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How To Become A Professional Boxer: Mini-Guide To Top Boxing


Last Updated on June 21, 2024

Among those looking to advance from Tae-Bo and other similar boxercise, boxing is one of North America's well-known forms of fitness training. The mere thought of having immense power to knock someone out using your two hands is incredible.


Did it ever cross your mind how to become a professional boxer? Like all competitive athletes, aspiring professional boxers go through a journey that requires commitment, sacrifice, consistency, and vision.

If you're someone new to boxing and never had an experience in any combat sports, please keep reading.

Learning How To Become A Professional Boxer More Effectively

Boxing is one of the most challenging sports worldwide since it involves physical and mental aspects in fighting. Even your mindset when engaging the opponent is crucial, as you must think and act one step ahead.

Most of what amateur boxers know is that professional boxers are strong, but there's undoubtedly more than winning titles. It is important to remember that as you embark on this journey, the destination is not your goal, but the adventure is.

What makes the amateur boxer distinct from a professional seems unclear since the 1990s. You will rarely witness fighters utilizing skills such as body punching, bobbing, weaving, and mobile footwork. These practices since then have become lost in boxing arts. See the cartoon below to better understand my sentiment:

Scientific Boxing: Is it lost?
Scientific Boxing: Is it lost?

Nevertheless. reputable icons such as Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather continue to be the definition of professional boxing. These professional boxers inspire those aspiring to be part of a million-dollar match.

In this regard, here are several things you must consider if you want to learn how to become a professional boxer:

1. Profound Understanding Of The Sport

Profound Understanding Of The Sport

While amateur boxing has shorter bouts and occurs in events like the Olympic Games, professional boxing is a form of regulated sport. It has prolonged bouts and more rounds. 

Before you engage in martial arts, it helps to understand what you're getting into as the first crucial step.

Understanding what boxing professionally is all about can increase your confidence in learning all the necessary skills for the sport. It also minimizes the anxiety of facing the unknown.

2. Know The Difference Of An Amateur Boxer Vs. Professional Boxer

Amateur Boxing
Amateur Boxing
Professional Boxing
Professional Boxing

Aside from learning what professional boxing is all about, it is best to understand what makes amateur boxing different from a professional boxing match. While boxing professionally seems more entertaining, an amateur fight is more sport-oriented.

Most fighters, even the great boxer Muhammad Ali, started as an amateur. Ali's amateur boxing career was the platform of his success until he became a reputable name in the boxing community.

Professional and amateur boxing might have comparable origins, but they differ significantly. As opposed to other sports, turning professional from an amateur career is a lot more feasible than others think.

But professional-level boxing requires a physical exam to get a license. Other than that, anyone with an amateur career in boxing can switch to a pro boxing career.

Furthermore, international Olympic rules govern amateur boxing, which encourages punching from a long-range stance. The amateur rules also prohibit ducking, bending, or weaving to prevent accidental head collisions; the fighters are discouraged from clinching up adversaries.

Making any of these moves means point deduction. Besides, you will notice how fighters in amateur bouts seldom throw body punches as those do not count in the overall scoring.

The primary objective in pro boxing is earning more by knocking out adversaries, whereas in amateur bouts, the advantage in scoring more is the goal.

Swift movement of hands and feet is necessary for amateur boxing. By contrast, the pro boxer aims to have more knockouts. Professional fighters throw forceful punches at the opponent, but protective headgears are only necessary during training.

It keeps them from giving a powerful strike that impacts the outcome of the entire match. On the other hand, protective gears, such as gloves, vests, and mouth guards, are part of an amateur boxer's requirements in a fight.

3. Find A Boxing Gym

Boxing Gym

The gym is the most important place for every professional boxer. Regardless of weight class, the ideal boxing gym must have an encouraging atmosphere for every boxer.

A professional martial arts gym typically provides athletes a venue to develop and improve their skills. It must be easily accessible to get to and from your home or workplace.

Aside from having the latest boxing equipment, an excellent local boxing gym offers quality trainers or instructors responsible for establishing the basics of your technique.

Instructors must be supportive and approachable; they should be able to adapt to the personal needs of their trainees. Many trainers begin by teaching the basic stance, boxing footwork, and throwing straight punches before you try shadow boxing.

Most boxing gyms nowadays have trial sessions to allow new users to try out some boxing classes before deciding which suits them well. In addition to preparing amateur boxers to fight, these gyms also train for endurance and fitness.

4. Physical Training

Physical Training

Once you start gaining new acquaintances at the gym, some of them might be able to refer you to someone who organizes a local club fight. Most of these clubs rarely advertise, so it is best if someone can refer you to a reputable one.

Some would even start a fight club in their garage and do sparring sessions with friends and have them as sparring partners.

Sparring is not illegal, but brutal violence is, and a fight club is not about violence, contrary to the belief of many. Strength training is crucial to get you into shape when preparing for a professional bout.

An amateur bout lasts about three rounds, each lasting two to three minutes. With that in mind, it's best to train to prepare you for more matches and have optimal endurance for the entire fight night.

A three-round amateur bout can be fast-paced and strenuous, so you must have leg strength and endurance to last. Regular training optimizes your performance inside the ring since it improves muscular endurance and range of motion.

You can start sparring with the heavy bags; get a double-end striking bag to continue training even if you don't have a sparring partner. Then from sparring, long runs and interval training are excellent cardio exercises. 

You may also consider purchasing a jumping rope to practice your routines and improve your dynamic balance. Jumping ropes are indispensable in cardiovascular workouts, helping you strengthen major muscle groups simultaneously.

5. Participate In Amateur Boxing Tournaments

Amateur boxing at the Rio Olympics 2016
Amateur boxing at the Rio Olympics 2016

Aside from enlisting in club fights, another option for career athletes to enhance their game is participating in amateur boxing tournaments. These tournaments help in keeping the youth busy in a productive way.

