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For other uses, see Heavyweight (disambiguation).

Heavyweight is a weight class division in combat sports.


Boxers who weigh over 200 pounds (91kg) (14 st 5 lb/91 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 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[edit]

Because this division has 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[edit]

Current champions

Sanctioning Body Reign Began Champion Record Defenses
WBA (Super) July 2, 2011 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 63-3 (53 KO) 7
WBA July 6, 2014 Uzbekistan Ruslan Chagaev 33-2-1 (20 KO) 0
WBC January 17, 2015 United States Deontay Wilder 33-0 (32 KO) 0
IBF April 22, 2006 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 63-3 (53 KO) 17
WBO February 23, 2008 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 63-3 (53 KO) 13

Longest reigning heavyweight champions[edit]

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.

Name Title Reign Title Recognition Successful Defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days Universal 25
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 8 years, 11 months, 1 week and 4 days IBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring) 17
3. United States Larry Holmes 7 years, 3 months, 12 days WBC-to-IBF (+The Ring/Lineal) 20
4. United States Jack Dempsey 7 years, 2 months, 19 days Universal 5
5. United States John L. Sullivan 7 years, 0 months, 9 days Universal 5
6. United States Jack Johnson 6 years, 3 months, 10 days Universal 8
7. United States James J. Jeffries 5 years, 11 months, 4 days Universal 7
8. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 5 years, 2 months, 4 days WBC 9
9. United States Joe Frazier 4 years, 10 months, 18 days NYAC (+WBA, WBC) 9
10. United States James J. Corbett 4 years, 6 months, 10 days Universal 1
11. United States Jess Willard 4 years, 2 months, 29 days Universal 1
12. United Kingdom Lennox Lewis 4 years, 2 months, 15 days WBC (+IBF, WBA stripped, The Ring/Lineal) 9
13. United States Rocky Marciano 3 years, 11 months, 29 days Universal 6
14. United States Chris Byrd 3 years, 4 months, 8 days IBF 4
15. United States Muhammad Ali 3 years, 3 months, 16 days The Ring/Lineal, (+WBA, WBC stripped) 10
16. United States Mike Tyson 3 years, 2 months, 20 days WBC (+WBA, IBF, The Ring/Lineal) 9
17. United States George Foreman 3 years, 0 months, 17 days Lineal (+WBA, IBF stripped) 3
18. United States Evander Holyfield 3 years, 0 months, 4 days WBA (+IBF) 4
19. Canada Tommy Burns 2 years, 10 months, 3 days Universal 11
20. United States Michael Spinks 2 years, 9 months, 6 days The Ring/Lineal (+IBF stripped) 3

Unofficial Long Title reigns[edit]

The following title reigns are not recognized as official reigns due to: long periods of inactivity, legitimacy of title, false billing & promotion etc.

Name Title Reign Title Recognition Successful Defenses
Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 9 years, 4 months, 24 days Full WBC-to-WBC Emeritus-to-Full WBC (+The Ring rel) 11
United States Muhammad Ali 7 years, 0 months, 11 days The Ring/Lineal 11
Denmark Brian Nielsen 3 years, 7 months, 20 days IBO 5

Most wins in heavyweight title bouts[edit]

Name Title bout wins
1. United States Joe Louis 26
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 24
3. United States Muhammad Ali 22
4. United States Larry Holmes 21
5. United Kingdom Lennox Lewis 15
6. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 15
7. United States Mike Tyson 12
8. Canada Tommy Burns 11
9. United States Joe Frazier 10
10. United States Evander Holyfield 10

Most consecutive heavyweight title defenses[edit]

Name Title defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 25
2. United States Larry Holmes 20
3. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 17
4. Canada Tommy Burns 11
5. United States Muhammad Ali 10
6. United States Joe Frazier 9
7. United States Mike Tyson 9
8. United Kingdom Lennox Lewis 9
9. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 9
10. United States Jack Johnson 8
11. United States Ezzard Charles 8

Most wins in undisputed/universal heavyweight title bouts[edit]

Name undisputed/universal title bout wins
1. United States Joe Louis 26
2. United States Muhammad Ali 14
3. Canada Tommy Burns 11
4. United States James J. Jeffries 8
5. United States Floyd Patterson 8
6. United States Jack Johnson 7
7. United States Rocky Marciano 7
8. United States Mike Tyson 7
9. United States Jack Dempsey 6
10. United States Ezzard Charles 5
11. United States Joe Frazier 5
     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[edit]

Main article: Heavyweight (MMA)

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

Analogous uses[edit]

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 Championship Rules & Regulations. International Boxing Organization. Retrieved 2007-08-11. Heavyweight Over 200 lbs. 
  2. ^ "11. Weight Category". World Bpxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. Archived from the original 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 on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-08-11. Heavyweight Over 200lbs or 90.91 kg. 

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