"The important thing is to participate".

This well-known quote (and one that is mistakenly attributed to Pierre de Coubertin) is a saying that makes sense when you are wanting to practice a combat sport and especially once you are older than a certain age. No longer having the same physical condition, or the freshness of youth, you might find your physical abilities suddenly more limited.

Yet, there are more news articles than ever these days about boxers breaking through the age barriers. Combatants such as French boxer Jean-Marc Mormeck's making a comeback, or the world heavyweight champion Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko winning the top of his category at more than 38 years old. Strictly speaking, there is no age limit for starting boxing. But from an administrative point of view, it may be more complex to continue competing at a later age (authorization and the medical exam may need to be more thorough).

What Age Can You Start in English Boxing?

Boxing can be done at any age
Put on your boxing gloves, your hand wraps and your boxing shoes, it's time to jab and uppercut! (Source: Pixabay)

English Boxing can be separated into two fighting categories:

  • Combat Boxing (such as amateur boxing): the power of the hits are counted and help to win the fight.
  • Educational or recreational boxing: where the goal is the touch rather than the power. Powerful blows may even be punitive to boxers. The technique is placed much higher in importance than the power of the shots.

England Boxing distinguishes several categories: recreational boxing or educational boxing, amateur boxing and professional boxing.

Amateur boxing is the type of boxing that we see at the Olympic Games.

Many Olympic champions (like Tony Yoka recently), later move on to become professional boxers.

Amateur boxing can be practised from 13 to 39 years old. However, to continue until age 39, you must have obtained your first license before age 34. It will be more challenging (with a few exceptions) to obtain a first amateur boxing license at the age of 37 or 38 years. In this case, the practitioners wear a boxing helmet and the format of the fight is done in 3 rounds of three minutes each.

Recreational or educational boxing is aimed at a much wider audience and can be practised from 7 to 77 years old. The techniques of boxing remain the same with the notable exception that the power of the hits is not the goal in order to beat one's opponent.

Search for "boxing classes near me" and find the right boxing course for your age group.

The Age Limit in French Boxing

French boxing sometimes also called "French savate boxing" or simply "savate" is a foot-fist type of boxing (meaning that one hits by punching and kicking). Like in English boxing, we find the two variants: educational or recreational (where we touch the opponent) and combat (where we hit the opponent). From a purely technical point of view, there is no age limitation for recreational boxing, however, there is a limit in combat boxing.

You can compete in combat boxing until the age of 40. The maximum age has been put in place by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to protect boxers. Once you've reached the age of 34 and until 40 years old you can participate in the masters category. The only differences are that you have to have a medical every year and your coach has to match you with opponents between 34 and 40 years old as well.

After 40 years old, it will still be possible to switch to leisure boxing and continue to put your gloves to use in training and by competing recreationally. It is, therefore, altogether possible to register in a boxing club at more than 50 years old and participate in boxing.

What is the Age Limit in Thai Boxing?

In Muay Thai the UKMF (United Kingdom Muay Thai Federation) governs the sport in the UK. Concerning competition regulations, the UKMF sets an age limit of 35 years for amateurs. The Junior division is from 15-18yrs and the Senior division is from 17-35 years. On the other hand, it remains possible to register at boxing gyms or clubs after 35 yrs old and practice recreational martial arts like muay thai.

Muay Thai Boxers use their feet and fists.
A Thai boxing champion must hit his opponent with his feet. (Source: Sandee Boxing)

In any case, if you are an older participant, we strongly advise you to contact a club or gym that interests you to have a more personalized response on your case. Keep in mind, however, that Thai boxing requires extremely good physical condition, which can sometimes be complicated once you pass a certain age.

Becoming a Boxer in Your 40's: It's Possible!

Technically, there is no barrier to practice boxing and its variants. In competition, the medical monitoring imposed will be more drastic but that doesn't prevent you from fulfilling your passion and interest in boxing through leisure boxing.

Older boxers can be successful at any age.
Hand-to-hand boxing classes are possible at any age. (Source: Pixabay)

As we get older, whether you've been a former athlete or not, the body and our physical capacities diminish (suppleness, explosiveness, strength, speed of execution...). On the other hand, a very good level of endurance can be maintained at age 40. It is not uncommon to see athletes approaching their forties and still win the most prestigious marathons.

