Does weighing more than your opponent help in a boxing match? Well, actually it does. Although there are some exceptions, there is often a correlation between weight and strength. While boxing is hardly predicated on strength, it is still a useful attribute and can greatly help boxers in the clinch and punch exchanges.
The other reason why weight is an advantage is that it often allows you to generate more power. This is inherently part of being stronger but they are not the same thing. Strength and punching power mean very different things. Your technique will be the definitive factor behind the power you’re able to generate followed closely by your weight and then the composition of your muscle fibers.
But providing that your technique is good, you should be able to punch much harder than someone who weighs significantly less than you. This isn’t always the case, sometimes people have freakish genetics that allows them to generate huge amounts of power from skinny frames, like Deontay Wilder for instance. But generally speaking, you’ll find that the hardest punchers weigh quite a lot.
Does Weight Equate To Punching Power?
Not exactly. Weight is a single factor that goes into producing a powerful punch. Your technique will be the most important factor if you have poor technique you probably won’t be able to punch well regardless of your weight and other physical attributes.
The correct technique will allow for proper weight transfer and thus a more powerful punch. Providing that you have good technique, being heavier will simply mean that there is more weight being transferred into the punch, therefore increasing punching power. However, boxing isn’t a linear, tangible sport. So while adding mass may theoretically increase your punching power it could actually be detrimental. Especially if the added weight hindered your movement.
Furthermore, many other factors go into creating a powerful punch, like your muscle fibers, for instance. Some people will naturally have a higher composition of fast-twitch muscle fibers which means their muscle fibers can twitch incredibly fast allowing them to be very explosive. While others will have a higher composition of slow-twitch muscle fibers. This means they will be able to metabolize more oxygen but their muscles won’t be able to twitch as fast thus resulting in improvising endurance rather than power.
How Does Weight Effect Power
To show precisely the effect weight has on power, we produced a table that displays different levels of power in each weight division. However, this data makes a lot of assumptions in order to just show the effects of pure weight. I’m sure there would be much more variation in real-world data due to the variables we mentioned earlier.
But the data does help contextualize the importance of weight in boxing and combat sports in general. This difference in power output and strength is the reason it would be unfair for a lightweight to fight a cruiserweight, even if the rest of their skills and physical attributes were identical.
|Minimumweight||105 pounds (48 kg)||536.448N|
|Light Flyweight||108 pounds (49 kg)||547.624N|
|Flyweight||112 pounds (51 kg)||569.976N|
|Super Flyweight||115 pounds (52 kg)||581.152N|
|Bantamweight||118 pounds (53.5 kg)||597.916N|
|Super Bantamweight||122 pounds (55 kg)||614.68N|
|Featherweight||126 pounds (57 kg)||637.032N|
|Super Featherweight||130 pounds (59 kg)||659.384N|
|Lightweight||135 pounds (61 kg)||681.736N|
|Super Lightweight||140 pounds (63.5 kg)||709.676N|
|Welterweight||147 pounds (67 kg)||748.792N|
|Super Welterweight||154 pounds (70 kg)||782.32N|
|Middleweight||160 pounds (72.5 kg)||810.26N|
|Super Middleweight||168 pounds (76 kg)||849.376N|
|Light Heavyweight||175 pounds (79 kg)||882.904N|
|Cruiserweight||200 pounds (91 kg)||1,017.016N|
|Heavyweight, unlimited||225 pounds (102kg)||1,140.6N|
How To Obtain A Weight Advantage In Boxing
In boxing, every weight division has a limit in order to make the fights fair. This means that both fighters have to reach an agreed weight prior to the bout on the day before the fight. Essentially, weigh-ins are used to prevent fighters who are disproportionately matched in regard to size from competing against each other. However, there is a slight caveat to this system. Aside from heavyweights who have no weight limit, fighters can benefit from weight-cutting.
Weight cutting is a practice that is done in several combat sports and most drastically in mixed martial arts. Essentially it works by bringing a fighter’s weight down through temporarily losing water weight. This is done through intense exercise, dehydration, and forcing the body to sweat.
For example, let’s say a fighter weighs 160 lbs in shape but competes in the welterweight division. A few days before the weigh-ins, he would have to quickly bring his weight down in order to meet the weight limit of 147 lbs. After the weigh-ins have been completed, he could then rehydrate himself to put the weight back on in an attempt to gain a weight advantage over his opponent.
So theoretically, the fighter who can cut the most weight should have an advantage? However, weight cutting is often detrimental to a fighter’s health and there is quite a lot of controversy surrounding the entire idea of fighters cutting weight. But regardless, it is a method of obtaining a genuine weight advantage over your opponents.
Can A Lighter Boxer Beat A Heavier Boxer?
Yes, but it is dependent on skill. A lighter boxer could easily beat a less skilled or inexperienced individual who was much heavier than them. However, if two boxers with similar skill sets but different weights were to compete, the heavier boxer would be more likely to win.
A rather strange example of this is the exhibition bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr and YouTuber Logan Paul. Ignoring the controversy surrounding the fight and what it potentially meant for Mayweather’s career and boxing’s reputation, the fight showed a large and predictable disparity of skill between Mayweather and Paul despite the enormous weight difference.
Despite Paul’s physical advantages, he couldn’t hurt but Floyd cruised the fight despite weighing 60lbs or less than Logan Paul. However, while Mayweather easily outpointed Paul on the scorecards, he struggled to hurt him simply due to his size and weight. This is something to consider when sparring with a heavier boxer, while you may be able to outbox and outwork them, it is usually harder to impose your will or hurt them.
Which Weight Is Best For Boxing
There is no specific weight that is the best for boxing, different divisions have different advantages and disadvantages but there is no weight that is fundamentally better for boxing. What you’ll find is that the lighter-weight divisions are usually better technical boxers simply because they are more agile and faster. However, the heavier-weight divisions often depend more on power, resulting in exciting brawls and emphatic knockouts. There are often exceptions to this ideology but it is what you’ll typically find among fighters as you move up the weight divisions.
To summarise, weight is an important factor in boxing but it isn’t the only factor. There are several variables that are much more important than weight and can actually be improved upon. That being said, being heavier will often help you hit harder. However, weight doesn’t always make you a more effective boxer. If adding on weight would hinder your mobility, it would probably be detrimental to your boxing ability.
The best thing you could do as a boxer would be to compete in your natural weight class where you feel comfortable and strong. Recently we saw Dimitry Bivol defeat the pound for pound king in Canelo Alvarez at 175lbs. Many people attribute Canelo’s loss to the fact he’s not naturally a 175lb fighter. This just shows even a fighter as skilled and experienced as Canelo can struggle when competing outside of his natural weight.