The Sweet Science: Professional Boxing Organizations and Divisions

Online Sports Betting


The Sweet Science: Professional Boxing Organizations and Divisions

Boxing is one of the world's most popular spectator sports. "The sweet science" is a rough-and-tumble but captivating watch, full of spectacular athletes, high drama, and plenty of hard-hitting action.

It's also one of the most complicated sports when it comes to organizations and divisions. Boxing has a host of both, and the separations between these classes and organizations are frequently hard to keep track of.

That's what we're here to help! In this guide to professional boxing organizations and divisions, we'll breakdown what you need to know in order to dive deep into the boxing world. Ready to learn?

Professional Boxing Organizations

There are several different boxing organizations you need to know about to get into the sport. A boxing organization is one that organizes and sanctions the different bouts for fighters. The big ones you need to know are the:

  • World Boxing Association, or WBA. This is the oldest boxing organization of the four and has its headquarters in Panama City, Panama. The WBA was also once known as the "National Boxing Association," or NBA. The WBA includes classes from mini-flyweight all the way up to heavyweight.
  • World Boxing Organization, or WBO. A relatively new boxing organization, the WBO began in 1988 and has its headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The WBO came to prominence as an offshoot of the WBA and gained power and popularity throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Like the WBA, the WBO boasts world champions in classes from mini-flyweight all the way up to heavyweight. The WBO also recognizes special boxers like Bernard Hopkins and Wladimir Klitschko with an honorary "Super Champion" status.
  • World Boxing Council (WBC). The WBC possesses a distinguished history in the boxing world. Existing since 1963, the WBC is one of the most powerful international boxing organizations with over 150 countries represented. Headquartered in Mexico City, the WBC recognizes classes from minimumweight all the way up to heavyweight.
  • International Boxing Federation (IBF). The only U.S.-based boxing organization (in Springfield, New Jersey) came out of the defunct U.S. Boxing Organization, or USBA, in 1983. The IBF became infamous for a series of bribery scandals in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Currently, it recognizes classes from min-flyweight up to heavyweight.

Wondering about the different boxing divisions? Here's a primer on what you need to know.

  • Heavyweights fight at over 200 lbs.This is arguably the most famous boxing weight. Muhammad Ali and George Foreman were heavyweights.
  • Light heavyweights goes from 168-175 lbs. Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. were light heavyweights.
  • Middleweights go from 154-160 lbs. Marvin Hagler and Floyd Patterson fought as middleweights.
  • Welterweights fight from 140-147 lbs. Sugar Ray Robinson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought as welterweights.
  • Lightweights run from 130-135 lbs. Roberto Duran and Pernell Whitaker fought as lightweights.
  • Featherweights are from 122-126 lbs. Naseem Hamed fought as a featherweight.
  • Bantamweights fight from 115-118 lbs.
  • Flyweights run 108-112 lbs.

A note: there are other less common weight classes you may see ("super" or "light" versions of these boxing divisions, for example).

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