Boxing is a sport where weight divisions represent weight limits for boxers competing in a bout. Fights are always scheduled for fighters competing in a specific weight class. Before the fight takes place, there is always a day for weigh-in to check if any fighter is not missing the specified weight class limit. There are a total of 17 divisions in boxing, which are measured in either pounds or kilograms. Let’s have a brief look at all these divisions.
The cruiserweight division was first established by the WBC in 1979. The fighters in this weight class have a weight limit of 190 pounds. The first ever cruiserweight world champion fight was between Marvin Camel and Mate Parlov on December 8, 1979, and ended in a draw. The rematch took place the following year, on March 31, where Camel emerged as the winner and became the first ever cruiserweight champion. In 2003, it was sanctioned that the new limit for this division be 200 pounds.
Light Heavyweight Division
This division was officially established in 1909. The weight limit in the light-heavyweight division is 175 pounds. The inaugural light heavyweight championship bout was held between Jack Root and Kid McCoy, where Root emerged victorious, becoming the first light heavyweight world champion. German-Polish boxer Dariusz Michalczewski holds the record for the longest title reign with 23 title defenses. Some of the notable light heavyweight champions throughout history are Bernard Hopkins, Georges Carpentier, Tommy Loughran, Michael Spinks, Bob Foster and more.
The Heavyweight division is the first glamor division that was created in 1738 by Jack Broughton with boxers weighing 160+ pounds. Since there is no weight limit, fighters can theoretically weigh as much as they want and fight at heavier weights. The weight at which a fighter is considered a heavyweight has been modified a few times over the years, namely 175+ pounds in 1920, 190+ by the WBC in 1979, and eventually 200+ pounds.
The inaugural Heavyweight championship bout took place on September 7, 1892, between John L. Sullivan and Jim Corbett. John emerged victorious in the match, becoming the first-ever world heavyweight champion. Some of the notable heavyweight champions throughout history are Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraizer, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, John L. Sullivan, Evander Holyfield and more. Joe Louis held the longest title reign with 25 title defenses.
The Middleweight division originated in the 1840s. The first ever bout for the Middleweight division was held between Tom Chandler and Dooney Harris in 1867, where Chandler emerged as the winner. The first ever middleweight fight with gloves is believed to have taken place between George Fulljames and Jack Dempsey. In that sense, Dempsey can be considered the inaugural world middleweight champion.
The record for the longest little reign is held by American boxer Bernard Hopkins, who has defended the title 20 times. Some of the notable middleweight champions throughout history are: Freddy Steele, Jack Dempsey, Marvin Hagler, James Toney, Jake LaMotta and Bernard Hopkins.
Super Middleweight Division
The Super middleweight division is contested between the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, in which boxers can weigh between 160 and 168 pounds. The title originated from Junior Light Heavyweight Champion. On April 3, 1967, Don Fullmer challenged John Hopkins for the vacant Junior Light Heavyweight championship, and became the inaugural champion of the world with a TKO victory. After that, the Super Middleweight Championship was reestablished a few more times.
The British and German boxers Joe Calzaghe and Sven Ottke jointly hold the record for the longest title reigns, having defended this title 21 times. Some of the notable champions throughout history are Nigel Benn, James Toney, Mikkel Kessier, Joe Calzaghe and more.
Super Welterweight Division
The division is believed to have first emerged in 1920 by the New York Walker Law. Subsequently, it was recognized by the Austrian Boxing Board of Control along with the European Boxing Union in 1962. The first ever sanctioned bout for this division took place on October 17, 1962, between Emile Griffith and Ted Wright, where Griffith emerged victorious by unanimous decision, becoming the first ever Super Welterweight champion.
