WBC creates new 224-lb division, cruiserweight now 190-lbs

By Boxing News - 10/17/2020 - Comments

By Sean Jones: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has revealed that the World Boxing Council has created a new weight class at 224-pounds, and changed the cruiserweight limit of 200-lbs to 190-lbs. Mauricio hasn’t given a name to the new 224-lb division. He says that will be revealed later.

Sulaiman says the WBC felt that a new 224lb division was needed because of the increasing size of the heavyweights, some of which are now weighing 250 to 270+ lbs. By creating a new 224-pound division, the smaller heavyweights that lack the size to compete against giant 250+ pound fighters can compete against guys their own size.

Sulaiman maintains that the WBC’s move in lowering the cruiserweight limit from 200-lbs to 190 will make it easier for fighters at light heavyweight [175] to move up to cruiserweight to compete. Instead of needing to go up 25 lbs from 175 to 200 lbs as they did in the past, it’ll now be 15 pounds from 175 to 190.

WBC going it alone

The addition of the 224-pound division and the new change for the cruiserweight limit hasn’t been agreed on by the other sanctioning bodies [IBF, WBA, and WBO] yet.

Unless the other sanctioning bodies adopt the new weight class and cruiserweight limit, the WBC will be marginalized and cut off from many of the fighters that choose to ignore the changes.

The 224-lb class is necessary says Sulaiman

Image: WBC creates new 224-lb division, cruiserweight now 190-lbs

“224 [will be the new super cruiserweight division], and 190 pounds will be the new cruiserweight limit,” said Sulaiman to Boxing Social. “That was the original weight years ago, and then it was changed to 200.

“Because of this situation with the size of the heavyweights continually evolving [getting bigger]. So, 175, light heavyweight, cruiserweight 190, and the new division, which we have a surprise name, 224,” said Sulaiman.

A new weight division at 224 could work for the WBC as long as a popular fighter wins the new belt. Once the other sanctioning bodies see the new division’s success, they’ll quickly follow suit and create their own 224-lb division.

If the WBC’s new 224lb weight class is a success, it’s obvious that we’ll see the IBF, WBA, and WBO follow shortly with their own division. Why wouldn’t they? In making that move, the other sanctioning bodies could bring in more revenue with the belt fees.

One potential problem the WBC could have is if their 224lb division is ignored by the smaller heavyweight, who will stay at heavyweight due to the huge money they can make fighting champions like Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

If the WBC is hoping they can lure guys like former champ Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin. and Michael Hunter to fight for their 224-pound division, they’re sadly mistaken. Those fighters aren’t going to waste their time fighting for the 224lb belt because the money is heavy.

On the negative side, the WBC choosing to create a new weight class at 224 is further watering down the sport of boxing. Adding yet another division could hurt the sport rather than help it. There are already too many champions, and WBC makes it more difficult for fans to make sense of it all.

Other sanctioning bodies not on board yet

Image: WBC creates new 224-lb division, cruiserweight now 190-lbs

“We don’t know,” said Sulaiman when asked if the other sanctioning bodies would accept the new 224-lb weight division and the new 190-lb limit for the cruiserweight division. “And we have invited the other organizations.

“We have explained to them that we are going to implement a new weight category. That will be up to them. We’re going to have a one-year grace period for the fighters currently ranked in the current structure.

“So they will have the flexibility to select which weight class they want to compete in and be ranked. So there’s going to be a few adjustments as we settle into this new concept,” said Sulaiman.

It’s hard to imagine the other sanctioning bodies not agreeing to create a new 224-lb weight class. That would seem like a no-brainer because of the sanctioning bodies’ ability to bring in more sanctioning fee money with a new 224-pound division. It’ll be hard for them to resist making more money.

Where the WBC might meet some resistance from the other governing bodies is with the 190-lb change for the cruiserweight division.

By moving the weight down to 190, it’s going to force many existing contenders and champs at cruiserweight to move up to the new 224-lb division, which will be a sizeable jump.

Instead of cruiserweight dealing with guys close to their same weight, they could be facing many medium-sized heavyweights in the low 220s. That’s not going to be easy for a cruiserweight that has been accustomed to fighting at 200 to be facing a fighter in the 220s all of a sudden.

Trying to make 190 will be difficult for some of the larger cruiserweights like Krzysztof Glowacki, Mairis Briedis, and Yuniel Dorticos.

Sulaiman explains why a 224-lb division is being created

Image: WBC creates new 224-lb division, cruiserweight now 190-lbs

“The reality of the heavyweight division is the greatest championship, and that will begin on 224, but it’s not limited,” said Sulaiman.

“It’s going to be self-explained. There’s going to be adjustments, but the idea is to give opportunities and be aware of those big light heavyweights and who are small cruiserweights and who are small heavyweights right now. There’s a big talent gap that can be very much materialized.

“I don’t see why it would create division,” Sulaiman said when told that creating a new weight class at 224 and changing the cruiserweight limit to 190 could cause division between the WBC, boxing fans, and the other sanctioning bodies [IBF, WBA & WBO].

“This is a matter that is constantly evolving. We have always looked into different ways of attending matters. It is a fact that there is a tremendous difference between a fighter who is in the 270, 260, 250 against a fighter that is 200, 210.

“You can be competitive, and you can win just as [Alexander] Povetkin did [against Dillian Whyte], but there’s a matter of understanding that there’s a large population of fighters that are in that small heavyweight range, big cruiserweight range that could benefit by having the opportunity of competing in a weight category.

“This is something that we have discussed for many years. It’s not something new. There is a need. This is addressing light heavyweight because the jump from 175 all the way to 200 is a 25-gap, which is hurting the possibility of some fighters going and being competitive [at cruiserweight under the old weight category] and not give too much advantage,” said Sulaiman.

It does make a lot of sense for the WBC to create a new weight class at 224lbs, but the division needs to be accepted by the sanctioning bodies for it to make sense.

If the WBC will be the only weight class adopting the change to the cruiserweight limit of 190-lbs and the 224-lb division, it’s going t separate them from the other sanctioning bodies.

The WBC might need to consider changing the name of their 190-lb cruiserweight class to something different that sets them apart from the other sanctioning bodies.

Assuming that the other sanctioning bodies aren’t going to agree to the new 190-lb weight limit for the cruiserweight division, the WBC should develop a new name for their weight class so that fans aren’t confused.

If the new weight category implemented by the WBC for cruiserweight isn’t agreed to by the other sanctioning bodies, it makes sense for the World Boxing Council to change the name of the division.