The International Boxing Association has decided to add three weight categories for men and two for women in its competitions from August this year, saying that it will allow a greater pool of boxers to fight in divisions they feel most comfortable.

From the current 10, the men’s weight categories have now gone up to 13 with the minimum weight reduced to 48kg from the current 49kg. The featherweight (57kg) has been added back to the fold along with the addition of light middleweight (71kg) and the cruiserweight (86kg). The bantamweight has been brought back to 54kg from current 56kg.

The women’s divisions have gone up from 10 to 12 with the addition of light flyweight at 50kg and light middleweight at 70kg.

The decision was taken after “widespread consultation of stakeholders”, including the Competition Committee, the Women’s Committee, and the national federations.

“...the AIBA Board of Directors has voted in favour of amending the weight classes for youth and elite boxers at all AIBA competitions,” the world body said in a letter to the national federations.

“The men’s weight categories will increase from ten (10) to thirteen (13), whilst the women’s categories will move from 10 to 12. The new weight categories is in effect from August 1st, 2021,” it stated.

Currently, the Olympic Games has men’s boxing in eight weight divisions and the women’s competition in five categories.

The eight men’s Olympic categories are 52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg, +91kg, while the women’’s event is held in 51kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg and 75kg.

These weight divisions were notified in 2019 for the upcoming Tokyo Games and had the AIBA’s approval before it was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for administrative and financial irregularities.

At this point, the AIBA competitions do not have the 57kg division for men with 56kg rounded off as bantamweight followed by the lightweight 60kg category.

With the revamped divisions, the weight pool widens significantly in AIBA competitions and allows boxers greater flexibility in deciding their weight divisions.

AIBA President Umar Kremlev had spoken about increasing the number of weight divisions to ensure more boxers can enter the field in a recent press conference with global media.

“We believe this step will allow a greater pool of boxers to participate in the respective weight categories where they feel most strong and comfortable. This innovation will help boxing to develop from grassroots to elite,” the AIBA stated.

“The changes have been made for the safety of boxers by ensuring easier weight management and a more level playing field,” it added.

The spread between the first five categories in the men’s competition has been kept at 3kg, between the fifth and seventh at 3.5kg, between the seventh and ninth it is 4kg, and between the 9th and 10th it stands at 5kg. The difference of weight between the 10th and 12th category is 6kg.

The minimum weight for women remains the same at 48kg. However, the spread between the first four weight categories is now 2kg. Between the fourth and eighth it is 3kg, between eight and ninth it is 4kg, from the ninth to the 10th it is 5kg, and from the 10th to the 11th it is 6kg.

The AIBA is currently trying to regain affiliation from the IOC, which has taken over the conduct of the Tokyo Games’ boxing competition.

The new weight categories:

Elite and Youth men boxers:

Minimum weight (48kg), Flyweight (51kg), Bantamweight (54kg), Featherweight (57kg), Lightweight (60kg), Light Welterweight (63.5kg), Welterweight (67kg), Light Middleweight (71kg), Middleweight (75kg), Light Heavyweight (80kg), Cruiserweight (86kg), Heavyweight (92kg), Super Heavyweight (92kg).

Elite and youth women boxers:

Minimum weight (48kg), Light Flyweight (50kg), Flyweight (52kg), Bantamweight (54kg), Featherweight (57kg), Lightweight (60kg), Light Welterweight (63kg), Welterweight (66kg), Light Middleweight (70kg), Middleweight (75kg), Light Heavyweight (81kg), Heavyweight (+81kg).

AIBA increase number of reviews per team

In a bid to increase transparency in judging, the International Boxing Association has increased the number of reviews allowed to participating teams in its competitions and also waived off the USD 1,000 fee that was being charged for failed challenges.

The Bout Review System, first introduced in 2019, was used in the Asian Championships last month in Dubai and the youth world championships before that in April. An inquiry is currently on into some contentious decisions at the Dubai event.

In a letter to the national federations, AIBA secretary-general Istvan Kovacs said the review system, with immediate effect, will be used only in “AIBA-owned and AIBA-sanctioned elite and youth events, that is, Elite and Youth World championships, and Elite and Youth Continental Championships.”

The number of reviews per team have been increased from two to three and there “will be no fees for bout reviews.”

Under the system, the team manager or the head coach of the losing boxer gets 15 minutes after the decision is announced to submit a protest and complete the paperwork for it in the next 30 minutes.

All decisions, except for knockouts, abandonments and disqualifications, can be challenged in the system.

“Both teams will be notified in writing, by the Technical Delegate, of the Bout Review Jury’s decision, and the rationale behind it, immediately after the Review has been completed. That decision must be unanimous and will be final,” the AIBA rules state.

India had also challenged a couple of close decisions during the Asian championships but those protests were rejected after a review by the jury.