What does ‘catchweight’ mean in boxing? Meaning of the term and why Eubank Jr vs Benn fight is classed as one

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Chris Eubank Jr will drop to the lowest weight of his career when he faces Conor Benn

Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn will follow in the footsteps of their fathers when they meet in the ring in October.

The fight will come almost 29 years - to the day - that Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn met in the ring for the second and final time. The pair became bitter rivals in the 1990s and produced two of the most exciting fights of the decade.

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Their sons will fight at the O2 Arena on 8 October 2022. It will see Conor Benn jump up two weight divisions, whilst Eubank Jr will drop to the lowest weight of his career.

Negotiations have been ongoing between the two fighters for some time and the pair eventually agreed to meet at a catchweight of 156lbs.

Conor Benn is unbeaten since making his professional debut in 2016 (Getty Images)Conor Benn is unbeaten since making his professional debut in 2016 (Getty Images)
Conor Benn is unbeaten since making his professional debut in 2016 (Getty Images) | Getty Images

What does ‘catchweight’ mean in boxing?

A catchweight is used to describe a weight limit that does not adhere to the traditional limits of a boxing weight class.

There are a number of reasons this might take place. Most commonly it takes place when two fighters have a big gap in terms of weight.

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Rather than one fighter having to severely alter their diet and training schedule to make a particular weight, the pair will enter into a contractual agreement where they will agree to fight at a midpoint in terms of weight.

This will give both fighters a fair opportunity as it will allow them to change their weight less drastically.

How do boxing weigh-in rules work?

Weigh-ins take place the day before a fight. The two fighters will stand on the weighing scales to make sure they do not exceed the traditional weight class or catchweight that they have agreed to.

Why is Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn a catchweight fight?

Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn will be fought at a catchweight limit of 156lbs due to the severe difference in weight between the two fighters.

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Eubank Jr, nicknamed ‘Next Gen’, has spent the majority of his career fighting in the super middleweight division between 160 and 168 lbs. Whereas his opponent Benn, nicknamed ‘The Destroyer’, has only ever fought in the welterweight division between 140 and 147 lbs.

The reason for the catchweight limit is that 156lbs is a weight limit that favours neither fighter

Benn as a career welterweight will have to move up two weight divisions to get close to the 156lbs limit, and Eubank Jr will drop to the lowest weight of his boxing career so far.

Other examples of catchweight fights

In February 2022, Kell Brook and Amir Khan agreed to a catchweight of 149lbs for their grudge fight. The experienced fighters both agreed they would pay a fine of £100,000 for every pound that they were over the limit.

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The catchweight limit was introduced by Khan’s team as he had spent the majority of his career at lightweight and light welterweight. Brook ultimately won the fight with a sixth round knockout.

How many weight classes are there in boxing?

In boxing,fighters are separated into different weight divisions which are designed to set up fair contests and ensure the fighters are as safe as possible.

In total there are 17 weight classes, the smallest is the strawweight division which has a maximum weight limit of 105lbs (7.5 stone) and the largest is the heavyweight division which can be anything above 226 lbs (16 stone).

The newest weight class is bridgerweight, this was formed in July 2020. The inaugural winner of that division was Oscar Rivas who defeated Ryan Rozicki.

Here is a full list of weight classes in Boxing

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  • Strawweight (105lbs)
  • Light flyweight (105 - 108lbs)
  • Flyweight  (108 - 112lbs)
  • Super flyweight (112 - 115lbs)
  • Bantamweight (115 - 118lbs)
  • Super bantamweight (118 - 122lbs)
  • Featherweight (122 - 126lbs)
  • Super featherweight (126 - 130lbs)
  • Lightweight (130 - 135lbs)
  • Light welterweight (135 - 140lbs)
  • Welterweight (140 - 147lbs)
  • Light middleweight (147 - 154lbs)
  • Middleweight (154 - 160lbs)
  • Super middleweight ( 160 - 168 lbs)
  • Light heavyweight (168 - 175 lbs)
  • Cruiserweight (175 - 200 lbs)
  • Bridgerweight (200 - 224 lbs)
  • Heavyweight (226lbs or more)

Who is ‘The Catchweight King’?

Manny Pacquiao is viewed as one of the greatest boxers of his generation (Getty Images)Manny Pacquiao is viewed as one of the greatest boxers of his generation (Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao is viewed as one of the greatest boxers of his generation (Getty Images) | Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao is regarded as one of the greatest pound for pound fighters in boxing history.

Over the course of his career he became the only boxer to win 12 major world titles in eight different weight divisions.

Pacquiao has been involved in some of the world’s biggest fights throughout his career against a variety of different opponents.

Many of his greatest victories have come in fights where a catchweight was set.

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One of the most notable examples of this was against ‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

At the time De La Hoya had primarily been fighting in the light middleweight division but dropped back down to welterweight for the first time in seven years to face Pacquiao.

The fight was billed as ‘The Dream Match’ and Pacquiao defeated De La Hoya via a technical knockout at the start of the ninth round. After the fight De La Hoya announced his retirement from boxing.

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