Matchroom's Eddie Hearn is not a fan of the WBC's new "Bridgerweight" division
Two years after World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman revealed that the sanctioning body were exploring the possibility of splitting the heavyweight division into two separate weight classes, the new weight class was officially announced this week. Its name? The "Bridgerweight" division.
The division takes its name from 6-year-old Bridger Walker, who made headlines earlier this year after he and his 4-year-old sister were attacked by a dog in Wyoming, USA. The brave young boy was able to protect his sister from the dog and suffered multiple bite wounds in the process, and the story touched Sulaiman so much that he arranged for Walker to be named "honorary champion" and presented him with one of the WBC's coveted green and gold belts. And if that wasn't enough, the youngster now has his own boxing division named after him.
Sitting in between the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, the limit for Bridgerweight will be 224 lbs, and the WBC explained its reasoning behind the creation of the division in an official statement, comparing the heavyweights of yesteryear (such as Rocky Marciano, who weighed just 187 lbs in his heyday) with those of today (none bigger than Tyson Fury who has weighed upwards of 273 lbs).
Eddie Hearn, promoter of one of today's heavyweight giants, Anthony Joshua, weighed in on the division during an interview with Boxing Social. "Wouldn't we have been better off having it the other way around, from light heavy to cruiser[weight]", asked Hearn. "Because the problem is, is all the great cruiserweights, they're not 12 stone 8... they're right on the limit. Do you know what I mean?"
Hearn continued: "And I just feel that the Bridgerweight is where you're gonna get all the top cruiserweights, and no disrespect, but who wants to win the WBC Bridgerweight World Championship? You don't, do you? You want to win the historic WBC cruiserweight world championship.
"But I guess everything's got to start somewhere. I mean once, cruiserweight wasn't historic, was it? I'm not mad on it, to be honest with you.
"I just preferred it the other way round, because I feel like there's a lot of light heavyweights that are tight on the limit but just aren't cruiserweights. And when you say that 'well if cruiserweights can't compete with the heavy guys', well you just saw Oleksandr Usyk beat Derek Chisora, you've seen Gassiev move up.
"You know as you go back over the time, I know they're extreme examples, but Holyfield and, you know, many other cruiserweights that have gone up, and actually I think it's the natural step for a cruiserweight to go up. Lawrence Okolie is fighting Krzysztof Glowacki for the world cruiserweight championship; he's got two more fights and he'll move to the heavyweight division.
"And every cruiserweight, really, wants to be a heavyweight. They just don't want to be a Bridgerweight."