How-To

How to Start a Career in Boxing and Become a Professional Fighter

professional boxer

If you dream of fighting for the UFC or of becoming a pound-for-pound boxer, then you should definitely fulfill your dreams and become a professional boxer. For many people, boxing is their main source of income and their way of life. Although you need to pursue boxing devotionally and have to sacrifice a lot of things, it is for sure a great career option. If you aren’t sure how fruitful your dreams could be in terms of earning a living and how you can start this career from scratch, this article will help you out in setting the foundation of this profession.

What the Boxing Profession is All About?

As a professional boxer, you have to maintain an excellent physical shape. In fact, more than the abs and toned muscles, you need to be physically fit by having a strong core, strong glutes, and very flexible limbs. You need to study the rules of boxing and the moves and techniques as well to become a professional fighter.

You cannot expect to become a boxer in a few months. The career requires training for several years, practice with peers and trainers, participation in local and state events and a license. Your age, fitness level, medical condition, and mental status will be the determinant factors, apart from the skills, for an entry into the profession. Boxing is an international sport, just like cricket and football. Therefore, you have to build a good reputation so that after your body gives away in the ring, you can still be in the profession as a coach.  

What Boxers Do?

A boxer’s career will typically revolve around the boxing ring. It will involve continual training at clubs or gyms, building stamina and staying fit to endure the exhausting fights, and practicing the moves, tactics, and techniques every day to improve their performance. They need to maintain a particular and strict diet throughout their career and especially before their fights.

Boxing includes a variety of punches, stances, and shielding tactics to hit their opponents and guard themselves all the while. Apart from the mentioned skills, successful boxers need good eyesight, quick reflexes, and sportive spirit to be a winner.

Therefore, if you need to achieve more, endure the extensive training for several years and run the show for a long period, you need to start early in your life. To build your career and get opportunities, you need to associate with, and represent a boxing club.

Steps to Start a Career in Boxing

Step 1: Join a Boxing Organization

Join a club, which is affiliated with national boxing organization. The club must have represented many professional fighters and should have a reputation. Before you join, you have to identify your motives and set your goals accordingly. Keep your aspirations high, such as becoming a world champion and start by competing as an amateur. Aim for regional titles before you think global.

There is no shortcut or cheaper way to this, such as joining a gym that includes boxing classes. You need to join a club that is meant for boxing, exactly like clubs that are dedicated to football and cricket. A boxing club that trains other forms of martial arts can also be considered. A boxing club will have its own gymnasium, fitness center, nutritionist and dietician, and necessary equipments.

If you are aiming higher than regional championships, you need an expert trainer, someone who has been a fighter at one point. Find out if the club will recommend you for sports tournaments when times come. Sign-up for a short-term contract so that you can easily switch clubs if you do not feel comfortable.

Step 2: Learn the Basics

Don’t skip this part. You would want to establish a strong foundation if your aim is a multi-storied building. Similarly, you cannot begin your career in boxing without learning the basics of it. You have to self-study the boxing terminologies and techniques before you begin your training. Prove your trainer that you have developed an interest already and are an enthusiastic trainee. You don’t have to be quite accomplished with the basics. Just knowing what it is from your club peers will help you grasp the moves faster. You could also watch the basics of boxing on video streaming channels, like YouTube.

Some of the basics of boxing that you should research before you join include:

  • Jab: Basic and commonly used punch that is thrown to opponent’s chin.
  • Upper Cut: The punch is thrown under the opponent’s chin or solar plexus at a closer range.
  • Hook: A sideways punch is delivered with elbows. It is meant to attack the side jaws and ears of the opponent.
  • Cross: It is delivered with the dominant hand by rotating your torso in a horizontal movement.
  • Southpaw: It is meant for left-handed fighters. You have to learn the stance in case you encounter one.

Apart from these basic moves, you should also know how an outside fighter and an inside fighter fights. The distance, the hand position, and the preferred moves characterize the terminologies.

Step 3: Start Your Training, Physically, Mentally and Health Wise

Start your training with your trainer. Learn the basic moves, stance, and guarding tactics first, and practice it every day to become skilled. You will be given training on foot works, defense moves and positioning as they also matter. You have to work on your secondary skills, such as physical endurance, strength, core strengthening, agility, and reflexes.

The Complete Circuit

A good program will include complete physical training regimens, such as jumping ropes, circuit training, heavyweights lifting, punching bags, practicing outside the ring, and other secondary skills including Yoga, body balance, interval training, and cardio and core exercises.

You have to work out for at least 6 days a week, a day’s session lasting 90 minutes. You have to also work on stretching your muscles before and after working out to prevent injuries and reduce stiff muscles.

