When it comes to boxing betting, did you know that it’s important that boxing fans know the difference between the weight classes? A typical title fight is for a specific category, and there are many. There are different titles, showcasing the lightest to the heaviest fighters in the world.
Each boxing weight class has championships up for grabs, and boxing contests are divided among these classes. Boxers may display their skills against opponents who share similar physiques by competing in boxing weight classes, unlike other combat sports.
This is the ideal article if you’re interested in professional boxing but would like to learn more about this fascinating sport. Understanding the sport better and learning more about it is made possible by knowing the important distinctions between boxing and weight classes. This guide to the various weight classes in boxing was created by our team of boxing specialists for that reason. Learn what sets these classes apart from some of the best fighters by reading on.
The Professional Boxing Ring, Rules, and Equipment Explained
Usually, four ropes circle a “boxing ring” that is 18 to 22 feet (5.5 to 6.7 meters) square where boxing fights are held. Professional fights can go anywhere from four to twelve rounds, each lasting three minutes, however, women’s matches and some bouts in the United Kingdom sometimes employ two-minute rounds. Professional championship fights had lasted fifteen rounds on average since the late 1920s; but, by the late 1980s, the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles were all being scheduled for twelve.
Inside the boxing ring, a referee oversees and controls the fight between the boxers. The referee and two judges outside the ring score the match in various areas. Three ringside officials score the fight in the majority of countries, with the referee not taking part in the evaluation. A boxer can only win by a decision if they win on two of the three scorecards; the officials give points to each boxer after every round. When it is thought that a punch has connected with a fighter, five judges electronically score the fight by pressing a button. If three judges touch their buttons simultaneously and within a second of each other, then no punch is considered a hit. The boxers use padded gloves that range in weight from 8 to 10 ounces (227 to 283 grams).
A boxer will be declared the loser of the fight if, by the count of ten, they are knocked down and cannot get back up. A boxer may be declared unable to continue if the referee (and occasionally the ringside physician) determines that he is unable to defend himself, if he is thought to have suffered a significant injury, or if he and his seconds determine that the fight should finish by technical knockout (TKO). If the fight has gone the full number of rounds allotted and the score officials declare a winner, the bout may also come to a decision.
Draws can occur from many situations in a bout: when all three judges give the same score to both fighters, when two of the judges give the opponents the same score regardless of the third judge’s score; when two of the judges give the decision to the competitors, and when the third judge’s scorecard is split equally between the competitors. When a battle ends too soon or with no clear winner—for example, because one fighter was injured in an early head contact and was unable to continue—it is deemed a “no contest.” Additionally, a fight may result in disqualification.
The Different Weight Divisions in Boxing: Weight Classes Explained
There are 17 professional divisions for weight classes in boxing.
Although professional boxers are sometimes permitted by their contracts to weigh in the day before a fight, weight limits must be seriously adhered to in all world and national title contests. Boxers who exceed the current weight limit are often granted a brief window of time to reach the target weight. The fight will also take place even if he does not manage to reach the desired weight, but if the overweight fighter wins, the title he was competing for is officially vacated.
🥊 Minimumweight Division
Weight Limit: 47 kg / 105 lbs
Boxers who compete in this weight class are fast, even though they must be among the lightest out there. It was founded in 1987. Professional boxers competing in the minimumweight class are limited to a maximum weight of 105 pounds (48 kg). Between 1987 and 1990, the main boxing-sanctioning organisations introduced this relatively new weight class for professionals.
🥊 Light Flyweight Division
Weight Limit: 48.9 kg / 108 lbs
On March 13, 1993, IBF champion Michael Carbajal defeated WBC champion Humberto González to win the light flyweight belt in the first-ever “superfight.” The first time a light flyweight boxer (Carbajal) won a million dollars was during their rematch on February 19, 1994.
The current IBF Light Flyweight champion is Adrian Curiel and the current WBO Light Flyweight champion is Jonathan Gonzalez.
🥊 Flyweight Division
Weight Limit: 51 kg / 112 lbs
Any boxer under the featherweight class, regardless of size, was referred to as a bantamweight before 1909. Sid Smith was the first flyweight champion in history, having won a fight in 1911 sanctioned by the body that would later become the British Boxing Board of Control. The first flyweight champion acknowledged in both the United States and Britain was Jimmy Wilde, who held the title from 1916 until 1923.
The current IBF and WBO Flyweight champion is Jesse Rodriguez, who won both titles on December 16, 2023 and April 8, 2023, respectively.
