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First Champion
1719 Sep 18 Bare-knuckle
James Figg
1810 Bare-knuckle
Tom Molineaux
1870 May 10 Undisputed Jem Mace
1880 May 30 World Paddy Ryan
1885 Aug 29 Undisputed World John L. Sullivan
1889 Nov 11 Commonwealth
(British Empire)
Peter Jackson
1895 British Jem Smith
1921 Jul 2 NBA Jack Dempsey
1922 Jul 24 NYSAC Jack Dempsey
1962 Sep 25 WBA Sonny Liston
1963 Jul 22 WBC Sonny Liston
1983 Dec 11 IBF Larry Holmes
1989 May 6 WBO Francesco Damiani
1992 Nov 14 IBO Pinklon Thomas
  • The maximum weight for this division is unlimited (201+ lbs, 91+ kg, 14 stone 4 lbs+).
  • One of the traditional eight divisions.


The heavyweight division has its roots back as far as the 1720s with James Figg, but it was only with Jem Mace that the term "heavy weight" became prevalent. By the 1870s it probably covered all weights above 160/166 pounds.

1738 - First originated as 160 pounds plus (over 72.6 kg or 11 stone 6 lbs) by Jack Broughton
1889 - Established by the Amateur Boxing Association of England Ltd (ABA) as unlimited
1909 - Reaffirmed by London's National Sporting Club (NSC) as unlimited
(See also: 15 Feb 1909 Los Angeles Herald article re: "Plan to Revise Boxing Weights" in London: [1])
1920 - Changed by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) to 175 pounds plus (over 79.4 kg or 12½ stone)
1979 - Modified again by the World Boxing Council (WBC) (followed by the World Boxing Association (WBA) in 1982 and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in 1983)
2004 - Again modified by the WBA, WBC and IBF to mean anything over 201 pounds.