Boxers who weigh over 200 pounds (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb) are considered heavyweights by 3 of the 4 major professional boxing organizations: the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association, and the World Boxing Organization. In 2020, the World Boxing Council  increased their heavyweight classification to 224 pounds to allow for their creation of the bridgerweight division.
Because this division had no weight limit, it has been historically vaguely defined. In the 19th century, for example, many heavyweight champions weighed 170 pounds (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb) or less (although others weighed 200 pounds).
In 1920, the light heavyweight division was formed, with a maximum weight of 175 pounds (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb). Any fighter weighing more than 175 pounds was a heavyweight. The cruiserweight division (first for boxers in the 175–190 pound range) was established in 1979 and recognized by the various boxing organizations in the 1980s with a maximum weight of either 190 pounds (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb) or 195 pounds (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb). Later these organizations increased the cruiserweight limit to 200 pounds.
Since 1975, the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States and the Soviet Sports Committee established a new concept in international boxing, called "Heavy Duals," an all-heavyweight team contest between the United States and the Soviet Union.
As of 2020, Wladimir Klitschko holds record of most boxers beaten for the world heavyweight title, with 23. Klitschko holds the record for the longest cumulative heavyweight title reign of all time, with 4,382 days as world heavyweight champion. Joe Louis has won the most world heavyweight title bouts, with 27. Louis holds the record for most consecutive title defenses at this division, with 26 defenses of the world title.[nb 1] This is also the record for most consecutive title defenses in boxing history. Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko and Ruslan Chagaev have held various versions of the title belts on three occasions. Four boxers have regained the heavyweight title in an immediate rematch: Floyd Patterson in 1960, Muhammad Ali in 1978, Lennox Lewis in 2001, and Anthony Joshua in 2019. Mike Tyson holds the record for being the youngest heavyweight to ever have achieve championship status, becoming champion at the age of 20. Tyson also became the first heavyweight to own all three major belts – WBA, WBC, and IBF as well as The Ring and lineal heavyweight titles at the same time.
Current world champions
|Sanctioning Body||Reign Began||Champion||Record||Defenses||Beaten opponents|
|WBA (Super)||December 7, 2019||Anthony Joshua||24–1||1||1|
|WBC||February 22, 2020||Tyson Fury||30–0–1||0||0|
|IBF||December 7, 2019||Anthony Joshua||24–1||1||1|
|WBO||December 7, 2019||Anthony Joshua||24–1||1||1|
Current world rankings
As of May 14, 2021.
- The Ring world champion Current
|C||Tyson Fury||30–0–1 (21 KO)||WBC|
|1||Anthony Joshua||24–1 (23 KO)||IBF, WBA, WBO|
|2||Deontay Wilder||42–1–1 (41 KO)|
|3||Dillian Whyte||28–2 (19 KO)|
|4||Luis Ortiz||32–2 (27 KO)|
|5||Joseph Parker||28–2 (21 KO)|
|6||Andy Ruiz Jr.||33–2 (22 KO)|
|7||Michael Hunter||19–1–1 (13 KO)|
|8||Alexander Povetkin||36–3–1 (25 KO)|
|9||Oscar Rivas||26–1 (18 KO)|
|10||Oleksandr Usyk||18–0 (13 KO)|
As of May 14, 2021.
|1||Tyson Fury||30–0–1 (21 KO)||1015||WBC|
|2||Anthony Joshua||24–1 (23 KO)||761.9||IBF, WBA, WBO|
|3||Deontay Wilder||42–1–1 (41 KO)||548.6|
|4||Dillian Whyte||28–2 (19 KO)||283.4|
|5||Oleksandr Usyk||18–0 (13 KO)||244.5|
|6||Alexander Povetkin||36–3–1 (25 KO)||222.6|
|7||Andy Ruiz Jr.||33–2 (22 KO)||205.5|
|8||Michael Hunter||19–1–1 (13 KO)||128.9|
|9||Joseph Parker||28–2 (21 KO)||86.61|
|10||Derek Chisora||32–10 (23 KO)||80.73|
Longest-reigning world heavyweight champions
- Active title reign
- Reign has ended
- Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
- Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included
- Note 3: The names in italics are champions that did not win The Ring championship (1922–1989, 2002–)/lineal championship (1885–1921)/undisputed championship (1922–)
The list does not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921.
