In the world of boxing, the heavyweight division is king. The heavyweights are the biggest and baddest fighters in the sport, and as such, they tend to be the most popular with fans.
When you think of a professional boxer, the first image that comes to mind is probably that of a lean, mean fighting machine. After all, boxers must be in top physical condition to compete in the ring. However, there are some heavyweight boxers out there who don’t necessarily fit this mold. Some of them are downright obese!
So, why some heavyweight boxers are fat? The reason has to do with the fact that there is no weight limit in heavyweight boxing. As long as a boxer weighs 200 pounds or more, they can compete in the heavyweight division. Heavyweights can range in size from lean and muscular to overweight and obese. They also don’t have to worry about cutting weight since there are almost no restrictions.
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to professional boxing. Some of the best heavyweight boxers in the world are obese.
No Need To Make Weight
Making weight is a staple of almost all martial arts and combat sports. It is such a big deal that entire weight classes are dedicated to ensuring that competitors are equally matched in size. For example, the UFC has weight classes that range from 115 pounds up to 265 pounds.
However, making weight can be an arduous and exhausting process. Some fighters have to starve themselves and dehydrate their bodies to gain weight. This can lead to serious health problems in the short and long term.
Fortunately, heavyweight boxers don’t have to worry about making weight. As long as they don’t weigh more than the upper limit (if the organization has an upper limit), they can compete. This means that heavyweight boxers can be of any size and shape.
This theory suggests that boxers take advantage of this by packing on as much muscle and fat as possible to gain a size advantage over their opponents.
Technique And Performance Over Appearances
While it may seem like being overweight would be a disadvantage in a boxing match, this isn’t always the case. Some of the best heavyweight boxers in history have been obese.
These boxers have overcome their size disadvantage with technique and performance. While their opponents may have had the size advantage, these boxers made up for it with better footwork, head movement, and punching power.
Technique will always be more important than size in boxing. This is why some of the best heavyweight boxers in the world were on the heavier side.
Frequently, heavyweight boxers are heavy because it gives them an advantage in the ring.
More Mass Equals More Power
One of the most essential things in boxing is power. The ability to deliver bone-crushing punches separates the great heavyweight boxers from the merely good ones. And when it comes to generating power, size matters.
So if you’re looking to put your opponent on the canvas, being a little on the heavy side can be an advantage. The more mass you have behind your punches, the more force they will have when they connect with your opponent. That’s why many of the biggest knockout artists in boxing history have been heavyweight fighters.
Fat Is Good for Absorbing Punches
Another vital aspect of boxing is defense. A good fighter needs to be able to take punches without going down. And once again, size plays a role here. A larger fighter will have more tissue and padding around their vital organs, which means they’ll be better able to absorb punishment without taking too much damage.
This was famously illustrated in 2016 when then-heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was knocked down multiple times by Wladimir Klitschko. However, he still managed to get back up and finish the fight (ultimately winning by decision). If Fury had carried less weight, those knockdowns might have been knockouts.
Fat Doesn’t Require Oxygen
Time and time again, we’ve seen heavyweight boxers gas out in the later rounds of a fight. This is because all that extra weight requires a lot of oxygen to sustain, and eventually, their lungs just can’t keep up.
But here’s the thing: muscle is much harder to move around than fat. So even though fat doesn’t require as much oxygen to sustain itself, it takes up more body space. This means that a heavyweight boxer who weighs 240 pounds might tire out sooner than his opponent, who also weighs 240 pounds but has less muscle and more fat.
Of course, this is just a theory. But it’s food for thought. Ultimately, it all comes down to how your body is built and how well you can cope with the physical demands of boxing. It also comes down to how well you have prepared endurance-wise for your fight. If you adequately prepare, the weight will hinder you even more.
Another reason some heavyweight boxers are fat is that it can make them less intimidating. In boxing, intimidation can be just as important as actual skill. If a boxer looks like he or she could hurt you badly, it can put their opponent off their game before the match even begins.
Despite these advantages, there are also some disadvantages to being a fat boxer. One of these is that fans will respect you less. In boxing, there is still a lot of focus on being physically fit and in shape. As a result, fans and media members may need to take overweight boxers more seriously.
