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Sulaiman announces name for new 224lbs division: “Bridgerweight”

Image: Sulaiman announces name for new 224lbs division: "Bridgerweight"

By Barry Holbrook: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has finally announced the name of the new 224-pound division that his organization has created, and they’re calling it “Bridgerweight.”

Many boxing fans see the new ‘Bridgerweight’ division as a money-grab for the WBC, as it brings in additional money with sanctioning fees associated with the belt.

A lot of questions remaining about the new ‘Bridgerweight’ division created by the WBC: Will the other governing bodies – IBF, WBA, and WBO – create their own ‘Bridgerweight’ class, or will they ignore it? If the WBC is the only one with a Bridgerweight division, the division will lack prestige, and talented fighters will stay away from it and focus on the more established cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions.

For a fighter in the cruiserweight division, it doesn’t make sense for them to move up to the ‘Bridgerweight’ class if they’re interested in making a lot of money. The big paydays for fighters are in the heavyweight division against the popular champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

History has already shown that smaller heavyweights like Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson could capture world titles by beating much larger fighters.

The name doesn’t make a lot of sense, given the weight class. Many boxing fans were expecting the World Boxing Council to call the new 224lb division ‘Super Cruiserweight,’ which would have made a lot more sense to most people.

Sulaiman feels that a new weight class is needed because of the huge size difference between the giant heavyweights on the top of the division and the cruiserweights.

When a cruiserweight wants to move up to the heavyweight division, they’re dealing with fighters as heavyweight as 270+ lbs. The cruiserweight division’s limit is 200 lbs. It’s a huge, huge jump for a fighter to try and transition from the 200 lb cruiserweight division to heavyweight.

A recent example of a cruiserweight making the jump to heavyweight is Oleksandr Usyk, who previously was the undisputed 200-lb champion in 2018. Usyk has since moved up and won two fights at heavyweight against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora. However, Usyk didn’t look great in either of those fights, and he barely beat the 36-year-old Chisora, who is a shadow of what he used to be.

A fighter like Usyk would be better off competing in the WBC’s new ‘Bridgerweight’ division against fighters that aren’t nearly as large as the likes of Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Dillian Whyte.

When Usyk gets a big payday fighting for the WBO heavyweight title, it’s likely to motivate other cruiserweights to move up to the heavyweight division to pursue a title shot.


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