Train Your Endurance and Mind

Moving on, you will need to work on your endurance and train your mind as well. Boxing involves two major body parts, namely the legs and shoulders. They both need to be strong and powerful to endure the constant tiny movements and deliver nerve-wracking punches. Jumping ropes and speed bags will help you work on your leg and shoulder endurance respectively.

You need to train your mind to stay focused and energetic. You could join a dance class to improve body balance and flexibility, practice yoga for the same reasons and to improve your cognitive skills, or join some fun activities to makes things light and entertaining.

Eat Well –You Become What You Eat

Lastly, you have to eat well and eat right. You have to follow a diet that all professional boxers follow. You will be assigned a nutrition program based on your medical and metabolism diagnoses. Your diet will generally include high protein foods, such as eggs, chicken, fish, fruits, peanut butter and vegetables, healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts and avocado, and balanced portion of carbs.

Step 4: Start as an Amateur

Find a local boxing association. You could get help from your boxing club. Find events that you can participate in. If you are from the state of US, then visit USAboxing.org to collect necessary information.

Moving on, you will be required to register as an amateur boxer. Consult your state’s Athletic Commission to know more details about the application process. However, be ready for a physical examination to confirm your eligibility.

Step 5: Begin Your Amateur Boxing Career by Participating in Unsanctioned Events

Unsanctioned boxing events are great opportunities to explore boxing. These are the places where you will gain your initial experience. They are called unsanctioned because the fights will not be added in your boxing record, but they are safe and a practical way to learn the core details of this profession.

You can be an amateur boxer just at 8 years old. You will be classified by your age, weight and fighting record. In amateur boxing, you are allowed to wear protective gears, unlike in professional boxing. You will be participating in local tournaments and events under the guidance of your coach.

Don’t Get Your Health into Trouble

Do not attempt to fill in any vacant spot that doesn’t match your classifications. For instance, if your coach is unprofessional, he may prompt you to fill in a particular weigh slot that is higher than your weight. Do not even think of participating, even if you are forced. It may not do good to your health and neither to your career in the long run.

If your weight falls in 60 to 70 slot, you can compete for 5 pounds more or less. Anything more will definitely bring injury to your body and strain your muscles. If your coach coaxes you to an act like this, you should find a new coach soon.

Step 6: Up Your Level to Become Professional

In order to be looked up as a professional boxer, you need to ace all of the boxing elements. Your coach has to give your abilities a thumbs-up. There are four parts of professional boxing: Defence, Speed, Power, and Autonomy.

No matter how powerful your punches are, if your defense mechanism is weak, you won’t last more than 30 seconds in the ring. Each round entails around 60 to 150 punches from either side. Even if you are unable to give punches, you have to keep your defenses up 100% at all times. Shoulder endurance is a must.

You will be fighting against swiftest of opponents. You cannot go slow in boxing; your reflexes should be high and you should aim for punches as many as you can. Controlling power is another vital element of boxing. You should not throw wild punches and wear yourself out. You have to control your power and know when to hit hard, when to duck, and when to defend.

And lastly, there should be a sense of autonomy. You cannot prepare yourself and your opponents for punches. You have to be on alert and move by gut instincts.

Step 7: Hire a Manager

Your aim now should be earning money by fighting professional tournaments. And so, you have to find yourself a manager who would build connections on your behalf and get you boxing contracts. Your manager would also help you fill up your fighting record with great tournaments. They will be responsible for maintaining your reputation, publicizing you, increasing your rates, and keeping you in the limelight.

Most boxing managers usually work on a commission basis. Depending upon their experience and abilities, you will have to give away 10% to 20% of your income to him. Find managers who are legitimate and are in the industry for quite some time. You will be chased by managers if you got the talent. Just make sure your career is managed by someone whom you can bond with.

Step 8: Get Yourself Licensed

You have to get yourself a boxer’s license to be able to join a professional boxing association, like IBF, WBC, WBA, and WBO. You can get the license from the boxing commission you will be fighting in. The licensing rules and obligations vary from state to state and country to country.

There will be plenty of paperwork. You should ask your coach or the association to help you with the proceedings.

Your ultimate aim should be winning as many boxing ‘Championship belts’ as you can. You can fight for each association and try to hold a belt. You will be deemed as a ‘Super Champion’ if you are able to hold belts from three out of four associations.

Remember that boxing, like any other sport, is not easy. Although rewards and recognition are great, diligence, sacrifice, and patience are the key to epic success. If your body and mind are weak, boxing will make you weaker. You have to be mentally thick and physically strong. Keep reminding yourself that everything takes place within the ring. Anything outside is not worth fighting for.

Hope this article helped you in deciding your career in boxing. If yes, please share the blog and have a look at our other articles. Don’t forget to leave your views in the comments below.