🥊 Super Flyweight Division
Weight Limit: 52 kg / 115lbs
Khaosai Galaxy, with 19 WBA title defences, owns the record for the most consecutive championship defences in this class.
The World Boxing Council held this division’s first championship fight in 1980 in response to demands from fighters in Asia and Latin America who believed the disparity between the flyweight and bantamweight weight limits was too great. In February of that year, Rafael Orono defeated Seung-Hoon Lee to win the first championship. When Gustavo Ballas defeated Sok-Chul Baek to win the SF championship in 1981, the World Boxing Association followed. Ju-Do Chun defeated Ken Kasugai to become the inaugural International Boxing Federation champion in 1983.
The current WBA champion is Kazuto Ioka, while the current WBC, IBF and WBO champions are Juan Francisco Estrada, Fernando Martinez and Junto Nakatani, respectively.
🥊 Bantamweight Division
Weight Limit: 53.5 kg / 118 lbs
The weight range for the bantamweight class is above 115 lb (52.2 kg) and up to 118 lb (53.5 kg) for boxing. The class’s name comes from the Bantam chicken breed.
The class’ current WBA champion is Takuma Inoue, while the WBC, IBF, and WBO champions are Alexandro Santiago, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Jason Moloney, respectively.
🥊 Super Bantamweight Division
Weight Limit: 55 kg / 122 lbs
Super bantamweight, sometimes referred to as junior featherweight, is a professional boxing weight class that features bouts between fighters who weigh a minimum of 118 pounds (54 kg), while the upper weight limit is 122 pounds (55 kg).
The World Boxing Council declared Rigoberto Riasco the division’s champion in 1976 after Riasco defeated Waruinge Nakayama in eight rounds, marking the first championship match in the resurrected class in fifty-four years. When Soo Hwan Hong defeated Hector Carasquilla in three rounds to win the World Boxing Association’s first title, the organization became official in 1977.
The class’ current WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO champion is Naoya Inoue.
🥊 Featherweight Division
Weight Limit: 57 kg / 126 lbs
The average weight limit for a featherweight boxer is 126 pounds (57 kg). Though in America the weight restriction was initially 114 pounds, the British boxing authorities have typically always accepted the limit at 126 pounds. The United States finally set the maximum at 126 pounds in 1920.
The featherweight category has seen significant activity since the end of the 2000s and the beginning of the 2010s, with fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Naseem Hamed, Juan Manuel López, Elio Rojas, Israel Vazquez, Cristobal Cruz, Rafael Márquez, Rocky Juarez and Steven Luevano
Currently holding the titles in this category are Leigh Wood (WBA), Rey Vargas (WBC), Luis Alberto Lopez (IBF) and Rafael Espinoza (WBO).
🥊 Super Featherweight Division
Weight Limit: 59 kg / 130 lbs
The Super Featherweight, AKA junior lightweight, class is a 2 kilogram higher weight class than the Featherweight. Although the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) had formed the super featherweight class in 1930, it was officially created by the New York Walker Law in 1920.
Presently holding the titles in this category are Joe Cordina (IBF), Lamont Roach Jr. (WBA), O’Shaquie Foster (WBC), and Emanuel Navarrete (WBO).
🥊 Lightweight Division
Weight Limit: 61 kg / 135 lbs
In boxing, the lightweight class consists of weight classes weighing over 130 pounds (59 kg) and up to 135 pounds (61.2 kg).
The class’ current WBA champion is Gervonta Davis, the WBC champion is Shakur Stevenson, and both the IBF and WBO champion is Devin Haney.
🥊 Super Lightweight Division
Weight Limit: 63.5 kg / 140 lbs
The super lightweight class – also known as junior welterweight or light welterweight – sees fighters ranging from 61kg and weighing up to 63.5kg battling it out against one another.
Teofimo Lopez Jr. is the current WBO champion, Subriel Matias is the IBF champion, while the WBA remains vacant.
🥊 Welterweight Division
Weight Limit: 67 kg / 147 lbs
Although boxing was the only combat sport to use the word “welterweight” at first in professional bouts, other combat sports like Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and mixed martial arts also used it to categorise opponents according to their respective weight division systems. In the majority of sports that employ it, welterweight is less than middleweight but more than lightweight.
The weight range for a professional welterweight boxer is over 140 pounds and under 147 pounds (63–67 kg). The holder of the WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight titles is Terence Crawford, while Jaron Ennis is the holder of the IBF title.
