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Boxing: Rules

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Boxing: Rules

This page is mainly concerned with the various weight divisions and their history.

Scottish nobleman who publicly endorsed the proposed rules of boxing, drafted in 1865 (by the Welsh sportsman John Graham Chambers) and published in 1867 – including the mandating of the use of gloves; the rules were subsequently named after him Click to show or hide the answer

The four ways in which a fight can be decided are:

Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer

US National Boxing Association (NBA) changed its name to World Boxing Association (WBA) Click to show or hide the answer
World Boxing Council (WBC) founded in Mexico City Click to show or hide the answer
International Boxing Federation (IBF) founded in USA Click to show or hide the answer
World Boxing Organisation (WBO) founded Click to show or hide the answer

Weight limits established 1910
Heavyweightover 175lb
Light–heavyweight175lb
Middleweight154lb
Welterweight142lb
Lightweight133lb
Featherweight122lb
Straw116lb
Flyweight112lb
Paperweight105lb

More than 100 years on, things are no longer so simple. In the modern game, the nearest thing to a definitive standard is the one used in the Olympics and the amateur game, while the four governing bodies of the professional game (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) each have their own definitions.

The following table gives the modern Olympic / Amateur divisions and their weight ranges. If you're ever asked about boxing weight divisions, I reckon these are the ones you're supposed to give.

Modern Olympic / Amateur divisions
Click to show or hide the answer Over 91 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 81-91 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 75-81 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 71-75 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 67-71 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 63.5-67 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 60-63.5 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 57-60 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 54-57 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 51-54 kg
Click to show or hide the answer 48-51 kg
Click to show or hide the answer Under 48 kg

I'd suggest that even having simplified things to this extent, a certain amount of common sense is still required. For example, I wouldn't expect to be asked which division comes between heavyweight and middleweight; and if asked what was between middleweight and lightweight, I'd say welterweight (ignoring light middleweight and light welterweight, not to mention super welterweight and junior middleweight which you can see in the table below).

For completeness, and to show how complicated it actually is, here's the full list:

Maximum weights WBC WBA IBF WBO Olympic/Amateur
lbs Kg Max Kg
  Super heavy
  Heavy 91 Heavy
200 90.72 Cruiser Junior Heavy  
175 79.4 Light Heavy 81 Light Heavy
168 76.2 Super Middle  
160 72.6 Middle 75 Middle
154 69.9 Super Welter Junior Middle 71 Light Middle
147 66.7 Welter 67 Welter
  63.5 Light Welter
140 63.5 Light 60 Light
130 59 Super Feather Junior Light  
126 57.2 Feather 57 Feather
122 55.3 Super Bantam Junior Feather  
118 53.5 Bantam 54 Bantam
115 52.2 Super Fly Junior Bantam  
112 50.8 Fly 51 Fly
108 49 Light Fly Junior Fly 48 Light Fly
105 47.6 Straw Mini-Fly  

© Haydn Thompson 2018