Secular trends in adiposity and musculoskeletal dimensions of elite heavyweight boxers between 1889 and 2019

Han, T. S., Gallis, T. G., Sharma, P. and Lean, M. E.J. (2020) Secular trends in adiposity and musculoskeletal dimensions of elite heavyweight boxers between 1889 and 2019. Sport Sciences for Health, 16, pp. 249-255. (doi: 10.1007/s11332-019-00598-2)

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Purpose: With improving nutrition and health, athletes have grown taller and heavier over the past century. Since there is no weight restriction in the heavyweight class, secular changes in anthropometric measurements of heavyweight boxers may mirror those of contemporary general populations. Objectives: We aimed to (1) examine secular trends in adiposity and musculoskeletal measurements in heavyweight boxers, (2) determine anthropometric differences between champions and unsuccessful challengers. Methods: Detailed demographics taken at time of contest (first official World Championship to current contest: 1889–2019) were collected from media archives. Results: All 237 boxers (83 champions, 154 challengers) contesting a recognised heavyweight World Championships were identified. They had mean (± SD) age = 28.9 ± 4.1 years, height = 187.3 ± 6.5 cm, reach = 195.2 ± 9.4 cm, weight = 97.5 ± 11.5 kg, BMI = 27.8 ± 2.4 kg/m2 and waist = 87.9 ± 6.2 cm. Contest years explained 25.9% (p < 0.001) of the variance in BMI for champions and 30.9% (p < 0.001) for challengers, 9.1% (p < 0.071) in WC for champions and 19.9% (p < 0.001) for challengers. Contest years correlated with height (r = 0.531, p < 0.001), reach (r = 0.341, p < 0.001), weight (r = 0.603, p < 0.001) and BMI (r = 0.370, p = 0.001) among all documented boxers, and with waist only in challengers (r = 0.349, p < 0.001) but not in champions (r = 0.078, p = 0.509). Compared with challengers, champions had greater stature by + 3.4 cm (p < 0.001), reach + 3.6 cm (p = 0.005) and weight + 3.7 kg (p = 0.017), with similar BMI and waist. Champions had larger biceps and forearms but did not differ from challengers in other musculoskeletal dimensions. Conclusions: Over 130 years elite heavyweight boxers have increased in size (BMI) and reach but waists in champions have remained static. Being heavier, taller with longer and bigger arms, but with similar in BMI and waist, appear to be differentiating factors between champions and challengers.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lean, Professor Michael
Authors: Han, T. S., Gallis, T. G., Sharma, P., and Lean, M. E.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Sport Sciences for Health
ISSN (Online):1825-1234
Published Online:05 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Authors 2019
First Published:First published in Sport Sciences for Health 16:249–255
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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