For former boxers who wish to continue on past forty, the first advice would be to not try to resume the behaviours they had when they boxed at twenty or thirty years old. The body will probably not respond in the same way and doing so could increase the risk of injury. Another good point would be that, while in youth it's a little more possible to neglect one's body (with diet, nutrition, recovery time, warm-up and stretching), it's more complicated and not recommended to do this once you're in your 40's.

In a word, to reach a healthy physical fitness level, it is necessary to listen to your body (which getting older usually makes more obligatory). Basically, you have to be able to rest when necessary and not push it too much when you feel the beginning of an injury. Finding the right boxing classes that will take good care of you is important. For those who feel unable to physically handle the more aggressive hits in boxing, it is possible to turn to other martial arts such as Aikido, Karate, Thai Chi or Kendo.

Famous Boxers Who Were Successful Into Their Forties

33 years is the duration of the fabulous career of Roberto Duran for a final record of 103 wins and only 16 defeats. Roberto Duran has boxed at a high level from the age of 16 up until he was 50 years old! Floyd Mayweather is also an example of longevity, motivation, and undeniable proof of the possible success after 40 years, as evidenced by his last fight (against Irishman Conor Mcgregor). He is undefeated in 50 professional matches.

Hat's off also belongs to Bernard Hopkins, an American boxer who won a world championship at the age of 49. He still remains today the oldest world champion in the history of professional boxing.

Bernard Hopkins is a successful older boxer.
Bernard Hopkins has kept up his boxing skills and taken them all the way to becoming the world's oldest boxing champion to date. (Source: BoxingNews24)

We also think of Mathieu Kassovitz who played an amateur boxing match at the age of fifty. Showing us all that anything is possible!

A key thing to keeping your fitness up is diet.

"Boxing Age Limit" Definitions

Boxing is a sport that requires good physical condition. You have to have energy and the ability to recover quickly after physical effort. The boxing gym allows everyone to let off steam, whether they be a great Olympic champion, a beginner, or just having fun.

What is Savate?

Also called French boxing, which is practised either recreationally or as a combat sport, and is also popular with women. You can learn it through a boxing class, with a personal trainer or from a professional boxer.

What is the age limit for Savate boxing?

Technically, there is no real age limit for joining a club. It is when you want to compete that age can, unfortunately, put on the brakes. Nevertheless, we advise each participant who wishes to start boxing (or a boxing variant) to discuss your goals with a boxing trainer. They will be able to point you in the best direction and share with you their professional and helpful advice.

Find out how often you should train as a boxer.

It takes hard work to compete as a boxer.
It takes hard work to compete as a boxer. Source: Sides Imagery, Pexels

What's the Best Age to Start Boxing?

Any sport the younger you start the better. Learning the skills you need at a young age will help your progress quicker and you'll have years of experience compared to your competitor. Figure skaters can start to learn to skate at the age of 3. Soccer players can start to learn around 3 or 4, so what about boxing? Boxing is a very physical sport. You have to make hits to score points and even take your opponent out. For kids learning to box teaching them the fundamentals at a young age will help them, but they won't be competing until there in their teens.

A lot of boxing clubs will have rules on how young kids have to be to start boxing. After searching around different gyms and websites the average age is around 8. Boxing is great for kids to learn discipline and dedication. It's also going to help with their fitness.

Kids starting to box should always learn the fundamentals first. This includes shadow boxing, pad work, skipping, squats and few other things depending on your coach. Having the kids learn the fundamentals will guarantee they stay safe during more intense training. Learning the fundamentals at a young age is going to be heavily important when they start competing. They're going to have the skills memorized and be a fierce competitor.

A question parents will ask is about safety in boxing. Boxing at a young age is safe and again kids will not be hitting. They'll be learning the skills they need. Boxing is safe as long as it's supervised and you have the right coach. You want your child to learn everything right.  At the end of the day boxing for kids is about them. It can be a fun time for kids to let loose and enjoy themselves. Also as kids, if they do want to continue boxing as they get older they can really excel starting from such a young age.

