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How to Become a Professional Boxer in the US

Last Updated: 16.05.22


Becoming a professional boxer is a very difficult job, as one needs to be in top physical and mental condition, meet the requirements of various authorities, and compete at an amateur level first. Pro athletes need to obtain the necessary licenses, as well as have the right training gear – you can check it out in this recent article.

Boxing is a very popular sport that has been around for a long time. When it comes to professional boxers, it’s important to know that these are athletes competing at the highest level, so they have to be in top shape at every moment. Given that going pro means that you don’t get to do anything else, professional boxers need to make a living out of this. 

In fact, there are two main sources of income that a professional boxer can have, namely the matches in which they compete and sponsorships and endorsements. Of course, for the latter, the athlete needs to be popular and have an important fanbase as well, so if you are planning to get to this level, you will probably need to shape a public image as well. 

With this being said, it’s pretty clear that becoming a professional boxer is not an easy thing to do, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible or that you shouldn’t try. In the next lines, we’ll explore what qualities one needs to make it in this field, and what it means overall. 


A few words on going pro

The first thing you should be aware of is that, in order to make it to the highest boxing level, you will need to train very hard, in order to develop your physical health and mental balance. The way an athlete approaches challenges is crucial for his or her success, so it’s definitely not something that should be overlooked, especially when one is just getting started. 

Next, it’s also very important to win as many matches as you can, given that you will compete at an amateur level at first. You need to develop your physical condition and build your reputation. Most of a professional boxer’s life is spent in the gym, so this is something that should not take you by surprise. 

When it comes to professional sports, most of the top athletes develop their passion from a very young age, and the same goes for boxing. If you look at legends such as Mike Tyson, you’ll quickly realize that the sooner you know this is what you want to do, the better it is for your career development. 



What are the requirements?

In terms of formal education, there is no specific requirement in order to join this sport, but the truth is that having at least a high school diploma is ideal. Once you are ready and have already gone through some training, you will be able to start competing at an amateur level. 

These are the first steps in order to get your career going, and the competitions are organized by various amateur boxing associations, so they are the ones that can provide more details on how to get started. However, one aspect that you must know is that you need to obtain a license in order to compete. 

These are issued by a boxing commission or the state’s athletic board, so once you know you are ready to start competing, you need to check this out and get all the paperwork in order. Furthermore, you will also need to go through some medical and physical tests in order to obtain the license, so make sure that you have enough time for this before the first match. 

Once you start competing at an amateur level, you should join a boxing club as well. This is the perfect setting in which you can continue training at the required intensity, but it’s also the kind of organization that allows you to keep up with the latest news in the industry. Moreover, being part of a reputable club also adds to your own brand and increases the chances of going pro. 


Going pro

What you should know is that going pro means that you’ll be competing at a boxing level that is based on strength, speed, endurance, and power. For an amateur player, this means that he or she will need to spend even more time in the gym, working on improving every necessary skill in order to ensure successful matches. 

In amateur boxing matches, there are only three rounds, whereas in the professional level this number can go up to 12 rounds unless there’s a knockout in the meantime, or the opponent gives up sooner. 

Therefore, you can safely assume that you will need to be at least 4 times stronger and have the necessary endurance to make it to the end of the match and ideally win it. This kind of level cannot be attained without professionals around you that can make sure you are in top shape all the time, so you will need to hire trainers in order to achieve this. 

If you are successful, you will also need a manager to take care of setting up matches and various paperwork, as you will spend most of your time training. If competing as an amateur boxer might mean a part-time activity, going pro will most probably mean this becomes your full-time occupation. 

Also in terms of requirements, as soon as you reach a pro level, you will need to join the industry’s organizations, such as the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Council, the International Boxing Federation, and any other local or national organizations that are operating in your area. 

You should also check with the local authorities to see if and how you can obtain the necessary licenses for various states and jurisdictions you will be competing in. Besides the athlete’s physical condition, there are multiple legal requirements that need to be met, so you shouldn’t overlook these for any match. 

The medical part of playing this sport is also very important, as you will need to go through and pass various tests, including neurological and blood ones in order to get your license. Other relevant criteria that have to be met include age, reputation, experience, and moral character. 



A bit more on amateur boxing

When it comes to amateur boxing, it’s a good thing that one can compete from a very young age, namely eight years old. This means that the fighter has more time to get used to the idea of joining a competition, as well as work on skills and physical strength. 

Various tournaments are organized in many states, and fighters are matched up with other young athletes within the same weight class and age range. One organization that holds multiple youth and adult tournaments around the country is the Golden Gloves of America. Good results in these matches can lead to international tournaments as well. 

The trick as an amateur boxer is to spend a lot of time training and creating a name for yourself, in order to have a chance to join the pro fights. As we’ve mentioned, moral character is one aspect taken into consideration for future pro matches, so that’s an aspect that you need to keep in mind and make sure that your conduct is always the right one. 


The team of professionals

If you are in excellent shape, you have everything you need and you are ready to go pro, things are going to take a completely new turn. Besides all of the licenses and examinations that you need to pass, you will also need to have a team of professionals to handle the business side of things. After all, you need to make a good living out of your career. 

That’s why having a promoter and a manager is always a good idea. The manager is responsible for supervising the training process, acting as an agent and working with others in the industry to work out the details of participating in various matches. The promoter, on the other hand, takes care of advertising deals and the athlete’s public image. 

While the idea of fighting in front of hundreds of screaming fans definitely sounds glamorous, there’s a lot more going on when it comes to boxing at a professional level. This is surely not the typical 9-to-5 job that one might have, so many different aspects need to be accommodated and worked together in order to make it there and be successful. 




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