In boxing, separate divisions relating to weight limits are kept in order to ensure that both fighters are playing at an even field. A huge weight difference between the boxers can lead to a big gap in their reach and power.
In recent years, it’s become quite common to see boxers lose weight to fight in a specific weight class and then quickly gain back the weight on the day of the match giving them an advantage.
Many boxing fans are left wondering how these boxers are able to gain weight so drastically after their weigh-ins. It’s a very excruciating process and requires diligence and discipline. This article will show you how your favorite boxers go through intense preparation to gain weight after their weigh-ins in order to get an edge over their opponent.
What Are Weigh-ins?
Basically, the way a weigh-in works is that the night before the match, both boxers weigh in to determine their weight. The night before the match, both the boxers will weigh in to determine their weight. If the class limit is 155lbs and one of the boxer’s weight isn’t under that weight, then there’s a high chance for the boxer to get penalized and lose some serious money.
Why Do They Gain Weight?
Let’s say that you weighed in under 155 lbs just before the fight. This’ll still give you some time to rehydrate before the fight and gain some weight making you bigger than your adversary and giving you a considerable advantage.
For example, when Diaz and Mcgregor fought, it was a welterweight match set at 170lbs.
But after the match, Mcgregor repeatedly mentioned that his opponent came into the ring with at least twenty pounds over. Diaz, on the other hand, denied the claim. This happened because Diaz was able to rehydrate. This is also legal and isn’t considered cheating.
It’s much easier to gain weight quickly than to cut down or lose weight. That’s why boxers are able to rehydrate so quickly.
Let’s take this into consideration: say you’re six feet tall and you weigh around 180lbs and cut down to 155 lbs, you’ll still possess a considerable advantage over people at a similar weight. After your weigh-in, you drink and eat a lot and get into the cage at 167lbs. You’ll always aim for a weight advantage because you’ll be heavier than your opponent and as a result, you’ll be harder to knock down. Besides, there’ll always be a little extra power behind your punches.
It’s possible that weigh-ins can take place on the night of the fight. However, this seldom happens. Boxing organizations are so massive, they can derive a lot of cash from the weigh-ins and so they conduct it just before the night. It’s pretty much all about the bucks.
How Do They Do It?
Frankly, the amount of stress and dedication it takes for boxers to gain weight is absurd. However, when it comes to boxing we all know by now that weight management is a daily routine. The meticulous and massive weight loss and regain by the boxers are generally accompanied by diet experts.
Boxers always start by losing weight before eventually gaining it back a day before the fight. This is done in two ways:
The first method includes cutting down food, having a healthy diet in smaller portions, and intensive exercise to lose as much weight as possible before the official weigh-in. Continuous efforts are made to ensure that as much fat or even muscle is shredded.
The second method is through extensive dehydration. Depending on the severity of the weight cut, it can last from a day to several days. This can be extremely dangerous and fatal for normal people like you and me.
However, keep in mind that boxers are used to weight cutting. They are guided by experts and can lose and regain as much as 10 or even 15 pounds after the weigh-ins.
After they’ve spent a considerable amount of time losing weight and hitting the desired level, boxers resort to heavy and intensive rehydration and food intake to regain as much weight as possible in a short window of time.
Following weigh-ins, they resort to consuming high-quality sports drinks as they have to efficiently restore the electrolytes as well as the water level that they’d previously lost. After excessive dehydration, large gulps of water can lead to athletes becoming ill and sick.
This is why it’s recommended that they conform to small sips of water throughout the day. There are certain fluid replacement solutions that are specifically targeted towards diarrhea sufferers as well and this can be equally effective.
The boxers also give particular attention to their diets. An elite nutritionist is hired to ensure that they’re consuming a diet with a specific focus on carbohydrates in order to re-energize and fuel the body for the upcoming fight.
Diet is also adjacent to the combatant’s weight and size. Bulkier boxers require a considerable amount of protein as they need a higher rate of amino acids in order to repair their muscle fibers.
Additionally, need much more carbohydrates as the muscles make use of glucose which is converted from glycogen. These are the primary sources of fuel for the working muscles.
When it comes to a much leaner boxer who’s more endurance based, such a high level of protein and carbohydrate isn’t required. Instead, they often undergo a diet with a higher ratio of essential fat.
Is It Dangerous?
The truth is, rapid weight changes can be very dangerous. Not just that, if not done properly they’ll be in no shape for a fight. This is alleged to have happened during the iconic fight between Holms and Rousey. Rousey dehydrated to meet her class limits.
During the match, she was visibly sluggish, bloated, and even a little disoriented. During the photographic session, she suffered a temperamental meltdown. These are actually all symptoms of a dehydration syndrome.
If it’s not carried out precisely, the results can be very costly for the combatant. Always keep in mind that these process of extreme weight loss and gain is strictly prohibited for normal people like us. They’re combatants and their body is adjusted to extreme weight manipulations. Besides, they always have experts and medics on standby.
Weight manipulations in boxing are nothing new. However, it can be very dangerous and risky for boxers. Besides, it’s often adhered to by boxers to secure an advantage over their adversary when fighting in lower weight divisions. There have been some pressure to change the regulations on weight manipulation by boxers as they feel it might give an unfair advantage to some. However, it’s still early to see if the changes will be made.