🥊 Super Welterweight Division
Weight Limit: 70 kg / 154 lbs
In professional boxing, the light middleweight division—also referred to as junior middleweight in the IBF and super welterweight in the WBA and WBC—is a weight class that includes fighters weighing between 66.7 kg and 70 kg (147–154 pounds or 11 stone).
1962 saw the founding of this division. Up until 1975, when it deposed the reigning champion and approved a match between Miguel de Oliveira and Jose Duran for the vacant belt, the World Boxing Council acknowledged the WBA champion as the legitimate division champion.
Jermell Charlo holds the WBA, WBC and IBF for this weight class, while the WBO is held by Tim Tszyu.
🥊 Middleweight Division
Weight Limit: 72.5 kg / 160 lbs
The middleweight class appears to have started in the 1840s, however its early boxing history is not entirely certain. Tom Chandler and Dooney Harris battled for the middleweight title in the first bare-knuckle fighting period in 1867.
At the moment, Janibek Alimkhanuly is the IBF and WBO champion in this weight class, while Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo are the WBC and WBA champions, respectively.
🥊 Super Middleweight Division
Weight Limit: 76 kg / 168 lbs
In professional boxing, the super middleweight class, which allows boxers to weigh between 160 pounds (73 kg) and 168 pounds (76 kg), is fought between the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. 1967 saw the introduction of the class.
Throughout the late 1960s, mid-1970s, and early 1980s, there was interest in creating a category between middleweight and light heavyweight. The International Boxing Federation version of the championship was won by Murray Sutherland against Ernie Singletary in 1984, marking the birth of the modern super middleweight division.
Canelo Alvarez currently holds all the super middleweight titles – the WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO.
🥊 Light Heavyweight Division
Weight Limit: 79 kg / 175 lbs
Other names for light heavyweight are junior cruiserweight and light cruiserweight.
Some of boxing’s finest champions have come from the light-heavyweight division: Bernard Hopkins (who broke the record for the oldest man to win a world title upon becoming champion), Tommy Loughran, Billy Conn, Joey Maxim, Archie Moore, Michael Moorer, Bob Foster, Ann Wolfe, Michael Spinks, Dariusz Michalczewski, Roy Jones Jr., Sergey Kovalev, and Zsolt Erdei.
Artur Beterbiev is the current IBF, WBC and WBO champion, and the current WBA title is held by Dmitry Bivol.
🥊 Cruiserweight Division
Weight Limit: 91 kg / 200 lbs
In professional boxing, cruiserweight, often known as junior heavyweight, is a weight class that falls between the light heavyweight and heavyweight boxing weight classes. Light heavyweight and cruiserweight were occasionally used in the UK before to the creation of the modern cruiserweight division. The category was created to provide room for smaller heavyweight fighters who were unable to match the increasing stature of their opponents.
The cruiserweight division was originally recognised by the World Boxing Council, one of several governing bodies. Several fighters who had won world titles at cruiserweight have since advanced to the heavyweight category.
Currently, Chris Billam-Smith is holding the WBO title; the IBF championship is presently up for grabs. The WBA is owned by Arsen Goulamirian, while Noel Gevor holds the WBC title.
🥊 Heavyweight Division
Weight Limit: Unlimited
Three of the four main professional boxing organisations classify male fighters who weigh more than 200 pounds (91 kg; 14 stone 4 kg) as heavyweights: the World Boxing Organization, the World Boxing Association, and the International Boxing Federation. The IBF and the WBC, two of the four main boxing organisations, classify female fighters who weigh more than 175 pounds (79 kg; 12 stone 7 kg) as heavyweights. There is no world championship for female heavyweight boxers in the WBA or WBO.
Oleksandr Usyk holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles for this class, while the WBC heavyweight title is held by Tyson Fury.
Amateur Boxing Weight Classes
The following amateur weight classes are available for men in Olympic-style amateur boxing, as seen in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games:
- Flyweight Division – 51 kg / 112 lbs
- Featherweight Division – 57 kg / 126 lbs
- Lightweight Division – 61 kg / 135 lbs
- Welterweight Division – 67 kg / 147 lbs
- Middleweight Division – 72.5 kg / 160 lbs
- Light Heavyweight Division -79 kg / 175 lbs
- Heavyweight Division – 91 kg / 200 lbs
- Super Heavyweight Division – Any weight over 91 kg / 201 lbs
Overall, the purpose of boxing weight classes is to encourage spectator interest in the sport of boxing, as well as fairness, safety, and strategic planning between competitors. It is their responsibility to ensure that fighters of comparable size and weight compete against one another, which in turn makes the sport more competitive, safer, and enjoyable for all parties involved.