The WBA was the first to sanction the super welterweight championship fight, three days after the fight in Vienna. Later on, the title was recognized by the WBC and won by Denny Moyer after his victory over Joey Giambra. The IBF got its first super welterweight champion in the form of Mark Meddle, who defeated Earl Hargrove in 1984. The WBO got John David Jackson as their inaugural champion, who defeated Lupe Aquino in 1988. Italian boxer Gianfranco Rosi held the title for the longest, with 11 title defenses. Some of the notable super welterweight champions throughout history are Emilie Griffith, Julian Jackson, Roberto Duran, Winky Wright, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Joya and more.
The division first originated in England in 1889, when the weight limit was set at 145 pounds. It was officially established by the NSC in 1909 at 147 pounds and consequently accepted by the New York State Athletic Commission and the National Boxing Association in 1920. American Paddy Duffy became the first World Welterweight Champion after defeating Tom Meadows on March 29, 1889. Both the WBA and WBC recognized only one welterweight champion for some years. American Boxer Henry Armstrong held the longest title reign with 19 title defenses. Some notable welterweight champions throughout history are Ted Lewis, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Robinson, Emile Griffith, Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Joya and more.
The lightweight division originated in 1738, when it was introduced by Jack Broughton. Any fighter weighing less than 160 pounds was considered lightweight. After that, it was revised to ten stone by the ABA in 1889. This was eventually established by the NSC in 1909 at the current weight limit of 135 pounds.
The first ever world lightweight champion was John Monaghan in 1850. The WBA was the first to award the title to Carlos Ortiz, who defeated Joe Brown in 1962. The WBC sanctioned their contest against Doug Vaillant one year after their inaugural world lightweight championship bout. The IBF followed with its own champions in 1984 and the WBO in 1989. The fighter who held the longest reign for this title was Roberto Duran, with 12 title defenses. Notable lightweight champions throughout history: Jack McAuliffe, Benny Leonard, Joe Gaines, Carlos Ortiz, Hector Camacho, Julio Cesar, Pernell Whitaker, Shane Mosely, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Super Lightweight Division
This division was created by the New York Walker Law in 1920, and the WBA officially recognized it in 1922. The same year, there was a contest held by the boxing magazine “Boxing Blade” for the best fighter in this division. The reader chose Pinky Mitchell and then he was crowned the champion of this division. The first fight sanctioned was between Carlos Ortiz and Kenny Lane for the vacant super lightweight title. The IBF’s first ever champion in this division was Aaron Pryor in 1984. The boxer who held the longest reign for this title is Julio Cesar, with 12 title defenses. Some notable super lightweight champions throughout history are Barney Ross, Tony Canzoneri, Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker and Kosta Tszyu.
The featherweight division was established in 1860 with a weight limit set to 118 pounds. Later the English ABA set it at 126 pounds followed by a few more changes until the NSC officially revised it to 136 pounds in the US. The first ever featherweight championship bout took place on January 13th, 1890 between Ike Weir and Davey Moore, where the Irishman Weir emerged winner becoming the first ever world featherweight champion. The inaugural champion of the modern WBA and WBC was Sugar Ramos. The boxer who held the longest title reign in this division was Eusebio Pedroza with 19 title defenses. Some of the notable featherweight champions throughout history are Jorge Paez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao.
Super Featherweight Division
This division was created by the New York Walker Law in 1920. The first ever fight for the super featherweight championship was sanctioned on November 11, 1921, between Johnny Dundee and George Chaney, where Johnny emerged the winner. The modern version of the title was officially introduced by the National Boxing Association on July 20, 1959. Harold Gomes defeated Paul Jorgensen for the vacant title. The WBC introduced their own version of the belt in 1968, IBF did the same in 1984 and the WBO in 1989. Brian Mitchell held the longest title reign with 12 title defenses. Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Alexis Arguello, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao are some of the notable fighters in the division’s history.
