Category:Middleweight Division

From Barry Hugman's History of Championship Boxing
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The weight class can be traced back at least to 1853 when Leicestershire’s Nat Langham defeated the future heavyweight champion, Tom Sayers (his only loss), under London Prize Ring Rules, prior to successfully defending the bare-knuckle crown against George Gutteridge the following year. Langham, who weighed around 155lbs, popularised the middleweight division, which effectively came into being to fill the void between lightweights and the heaviest of men

At the start of the 1870s sparring sessions with gloves was beginning to catch on, mainly in public houses, with Bat Mullins soon being recognised as a leading exponent. This quickly developed into competive boxing under Marquess of Queensberry Rules (MoQ Rules) and Mullins won English middleweight championship competitions over three rounds at 154lbs when outpointing Ted Wyman (at the Jolly Butchers Public House, Camden Town, London on 11 November 1871), Ben Bendoff (at the Camden Arms Public House, Leicester Square, London on 14 November 1871) and Plantagenet Green (at the same venue on 12 December 1871), before Charley Davis won a 161lbs championship competition when outpointing Mullins over three rounds at the Victoria Tavern, Kilburn, London on 1 February 1872. Just a week later, at 160lbs, Davis lost to Jack Hicks (who outpointed him over three rounds at the Beavers Arms Public House, Bakers Row, Whitechapel, London on 8 February 1872). Another championship competition winner, this time at 154lbs, was Bill Brooks (who outpointed Jem Stewart over five rounds at the Prince of Wales Running Grounds, Bow, London on 16 April 1872), and he was followed by Davis (who won a 144lbs competition (when outpointing Denny Harrington over three rounds at Jemmy Shaw’s Brown Bear Public House, Soho, London on 13 May 1872)

Although the prime weight for middleweights was between 154 and 160lbs at the start of gloved boxing, with lightweights seen as men below 140lbs and many others boxing in catchweight contests a few pounds above 160lbs who were too light for the heavyweight ranks, I have set the weight band between 140lbs and 166lbs, prior to the welterweight (1887) and light-heavyweight (1899) divisions being introduced

Weight Band/Amendments

140lbs to 166lbs (7 January 1873 to 1 June 1887)

146lbs to 166lbs (This came about with the advent of the welterweight division in America and Johnny Reagan claiming the American title at 146lbs on 1 June 1887)

148lbs to 166lbs (146 to 148lbs was recognised as belonging to the welterweight division when Mysterious Billy Smith extended his claim on 24 January 1889)

148lbs to 160lbs (On 18 August 1899, Joe Choynski was matched against Australian Jim Ryan to decide the new light heavyweight title, covering men weighing between 160lbs and 170lbs)

140lbs to 150lbs (After Joe Walcott and Young Peter Jackson contested the welter title at 150lbs on 18 June 1903, the new British welterweight class also began operating up to that weight)

147lbs to 160lbs (On 11 February 1909, the NSC formally introduced their eight named weight classes, with the welterweight limit set at 147lbs and the middleweight class remaining at 160lbs)

154lbs to 160lbs (Reformed and renamed in August 1962, one of the first tasks of the WBA, formerly NBA, was to legislate for a junior middleweight class for fighters between 147 and 154lbs)

Title Contests

Pages in category ‘Middleweight Division’

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