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Be a Boxer: Requirements, Description and Outlook

Learn the various steps necessary for becoming a boxer. Research the training, career requirements, and experience required for starting a career as a boxer. View article »

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  • 0:01 Should I Become a Boxer?
  • 0:50 Career Requirements
  • 1:16 Steps to Become a Boxer

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Boxer?

Boxers are career athletes who compete individually in hand-to-hand fighting matches within a square ring encased by parallel rows of rope. Matches are officiated by referees within the ring and consist of pre-determined periods of time called rounds. The winner is determined by knockout, injury, technical knockout (TKO), judges' scores, or referee decision. Because of the violent and potentially harmful nature of the sport, injury is common. Boxers wear cushioned gloves and also protective headgear at the amateur and Olympic levels.

Career Requirements

Salary (May 2015) $44,680 (median annual salary for athletes and sports competitors)
Education No formal education necessary, though athletes go through extensive training, generally starting during or before high school
License Professional boxers need to be licensed in a state to fight there; amateur boxers might need licensure
Experience Experience as an amateur is required before turning professional
Key Skills Boxers must be in tremendous physical condition

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Golden Gloves of America, State Athletic Commissions

Steps to Become a Boxer

Let's go through the steps you'll need to take to become a boxer:

Step 1: Begin Training

Prospective boxers often begin training at a young age at a community center or local boxing gym. Young boxers might work with a coach privately or in a class. Training involves learning the fundamentals of boxing and ways to get in shape. Inexperienced boxers do not fight in bouts; instead they train by hitting a bag, developing footwork, jumping rope, and learning punching combinations.

Step 2: Earn State Licensure

To fight in a particular state, an amateur boxer might need to obtain a license from that state's athletic commission; professional boxers always need to be licensed. When seeking licensure, you typically must pass a physical that ensures you are fit to fight, in addition to submitting an application. You also might have to undergo various medical exams, including an EKG, neurological test, and blood work. Other common qualifications for licensure include age, moral character, experience, and reputation.

Step 3: Participate in Amateur Boxing Tournaments

Boxers as young as eight years old can participate in amateur tournaments. These tournaments are held around the country, and boxers are matched up with other fighters in their same age range and weight class. Golden Gloves of America is a prominent boxing association that showcases amateur youth and adult boxers. Performing well at the annual Golden Gloves tournament can lead to berths in international tournaments, possibly including the Olympics.

Success Tip:

Continue training. To be successful at every fighting level, you must be in exemplary physical condition and maintain a rigorous training regimen that prepares them to face their competitors. Brute strength, stamina, agility, the ability to change pace regularly, and quick reflexes are all important attributes for becoming a successful boxer.

Step 4: Assemble a Team of Professionals

While a boxer can opt to represent themselves, these athletes typically surround themselves with a team of professionals. Chief among these team members are a manager and a promoter. A manager acts as a boxer's agent, supervising training, working with matchmakers to find opponents, and negotiating payments for matches. They are also likely to market the boxer in hopes of landing a promoter, who will organize, advertise, and produce the boxer's bouts. Ultimately, success is a combination of skill/discipline and having a good manager and promoter.

Success Tip:

Understand financial prospects. Financial gain takes time since prize money is accumulated as a result of winning fights. Boxers are generally guaranteed a prize or 'purse' for a fight, which is assessed after administrative costs, promoter fees, and training expenses.

While you don't need any formal education to be a boxer, you will need extensive training and must be in top physical condition, while also working yourself up from the amateur to the the professional level.

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