As of 22 February 2020.
|Pos.||Name||Combined reign||Days as champion||Number of reigns||Title recognition||Title fight wins||Beaten opponents||Fights|
|1.||Wladimir Klitschko||12 years, 0 months, 0 days||4 382||2||WBA, IBF, WBO||25||23|||
|2.||Joe Louis||11 years, 8 months, 8 days||4 270||1||NYSAC, NBA||27||22|||
|3.||Muhammad Ali||9 years, 5 months, 5 days||3 443||3||NYSAC, WBA, WBC||22||21|||
|4.||Lennox Lewis||8 years, 5 months, 13 days||3 086||3||WBA, WBC, IBF||15||15|||
|5.||Vitali Klitschko||7 years, 5 months, 28 days||2 735||3||WBC, WBO||15||15|||
|6.||Larry Holmes||7 years, 3 months, 12 days||2 661||1||WBC, IBF||20||20|||
|7.||Jack Dempsey||7 years, 2 months, 19 days||2 638||1||NYSAC, NBA||6||6|||
|8.||John L. Sullivan||7 years, 0 months, 10 days||2 566||1||lineal||1||1|||
|9.||Jack Johnson||6 years, 3 months, 11 days||2 292||1||lineal||6||6|||
|10.||Evander Holyfield||6 years, 1 month, 1 day||2 223||4||WBA, WBC, IBF||10||9|||
|11.||James J. Jeffries||5 years, 11 months, 4 days||2 156||1||lineal||8||6|||
|12.||Deontay Wilder||5 years, 1 months, 5 days||1 859||1||WBC||10||8|||
|13.||Joe Frazier||4 years, 10 months, 18 days||1 785||1||NYSAC, WBA, WBC||10||10|||
|14.||Floyd Patterson||4 years, 10 months, 0 days||1 765||2||NYSAC, NBA||8||7|||
|15.||James J. Corbett||4 years, 6 months, 10 days||1 652||1||lineal||2||2|||
Below is a list of longest reigning heavyweight champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. The list includes both The Ring and lineal championships. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply.
- Note: The names in italics are champions that did not win The Ring championship (1922–1989, 2002–)/lineal championship (1885–1921)/undisputed championship (1922–) during the reign
|Pos.||Name||Title Reign||Title recognition||Successful defenses||Beaten opponents||Fights|
|1.||Joe Louis||11 years, 8 months, 8 days||lineal||26||21|||
|2.||Wladimir Klitschko||9 years, 7 months and 6 days||IBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring/Lineal)||18||17|||
|3.||Larry Holmes||7 years, 3 months, 12 days||WBC-to-IBF (+The Ring/Lineal)||19||19|||
|4.||Jack Dempsey||7 years, 2 months, 19 days||lineal||5||5|||
|5.||John L. Sullivan||7 years, 0 months, 9 days||lineal||0||0|||
|6.||Jack Johnson||6 years, 3 months, 10 days||lineal||5||5|||
|7.||Muhammad Ali||5 years, 11 months, 9 days||The Ring/Lineal, (+WBA, WBC stripped)||9||9|||
|8.||James J. Jeffries||5 years, 11 months, 4 days||lineal||7||6|||
|9.||Vitali Klitschko||5 years, 2 months, 4 days||WBC||9||9|||
|10.||Deontay Wilder||5 years, 1 month 5 days||WBC||10||9|||
|11.||Joe Frazier||4 years, 10 months, 18 days||NYSAC (+WBA, WBC)||9||9|||
|12.||James J. Corbett||4 years, 6 months, 10 days||lineal||1||1|||
|13.||Jess Willard||4 years, 2 months, 29 days||lineal||1||1|||
|14.||Lennox Lewis||4 years, 2 months, 15 days||WBC (+IBF, WBA stripped, The Ring/Lineal)||9||8|||
|15.||Rocky Marciano||3 years, 11 months, 29 days||lineal||6||5|||
The lower limit for heavyweight was established in 1948 at 81 kg (178.6 lb). A weight class named "super heavyweight" was established in 1984, and with it a maximum 91 kg (200.6 lb) for the heavyweight division.
