Tishchenko is first WBA bridgerweight champion

Looks like the WBA will adpopt the “bridgerweight” name for their super cruiserweight division. Over the weekend, Evgeny Tishchenko (13-1, 8 KOs) made history by officially becoming the first WBA bridgerweight champion by defeating Leon Harth (22-6-1, 13 KOs) this weekend at the Agenda Arena in Dubai. Tishchenko dropped Harth in round two and finished him in the sixth round to claim the belt in the 200-224 pound weight class.

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  • I know everyone clowns on this division (myself included at times), but if it produces some good fights I don’t think we will care too much, ultimately – and it has a chance.

    • Lucie, your opinion here won’t be popular, but I agree with you. There will be the occasional freak like Wilder, or a supremely skilled guy like Usyk who are in the 210-220 range who will be able to make it to the top of the Heavyweight division, but those types are few and far enough between that this new division will make for more competitive fights for fighters around that size. From Strawweight on up, it seems like there’s a weight class probably around every 4-5 pounds on average. Why draw the line at Bridgerweight? Seems more useful that a lot of the Junior/Super weight classes.

      • One problem with having a division for every few pounds is most sports fans have stopped following boxing partly because there are so many organizations and weight divisions that being a champion has lost its importance.

        • I think boxing fans, in general, are overly sensitive and dramatic and negative. Some as simple as a bad decision happens and we’re calling for an overhaul or an investigation. I don’t even think this approaches THAT level though, Michael. It may not be as popular as it used to be, but I’d tell you to go look at a schedule of upcoming fights one day and notice just how many there are and WHERE they are. Virtually every corner of the world is investing in the sport in some way and placing it in avenues where it can be viewed.

          • There are still a lot of good events but not nearly as many club shows in the US. Championship fights were major sporting events unlike today where most sports fans could not tell you who Tyson Fury is.

      • Yep! We bury it in one breath but then a guy like Richard Torrez or Babic comes around and what’s the first thing we say? ‘Oh he’s too small’. And it’s the truth. Unless you are some genius like Usyk or have genuine all-time eraser power like Wilder, you’re probably going to struggle mightily, as you would expect, fighting skilled much larger competition. It didn’t used to be an issue because when you got to a certain size, those bigger guys were just big targets. They were terrible; but when you look at the top 15-20 and there are MORE of those guys than not, I don’t think separating them – or at least OFFERING AN OPTION is the worst idea in the world. We’ll all get over though, if it produces interesting fights imo.

        • Lucie, guys like Usyk and Wilder seem to come along quite a bit. Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes at his absolute best was around 220, Muhammad Ali, etc… I think the actual outlier is Tyson Fury. A huge man who can actually box, use his size and even survive a shot from Wilder (I still can’t believe he got up in their first fight!).

          I love Babic, but he is more tough guy than technician. Torrez is more refined and I think he might have a chance against anybody except Fury.

          So, beyond Tyson Fury, what other Heavyweights really create a need for the Bridgerweight Division?

          BTW, I’m with you on good fights. I don’t care what weight they’re at, but you can count on one hand (maybe 2) all the great Cruiserweight fights, so do you really expect an extra 24 pounds to create more? Personally, I’m doubting it will create many.

          • I don’t think those guys come along quite often anymore, Scott. I think that they used to, but I don’t think they do anymore. Between Tyson & Holyfield and Usyk & Wilder, who was there? There was David Tua, Chris Byrd and John Ruiz who were really good fighters, but no one who we’ll sit here and call great, at least I wouldn’t. That was an era of Lennox Lewis & Riddick Bowe and then the Klitschkos and I think that’s where the change began.

            I think Jalolov would still give Torrez a lot of problems and I think we might see that fight at that some point, but besides him, you go look at what those guys are fighting at now. Even the ones on the smaller side would be someone like Frank Sanchez and he’s 6’4, 240. Hrgovic’s the IBF’s mandatory and he’s 6’6, 245 and they most certainly are not great fighters yet and they may never be, but they’re far from the Primo Carneras and Buddy Baers and Jess Willards and Mike Whites and Michael Grants and Tye Fields of the world and they’re kind of second tier guys right now. You could go Fury, AJ, Zhang is huge, Joyce is huge. These are the guys you’re trying to compete against if you’re someone whose prime physical condition is 220lbs.

            I don’t know how many great fights it will create. I have no clue at all. Two or three years ago I know the best fight I saw that year was a cruiserweight fight. It was Glanton – Apochi. You give me more of those, I’ll be happy and I won’t be the only one. Guy A weighs in at ‘something’ and Guy B weighs ‘something else’, but they absolutely savage one another: Works for me Scott.

          • Lucie, greats points. You mentioned that the change began around the Klitschko(s) era. The idea of something like this new Bridgerweight thing, or at least raising the Cruiser limit, crossed my mind around that time. This was after seeing Wladimir’s defenses against Mormeck, Eliseo Castillo, Byrd, Ibragimov, among others, where the opponent seemed at a ridiculous size disadvantage, and had an almost impossible task to deal with in facing Klitschko. A couple of those guys (Byrd & Ibragimov) actually did manage to become belt holders around that time, but neither had any chance against Wladimir or Lewis (Byrd wasn’t going to beat Vitaly either except for the injury), and that wasn’t because of a lack of skill. Starting around that time, there was a legit case for something like a Briderweight division IMO.

