Picking up boxing could prove a smart decision if you’re looking for a sport that will boost your self-confidence, improve your strength, help you release tension, and also work on your patience skills. So, after finding the best boxing outfit and a comfortable pair of boxing shoes, you’re now ready to step into the ring and train with your instructor.
Learning the basics of boxing shouldn’t be hard, as you’ll have to worry about the point system in an official match later on. Beginner boxers should mainly focus on their posture and find a suitable fighting style that will best match their personality.
However, if you want to make a career out of boxing or perform in the ring, you’ll also need to focus on the weight category you are going to participate in. Keep in mind that these categories are made for your safety and you should only fight with opponents that have more-or-less the same height and weight as you, for a fair game.
If you’re not sure which weight category you fall into, here is some guidance in the field.
What is a weight class
According to the general guidelines of boxing, a weight class represents a measurement weight range for athletes. Usually, the upper limit of a weight class equals the lower limit of the immediate class after it. The top class has no weight limit and is usually referred to as the heavyweight class in professional boxing or the super heavyweight in amateur boxing.
Right from the beginning, you should know that weight classes slightly vary depending on the type of boxing you practice.
Weight classes in professional boxing are usually heavier by a couple of pounds than the ones you’ll find in amateur boxing. Olympic boxers have their own set of guidance rules, so it would be best to consult them before deciding to start training for the next Olympics.
In order to make the entire process less confusing, you should know that the weight of a professional boxer fluctuates. He usually weighs more between fights than right before the next match as he needs to train. Training consumes a lot of energy that needs to be supplemented by a hypercaloric diet, which is also one of the reasons why professional boxers put on several pounds in-between important fights.
If he/she wants to make it in time for the next bout, the boxer will often have to drop the extra pounds and make it into his weight category.
The weigh-in represents an important ritual before each battle and it is the perfect opportunity for both opponents to meet face to face and try to intimidate each other.
The entire process was turned into a show of its own, as most players engage in fierce conversations with their competitors for the sake of the show. If you want to have a clue about the importance of the weigh-in process, you should know that even heavyweight boxers go through it, even though there is no limit weight they can exceed.
This “ceremony” usually takes place the day before the actual fight, as boxers need to stand on the scales without gloves or shoes on. If the maximum weight is exceeded, the boxer usually has the possibility of stripping naked in an attempt to minimize the excess weight.
In professional bouts and title fights, boxers have a second chance to get rid of the extra pounds through intense exercises in a steam room or through dehydration. The process is more common than we would think, as the human weight fluctuates during the day by up to 3-4 pounds.
If the excess weight of a professional boxer is considered too big to be lost through exercising and steam room, the athlete will be considered unfit for the fight. Under these circumstances, the fight is usually canceled, postponed or can be turned into a catchweight.
A catchweight can be defined as a nonstandard weight limit. In other words, boxers from different weight categories can compete against each other, even in official championships, but cannot win an official belt. Thus, the two opponents may carry on with the fight but the victory won’t be taken into account in one’s portfolio unless both boxers meet the weight limits.
On the other hand, amateur boxers must meet the limit weight in the first attempt as they won’t receive a second chance to weigh themselves again. During official contests, amateur boxers go through one weigh-in at the beginning of the competition and another one before each individual match.
Another difference between professional boxing competitions and amateur ones is that, in the latter, if a boxer doesn’t match the maximum weight limit of his category, he is allowed to fight in another class as long as there is an opening spot in the competition.
A short history of the weight class
Although it’s hard to believe, weight classes weren’t always the norm. Boxing takes pride in a recorded history of over 3,500 years, and we can guarantee you there weren’t any weight classes in Ancient Rome or even in the Middle Ages.
In fact, the first weight limitations ever imposed were only considered in the 19th century, more specifically in 1823. In the “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue”, it was mentioned that the recommended weight for a “lightweight” boxer was approximately 168 pounds or the equivalent of 12 stone.
It goes without saying that not imposing weight limits made the fight more dangerous, especially for smaller boxers. It wasn’t until 1909 that strict guidelines were imposed that guaranteed players to fight only against opponents of similar heights and weights. The last regulations in the field were made public in 1920 and are still taken into account in modern times.
What are the boxing weight limits for each category?
Professional boxing counts for no less than 18 different weight categories for men, ranging from 102 pounds to 200+ pounds, whereas women categories are slightly different.
As we’ve previously mentioned, the heavyweight class doesn’t have a limit weight, meaning boxers of all weights and heights can compete, which can make fights a bit unequal. The next weight class is called cruiserweight, where the maximum weight shouldn’t exceed 200 pounds.
The weight limit on the light heavyweight category is 175 pounds, while in the following category, the super middleweight, it shouldn’t exceed 168 pounds. The middleweight category welcomes all boxers up to 160 pounds, and the super welterweight one fighters up to 154 pounds.
The following category is called welterweight and is made for boxers who don’t exceed 147 pounds. Moving next, we have the super lightweight category which welcomes all players up to 140 pounds, while the limit at the lightweight category is 135 pounds. The super featherweight category fighters shouldn’t weigh more than 130 pounds, so we’re looking at petite and thin boxers the most.
Boxers in the featherweight category weigh up to 126 pounds, while those from the following category, the super bantamweight, shouldn’t exceed 122 pounds.
There are also some categories designed for junior players where the maximum weight is between 102 and 115 pounds.