A boxing weight class is a division in which boxers must compete within a certain weight range. Each weight class has its own name, ranging from the lightest to the heaviest boxers.
Boxers cannot exceed the weight limit of their weight division. Boxer’s weigh-in before every fight to make sure they’re in the correct range for their weight class.
Boxing weight classes ensure fair competition by preventing significantly larger boxers from fighting smaller ones. Boxing weight divisions are determined solely upon weight, not factoring in height or reach. In professional boxing, each weight division has its own champion.
Professional Boxing Weight Divisions
There are currently seventeen weight divisions in professional boxing. Originally, only eight weight classes were recognized in professional boxing, referred to as the “Glamour Divisions.” Here is a list of boxing weight classes in order, from lightest to heaviest.
Minimumweight (105 pounds/48 kg)
The smallest boxing weight class is minimumweight, which has a weight limit of 105 pounds. It was first recognized by the International Boxing Federation in 1987, when Kyung-Yun Lee became the inaugural champion by knocking out Masaharu Kawakami. The World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, and World Boxing Organization all recognized minimum weight after that.
Notable minimumweight champions include Ricardo Lopez, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, Jose Antonio Aguirre, Ivan Calderon, and Thammanoon Niyomtrong (also known as Knockout CP Freshmart, who has been the WBA champion since 2016).
Light Flyweight (108 pounds/49 kg)
Light flyweight has a weight limit of 108 pounds. It was first recognized by the National Boxing Association in 1921, but the boxing weight division was disbanded in 1929. The WBC decided to bring the weight class back in the 1970s and it is now recognized by the WBA, IBF, and WBO.
Notable light flyweight champions include Jung-Koo Chang, Yoko Gushiken, Roman Gonzalez, and Kenshiro Teraji, who is the current WBA and WBC light flyweight champion.
Flyweight (112 pounds/51 kg)
The original smallest boxing weight class is flyweight, which has a limit of 112 pounds. It is the youngest of the “Glamour Divisions,” first being recognized by the British Boxing Board of Control in 1911. The first flyweight champion was Jimmy Wilde, whose reign lasted from 1916 until 1923.
Other notable flyweight boxing champions include Omar Andres Narvaez, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Pascual Perez, Yuri Arbachakov, Miguel Canto, and Artem Dalakian, who is the current WBA flyweight champion.
Super Flyweight (115 pounds/52 kg)
The super flyweight boxing weight class has a limit of 115 pounds. Many boxers felt that the weight difference between flyweight and bantamweight was too large, leading the WBC to first create the super flyweight division in 1980.
Rafael Orono was the inaugural super flyweight champion when he bested Seung-Hoon Lee. The WBA, IBF, and WBO all went on to add the weight class.
Notable super flyweight boxers include Khaosai Galaxy, Danny Romero, Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, and Fernando Martinez, who currently holds the IBF title.
Bantamweight (118 pounds/53.5 kg)
The bantamweight boxing weight class has a limit of 118 pounds. One of the “Glamour Division” weight classes, bantamweight is one of the original eight weight divisions in boxing.
The 118 pounds limit was solidified in 1920 by the New York state “Walker Law,” a bill passed to regulate boxing rules. The first official bantamweight title fight happened between Chappie Moran and Ray Lewis in 1889.
Notable bantamweight boxers include Anselmo Moreno, Shinsuke Yamanaka, Tim Austin, Orlando Canizales, and Naoya Inoue. Inoue is undefeated (24-0, 21 KO) and is the undisputed bantamweight champion, holding the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO belts.
Super Bantamweight (122 pounds/55 kg)
The super bantamweight division has a weight limit of 122 pounds. Also known as the junior featherweight division, super bantamweight wasn’t adopted by the main boxing sanctioning bodies until the 1970s.
The WBC revived the defunct division when it held a championship title fight between Rigoberto Riasco and Waruinge Nakayama in 1976. By 1983, the WBA, IBF, and WBO all had super bantamweight champions.
Notable super bantamweight boxers include Jeff Fenech, Rafael Marquez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Carl Frampton, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who currently holds the WBA and IBF titles.
