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Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua, the current Heavyweight champion.

Heavyweight is a division, or weight class, in boxing. Fighters who weigh over 200 pounds (14 st 4 lb/90.7 kg) are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations: the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Council, and the World Boxing Organization.

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.

Historical developmentEdit

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 championsEdit

Current championsEdit

Sanctioning Body Reign Began Champion Record Defenses
WBA Super July 2, 2011 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 59-3 (51 KO) 3
WBA Regular August 27, 2011 Russia Alexander Povetkin 25-0 (17 KO) 3
WBC October 11, 2008 Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 45-2 (41 KO) 9
IBF April 22, 2006 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 59-3 (51 KO) 13
WBO February 23, 2008 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 59-3 (51 KO) 9

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.

NameTitle ReignTitle RecognitionSuccessful Defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days Universal 25
2. United States Larry Holmes 7 years, 3 months, 12 days WBC-to-IBF (+The Ring/Lineal) 20
3. United States Jack Dempsey 7 years, 2 months, 19 days Universal5
4. United States John L. Sullivan 7 years, 0 months, 9 days Universal5
5. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 14 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 1 day IBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring)13
6. United States Jack Johnson 6 years, 3 months, 10 days Universal8
7. United States James J. Jeffries 5 years, 11 months, 4 days Universal7
8. United States Joe Frazier 4 years, 10 months, 18 days NYAC (+WBA, WBC)9
9. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 11 years, 9 months, 3 weeks and 5 days WBC9
10. United States James J. Corbett 4 years, 6 months, 10 days Universal1
11. United States Jess Willard 4 years, 2 months, 29 days Universal1
12. Flag of Canada.svg 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 Universal6
14. United States Chris Byrd 3 years, 4 months, 8 days IBF4
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 Universal11
20. United States Michael Spinks 2 years, 9 months, 6 days The Ring/Lineal (+IBF stripped) 3

Unofficial Long Title reignsEdit

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

NameTitle ReignTitle RecognitionSuccessful Defenses
N/A Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 16 years, 3 months, 1 week and 6 days Full WBC-to-WBC Emeritus-to-Full WBC (+The Ring rel) 11
N/A United States Muhammad Ali 7 years, 0 months, 11 days The Ring/Lineal 11
N/A Th (1) Brian Nielsen 3 years, 7 months, 20 days IBO 5


     Active Title Reign
     Reign has ended

Analogous usesEdit

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.

See alsoEdit


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