckner and Mike Anderson who had the vision and the initiative to create a new “World All-Style Karate Organization” – in short “WAKO”.
WAKO started its activity in Europe in 1976 and was founded in Berlin, Germany on February 26th, 1977.
The founder was Mr. Georg Bruckner from Berlin, who promoted the first ever World Championships in semi and full contact karate (as initially the discipline was called in those days) back in 1978 with 110 competitors representing 18 countries. WAKO immediately created the rules and regulations for the new fighting sports including punches (hand techniques) and kicks (leg techniques) for amateur fights with maximum use of safety equipment, the new term KICKBOXING was officially adopted to define the sport and WAKO started to act, since the very beginning, as the authentic Kickboxing Federation in the world.
From 1984 till 2013, WAKO was leaded by Mr. Ennio Falsoni (Italy). He organized and consolidated WAKO as respectable International Sports Organization. World Championships were held every two years in different parts of the World. Now, after decades of passionate work, Mr. Ennio Falsoni is Honorary President of WAKO. In Falsoni's book "KICKBOXING: The Phenomenology of a SPORT" it is possible to learn all details about history of WAKO since its foundation.
( To get a copy of the book written by Honorary President Mr. Ennio Falsoni please contact: WAKO HQ office - firstname.lastname@example.org - tel. +39 345 0135521 )
After a period of acting presidency (2013-2015), on November 2015 in Dublin, Ireland, Prof. Borislav Pelević (Serbia) was finally elected as WAKO President, till 25th October 2018, when Prof. Pelevic suddenly passed away.
The WAKO Board of Directors then unanimously appointed Mrs. Francesca Falsoni, who is also Chairwoman of the WAKO Legal Committee, as WAKO Interim President, in Maribor, Slovenia, on 19th November 2018. Mrs. Falsoni made sure to lead WAKO to the Extraordinary General Assembly for the elections of a new President, by Statutes within 6 months since the vacant position.
The WAKO Extraordinary General Assembly was finally held in Milan, Italy, on 2nd February 2019, and Mr. Roy Baker, from Ireland, was elected by majority as WAKO President.
WAKO Kickboxing today:
Kickboxing is a modern contact fighting sport created on the basis of many traditional combat sports and martial arts. Kickboxing is a unique Western response to many Eastern martial arts. It can be practiced on competitive or recreational level depending on the aspirations of the kickboxer, but for sure it is a sport designed to improve your overall health, strength and endurance.
Today WAKO counts of 130 affiliated nations in the 5 continents, of which 105 are officially recognized by either National Olympic Committee or relevant National Government Sports Authority.