Featherweight (126 pounds/57 kg)
The next “Glamour Division” boxing weight class is featherweight, which has a limit of 126 pounds. The division’s inaugural championship bout happened back in 1889, when Ike Weir bested Frank Murphy in one of boxing’s most famous fights. Nowadays, featherweight is one of boxing’s most active weight divisions.
Notable featherweight boxers include Elio Rojas, Cristobal Cruz, Naseem Hamed, Marco Antonio Barrerra, and Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Super Featherweight (130 pounds/ 59 kg)
The super featherweight boxing weight class has a limit of 130 pounds. Although it was established in 1920, its popularity and recognition wasn’t widely accepted until after 1960.
Although the WBA had an inaugural super featherweight champion in Johnny Dundee in 1922, the WBC, IBF, and WBO didn’t have champions until much later.
The super featherweight weight division has seen some of the greatest boxers of all time, including Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Lightweight (135 pounds/ 61 kg)
Another member of the “Glamour Divisions,” the lightweight boxing weight class has a limit of 135 pounds. Like other boxing weight divisions on this list, the limit changed a few times before being finalized by the Walker Law in 1920. The first recorded lightweight boxing champion was Jack McAuliffe, who won his title in June 1893.
The lightweight division has been home to many boxing legends, including Roberto Duran, Sugar Shane Mosley, Katie Taylor, Ike Williams, and Devin Haney, who is the current undisputed lightweight champion. Undefeated at 29-0, Haney holds the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO lightweight titles.
Super Lightweight (140 pounds/63.5 kg)
The super lightweight weight division, also known as light welterweight and junior welterweight, has a limit of 140 pounds.
Although this boxing weight class was technically created in 1920, it didn’t receive widespread acceptance until 1959, when Carlos Ortiz became super lightweight champion over Kenny Lane. Today, all 4 major sanctioning bodies of boxing recognize super lightweight champions.
Notable super lightweight boxers include Terence Crawford, Paul Malignaggi, Hector Camacho, and Josh Taylor, who currently holds the WBO championship title.
Welterweight (147 pounds/67 kg)
Another member of the “Glamour Divisions,” the welterweight weight class has a limit of 147 pounds. One of boxing’s most storied weight classes, welterweight’s first champion dates all the way back to 1894, when ‘Mysterious’ Billy Smith knocked out Billy Maber.
Welterweight has seen some of boxing’s greatest athletes, including Floyd Mayweather Jr, Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, Felix Trinidad, and Sugar Ray Robinson, the man many consider to be the greatest boxer of all time.
Super Welterweight (154 pounds/70kg)
Also known as junior middleweight or light middleweight, the super welterweight boxing division has a limit of 154 pounds. The division first came into existence in 1962, when Emile Griffith became the inaugural champion by beating Teddy Wright.
Super Welterweight has seen a number of excellent boxers, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Miguel Cotto, Thomas Hearns, Zab Judah, and Jermell Charlo, who is currently the undisputed super welterweight champion of the world. He holds the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles.
Middleweight (160 pounds/72.5 kg)
A member of the original eight “Glamour Divisions,” the middleweight boxing division has a limit of 160 pounds. This boxing weight class has a deeper history compared to most of the others on this list, with the division having championship bouts that date all the way back to the bare-knuckle era of the 1840s.
The exact date of the first middleweight champion is unknown, but some boxing historians believe that it was between George Fulljames and Jack Dempsey, though not the famous heavyweight Jack Dempsey of the 1920s.
Middleweight is another storied boxing weight division, with notable champions like Gennady Golovkin, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Ryan, and Bernard Hopkins, who many consider being one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Super Middleweight (168 pounds/76 kg)
The super middleweight weight class has a limit of 168 pounds and is sometimes referred to as light cruiserweight. The boxing weight division first appeared in 1967 to accommodate boxers who were too big for middleweight but too small for light heavyweight. The first recorded super middleweight champion was Don Fullmer by knocking out Joe Hopkins.
However, the major boxing-sanctioning bodies didn’t crown their own super middleweight champions until the 1980s. Murray Sutherland became the first IBF super middleweight champion in 1984, with the WBA and WBC crowning their champions later in the decade.
Super middleweight has seen its fair share of incredible boxers, including Sugar Ray Leonard, James Roney, Roy Jones Jr., Andre Ward, and Canelo Alvarez. Canelo Alvarez is one of, if not the, most famous boxers in the world today, currently being the undisputed super middleweight champion. He holds the IBF, WBC, WBO, and WBA titles.
