Minimumweight (also referred to as strawweight or mini flyweight) is a weight class division in combat sports. The most notable of which is in professional boxing where boxers may weigh no more than 105 pounds (48 kg). This is a relatively new weight category for professionals, first inaugurated by the major boxing sanctioning bodies between 1987 and 1990.
In MMA, strawweight is considered 115lbs (52kg) and below and is typically contested by women. It is never referred to as "minimumweight" in MMA.
The minimumweight division was originally introduced in 1968 for the Summer Olympic Games under the name light flyweight. However the division was not recognized by any the four most widely-regarded sanctioning bodies until the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in June 1987 when Kyung-Yun Lee knocked out Masaharu Kawakami to become the inaugural champion.
The division was then later recognized by the World Boxing Council (WBC) in October 1987, the World Boxing Association (WBA) in January 1988, and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) in August 1989. While Ring magazine did not begin ranking minimumweights until 1997 under the name strawweights and has yet to name a champion in their rankings.
Historically the weight class has been dominated by Latin Americans (including, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Argentines, Panamanians, Venezuelans, and Dominicans) and Asians (including, Japanese, Chinese, Thais, Filipinos, Koreans, and Indonesians) with only a limited amount of success coming from other nationalities including, South Africans, Americans, Canadians, English, and Australians.
Late 1980s (1987-1989)
In the early years of the division, fighters such as Napa Kiatwanchai found success defending the WBC belt. Including early wins over a young up-and-coming Hiroki Ioka who later found success at light flyweight, flyweight, and super flyweight.
Most of the 1990s were dominated by Ricardo López who is often cited as the best minimumweight ever. López holds a number of records in the division, including the most title defenses with 21. As well as being the first and (so far) only minimumweight to hold two different major titles simultaneously (WBC and WBO).
However other successful fighters of this period included,
- Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who found success defending his IBF title for most of the decade.
- Chana Porpaoin, who found success in the early part of the decade defending the WBA title. Until losing the title to Rosendo Álvarez, who controlled the WBA title for the rest of the decade.
The division also saw its first champions not from Latin America or Asia. When Scotland's Paul Weir won the vacant WBO title over Fernando Martinez in May 1993. This was then followed by South Africa's Zolani Petelo who won the IBF title in December 1997.
Other notable fighters of this period included, Hi-Yong Choi, Hideyuki Ohashi, Alex Sánchez, Wandee Chor Chareon, Rocky Lin, Ala Villamor, Kermin Guardia, Noel Arambulet, Songkram Porpaoin, and Osvaldo Guerrero.
Other top ranked fighters included, Keitaro Hoshino, Roberto Carlos Leyva, Miguel Barrera, and Joma Gamboa.
While fighters such as, Noel Arambulet, Kermin Guardia, Chana Porpaoin, Wandee Chor Chareon, and Songkram Porpaoin continued to find success during this time.
Moving to the middle part of the decade, Muhammad Rachman, Yutaka Niida, and Eagle Kyowa became the best champions. While José Antonio Aguirre began to decline by having long losing streaks and Iván Calderón continued to defend his WBO title until August 2007 when he moved up to light flyweight.
Other top rank fighters included, Daniel Reyes, Juan Jose Landaeta, Rodel Mayol, Omar Soto, Katsunari Takayama, and Isaac Bustos.
In the later part of the decade, Oleydong Sithsamerchai, Donnie Nietes, Raúl García, and Román González were the elite champions. With many of the best fighters from the middle years of the decade having continued success.
However new talent that emerged during the end of the decade included, Florante Condes, Nkosinathi Joyi, and Juan Palacios.
So far in the early part of the decade many of the fighters from the end of the 2000s have continued to find success.
Since 1968, the Summer Olympic Games has featured the 48 kilogram division under the name light flyweight (not to be confused with the 108 pound division in professional boxing).
- 1968 – Francisco Rodríguez (VEN)
- 1972 – György Gedó (HUN)
- 1976 – Jorge Hernández (CUB)
- 1980 – Shamil Sabirov (URS)
- 1984 – Paul Gonzales (USA)
- 1988 – Ivailo Marinov (BUL)
- 1992 – Rogelio Marcelo (CUB)
- 1996 – Daniel Petrov (BUL)
- 2000 – Brahim Asloum (FRA)
- 2004 – Yan Bartelemí Varela (CUB)
- 2008 – Zou Shiming (CHN)
- 2012 – Zou Shiming (CHN)
- 1969 – György Gedó (HUN)
- 1971 – György Gedó (HUN)
- 1973 – Vladislav Sasypko (URS)
- 1975 – Aleksandr Tkachenko (URS)
- 1977 – Henryk Średnicki (POL)
- 1979 – Shamil Sabirov (URS)
- 1981 – Ismail Mustafov (BUL)
- 1983 – Ismail Mustafov (BUL)
- 1985 – René Breitbarth (GDR)
- 1987 – Nszan Munczian (URS)
- 1989 – Ivailo Marinov (BUL)
- 1991 – Ivailo Marinov (BUL)
- 1993 – Daniel Petrov (BUL)
- 1996 – Daniel Petrov (BUL)
- 1998 – Sergey Kazakov (RUS)
- 2000 – Valeriy Sydorenko (UKR)
- 2002 – Sergey Kazakov (RUS)
- 2004 – Sergey Kazakov (RUS)
- 2006 – David Ayrapetyan (RUS)
Pan American Champions
- 1971 – Rafael Carbonell (CUB)
- 1975 – Jorge Hernández (CUB)
- 1979 – Hector Ramírez (CUB)
- 1983 – Rafael Ramos (PUR)
- 1987 – Luis Román Rolón (PUR)
- 1991 – Rogelio Marcelo (CUB)
- 1995 – Edgar Velázquez (VEN)
- 1999 – Maikro Romero (CUB)
- 2003 – Yan Bartelemí Varela (CUB)
- Ivan Calderon
- Ricardo López
- Rosendo Álvarez
- Eagle Kyowa
- Chana Porpaoin
- Ratanapol Sor Vorapin
- Yutaka Niida
Current professional boxing champions
|Sanctioning Body||Reign Began||Champion||Record||Defenses|
|WBA||December 31, 2012||Ryo Miyazaki||20-0-3 (11 KO)||2|
|WBC||November 24, 2012||Xiong Zhao Zhong||22-4-1 (12 KO)||2|
|IBF||March 30, 2013||Katsunari Takayama||26-6 (1) (10 KO)||1|
|WBO||April 19, 2013||Merlito Sabillo||23-0-1 (12 KO)||2|
For a full list, see List of minimumweight boxing champions
Other sports to include a minimumweight division include the following,
- Muay Thai, both Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium feature a 105 pound weight categories recognized as mini flyweight.
- Judo, features a 105 pound weight category for female competitions.
- Various styles of wrestling feature a 105 pound weight category. Including a 48 kilogram women's division in the Summer Olympic Games.
- Taekwondo, commonly features competitions at or around 105 pounds. Including a 49 kilogram women's division in the Summer Olympic Games recognized as flyweight.