A featherweight boxer weighs in at a limit of 126 pounds (57 kg). In the early days of the division, this limit fluctuated. The British have generally always recognized the limit at 126 pounds, but in America the weight limit was at first 114 pounds. An early champion, George Dixon, moved the limit to 120 and then 122 pounds. Finally, in 1920 the United States fixed the limit at 126 pounds.
The 1860 fight between Nobby Clark and Jim Elliott is sometimes called the first featherweight championship. However, the division only gained wide acceptance in 1889 after the Ike Weir-Frank Murphy fight. Johnny Kilbane, considered one of the greatest featherweight champions of all time, held the championship for 11 years, starting when he won the title in 1912 from Abe Attell until he lost the title in 1923 to Eugène Criqui. To this day he remains the longest world title holder in boxing history. Eusebio Pedroza holds the record, set in 1985, for most consecutive title defenses at this division, with 19 defenses of the WBA title.
Since the end of the 2000s and early 2010s the Featherweight division is one of the most active in boxing with fighters such as Orlando Salido, Chris John, Juan Manuel López, Celestino Caballero, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Elio Rojas, Israel Vazquez, Cristobal Cruz, Rafael Márquez, Rocky Juarez, Steven Luevano, Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao.
|Sanctioning Body||Reign Began||Champion||Record||Defenses|
|WBA (Super)||January 29, 2017||Léo Santa Cruz||36–1–1 (19 KO)||3|
|WBA (Regular)||January 26, 2019||Xu Can||17–2 (3 KO)||1|
|WBC||March 28, 2015||Gary Russell, Jr.||30–1 (18 KO)||4|
|IBF||May 19, 2018||Josh Warrington||29–0 (6 KO)||2|
|WBO||July 23, 2016||Óscar Valdez||26–0 (20 KO)||6|
Longest reigning featherweight championsEdit
Below is a list of longest reigning featherweight champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply.
|Name||Title reign||Title recognition||Successful defenses|
|1.||Johnny Kilbane||11 years, 3 months, 24 days||World||4|
|2.||Chris John||10 years, 1 month, 5 days||WBA||18|
|3.||Abe Attell||10 years||World||18|
|4.||Eusebio Pedroza||7 years, 1 month, 23 days||WBA||19|
|5.||Sandy Saddler||7 years||World||4|
|6.||Naseem Hamed||4 years, 11 months, 20 days||WBO||15|
|7.||George Dixon||4 years, 5 months||World||3|
|8.||Gary Russell, Jr.||4 years, 2 months, 2 weeks and 4 days||WBC||4|
|9.||Antonio Esparragoza||4 years, 27 days||WBA||7|
|10.||Davey Moore||4 years, 3 days||World||5|
In amateur boxing, the weight limit is 54 to 57 kilograms (119 to 126 lb).
- Alexis Argüello
- Henry Armstrong
- Abe Attell
- Marco Antonio Barrera
- Kid Chocolate
- Luisito Espinosa
- Wilfredo Gómez
- Wilfredo Vázquez
- Naseem Hamed
- Paul Ingle
- Chris 'The Dragon' John
- Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson
- Kevin Kelley
- Derrick Gainer
- Kina Malpartida
- Juan Manuel Márquez
- Barry McGuigan
- Érik Morales
- Azumah Nelson
- Manny Pacquiao
- Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire
- Tommy Paul
- Willie Pep
- Sandy Saddler
- Calvin Grove
- Vicente Saldivar
- Salvador Sánchez
- Orlando Salido
- Miguel Ángel García
- Juan Manuel López
- Yuriorkis Gamboa
- Jeff Fenech
In kickboxing, a featherweight fighter generally weighs between 55 and 59 kg (121 and 130 lb). However, some governing bodies have slightly different classes. For example, the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) featherweight division (professional and amateur) is between 122.1–127 lb (55.4–57.6 kg).
In Bellator Kickboxing promotion, a featherweight division is up to 66 kg (146 lb).