Light Heavyweight (175 pounds/79 kg)
Sometimes called the junior cruiserweight or light cruiserweight division, light heavyweight has a limit of 175 pounds. One of the original eight “Glamour Divisions,” light heavyweight traces its inception all the way back to the early 1900s.
In fact, the very first light heavyweight champion was crowned in 1903, when Jack Root defeated Kid McCoy.
Light heavyweight is a go-to boxing weight class for boxers who are too small to compete at heavyweight. There have been many light heavyweights who attempted to become heavyweight champions, but few succeeded. Michael Spinks was the first to be both the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion.
Light heavyweight has seen a number of amazing boxers, including Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, Bob Foster, Ann Wolfe, Roy Jones Jr., and Artur Beterbiev, who currently holds the WBC, IBF, and WBO titles. Beterbiev has a perfect 19-0 record with an astonishing 19 KOs.
Cruiserweight (200 pounds/91 kg)
Cruiserweight is one of the newer boxing weight classes, with a limit of 200 pounds. Also known as the junior heavyweight division, it was first created in 1979 by the WBC, with Marvin Camel becoming the inaugural champion in 1980.
The division was originally created because heavyweight boxers were increasing in size over time; heavyweight boxers of the 1950s typically weighed around 190 pounds, but by the 1970s they were averaging 210.
Many cruiserweights have dominated the weight class to move up to heavyweight. Evander Holyfield was the first to do it, being the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 1988. The only other undisputed cruiserweight boxing champion was O’Neil Bell.
Other notable cruiserweight boxers include Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Virgil Hill, James Toney, Tony Bellew, and Oleksandr Usyk – who now competes at heavyweight and bested Anthony Joshua twice.
Heavyweight (No limit)
The most popular and mythical of the boxing weight classes by far, heavyweight is the only weight division without a limit. The last member of the “Glamour Divisions,” any boxer over 200 pounds is considered a heavyweight. The limit has shifted over time as boxers have increased in size; originally, heavyweight was for boxers over 175 pounds.
When the cruiserweight division was created in 1979, heavyweight officially became the division for the biggest boxers. Heavyweight is home to some of the most famous boxers of all time, including Joe Louis, who holds the record for most heavyweight title fights with 27.
The heavyweight weight class is home to some of the most famous boxers of all time, including Lennox Lewis, Tyson Fury, Wladimir Klitschko, George Foreman, Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, Deontay Wilder, and of course, Muhammad Ali. Ali is the man many consider to be the greatest boxer who ever lived.
Amateur Boxing Weight Divisions
Amateur boxing has a different set of weight divisions for both men and women. Unlike professional boxing, amateur boxing weight divisions specify a minimum weight rather than only a weight limit. Here is a list:
Men’s Amateur Boxing Weight Divisions
- Atomweight (101.4 pounds/46kg)
- Minimumweight (101.4-105.8 pounds/46-48 kg)
- Flyweight (112 pounds/51kg)
- Bantamweight (119 pounds/54 kg)
- Featherweight (125.7 pounds/57 kg)
- Lightweight (132.2 pounds/60 kg)
- Light welterweight (140 pounds/63.5 kg)
- Welterweight (147.7 pounds/67 kg)
- Light middleweight (156.5 pounds/71 kg)
- Middleweight (165.3 pounds/75 kg)
- Light heavyweight (176.4 pounds/80 kg)
- Cruiserweight (189.6 pounds/86 kg)
- Heavyweight (205 pounds/93 kg)
- Super heavyweight (unlimited)
Women’s Amateur Boxing Weight Divisions
- Minimumweight (99.2-105.8 pounds/45-48 kg)
- Light flyweight (110.2 pounds/50 kg)
- Flyweight (114.6 pounds/52 kg)
- Bantamweight (119 pounds/54 kg)
- Featherweight (125.7 pounds/57 kg)
- Lightweight (132.2 pounds/60 kg)
- Light welterweight (138.9 pounds/63 kg)
- Welterweight (145.5 pounds/66 kg)
- Light Middleweight (154.3 pounds/70 kg)
- Middleweight (165.3 pounds/75 kg)
- Light Heavyweight (178.6 pounds/81 kg)
- Heavyweight (unlimited)
Men’s Olympic Boxing Weight Divisions
- Light Flyweight (108 pounds/49 kg)
- Flyweight (115 pounds/52 kg)
- Bantamweight (123 pounds/56 kg)
- Lightweight (132 pounds/60 kg)
- Light Welterweight (141 pounds/64 kg)
- Welterweight (152 pounds/69 kg)
- Middleweight (165 pounds/75 kg)
- Light Heavyweight (178 pounds/81 kg)
- Heavyweight (201 pounds/91 kg)
- Super Heavyweight (above 201 pounds-unlimited)
Women’s Olympic Boxing Weight Divisions
- Flyweight (106-112 pounds/48-51 kg)
- Lightweight (123-132 pounds/56-60 kg)
- Middleweight (152-165 pounds/69-75 kg)
FAQs About Boxing Weight Classes
How do boxers make weight for their weight classes?
