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How to Begin a Boxing Career

Last Updated: 16.05.22


While you can find out more about getting a good boxing bag just by reading reflex bag reviews, starting out on a boxing career will demand a lot more than that. Aspiring boxers have to work for many years to get their body and their skill to a good-enough level, while the industry is competitive and changes around them all the time.


What does boxing require?

If you are dreaming about becoming a professional boxer, you should know that the path to get there is a tough and arduous one. Working as a professional fighter will require that you are in excellent physical shape, understand the overall set of rules and moves of boxing, and develop your skills and reputation to a point where other people will pay money to watch you fight. 

Beginning one’s boxing career usually requires several years of training and practicing with peers in a gym or club setting and obtaining any state licensing once you’re ready to compete at a professional level. Since boxing is a demanding sport, your age, fitness level, and medical status will have a say in whether you can fight professionally in your state and for how long.

Therefore, it’s common for boxing careers to be quite short, especially when compared to other sports. However, since boxers usually fight when they’re in peak physical condition, an athlete with a good reputation can make quite a large amount of money and also stay in the field as a boxing coach after retiring from the ring.



Job description

Even though the most noticeable part of a boxer’s career happens while he or she is inside the ring, they also have to continuously train at their boxing club or gym to stay fit and consistently build their skills. 

In addition to that, boxers often meet with their trainers or coaches to get advice on their performance and on new ways they could improve before their next match. Fighting their peers, otherwise known as ‘sparring’, is another great way to help them hone their craft. Some athletes also do something called ‘shadow boxing’, which is hitting an invisible opponent in front of them.

Since many matches can have specific rules they need to follow, boxers will also consult with their coach or manager to learn if there’s anything special they need to be aware of before their upcoming fight. Furthermore, since boxing is very much a mental game, they also need to discuss tactics and strategies for winning.

What happens in an actual match is that each boxer uses a variety of punches and stances to hit their opponent and guard themselves against getting hit back. It is common practice for boxers to look at lessons learned from their matches and from their future opponent’s former matches to come up with a training plan that will utilize their strengths against him.

In order to achieve a successful career in boxing, any man or woman will need to develop quick reflexes, high physical strength, good eyesight, and the ability for competition and performing in front of people.


Education requirements

This can be a tricky one since the process of building a boxing career usually starts quite early with extensive training at a boxing club or gym by learning the basic moves, stances, rules of matches, and ways to avoid injuries for the aspiring boxer and for his or her opponents. 

This early start is required most of the time to allow the boxers to get physically strong and build their skills enough so they can stand their own inside a professional ring. This type of training often includes participating in amateur matches, where there are fewer restrictions when it comes to who can compete. 

When they feel they are ready, boxers may need to obtain a state license to be able to participate in matches and, in most cases, this requires being at least 18 years of age and, for some people, an extensive medical examination that will determine their fitness ability and their connection with a professional boxing association and manager.

This is why most of the time budding boxers associate with a boxing team or club, in order to get the best shot at building their career and getting opportunities for matches that would be hard to come by if they try to make it on their own.

How much a boxer makes varies since they get paid by match and based on differentiating factors such as skill, experience, weight class, and especially the level of prestige they have in the industry. Since, these days, professional boxers gain status as celebrities, their wages can vary significantly.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salaries for specific sports, it did report a median annual income of $51,370 for athletes and sports competitors of all types in May 2017, with half of them making less and the other half earning more.

There’s a big difference here that has to be taken into account because while the bottom 10 percent of the athletes got under $19,220 a year, the top 10 percent, such as world-famous professional boxers, made over $208,000.


The industry

While the matches will demand that aspiring boxers visit the event venues, most of their time will generally be spent at the boxing club or gym they belong to, training alongside coaches and other fellow boxers. 

These athletes do not generally have a set work schedule but they often set time aside for training and practice throughout the week. When match time is near, boxers often work long hours during evenings and weekends, especially if they still have a daytime job.

Daytime job or not, amateur tournaments are a crucial part of a budding boxer’s road to professional bouts. They are held around the country and boxers are matched up with other fighters in their same age range and weight class, so everybody has a fighting chance. For instance, Golden Gloves of America is a prominent youth and adult amateur association.

After all, the ones who are just starting out have to pay for their transportation to the event and spend time away from home. Furthermore, like any other professional athletes who participate in contact sports, boxers can face serious injuries, often to the head, shoulders, arms, or ribs. This is why an injured boxer may not be able to work inside or outside the gym until he heals.



Years of experience

Professional boxers usually start out at a lower rate per match and will be able to earn more with experience, sponsorship, and a good reputation. This is why experienced boxers who build a stellar reputation and fight in major competitions can end up making a lot of money and, for the rare ones who make it to the absolute top, even make millions every fight.

For instance, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had been boxing since the 1990s, fought a much-anticipated fight against Manny Pacquiao in 2015 and his salary for that night was a whopping $250 million.

Furthermore, boxing is a sport that takes a heavy toll on the body so careers are quite short and peak performance only lasts for a limited time. Many former boxers want to stay in the field so they take on jobs as boxing coaches or announcers at boxing events, while others simply begin new careers in another occupation.


Job growth

When it comes to job opportunities in the world of boxing, job growth for boxers and other athletes and sports competitors is expected to reach and remain at 7 percent all the way until 2026. This average growth is the result of more people being interested in sports events and especially local ones, even though job opportunities still vary by location.

Most positions in this growth chart will be available in already-existing sports leagues and teams with athletes still expected to sometimes be able to relocate for the best job prospects. 

When it comes to professional boxing, athletes should expect to face increasing competition since many people want the job and are willing to work enough to get it. Due to the fact that a short career with early retirement is what’s likely for most professional athletes, boxer positions are almost always opening up to replace those who are leaving.



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