In professional boxing, boxers in the minimumweight division 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. Ricardo López holds the record for most consecutive title defenses at this division, with 21 defenses of the WBC title.
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 of 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.
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. López holds a number of records in the division, including the most title defenses with 21, and is the first and (so far) only minimumweight to hold two different major titles simultaneously (WBC and WBO, and later WBC and WBA).
Other successful fighters of this period include:
- Ratanapol Sor Vorapin - IBF title-holder for most of the decade.
- Chana Porpaoin - held WBA title until losing the title to Rosendo Álvarez, who then held it until 1998 for failing to make weight for his unification rematch with Ricardo Lopez (he lost by split decision).
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 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.
Muhammad Rachman, Yutaka Niida, and Eagle Kyowa became champions. José Antonio Aguirre began to decline but Iván Calderón continued to defend his WBO title until August 2007 when he moved up to light flyweight.
In the early part of the decade many of the fighters from the end of the 2000s continued to find success. However new faces have included Denver Cuello and Kazuto Ioka (nephew of 1980s champion Hiroki Ioka). In the latter part of the decade Thai boxers returned to dominance with Thammanoon Niyomtrong and Chayaphon Moonsri winning titles and staying undefeated.
|Sanctioning Body||Reign Began||Champion||Record||Defenses|
|WBA||June 19, 2016||Knockout CP Freshmart||19–0–0 (7 KO)||6|
|WBC||November 6, 2014||Wanheng Menayothin||53–0–0 (18 KO)||11|
|WBO||July 13, 2018||Vic Saludar||19–3–0 (10 KO)||1|
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).
- Iván Calderon
- Ricardo López
- Rosendo Álvarez
- Alex Sánchez
- Donnie Nietes
- Eagle Kyowa
- Chana Porpaoin
- Ratanapol Sor Vorapin
- Yutaka Niida
- Muhammad Rachman
Mixed martial arts
In MMA, strawweight is considered 115lbs (52kg) and below and is typically contested by women. It is never referred to as "minimumweight" in MMA.
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.