Most boxers (and other combat sports athletes) dehydrate their bodies before weigh-ins in order to make weight. Although controversial, it is a widely accepted aspect of boxing. Boxers will dehydrate themselves in the week leading up to weigh-ins by slowly decreasing their water intake.
By severely limiting the amount of fluids going into their bodies, boxers can manipulate their weight even further by exercising and “sweating it out” in the sauna. This is why boxers use sauna suits – by sweating more, they are losing more body weight. Once they make weight, they rehydrate after weighing in. For many fighters, this gives them a size advantage.
However, cutting water weight is not enough on its own. In the fight camp leading up to their bout, boxers follow strict diets that usually restrict carbohydrates. The closer they are to fight weight, the less they will have to dehydrate themselves when it’s time to cut weight.
Despite being widely accepted, cutting weight can be dangerous for boxers. Dehydrating yourself too much can cause damage to vital organs, as well as make you more susceptible to being knocked out in a fight. For this reason, many boxing contracts include rehydration clauses.
What are Rehydration Clauses in Boxing?
A rehydration clause is an agreement between boxers before the bout that sets a limit on how much weight they can regain after weigh-in day. In many boxing contracts, fighters agree to not cut more than 10% of their overall body weight. This ensures that boxers aren’t cutting a huge amount of weight to gain a large size advantage.
Rehydration clauses are also ways for boxing promoters to guarantee that boxers aren’t putting their health at risk when cutting weight. Many state athletic commissions have guidelines on rehydration that boxing promoters must follow.
What is catchweight?
Catchweight is a term used to describe boxing bouts that do not have an agreed upon weight class. This usually means the boxers will not weigh-in at one of the traditional weight class weights.
Catchweight bouts can happen for a number of reasons. Many times, one boxer does not make weight for the originally agreed upon limit. Rather than scrapping the fight altogether, their opponent can choose to continue the fight at catchweight.
Another common occurrence is when boxers need late replacements for their bouts. The replacements usually don’t have enough time to make weight, thus the fight happens at catchweight.
Can Boxers Fight in Different Weight Classes?
Yes, boxers can fight in different weight classes. As long as a boxer can make weight, he can compete in that weight division. Many great boxers have competed across a number of weight classes.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Evander Holyfield, Oscar de la Hoya, Henry Armstrong, Roberto Duran, and Ray Robinson are just a handful of the boxing greats who have competed across multiple weight classes.
How Do Boxers Choose a Weight Class?
Boxers choose their weight class depending on a number of factors. Their frame is the biggest factor, as they have to be able to fit within the weight range of whatever weight divisions they want to compete in.
Another is their ability to perform at that weight class after cutting weight. Lastly, other factors like height and reach can play a factor in choosing the right weight class for a boxer.
For example, a shorter boxer may be able to make weight at bantamweight by cutting a large percentage of their water weight. But if it adversely affects their performance, they’d be better off at a higher weight class like super bantamweight or featherweight.
Luckily, with so many weight classes in boxing nowadays, boxers have a lot of options. They can experiment with different weight classes to see how they perform.
A notable recent example of a boxer experimenting across weight classes is Canelo Alvarez, who fought most of his career at welterweight but is now competing at super middleweight and light heavyweight.