Super Middleweight 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. In professional boxing, super Middleweight boxers weigh between 160 pounds (73 kg) and 168 pounds (76 kg). The class was introduced in 1967.
In the late 1960s, there was an interest in a division between the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions. A "Junior Light Heavyweight" division was briefly recognized at 167 pounds (76 kg). Later a "super middleweight" division was introduced by The World Athletic (WAA) at 168 pounds (76 kg). In Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 3. 1967, Don Fullmer beat the then unbeaten Joe Hopkins to win the first title.
On November 25, 1974, Billy Douglas beat Danny Brewer in two rounds to win the Ohio Commission's version of the world junior light heavyweight title. In Denver on April 3, 1982, Jerry "Wimpy" Halstead won the WAA's inaugural super middleweight title when he beat Ron Brown in six rounds. The media and most commissions did not recognise the division during this period.
In 1984, Enie Singletary faced off against Murray Sutherland for the IBF's version of the title, Sutherland beat Singletary in this bout. In 1987, the WBA created its version of the super middleweight title when Jesus Gallardo was defeated by Chong Pal Park. In 1988, Sugar ray Leonard was crowned as the WBC's champion when he defeated Donny Lalonde.
There has been a highly competitive super middleweight division in Britain and Ireland since the 1990s. The rivalries include that of between Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Michael Watson, which included two memorable fights and the tragic injury to Watson. The rivalry was followed by the arrival of Steve Collins, who defeated Benn and Eubank, before retiring and vacating the title. Additionally, Richie Woodhall and Robin Reid, between 1996-97 and 1997-98, also held versions of the title. Americans such as james Tony and Roy Jones Jr also regined as champions during this decade. The undefeated Joe Calzaghe and the likewise undefeated Mikkel Kessler, who were two champions of the division, fought in a bout to unify the title. Calzaghe won by unanimous decision and became the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.
The likes of Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Anthony Mundine, Arthur Abraham, Robert Stieglitz, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Jesse Brinkley, Librado Andrade, Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor kept the division active throught the end of the 2000s and the beginning of the 2010s.
The record for the most consecutive title defenses is jointly held by Sven Ottke and Joe Calzaghe with 21 defenses of the IBF and WBO titles respectively.
The following table lists the current champions of different sanctioning bodies.
|Sanctioning body||Reign began||Champion||Record||Defenses|
|WBA||December 19, 2020||Canelo Álvarez||57–2–2 (39 KOs)||3|
|WBC||December 19, 2020||Canelo Álvarez||57–2–2 (39 KOs)||3|
|IBF||November 6, 2021||Canelo Álvarez||57–2–2 (39 KOs)||0|
|WBO||May 8, 2021||Canelo Álvarez||57–2–2 (39 KOs)||1|