“In sport, you only see the fighter, but it's teamwork. Without a good team, you will never be the best. In boxing, you have to work with the best coach, the best lawyer, the best manager, the best doctor. Exactly the same principle applies in politics.” - Vitali Klitschko
Becoming a professional boxer, regardless of your weight class (heavyweight, lightweight, middleweight, featherweight, welterweight, etc.), requires a lot of training and determinations. Whether you’re getting in the ring to compete in traditional boxing, savate, Thai boxing, or kick-boxing, professional boxing can be a lucrative pursuit.
The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao generated $600m in revenue from ticket sales, international rights, and sponsorship. Generally, boxers only do two or three fights a year and only title fights, which are televised, tend to make the big bucks.
In this article, we’ll look at the steps you need to take to become a professional boxer.
Starting as an Amateur Boxer
Logically, you have to be an amateur before you can go pro.
Joining a Boxing Club
You’ll probably want to join an affiliated boxing club. Additionally, you’ll want to look for one with a decent reputation and track record. Have a look online. A quick search will probably provide you with all the information you need.
If you want to become a boxer, you won’t be doing cardio boxing or fitness boxing in a gym. You need to find a club that’s dedicated to the Noble Art.
A lot of clubs offer one or two free training or trial sessions so that you can see whether or not boxing is for you before you go out and get all the gear and pay for your membership. This also means that you can try out several different variations of boxing such as Thai boxing, savate (French boxing), kick-boxing, or traditional boxing before you decide upon which one’s right for you.
For those who are motivated, you might want to try a couple before settling on one. For example, there may be kick-boxing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and traditional boxing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Of course, you’re going to be sore after all that training.
Speak to a Coach or Trainer
Ask the coach some questions about their experience with coaching and boxing and the type of training you should be doing. This is an opportunity to meet other members of the club, too. They may be able to provide you with advice and tips if your coach is busy helping another member of the club.
You’ll often practise with one or several sparring partners so that you can practise against different opposition and learn from one another. You’re not looking to knock them out but rather improve your technique, precision, endurance, and flexibility.
If you have the means, you can always opt for a private tutor and learn about movement, pivoting your feet, hooks, jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and kicks (if you’re doing a discipline that allows them).
You’ll also be able to improve your footwork, positioning, agility, and endurance.
Find out more about the pros and cons of boxing professionally.
Start Intense Training
Boxing training involves a lot of warming up, technical exercises, sparring, and muscle training.
You’ll tone your body through skipping, working a punching bag, and muscle-building exercises. You’ll be training for between 75 and 90 minutes three to four times a week, doing sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, skipping, and working with punching bags and speed bags.
Outside of your boxing training, you’ll also need to train in a gym, run, and work out. The golden rule is to keep your guard up, move your feet, and look forward.
In addition to boxing, you’ll also need to eat right; a diet rich in proteins (chicken, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and nuts).
Training can also improve your endurance, particularly in your legs and shoulders, which are used to keep your guard up and throw punches.
The Qualities of Professional Boxers
Every boxer needs to be in good physical condition as you need to be able to throw punches and take them as well as last for several rounds.
Professional boxing is far more demanding than amateur boxing. Professional boxing bouts consist of 12 3-minute rounds whereas amateur bouts are “just” 3 rounds.
There are two main routes to boxing glory:
- The amateur route and the Olympic Games
- The professional route
In professional boxing, there’s no body protection and injuries are not uncommon.
You also need to be in excellent physical condition. When getting ready for a fight, you need to work on your:
You need to be good at dealing with pain as well as it’s likely that you’re going to get hit.
An aspiring amateur boxer will want to compete before going pro. If you want to become a professional boxer, you’ll need to be able to win fights. Your amateur record will be required for your professional licence, too. There are several different competitions such as:
- The England Boxing National Amateur Championship
- GB Three Nations
- Women’s Winter Box Cup
If you want to compete in professional competitions, you’ll need to be licenced.
The world of boxing revolves around marketing, publicity, and making money. Being affiliated with a prestigious federation and winning a title fight is how boxers make the big bucks. There are several international boxing federations: The EUBC and EBU in Europe and the WBA, WBC, IBF, and APB internationally. Boxers can compete in prestigious competitions and make a name for themselves but they’ll need to start locally.
Find out more about becoming a professional boxer.
Finding Opponents to Fight
A boxer needs to run their career like a business and find opponents who’ll help them make money.
It’ll be difficult to organise matches if you don’t have a network. This is why boxers often associate with a promoter who acts as their agent and find them opponents within their weight class (flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight). These promoters earn their money by taking a cut of the boxer’s earnings. This revenue is often a return on investment for the promoter.
Most of the money for big fights is made through TV money. After all, the bigger the fight, the bigger the audience and the more money they’ll make. Economically speaking, the boxing market isn’t balanced: there’s high demand for fights and a small supply of combatants. A boxer will expect their promoter to find increasingly better opponents and lead them to win titles and belts. Keep in mind that around 20% of a boxer’s earnings go straight into the pockets of managers, organisers, promoters, and/or agents.
Make sure you get a professional boxing licence. A licence is essential in the world of professional boxing.
In addition to a boxer’s abilities, they’ll also need a good support staff if they want to win a championship:
- Physical trainer
- Sparring partner
- Sports physician
Are you tempted by the idea of becoming a professional boxer?
You’re going to have to work hard at it.
If you dream of becoming a world champion in boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, or any other combat sport, consider getting help from the best tutors and instructors pound for pound on Superprof and work towards becoming the best in your weight class.
Before you pick your private tutor, there are several things that you'll need to carefully think about. Firstly, no two tutors are alike and you need to pick the one that'll help you to get the most out of your training and set on you on the path to glory. Secondly, there are three main types of tutorial available from the tutors on Superprof, face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials, and you need to pick the one that's right for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor or coach. They'll work alongside you, tailor the sessions to you and your goals, and give you their undivided attention. They'll often also work outside of your sessions on planning and preparing your training. Of course, all this extra work will come at a cost and while face-to-face tutorials are often the most cost-effective type of private tutorial, they also tend to be the most costly per hour.
Online tutorials tend to be cheaper than face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn't have to travel to each of their students or clients and can schedule more tutorials per week.
Finally, group tutorials have the coach teaching several clients at once. Unlike the other two types of tutoring, you won't have your coach's undivided attention. However, you will be dividing the cost of the tutor between yourself and the other attendees.