Boxing Advice for Beginners

Boxers can start at any age as we've mentioned above. You could be 8 or you could be 60 and start to pick up boxing. It can be nerve-wracking. Walking in tot a boxing club for the first time. We'll list some things you should think about before walking into your first boxing club. We hope these tips prepare you and excite you to start boxing. Being nervous walking into the boxing club is entirely normal. After your first few classes, you're going to love going. Everyone in that boxing gym has felt the things you have before. Now let's get to the tips.

  1. Come early - Showing up late or even on time is going to have you rushing to begin. Showing up early means you can get ready. Boxing instructors will usually wrap your hands as well. If your early you'll be prepared.
  2. You won't be perfect - Boxing techniques take time. You need to understand you can't master boxing on day one. Just have an open mindset and have fun with it. It's okay to mess up.
  3. Wear activewear - Wearing the right clothes is important. You don't have to overthink it. Get some activewear and you'll be set for your boxing class. Make sure you can move freely in your clothes.
  4.  Have fun - Boxing is a great way to unwind and have a good time. You may get frustrated with it somedays learning techniques. Keep an open mindset and have fun with it.
  5.  You're going to be sore - If you're not used to working out or any other physical activity you're going to be sore. It's only when you're feeling a sharp pain it's a concern, but of course, talk to your doctor. The reason you're feeling sore is that you're working your muscles.
Commit to boxing.
Commit to boxing. Source: Cottonbro, Pexels

Why Does Every Age Want to Box?

We've noted multiple times there are different ages to start boxing and there must be a good reason. One of the best reasons to start boxing is the confidence you gain. Boxing is very empowering. You get to learn tips that can help you defend yourself. Aside from defending yourself, you can learn to overcome challenges in a boxing gym that you can use outside the gym. You'll gain mental toughness that makes you equipped for anything. There are so many other reasons to box will list more below.

Stress Relief - We all have stressful days or even stressful weeks. It's important to find a way to manage your stress. Hitting the bag or even getting a good boxing workout is a great way to de-stress. You can just let go and get a sweat on. Hit the bag a few times and you'll feel your stress melt away.

Physical Fitness - Boxing is a great workout. A lot of boxing workouts focus on endurance training. You'll do skipping, running and other forms of cardiovascular training. Other boxing workouts are going to be based on strength. You'll gain strength in a number of ways through boxing. Boxing workouts are a great workout.

Coordination and Body Awareness - Boxing relies heavily on coordination and body awareness. You need to have both to be a good boxer. You're also going to notice you'll have better eye-coordination. These skills will carry to other parts of your life. Boxers need to be able to dodge hits and hit back. This takes incredible amounts of coordination and body awareness.

Your Mind - You're going to working out your brain as well as your body. In boxing, you have to be thinking out defence and offence which is completely different compared to most sports. Boxing also teaches dedication and discipline. You'll be able to take these lessons outside the boxing gym.

Build Relationships - You're going to able to make friends. Boxing is a great way to meet people. You'll be around people who have the same hobby as you, boxing. Next time you want to hit the boxing gyms grab a few friends and box together.

Start Boxing Today!

No matter your age boxing can be the right sport for you. It's a great workout and is incredibly fun at the same time. Learning to box can be such a great thing you'll be glad you did. It can nerve-wracking walking into a boxing club for the first time. They do seem intimidating from the outside looking in, but this isn't the case. A lot of boxing trainers appreciate new boxers looking to join. Most boxing clubs will also offer a free session so you can experience boxing first without making that price commitment. You can even work with a boxing coach on your own.

Superprof has 100s of boxing coaches all over Canada that are ready to help you learn how to box. They'll teach you everything you need to know from start to finish. Superprof offers lessons online and in-person giving you the freedom and flexibility to learn how to box when you want to learn. This also means you can learn in the comfort of your own. Superprof boxing coaches have worked with so many people like you, now it's your turn.

If boxing is something you want to take up for recreational or competition purposes now is the time to take that step forward. Start learning to box in Canada today!

 

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Chester

You can usually find me writing at a cafe sipping on coffee or working out at the gym. I fell in love with writing a few years ago and have never looked back. I love being able to share my words with the world.