Although there are 17 recognized weight divisions, a majority of the professional boxers compete in only eight of those classes. These classes are, with maximum weight: (1) flyweight, 112 lb (50.7 kg); (2) bantamweight, 118 lb (53.5 kg); (3) featherweight, 126 lb (57.1 kg); (4) lightweight, 135 lb (61.2 kg); (5) welterweight, 147 lb (66.6 kg); (6) middleweight, 160 lb (72.6 kg); (7) light heavyweight, 175 lb (79.4 kg); and (8) heavyweight, 195 lb (88.5 kg) and over.

American heavyweight champions have been among the most celebrated athletes in the sport and have inspired awe and respect for their punching power, both domestically and internationally. Jack Dempsey won the heavyweight championship in 1919 and defended his title in 1921 against the French fighter Georges Carpentier, in what was the first fight with a million-dollar gate (income from ticket receipts). Joe Louis held the heavyweight championship longer than any other fighter—from 1937 to 1949—and successfully defended his title 25 times. After winning a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games, Floyd Patterson won the heavyweight title in 1956; he became the first heavyweight champion to regain his title in a victorious 1960 rematch with the Swedish fighter Ingemar Johansson. In 1962 Patterson was defeated by Sonny Liston, who was one of the most feared heavyweight boxers of all time. Liston subsequently lost the title in 1964 to perhaps the greatest and most popular boxer in history, Muhammad Ali (who fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay, until later that year). Possessing strength, speed, and ring savvy, Ali revitalized the heavyweight division and gained widespread international popularity with his charismatic personality. Mike Tyson became the most feared champion in the 1990s.

Renowned boxers in other weight divisions include American welterweight and middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson; Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, who held world titles in the lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight divisions; American boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and won world championships in five different weight divisions (welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and super middleweight); and Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, who won world titles in the super featherweight, lightweight, and junior welterweight divisions and became a national hero in Mexico.

Tyson, Mike (1966- ), American heavyweight boxer who in 1986 became the youngest heavyweight ever to win a world title—the World Boxing Council (WBC) title.

Michael George Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1979, after committing a series of burglaries and robberies, he was sent to reform school in upstate New York, where he was introduced to boxing trainer Cus D’Amato. In 1980 Tyson was released into the custody of D’Amato, who became his legal guardian in 1985. After a successful amateur career Tyson became a professional boxer in 1985; he won 14 bouts that year, 11 of them with first-round knockouts. In 1986 he knocked out Trevor Berbick to win the WBC world title and by the end of 1987 he had also won the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation titles and defended both the WBA and WBC crowns.

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Boxing. (March 3, 2010). Reviewed on 08:47, October 17 2021