MAJOR change in the Olympic boxing weight landscape

The Olympic weight landscape is to change quite dramatically going into Paris 2024.

Six, rather than five, sets of medals will be up for grabs for female fighters as an extra female weight class has been added.

On the other hand, just seven places will be up for grabs in Paris for men from each competing country, as the number of male weight categories drops by one.

The changes won’t have any impact on Tokyo 2021 or qualification for that event.

The number of weight classes has changed over the years, but the current lay of the land sees eight male and five female weight classes. There were only three weight classes for women at the Rio Games, it was increased by two for the postponed 2020 Olympiad.

The current (Tokyo 2021) weight classes are:

MALE:

  • Flyweight (52kg)
  • Featherweight (57kg)
  • Lightweight (63kg)
  • Welterweight (69kg)
  • Middleweight (75kg)
  • Light heavyweight (81kg)
  • Heavyweight (91kg)
  • Super heavyweight (+91kg)

FEMALE:

  • Flyweight (51kg)
  • Featherweight (57kg)
  • Lightweight (60kg)
  • Welterweight (69kg)
  • Middleweight (75kg)

Going into Paris, an extra female weight will be added and a male weight lost.

It’s yet to be seen what weights will be added and taken away, or if classifications for any weight will be changed.

The switch-ups for 2020 saw featherweight and welterweight added for women, light flyweight and lightweight removed for men, and the men’s light welterweight limit dropping from 64kg to 63kg along with bantamweight increasing from 56kg to 57kg and becoming featherweight.

Men’s light fly (49kg) and lightweight (60kg) are still contested at Irish national level along with the five non-Olympic women’s weights – light fly (48kg), bantam (54kg), light welter (64kg), light heavy (80kg), and heavy (+80kg)

The addition of featherweight for 2021 will hopefully benefit Michaela Walsh – and if bantamweight were to be introduced for 2024 she could benefit further

Perhaps an even bigger change for Paris is a change in the number of fighters who will compete.

In Tokyo, 186 men will enter across the eight categories alongside 100 women in five categories.

The total number for Paris will be cut from 286 to 252 – and this will be split evenly across genders with 126 for each.

It’s a huge move for women’s boxing, making qualification more attainable both in terms of weight and places – however qualification now becomes even more difficult for men.

The changes for Tokyo saw elite light flyweight champion Regan Buckley forced up to flyweight where he was defeated in the 2020 Elite final while top lightweight talent James McGivern has since turned pro.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]