What Is the Bridgerweight Division and Will It Change Boxing?

| October 14, 2021 10:51 am PDT

In November 2020, the WBC announced a new division in boxing would be established.

Known as bridgerweight, the council sees the new class as a modern solution to a modern problem in the sport. A way to “bridge” the gap between cruiserweights and the growing size of the modern-day heavyweight, if you will.

Although it has been met with opposition in some quarters, those who recently watched the 277-pound Tyson Fury bully the 238-pound Deontay Wilder might feel differently about the weight class. Especially Wilder’s fans.

Here’s what you need to know about the bridgerweight division and how it could change boxing.

What You Need to Know About Bridgerweight

The division will be open to fighters that weigh between 200 and 224 pounds. 

In an era with the likes of Fury, Andy Ruiz, and Anthony Joshua, the average size of heavyweight champions in the sport has been huge in recent times. 

For example, Ruiz tipped the scales at 283-pounds for his rematch against Joshua in December 2019, while Joshua weighed in at 254-pounds against Carlos Takam in October 2017. 

It is hoped that bridgerweight will give some of the smaller guys fighting between cruiserweight and heavyweight the option to compete in a weight class more suitable for their size.

No other alphabet body has revealed plans to follow the WBC. This means that, for the time being, the division is exclusive to the Mexico City-based organization. 

An inaugural title will be awarded to the winner of Oscar Rivas vs. Ryan Rozicki, who fight at the Montreal Olympia, Canada, on October 22.

The Kid Who Inspired Bridgerweight

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman honored six-year-old Bridger Walker, who performed a heroic feat of bravery in July 2020.

The youngster saved his four-year-old sister from an attacking dog, picking up life-changing injuries as a result. 

News of young Bridger’s heroics went viral alongside images of his injuries. Several boxers, movie stars, musicians, and celebrities reached out with well-wishes and messages of encouragement for the youngster from Wyoming.

The WBC presented Bridger with an “Honorary Champion” belt as well as naming its new division after the boy for his “extraordinary brave actions” that saved his younger sister.

One of the former boxers that spoke to the brave youngster was Mike Tyson. Although later, Tyson did echo some of his peers in questioning whether the division was necessary.

Was Bridgerweight Created for Deontay Wilder?

The timing of the WBC’s announcement of the new weight class was questionable.

It came in the same year that longstanding WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was dethroned by Tyson Fury.

That led to some wondering if the birth of the division was to provide the American with a viable alternative should he fail to recapture the strap.

Wilder claimed on the Last Stand podcast in 2020 that he wasn’t interested in the division and that he would end his career at heavyweight. 

That was, of course, before he suffered his second stoppage loss at the hands of Tyson Fury in October 2021.

With no more excuses, at least we hope that to be the case, Wilder might change his mind. Fury is moving on to bigger things, while Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will fight for the other three main belts at heavyweight. 

Will Wilder move down to bridgerweight? That remains to be seen. There is no doubt that he would thrive in the division and would pretty much be the face of the new weight class.

Regardless of the way he chooses to go, it looks as though bridgerweight could change boxing over the next few years. If the age of super size heavyweights pushes smaller men down, it could have a huge impact on the status quo of the sport.

As for the WBC? More titles mean more sanctioning fees, right?

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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