Another disadvantage of being fat is that it can lead to poorer stamina and endurance. In boxing matches, maintaining your energy levels throughout the bout is crucial. If you tire too quickly, it gives your opponent a significant advantage.
Additionally, carrying too much extra weight can strain the body and lead to injuries. As a result, many heavyweight boxers walk a fine line between being too heavy and just heavy enough. They need to find the sweet spot that gives them the advantages of extra weight without the disadvantages.
Less Agility And Speed
Finally, being overweight can make it more difficult to stay agile and quick on your feet. This is because carrying extra weight can make you slower and less coordinated. And in boxing, speed and agility can often be the difference between winning and losing.
Successful Fat Boxers
In 2015, Tyson Fury shocked the boxing world when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko to claim the heavyweight title. At 27 years old and nearly 280 pounds, Fury was one of the heaviest—and fattest—boxers to ever hold the heavyweight crown. Since then, Fury has gone on to have even more success in the ring. It also includes a win over Deontay Wilder in 2020 that cemented his place as one of the best heavyweights in the world today.
Tyson Fury is regarded as one of the heavyweight GOATs. Despite being on the heavier side, his athleticism and technique are superb. He has excellent head movement, which makes him very hard to hit, and his footwork is also very good for a man of his size. He punches with surprising power for a heavyweight, as evidenced by how he hurt Wilder multiple times in their 2020 bout.
Fury isn’t the only heavyweight boxer who has found success despite carrying around extra weight. Several other heavyweights have bucked the trend recently and proven that you don’t need to be ripped to be a champion.
Another heavyweight who’s found success despite carrying around extra weight is Andy Ruiz. In 2019, Ruiz made headlines when he scored a stunning upset victory over Anthony Joshua to win the heavyweight title.
At nearly 300 pounds, Ruiz was one of history’s heaviest—and fattest—champions. He would go on to lose the title back to Joshua in their rematch later that year but proved that “fat” boxers could compete at the sport’s highest level.
Eric “Butterbean” Esch
As the name implies, Butterbean was a considerable man. He competed as a heavyweight for most of his career. Still, Butterbean also fought at super heavyweight later in his career. He weighed close to 400 pounds at his peak and was one of the heaviest—and fattest—boxers ever.
Butterbean found great success in the ring despite his size, winning multiple world titles and becoming a fan favorite in the process.
He may not be the most famous boxer in the world, but Eric “Butterbean” Esch is a legend in his own right. Butterbean’s story is one of the rags to riches, as he went from being a poor kid growing up in the backwoods of Alabama to becoming one of the most successful heavyweight boxers in history. In addition to his boxing career, Butterbean has also found success as an actor, reality TV star, and spokesperson.
By the end of his career, he had accumulated 77 wins (58 by KO) and ten losses. This shows that skill and technique are more important than size and weight.
Another heavyweight who found success despite being overweight is Dennis Lewandowski. Lewandowski is a German boxer who competes in the heavyweight division. His professional record stands at 17-5-0, which is nothing to scoff at.
Lewandowski has found great success in the heavyweight division, despite being one of the heavier fighters. He has excellent Knockout power, as evidenced by his professional record, and is also a very skilled technical boxer. Lewandowski has won multiple German heavyweight titles and is regarded as one of the best heavyweights in Germany.
Last but not least, we have Chauncy Welliver. Welliver is an American heavyweight boxer who has competed professionally since 2003. His professional record stands at 57–13–5, which is impressive considering that he was never knocked out.
Welliver is another heavyweight who has found success despite being overweight. He is a very experienced boxer and has fought some of the best in the world. The WBC at one time ranked him as the #5 heavyweight in the world, which is a testament to his skill and ability.
Size and weight don’t matter as much as technique and skill in boxing. These five heavyweights are proof of that. So, if you’re looking to get into boxing, keep your size from holding you back. You can be successful no matter what your size is.
So, why are some heavyweight boxers fat? In short, carrying around extra weight can give them an advantage in the ring. While there are some downsides to being overweight, such as decreased stamina and increased risk of injury, many heavyweight boxers feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. Finding the perfect balance of weight is crucial for these athletes if they want to be successful in their chosen sport.