Bridgerweight is a weight class in professional boxing used by the World Boxing Council (WBC) since 2020 and the World Boxing Association (WBA) since 2023.[1] The division is for boxers weighing between 200 pounds (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb) and 224 pounds (102 kg; 16 st 0 lb). The weight is named after six-year-old American Bridger Walker, who saved his four-year-old sister from a stray dog in July 2020.

History

After presenting Bridger Walker with a championship belt and naming him an "Honorary Champion" in July 2020,[2] the WBC announced the establishment of bridgerweight four months later on November 9. It sits between the WBC's cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said of the decision to create the new weight: "We have decided to create a new division called Bridger, as it is the bridge necessary to serve the large number of boxers who are between 200 and 224-pounds. This name is inspired by that hero of humanity, that six-year-old boy who heroically saved his four-year-old sister from an attack by a wild dog during the pandemic; yes, this new division is inspired by Bridger Walker."[3]

The WBC intend to reduce the lower limit for the weight class to 190 pounds (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb), lowering the upper limit for cruiserweight accordingly, within "six months or one year" of the November 2020 announcement.[4] This would move the cruiserweight limit out of line with the other major sanctioning organisations.

In December 2020, the WBC announced the first set of rankings for the new division, with Óscar Rivas at #1.[5]

The first fight took place on April 3, 2021 with Geovany Bruzon defeating Jose German Garcia Montes by eight-round technical decision to win the WBC Latino title.[6]

The inaugural world championship fight took place on October 22 between Oscar Rivas and Ryan Rozicki, with Rivas winning via twelve-round unanimous decision.[7]

In 5 January 2023 the WBC has declared its bridgerweight (224-pound) championship to be vacant. The first, and only champion, Oscar Rivas has, according to the WBC, suffered a detached retina and his future is uncertain. The WBC intends to order a series of fights to fill the vacant title and set the mandatories for the new champion.[8]

22 April 2023 Lukasz Rozanski claimed the vacant WBC bridgerweight title with a devastating first-round stoppage of Alen Babic in Poland. Rozanski had not boxed for nearly two years but set about Babic from the opening bell and dropped him within 90 seconds after hurting ‘The Savage’ with a left hook and putting him over with a numbing right hand. The Croatian beat the count easily but was swiftly overwhelmed by the 37-year-old and was against the ropes shipping heavy punishment when the referee stepped in to end the contest after 2:10 of the first.[9]

In August 2023, Misfits Boxing announced that the bridgerweight weight class would be included in their official weight divisions with a 205 Ibs limit.[10] The World Boxing Association announced a new 224-pound super cruiserweight division to be introduced in December 2023.[1] By the time the division was introduced it was given the "bridgerweight" name. Evgeny Tishchenko defeated Leon Harth on 9 December 2023 to become the inaugural WBA World Bridgerweight champion. Julio César La Cruz was awarded the WBA gold championship on 16 December 2023.

Reception

Editor-in-chief of The Ring, Doug Fischer, said in November 2020 when asked if the magazine would recognise the new weight class that "I’ll pose (the question) to the Ring Ratings Panel. For the time being, however, the answer is no. It’s brand new and the WBC has yet to arrange a bout for their inaugural title. But if the WBC is able to put together a credible top 10-25 of small heavyweights that are cool with being ranked as ‘Bridgerweights’ and if the concept catches on with the other major sanctioning organizations, who knows? Maybe we’ll have to recognize it.”[11] Deontay Wilder, who has fought within the bridgerweight limits for much of his career, said that he was not interested in fighting at the weight.[12]

As of December 2023, the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization have not adopted the new weight class.[13][14] The International Boxing Association, a lightly-regarded minor sanctioning organization, has a similar weight class named super cruiserweight for boxers weighing between 190 pounds (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb) and 210 pounds (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb).[15][16]

List of champions

WBC

No. Name Date Defenses
1 Óscar Rivas
(def. Ryan Rozicki)
22 October 2021 – 5 January 2023 0
2 Łukasz Różański
(def. Alen Babić)
22 April 2023 – Present 0

WBA

No. Name Date Defenses
1 Evgeny Tishchenko
(def. Leon Harth)
9 December 2023 – Present 0

References

  1. ^ a b "WBA joins WBC in adding 18th weight class with super cruiserweight". ESPN. 2023-12-01.
  2. ^ Savage, Nic (July 23, 2020). "Bridger Walker receives Honorary Champion belt from WBC after dog attack". NZ Herald. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Rivera, Miguel (November 9, 2020). "WBC Prez Says New Weight Division, 200-224, Will Be Called 'Bridger'". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  4. ^ ""Wilder And Usyk Not Part Of Bridgerweight Division," Says Mauricio Sulaiman". boxingnews24.com. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  5. ^ "WBC reveal first set of Bridgerweight rankings". vavel.com. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  6. ^ "Geovany Bruzon wins WBC Bridger Latino title". wbcboxing.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  7. ^ Donovan, Jake. "Oscar Rivas Survives Slugfest With Ryan Rozicki, Claims Inaugural WBC Bridgerweight Title". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  8. ^ "WBC declares bridgerweight title vacant". boxingtalk.com. 2023-01-05. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  9. ^ Taylor, Declan. "Lukasz Rozanski Destroys Alen Babic in One Round, Captures WBC Bridgerweight Title". BoxingScene.com. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  10. ^ Misfits Boxing (2 August 2023). "The official Misfits Boxing weight divisions 📋". Twitter.
  11. ^ "WILL RING RECOGNIZE THE NEW WBC WEIGHT CLASS, BRIDGERWEIGHT?". ringtv.com. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  12. ^ ""I Decline" – Deontay Wilder Has No Interest In Fighting At "Bridgerweight"". boxing247.com. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  13. ^ "IBF Ratings". International Boxing Federation. October 2023.
  14. ^ "WBO Male World Ratings". World Boxing Organization. November 2023.
  15. ^ "SUPER CRUISERWEIGHT (200 LBS)". internationalboxingassociation.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  16. ^ "WOMEN'S SUPER CRUISERWEIGHT". wbcboxing.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.