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Updated: 2017-07-28T17:57Z

Heavyweight is a weight class in boxing and other combat sports.


Boxers who weigh 200 pounds and over (14 st 3 lb, 90 kg) are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations: the International Boxing Federation,[1] the World Boxing Association,[2] the World Boxing Council,[3] and the World Boxing Organization.[4]

For most boxing organizations, the maximum weight for a cruiserweight is 200 pounds. Thus, a fighter whose weight is over 200 lb (14 st 3 lb, 90 kg) may not fight as anything but a heavyweight.

Joe Louis holds the record for most consecutive title defenses at this division, with 25 defenses of the Universal title. This is also the record for most consecutive title defenses in boxing history.

Historical development

Because this division had no weight limit, it has been historically vaguely defined. In the 19th century, for example, many heavyweight champions weighed 170 pounds (12 st 2 lb, 77 kg) or less (although others weighed 200 pounds).

The first heavyweight champion under the Marquess of Queensberry rules was John L. Sullivan, known as "The Boston Strong Boy". He weighed around 200 pounds when in shape and was a bare-knuckle champion. He was defeated by Jim Corbett on September 7, 1892, in 21 rounds.

In 1920, the minimum weight for a heavyweight was set at 175 pounds (12 st 7 lb, 79 kg), which today is the light heavyweight division maximum. Since 1980, for most boxing organizations, the maximum weight for a cruiserweight has been 200 pounds.

Since the 1960s, the heavyweight title has become fractured amongst various sanctioning organizations, and so what was once known as the single "Heavyweight Champion", is now referred to as the "Undisputed Champion" as the one fighter that has defeated all the other titlists.

Professional champions

Current champions

Sanctioning BodyReign BeganChampionRecordDefenses
WBAApril 29, 2017United Kingdom Anthony Joshua19–0 (19 KO)0
WBCJanuary 17, 2015United States Deontay Wilder38–0 (37 KO)5
IBFApril 9, 2016United Kingdom Anthony Joshua19–0 (19 KO)3
WBODecember 10, 2016New Zealand Joseph Parker23–0 (18 KO)1

Interim Champions

Longest reigning heavyweight champions

Below is a list of longest reigning heavyweight champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply.

NameTitle ReignTitle RecognitionSuccessful Defenses
1.United States Joe Louis11 years, 8 months, 8 daysUniversal25
2.Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko9 years, 7 months and 6 daysIBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring)18
3.United States Larry Holmes7 years, 3 months, 12 daysWBC-to-IBF (+The Ring/Lineal)20
4.United States Jack Dempsey7 years, 2 months, 19 daysUniversal5
5.United States John L. Sullivan7 years, 0 months, 9 daysUniversal5
6.United States Jack Johnson6 years, 3 months, 10 daysUniversal8
7.United States James J. Jeffries5 years, 11 months, 4 daysUniversal7
8.Ukraine Vitali Klitschko5 years, 2 months, 4 daysWBC9
9.United States Joe Frazier4 years, 10 months, 18 daysNYAC (+WBA, WBC)9
10.United States James J. Corbett4 years, 6 months, 10 daysUniversal1
11.United States Jess Willard4 years, 2 months, 29 daysUniversal1
12.United Kingdom Lennox Lewis4 years, 2 months, 15 daysWBC (+IBF, WBA stripped, The Ring/Lineal)9
13.United States Rocky Marciano3 years, 11 months, 29 daysUniversal6
14.United States Chris Byrd3 years, 4 months, 8 daysIBF4
15.United States Muhammad Ali3 years, 3 months, 16 daysThe Ring/Lineal, (+WBA, WBC stripped)10
16.United States Mike Tyson3 years, 2 months, 20 daysWBC (+WBA, IBF, The Ring/Lineal)9
17.United States George Foreman3 years, 0 months, 17 daysLineal (+WBA, IBF stripped)3
18.United States Evander Holyfield3 years, 0 months, 4 daysWBA (+IBF)4
19.Canada Tommy Burns2 years, 10 months, 3 daysUniversal11
20.United States Michael Spinks2 years, 9 months, 6 daysThe Ring/Lineal (+IBF stripped)3

Most wins in heavyweight title bouts

NameTitle bout wins
1.United States Joe Louis26
2.Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko25
3.United States Muhammad Ali22
4.United States Larry Holmes21
5.United Kingdom Lennox Lewis15
6.Ukraine Vitali Klitschko15
7.United States Mike Tyson12
8.Canada Tommy Burns11
9.United States Joe Frazier10
10.United States Evander Holyfield10

Most consecutive heavyweight title defenses

NameTitle defenses
1.United States Joe Louis25
2.United States Larry Holmes20
3.Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko18
4.Canada Tommy Burns11
5.United States Muhammad Ali10
6.United States Joe Frazier9
7.United States Mike Tyson9
8.United Kingdom Lennox Lewis9
9.Ukraine Vitali Klitschko9
10.United States Jack Johnson8
11.United States Ezzard Charles8

     Active Title Reign
     Reign has ended


  • In kickboxing, a heavyweight fighter generally weighs between 88 kg (196 lb) and 100 kg (220 lb). The Fighters over 100 kg (220 lb) are considered super heavyweights.
  • International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) Heavyweight (Pro & Amateur) 215.1 – 235 lb. or 97.8 – 106.8 kg.
  • In Glory promotion, a heavyweight division is over 95 kg (209 lb) and no upper weight limit.

Mixed martial arts

The heavyweight division in MMA generally groups fighters between 205 and 265 lb (93 and 120 kg).

Analogous uses

The word "heavyweight" is sometimes used in other fields (e.g. politics) to denote a person who is especially powerful or influential. In this context, "big beast" has a similar meaning. Other boxing analogies include "punching above his [their] weight" to denote a person or entity (e.g. a country) whose influence is arguably greater than his/its basic attributes would suggest.


  1. ^ "4. Weight Classes". IBO and also the sumo board of control. But Championship Rules & Regulations. International Boxing Organization. Retrieved 2007-08-11. Heavyweight Over 200 lbs. 
  2. ^ "11. Weight Category" (PDF). World Bpxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-11. Heavy More than 200 Lbs. 
  3. ^ "Ratings Heavyweight (over 200-90.719)". World Boxing Council. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  4. ^ "3. Weight Classes" (PDF). Regulations of World Championship Contests. World Boxing Organization. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-08-11. Heavyweight Over 200lbs or 90.91 kg. 

External links

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