            If they took, say, 100 or so Heavyweights from around the Byrd era up to the current fighters, who primarily fought between 200-224, and did a poll on whether a Briderweight division was necessary, I’d be real curious to see what that would look like.

          • And I forgot to add, Scott but if you go back and look at great fights between smaller sized heavyweights who would now fall into this weight class, if they were interested. One of my favorite fights ever, Holyfield – Dokes, would have been one of those fights. A lot of Holyfield’s fights would have been. The Tyson fights and Moorer fights included. David Tua – David Izon and you could go back further and further and see more examples, but guys in that range have produced EXCELLENT fights. They were heavyweight fights but maybe now they aren’t.

          • Scott, as far as guys like Wilder/Usyk coming around quite a bit, of the examples you used, Ali peaked probably around 1967, Holmes in the early 80s, Tyson maybe the mid to late 80s, and Holyfield around the early 90s. That’s going back quite a ways, and maybe making the point that guys like that are indeed few and far between. Pretty sure that of the current Ring Magazine top 10 Heavyweights, all usually weigh in beyond the Bridger limit except Usyk & Wilder.

    • I agree, if two guys put on a good fight, that should triumph over everything. It would certainly help if the division had some name recognition as well, not just guys that are too small for heavies or too big for cruisers. Remember-people scoffed at the Cruiserweight division when it was first introduced (many still do) in about 1980/81. It was formed by the WBC then the WBA followed suit originally calling it the “Junior Heavyweight Division”. There have been several other failed attempts over the last 25 years to form a division in between Cruiserweight and Heavyweight.

      • Bobby Czyz fought a guy named Richard Jackson for something called the WBU Super Cruiserweight title. Pretty sure that was the only fight for that title ever, but like you said Kris, they’ve been trying for awhile now.

        • Haha! I think I saw that fight on Tuesday Nights Fights! They mentioned during the fight that Richard Jackson was a former pro football Wide Receiver who played in the old USFL. How or why I remember that? No idea. Weren’t there even other attempts after that to form a division at that weight?

      • Kris, I think Bridger will stick this time, especially now that two of the sanctioning bodies are in on it, and have apparently even agreed on the “Bridgerweight” name. It’s pretty much unfolding exactly the same way as the scenario you mentioned above from 1980/81, with the WBA originally going with “Junior-Heavyweight”, only to change it to the WBC’s preferred name.

        • I think you’re right USF. Boxing fans are less sticklers for tradition now. Weight classes and alphabet titles hold less significance. I mean, you don’t even have to be a real boxer to gain a following in boxing now. Name recognition is key to legitimizing the division. A major coup would be if they could somehow convince Usyk to step down in weight and challenge Kevin Larena for his title, then have someone like Beterebiev step up in weight for a megafight! That would put the Bridgerweight Division on the map! Hey, crazier things have happened in boxing. Money talks! Either that scenario or just have Jake Paul start campaigning as a Bridgerweight!…just kidding.

    • First sentence from the above article: “Looks like the WBA will adpopt the “bridgerweight” name for their super cruiserweight division.”

      • USF- You and I have discussed this before, but the Bridgerweight division was named after a kid who saved his sister from getting mauled by a dog. I guess his name was Bridger. I assumed the called it that because it bridged the gap between cruiser and heavy.

        • Kris, I remember discussing that. Was wondering how they came up with “Cruiserweight” back in the day though. I thought Junior-Heavyweight would have been the more appropriate name back in 1980-81, and more recently with the creation of Bridgerweight.

          • Yeah, why did they call it cruiserweight? I always envisioned like a middleweight or light heavyweight puttin’ on lbs, just kinda cruisin’ on up! You ever read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential? He had a hilarious line in the book where he described the show “Cagney and Lacey” in the later episodes when they got all fat as “after they bulked up to the cruiserweights”

  • Waiting for the additional “WBA interim Bridgerweight champion” and the “WBA super Bridgerweight champion”….

  • This fight is a great metaphor for this “new” division. No one knew about this fight and no one cared.

  • great now we can have our first Bridgerweight unification fight that no one cares about

  • EI like the bridgerwight division , I just look at it as non fat a** heavyweights. I never want to watch guys like Ruiz, Gorman etc…. Those guys should get penalties for coming in so fat. We are the customers and they are putting in absolutely no effort in training camp.

  • no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot get exited about yet another weight class. And the fact that it is placed in the traditional weight range of the heavyweights, make it worse. Usyk proved beyond a shade of a doubt that a smallish heavyweight can defeat a much bigger fighter. It boils down to talent. we don’t need this.!

  • Some of you have been crying for decades wanting a new division and you got it. How many people have cried about needing a super heavyweight division and you basically got it. The small heavyweights are bridgerweight’s and the super HW’s are the rest of them. There is now a larger bad side. We had 8-10 HW titles. The normal four (WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF). We also have super, and intern titles. Now we are looking at the potential of 8-10 more titles as others join into this.

    Having been a fan of boxing for 40+ years watching all fights even Friday night fights I often see potential for things to happen for the better or worse. Last night one of those things popped in my head. Could Jake Paul be getting a world title match? We have all seen (Id hope people are noticing) that the WBC has shown interest in the younger Paul brother. Could the WBC set up a fight between Jake Paul and a 200 pounder for a title?

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