- In kickboxing, a heavyweight fighter generally weighs between 88 and 100 kg (194 and 220 lb; 13 st 12 lb and 15 st 10 lb). The fighters over 100 kg (220 lb; 15 st 10 lb) are considered super heavyweights.
- International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) Heavyweight (Pro & Amateur) 215.1–235 lb or 97.6–106.6 kg.
- In Glory promotion, a heavyweight division is over 95 kg (209 lb) and no upper weight limit.
Mixed martial arts
The heavyweight division in MMA generally groups fighters between 205 and 265 lb (93 and 120 kg).
Heavyweight is also the title of a documentary film that documented the fight camp of Fabricio Werdum when he became the UFC Heavyweight Champion. 
The term "world heavyweight" in modern wrestling generally refers to a champion wrestler who is seen as a prominent competitor, rather than an adherent to a particular weight class. The World Heavyweight Championship in wrestling is usually considered the main title in a given promotion. Prior to the wrestling industry publicly acknowledging the predetermined nature of the sport, a Heavyweight title was generally competed for by larger wrestlers while smaller wrestlers competed as (among other names and classifications) "Junior Heavyweights" and "Light-Heavyweights".
The word "heavyweight" is sometimes used in other fields (e.g. politics) to denote a person who is especially powerful or influential. In this context, "big beast" has a similar meaning. Other boxing analogies include "punching above his [their] weight" to denote a person or entity (e.g. a country) whose influence is arguably greater than his/its basic attributes would suggest.
- "4. Weight Classes". IBO and also the sink board of control. But Championship Rules & Regulations. International Boxing Organization. Archived from the original on 2013-07-14. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
Heavyweight Over 200 lbs.
- "11. Weight Category" (PDF). World Bpxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
Heavy More than 200 Lbs.
- "3. Weight Classes" (PDF). Regulations of World Championship Contests. World Boxing Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
Heavyweight Over 200lbs or 90.91 kg.
- "Ratings Heavyweight (over 200-90.719)". World Boxing Council. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
- 'Heavy' Date, AAU News, 1975, v. 45, p. 10.
- Business Insider Singapore. "Wladimir Klitschko is plotting a spectacular boxing comeback, and he wants to break an old heavyweight record". businessinsider.sg.
- "Who knew? Some sports facts that may surprise you". Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- "Klitschko believes Hrgović will become world boxing champ". croatiaweek.com. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
- Longest reigning boxing world champion
- "The Ring ratings: heavyweight". Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "BoxRec ratings: heavyweight, active". Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- James B. Roberts, Alexander G. Skutt: The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book, p. 331–32. The record of Ricardo Lopez indicates his opponent Alex Sánchez as WBO "World Champion" on August 23, 1997, meanwhile Michael Carbajal's opponent Josue Camacho (fought on July 15, 1994) didn't receive the same recognition, thus suggesting that WBO title hadn't been viewed by IBHOF as a major title prior to (at least) August 1997, when Herbie Hide (won the title on June 28, 1997) was WBO heavyweight champion
- "Professional boxing record: Wladimir Klitschko". Retrieved 20 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Joe Louis". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Joe Louis, p. 575" (pdf). The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall Of Fame Official Record Book. International Boxing Hall Of Fame. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
Johnny Davis, Ret-World-H
- "Professional boxing record: Muhammad Ali". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Lennox Lewis". Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Vitali Klitschko". Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Larry Holmes". Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Jack Dempsey". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: John L. Sullivan". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Jack Johnson". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Evander Holyfield". Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: James J. Jeffries". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Deontay Wilder". Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Joe Frazier". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Floyd Patterson". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: James J. Corbett". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- For the purpose of the list, draws are also included
- "Professional boxing record: Jess Willard". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Professional boxing record: Rocky Marciano". Retrieved 14 March 2020.