The division was established by the ABA in the 1890s. The weight limit was set between 105 pounds and 115 pounds. It was officially approved by the NSC in 1909 and currently its weight limit is 118 pounds. The first ever title fight for the bantamweight title was held in 1988 between Tommy Kelly and Chappie Moran, when Kelly emerged victorious. However, Brazilian boxer Eder Jofre is considered the inaugural modern bantamweight champion, as he won the WBA and WBC versions of the belt against Katsutoshi in 1963. American boxer Orlando Canizales held the record for longest title reign with 16 defenses. Tommy Kelly, George Dixon, Ruben Olivares and Hozumi Hasegawa are some of the notable fighters in the history of this division.
Super Bantamweight Division
This division was also created by the New York Walker Law in 1920 at a weight limit of 122 pounds. Jack Wolfe defeated Joe Lynch in 1922 for the super bantamweight championship. However, the NYSAC did not recognize this fight. The division was not fully established until 1976. When Rigoberto Riasco defeated Waruinge Nakayama on April 3, 1976, the WBC recognized him as the world Super Bantamweight champion. The WBA recognized this division in 1977, the IBF in 1983, and the WBO in 1989. Wilfredo Gomez held the longest title reign with 18 defenses. Jeff Fenench, Erik Morales, Daniel Zaragoza, Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez are some of the notable fighters in the history of this division.
Super Flyweight Division
Like many other divisions, the Super Flyweight is also believed to have been created by the New York Walker Law in 1920. It was previously designated as junior bantamweight and the weight limit was set to 115 pounds. However, there was no title fights held in this division until 1980. The WBC re-introduced the division calling it super flyweight in 1980. Rafael Orono became the inaugural champion of the modern version of the title, after defeating Seung-Hoon Lee. The WBA introduced its own version in 1981, the IBF did it two years later and the WBO in 1989. Thai Boxer Khaosai Galaxy held the longest title reigns with 19 title defenses. Johnny Tapua, Jiro Watanabe, Khaosai Galaxy, Roman Gonzalez and Jiro Watanabe are some of the notable fighters in the division’s history.
The Flyweight division was established by the NSC in 1909 and the weight limit was set at 112 pounds. This was also officially part of the New York Walker Law in 1920. Subsequently, it was also recognized by the National Boxing Association and the NYSAC in 1927. Sid Smith became the first champion in this division in 1911. Jimmy Wilde, who won it in 1914, was recognized in the United States.
The first ever Flyweight champion in modern times is Masahiko Harada, who defeated Pone Kingpetch in 1962 for the WBA’s Flyweight belt. A year later, the WBC introduced its version of flyweight titles, the IBF followed in 1983 and the WBO followed in 1989. Thai boxer Pongsaklek Wongjongkam holds the record for the longest title reign with 17 title defenses. Pancho Villa, Charlie Magri, Hilaria Zapata and Mark Johnson are some of the notable flyweight champions in the history of the division.
Junior Flyweight Division
Just like some other divisions on this list, the Junior Flyweight Division was also established by New York Law and the weight limit was set at 108 pounds. This division would soon be disbanded, with no champion awarded the title during that time. In the modern era, it was reintroduced by the WBC as a light flyweight in 1975.
The inaugural champion for this division was Francisco Udella, after a disqualification victory against Valentin Martinez. Just a few months after this match, the WBA got their first light flyweight world champion in the form of Jaime Rios, who defeated Rigoberto Marcano to win the belt. The IBF followed in 1983 and the WBO in 1989. South Korean Boxer Myung Woo Yuh holds the record for the longest reign with 17 title defenses. Jung-Koo Chang, Humberto Gonzalez and Myung Woo Yuh are some of the notable champions of this division throughout history.
This division was introduced at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico as a light heavyweight with a weight limit of 105 pounds. However, in professional boxing, the division is relatively young. The first ever Minimumweight was sanctioned by the IBF in June 1987 between Kyung-Yun Lee and Masaharu Kawakami. Kyung-Yun became the first world Minimumweight Champion. Mexican boxer Ricardo Lopez holds the record for the longest title reign with 21 title defenses. Some of the notable minimumweight champions throughout history are Ivan Calderon, Chana Porpaoin and Ricardo Lopez.