“Boxing isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life.” - Maëlle Pariez
Maëlle Pariez is a French boxer and martial artists with a rather good track record. She was the French K-1 champion in 2013, French Thai Boxing Championship runner-up the same year, and the Thai Boxing World Championship runner up in 2015 and 2016.
Combat sports like boxing, kick-boxing, savate, and martial arts are known for being violent and popular amongst mafiosos. However, there are a lot of benefits to them.
In recent years, boxing and wrestling have driven growth in UK sports clubs. An estimated 6,587 sports clubs are operating in the UK.
Are you looking to start a career as a boxer?
Here’s our mini guide.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Boxer
Boxing is a sport that can help you climb the social ladder by earning money through the Noble Art.
There are many benefits to being a boxer: becoming a multimillionaire if you’re unbeatable in the ring, being in peak physical condition, and being able to take a punch without even flinching.
The Disadvantages of Boxing
Unfortunately, very few boxers will become millionaires even if they compete at a high level and there are several disadvantages to boxing:
- Struggling to become professional
- Regular injury
- A long amount of time training
- High levels of competition
- A sport that’s subject to financial logic
Professional boxers tend to have less protection than amateur boxers.Boxers also have to train for incredibly long periods to improve their cardio performance, endurance, precision, power, technique, footwork, and breathing. This means they may have to train 4 to 5 hours per day for several years.
A professional boxer also has to run their career like a business. They need to be associated with a boxing organisation to find matches and challenge stronger opponents to increase their earnings. Most of the time, they’ll work with a promoter whose job is to organise fights with other boxers in exchange for a cut of the earnings.
There are still a lot of advantages, though.
The Advantages of Boxing
Boxing is great for your mental and physical health. Boxing is also great for your self-confidence and you’ll start to feel better after just a few sessions.
So what about professionals?
Boxing can help you build an athletic body.
If you search for boxers on Google, you’ll see just how athletic many of them are. Of course, a world champion will also earn a whole heap of cash.
Regularly going to a boxing club comes with many benefits:
- Improving your agility and endurance.
- Improving your cardiovascular system.
- Reducing stress levels.
- Building self-confidence.
- Toning your body.
So what do you need to do to become a professional boxer or world titleholder?
How to Become a Professional Boxer
As you know, you won’t become a champion boxer overnight. There are a lot of things, including work, that you’ll have to do to become a professional boxer. You need to get into shape to become a professional boxer.
Exceptional Physical Fitness
No matter which weight class you are (flyweight, featherweight, bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, welterweight, heavyweight, etc.), you’ll need to train a lot. This is even true for amateur boxers.
Firstly, you’ll need to go to a boxing club and start training.Bit by bit, a coach or instructor will work out whether or not you’re ready for a fight. Training will include intense warm-ups (squats, push-ups, burpees, running, etc), technical training (learning how to throw a jab, hook, uppercut, etc), and weight training. You need to be able to survive several rounds with your sparring partner and work out what your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to boxing.
Doing Your Research
You need to climb the up the ladder in the world of amateur boxing before you can go pro. After that, you’ll need to apply to be a boxer with the British Boxing Board of Control. This is so that “boxers are fully prepared, fit, and properly matched to enjoy a rewarding career with some financial benefit.”. They suggest that most boxers should realise that very few make it to the top and most boxers will need another job alongside boxing.
There are many options for those wanting to train as a boxer. You can get a licence from international federations such as the WBA, WBO, IBA, EBY, IBF, etc. A boxer who wins a prestigious boxing event or defeats the title holder in a particular weight category will have even more opportunities to fight for more money.
How to Train and Become a Professional Boxer
Before you move onto training, you need to choose your discipline. After all, there are several types of boxing including savate, Thai boxing, and kick-boxing that may be of interest to you. Most competitors train for between 3 and 5 hours a day five times a week.
Here’s an example of the type of training they may do:
- Jogging and squats: 30 to 60 minutes
- Warm-ups: 30 minutes
- Punching bag exercises: 30 to 60 minutes
- Technical exercises: 30 minutes
- Sparring: 30 minutes
- Strength training: 60 minutes
- Stretches and cool down: 30 minutes
You’ll also become pretty good at using a skipping rope.
Coaches will advise that you listen to your body, especially if the exercises are too difficult or your muscles begin to fill with lactic acid due to overexertion during your training. That said, you do need to push yourself if you want to improve your endurance or become stronger. They often need to build muscle to ensure that they can handle themselves in the ring.
A boxer complete with boxing gloves, a cup, and a gum shield will learn to control their fear of being hit. It’s a natural reaction to be scared of being hit and avoid being hurt. This is what your guard and dodges are for. This is why professional boxers work in a team with their sparring partner so that they’re ready for combat with any type of boxer.
So what types of exercises do they do?
If you’ve seen a boxer, you won’t be surprised to learn that they do a lot of sit-ups, push-ups, and burpees.
How To Start a Career as a Professional Boxer
Before you start your career as a boxer, you’ll need to meet a coach and join a boxing club.
After a few weeks of intensive training, you’ll probably want to ask them about your ability and level and the best type of training for you. You’ll need at least between 75 and 90 minutes of training per day five times a week. The intensity of this training will increase over time. You need to be able to go for 12 rounds in a boxing match, after all.
A career in boxing is very demanding and there'll be no alcohol or smoking and you'll also need to eat healthily.
After you’ve trained in your boxing club, you’ll want to start competing in boxing competitions. Firstly at a local level before moving on to regional, national, continental, and global competitions. There are several different competitions such as:
- The England Boxing National Amateur Championship
- GB Three Nations
- Women’s Winter Box Cup
Boxers will look to affiliate with more lucrative federations as they progress and find a promoter who’ll find better opponents. This promoter will take a percentage of the boxer’s earnings just like an agent would. The bigger the fight, the more interest, spectators, sponsors, and money there’ll be. A lot of professional boxing makes its money from pay per view. The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor on 26 August 2017 generated over 600 million dollars! Of course, only the top fighters earn anywhere near this kind of money.
If you're interested in boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, or any other combat sport, consider enlisting the help of a private tutor or coach on Superprof. Compare the many different tutors available and find the best one pound for pound.
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.