Boxing weight classes explained

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Danny Howard

July 22nd, 2021

New to boxing? Join us now as we break down the 17 distinct weight class that compose the sweet science.

Please note that the WBC debuted the Bridgerweight division in 2020, meant to range from 200 to 224 pounds. Due to the lack of unified recognition and a vacant title, the division is omitted from this list.

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Muhammad Ali talks to reporters as he prepares for his bout with Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Colorsport/Imago/Icon Sportswire)

Heavyweight (Unlimited)

Often considered the most important weight class in boxing, the heavyweight champion often carries the responsibility of carrying the sport as well. Notable champions include Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Mike Tyson, and Tyson Fury.

Cruiserweight (200 pounds)

The cruiserweight division fills the insurmountable size gap between light heavyweight and heavyweight, and has had its share of notable moments since its start in 1979. Notable champions include Evander Holyfield, David Haye, Carlos De Leon, and Oleksandr Usyk.

Light Heavyweight (175 pounds)

Often housing talents that could combine power, speed, skill and entertainment, the light heavyweight division consistently hosts the sport’s biggest stars. Notable champions include Bob Foster, Archie Moore, Michael Spinks, Roy Jones Jr., and Andre Ward.

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Saul "Canelo" Alvarez lands a jab on Austin Trout at the Alamodome. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)

Super Middleweight (168 pounds)

Once named the junior light heavyweight division, the super middleweight division came into its own in 1984 as more of a stopping point between middleweight and light heavyweight. Notable champions include James Toney, Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

Middleweight (160 pounds)

The roots of this weight class goes back 160 years and has been the stomping grounds of the all-time greats. Notable champions include Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins, and Gennady Golovkin.

Junior Middleweight (154 pounds)

No longer a transitional division for fading veterans or bloated welterweights, junior middleweight is now boxing’s most intriguing division. Notable champions include Terry Norris, Ronald "Winky" Wright, Fernando Vargas, Erislandy Lara, and Jermell Charlo.

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Manny Pacquiao (gray trunks) and Juan Marquez (black trunks) battled through six rounds of intense boxing before a decisive knock-out by Marquez ended the highly anticipated rematch. (Photo by Zumapress/Icon Sportswire)

Welterweight (147 pounds)

More all-time greats have cemented their legacies here, and the most lucrative fights in boxing history have happened at 147. Notable champions include Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao.

Junior Welterweight (140 pounds)

Though many of the great junior welterweights go on to pursue glory at welterweight, they often leave their best work at 140. Notable champions include Wilfred Benitez, Aaron Pryor, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Ricky Hatton, and Terence Crawford.

Lightweight (135 pounds)

The lightweight division crowned its first champion in 1886 and has remained a premier division ever since. The blistering combination of speed and power seen in elite lightweight clashes are usually a sight to behold. Notable champions include Benny Leonard, Roberto Duran, Pernell Whittaker, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Teofimo Lopez.

Junior Lightweight (130 pounds)

The junior lightweight division has been the launching point for some of the greatest battlers in boxing history. Notable champions include Flash Elorde, Hector Camacho, Genaro Hernandez, Jorge Linares, and Gervonta Davis.

Featherweight Weight Class (126 pounds)

Though records of featherweight fights exist as far back as the 1860s, the division wasn’t recognized until the 1890s. Notable champions include Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ramos, Alexis Arguello, Erik Morales, and Gary Russell Jr.

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Nonito Donaire connects with a left against Gillermo Rigondeaux. (Photo by Anthony J. Causi/Icon Sportswire)

Junior Featherweight (122 pounds)

One of boxing’s younger divisions, junior featherweight was established in 1976 and is a melting pot of champions from all over the world. Notable champions include Wilfredo Gomez, Jeff Fenech, Israel Vasquez, Nonito Donaire, and Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Bantamweight (118 pounds)

The first bantamweight title fight was contested in 1890 and now is a common stomping ground of today’s best pound for pound fighters. Notable champions include Eder Jofre, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Anselmo Moreno, and Naoya Inoue.

Junior Bantamweight (115 pounds)

Recent history has seen this weight class gain major mainstream exposure with an incredible series of fights from 2016-2021. Notable champions include Gerry Penalosa, Fernando Montiel, Vic Darchinyan, Omar Narvaez, and Juan Francisco Estrada.

Flyweight (112 pounds)

Flyweight was the last created of the original divisions, though not crowning a recognized champion until 1916 . Notable champions include Masahiko "Fighting" Harada, Yuri Arbachakov, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez.

Junior Flyweight (108 pounds)

Often invisible to the mainstream, this weight class and its competitors are known by boxing’s most knowledgeable fans and personalities. Notable champions include Michael Carbajal, Brian Viloria, Ivan Calderon, and Donnie Nietes.

Strawweight (105 pounds)

Boxing’s newest division is also its absolute smallest. Notable champions include Ricardo Lopez, Yutaka Niida, Wanheng Menayothin, and Knockout CP Freshmart.