Why we have weight classes in combat sports

Why we have weight classes in combat sports

In combat sports, competitors are matched according to their weight before a fight as it ensures equality and balance with regards to size and strength. Significant differences in body mass and weight can give an unfair advantage to the larger individual in a one-on-one combat. This gives combat sports a broad range of weight classes and allows people of all sizes to step into the ring on equal terms. Removing the issue of weight difference, the fighters will then go into the fight focusing on the importance of the key factors in combat sports, such as technique, skill, strategy and mindset, in order to win the fight. There is only so much you can do to train the body for size and mass, but I truly believe that there are no limits on how much you can train the important factors that make the fighters who they are.

Factors for good results:
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See you guys during class! – Dre

 

weight class is a measurement weight range for boxers. The lower limit of a weight class is equal to the upper weight limit of the class below it. The top class, with no upper limit, is called heavyweight inprofessional boxing and super heavyweight[1] in amateur boxing. A boxing match is usually scheduled for a fixed weight class, and each boxer’s weight must not exceed the upper limit. Although professional boxers may fight above their weight class, an amateur boxer’s weight must not fall below the lower limit. A nonstandard weight limit is called a catch weight.

The weigh-in

A professional boxer typically weighs more between fights than at the time of a fight. Part of the process of training for a bout is “getting down to fighting weight”. The weigh-in takes place the day before the fight. Boxers typically stand on the scales barefoot and without gloves. The weigh-in is often a photo opportunity and boxers or their entourage may trash talk each other. This element is such a valued part of the build-up that heavyweight boxers go through the ritual of being weighed even though there is no limit to be measured against.

A boxer who is over the weight limit may strip naked to make the weight if the excess is minimal; otherwise, in a professional bout, one can try again later, typically after losing weight in the interim throughdehydration by vigorous exercise in a steam room. If the excess weight is too great, the effort expended trying to “make weight” will make the boxer unfit for the fight itself. In such cases, the fight may be cancelled, with the over weight boxer sanctioned; or the fight may proceed as a catch weight non-title fight.

An amateur boxer must make the weight at the initial weigh-in; there is no opportunity to try again later.[2] There is a “general weigh-in” before the start of the tournament and a “daily weigh-in” on the morning of each of a fighter’s bouts.[3] At the general weigh-in, the fighter must be between the weight class’s upper and lower limits; at the daily weigh-in only the upper limit is enforced.[3] A fighter outside the limit at the initial weigh-in may be allowed to fight in a different class if there is space in the tournament.[4] At major events such as boxing at the Olympics, there is a limit of one boxer per country per weight class.[5]

Culture

A boxer may fight different bouts at different weight classes. The trend for professionals is to move up to a higher class as they age. Winning titles at multiple weight classes to become a “multiple champion” is considered a major achievement. In amateur boxing, bouts are much shorter and much more frequent, and boxers fight at their “natural” weight.

One boxer is said to be better “pound for pound” than another if he is considered superior with due regard for their difference in weight. Theoretical comparisons of the merits of boxers in different weight classes are a popular topic for boxing fans, with a similar speculative appeal to comparing sports figures from different eras; in both cases, the competitors could never face each other in reality.

History

In the early nineteenth century, there were no standard weight classes. In 1823, the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue said the limit for a “light weight” was 12 stone (168 lb) while Sportsman’s Slang the same year gave 11 stone (154 lb) as the limit.[6] Size mismatches were dangerous for the smaller boxer and unsatisfying for the spectators. National and world titles could only become recognised if standard weight classes were agreed upon. Important sets of weight classes were those specified in 1909 by the National Sporting Club of London, and those contained in the 1920 Walker Law which established theNew York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC).

After the split in the 1960s between the WBC and the WBA, the divisions were narrowed, creating more champions simultaneously, and making it easier for fighters to move between different weight divisions. Among the professional bodies, the names of the new divisions are not standardized between different sanctioning bodies, although the cutoff weights are. These weights are specified in pounds, reflecting the historic dominance of Britain (and, later, America) in the sport.

Catch weight

A nonstandard weight limit is called a catch weight. A catch weight may be agreed for an individual bout—sometimes even for a championship bout—but championships are awarded only at the standard weight classes. For example, when Manny Pacquiao fought Antonio Margarito at a catch-weight of 150 pounds, the World Boxing Council sanctioned this as a title fight for jr. middleweight, whose limit is 154 pounds.[7]

 

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