WBA joins WBC in adding 18th weight class with super cruiserweight

The WBA has joined the WBC with an 18th weight class following Friday's introduction of a super cruiserweight division for boxers between 200 and 224 pounds.

The WBC created the bridgerweight division (190 to 224 pounds) in 2020 and was met with harsh criticism from a boxing industry that was already littered with titles from four organizations across 17 weight classes.

The IBF and WBO have held off on adding the 18th division, but now the WBA, too, has a weight class between cruiserweight (200 pounds) and heavyweight. Heavyweight is still an unlimited class above 200 pounds in the eyes of the IBF and WBO.

"We need fewer titles, fewer interim titles, fewer weight classes, fewer fraudulent situations and fewer ratings organizations," Hall of Fame promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN. He oversaw HBO's boxing programming from 1989 to 2000.

The bridgerweight division has been anything but a success thus far, with just two title fights since its inception. The WBC bridgerweight champion is Lukasz Rozanski. So-called undersized heavyweights such as Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, opted to remain at heavyweight, boxing's glamour division.

The cruiserweight division, meanwhile, is a nonentity in the U.S., and is mostly filled with European fighters.

"The creation of this new weight will mainly help to avoid bouts in which the fighters enter the ring with excessive weight differences, as tends to happen at heavyweight occasionally, where there can be differences of 20 pounds or more," the WBA said in a statement. " ... Fighters considered 'small heavyweights' will have the option to move down to super cruiserweight and seek opportunities against more balanced weight opponents, in the quest to make the sport increasingly fairer.

"The WBA ranking committee has already begun working on the creation of the rankings for this weight and the first divisional matchups will be announced soon."