Featherweight is a weight class in professional boxing. Weight classes are categories in which competition is divided into to match competitors of the same size against each other. 126 pounds (57 kg) is the limit that a featherweight boxer can weigh in at.
The limit fluctuated during the early days of the division. While the British have always recognized the limit at 126 pounds, the Americans used to weigh in a featherweight at a limit of 114 pounds. George Dixon who was an early champion of the division, changed the limit to 120 pounds at first and then to 122 pounds. It was not until 1920 that the United States fixed 126 pounds as the limit.
The fight between Nobby Clark and Jim Elliott which took place in 1860 is often regarded as the first bout for the Featherweight Championship. However, it was only in 1889 that the division was widely accepted. This came only after the Ike Weir-Frank Murphy bout.
Johnny Kilbane who is considered as one of the greatest champions of the division of all time won the Featherweight Championship in 1912 from Abe Attell and held on to it for 11 years before he lost it to Eugene Criqui in 1923. Till date, he remains the second longest world title holder in boxing history. It is Eusebio Pedroza who holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in this division with 19 defenses of the WBA Title.
The end of 2000s and early 2010s saw this division having the most activity in the boxing world with fighters like Orlando Salido, Chris John, Juan Manuel López, Celestino Caballero, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Elio Rojas, Israel Vazquez, Cristobal Cruz, Rafael Márquez, Rocky Juarez, Steven Luevano and Manny Pacquiao.