Besides, it further improves skill and discipline inside the ring to prepare you for the first fight once you join the professional rank. In tournaments, boxers don't need to worry about being inadequately matched.

The Association of Boxing Commissions reinforces standards to ensure the boxer's safety by dividing the athletes per weight class division. The sanctioning body declares a champion in each division with a decorative belt.

But for a boxer to qualify for such titles, going up the ranks is a pre-requisite, generally influenced by the win-loss records. The Golden Globe is a well-known organization that sponsors amateur tournaments.

6. Secure A License

Secure A License

When seeking a professional career in boxing, securing a license is a must. The requirements and fees for getting a boxing license may vary per state. Despite the absence of educational provisions, it's still best to have a high school diploma.

Individuals at least eighteen years old and above, with boxing experience and good moral character, may qualify for a license application. The State's Athletic Commission regulates the licensing.

You must pass the medical exams, which include blood work, eye assessment, and brain MRI, to get a license. Together with these tests, they require boxers to present a signed copy of one-year medical history from the physician.

Licensing professional boxers is mandatory to mitigate the risks by ensuring that all competitors are fit for a fulfilling and well-compensated boxing career.

Several states require a letter from the applicant's trainer detailing the summary of the training regimen. Other states ask for a recorded video of the applicant participating in a competition. On the other hand, some require the applicants to demonstrate their skills in a gym assessment.

7. Acquire The Services Of A Good Manager

Acquire The Services Of A Good Manager
Lou Duva [RIP] (L) with Evander Hollyfield

Boxing managers play a vital role in an athlete's life. To ensure a high turnout at matches, they supervise the boxers' careers, match them with opponents, negotiate payments, and deal with promoters or sponsors.

For some athletes, it is their managers who even plan the meals and, for most parts, supervise training. Technically, these managers handle everything for their athletes except fight their matches; they do whatever is possible to guarantee their success.

A significant part of your journey to becoming a pro is finding a good manager to handle all these things.

Hiring a manager's services will relieve you of the burden of worrying about everything related to your career as a boxer. A manager is responsible for drawing people to your match with carefully planned marketing strategies and creating a positive image for the media.

As an athlete, you rely on your manager to get exceptional compensation for your every fight. Other fighters, primarily amateurs, do not seek the services of a manager so that they get more profit to compensate for their training expenses.

Nonetheless, as you continue to evolve as an athlete and start your professional career, you will need a manager. It will ease the pressure on your end if you acquire someone to handle critical responsibilities on your behalf.

The local fight card is the best place to start looking for a manager or a promoter. Managers typically linger by the ringside, so if you get to meet one, you may introduce yourself, highlighting your experiences and background.

If you're not as fortunate to have a chance like this, many promoters have websites with their contact information. Try looking for some of the reputable boxing managers in your area by doing internet research.

To stand out and attract these potential managers, record your sparring sessions or intense workouts with a video and send it to them. It will highlight your best abilities and draw these managers to your doorstep.

8. Mental Preparedness

Mental Preparedness

People of all ages and abilities can benefit from boxing fitness. However, it's best to observe healthy precautions, especially when embarking on a new and challenging training program.

Aside from preparing for the physical demands of being a pro fighter, you also need to ensure optimal mental health. Be strict with your diet; eat nutritious meals, hydrate yourself, and get quality sleep.

Intake of vitamin supplements also helps release the energy from the food you eat. Daily exercise does wonder not only for improving your physique and stamina but also works perfectly for your emotional and mental well-being.

Our best boxing champions in history showcased commitment and intense mental focus, which is how they succeeded. A fighter should handle mental preparation for a fight in conjunction with your trainer and your team.

The mental aspects of fighting are critical and should be part of your priorities. Mentally training to become a pro includes learning to overcome fears because such emotions are typical to novices. Besides your skill, the right mindset when tackling an opponent also matters.

Once you master thinking one step ahead of every possible situation, that is how you can attack, defend, and counter every strike more effectively.

Knock-Out Point: Now that you already know how to become a pro boxer, it's time that you learn about judges' calls. Read all about them here -- Boxing Decisions.

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the process of becoming a professional boxer?

The professional boxers you idolize today all started as amateurs. But how long these people train boxing skills to become very efficient depends on each individual. 

Some fighters start to train and fight at a young age and become pro boxers in their twenties, while others take a much longer time. Other factors contributing to the time it takes to become a pro boxer are talent, hard work, and determination. The right choice of gym and boxing coach also counts.

How much earning does a professional boxer make in every fight?

Surprisingly for some, the median annual salary of professional sports competitors is about $51,370, according to 2017 statistics. Sports competitors and athletes are a broad category, which includes pro boxing.

Sometimes, the prize money per fight depends on the boxer's agent. Other factors affecting the amount a pro boxer gets are the number of sponsors, the boxer's rank, and popularity. The purse bid for the boxer's bouts typically happens before the fight.

What is the ideal age to start training for professional boxing?

Most boxers start learning the sport at a young age, as early as eight, some at twelve, like Muhammad Ali. However, when training to become a pro, some would say that the late teenage years are an appropriate time to start boxing. It is during such years that the body is at its prime.

Others believe that beginning your boxing training during the late thirties would mean you have better self-discipline. However, since you aspire to become a pro, you must be at a suitable age to meet the requirements for becoming a licensed pro boxer.

What boxing gears are necessary for pro boxers to have?

Whether amateur or professional boxing, boxers must have protective headgear, gloves, and hand wraps. These boxing gears are necessary to help you avoid severe injuries. Some also use a mouthpiece, and a nice pair of boxing shoes will come in handy in professional bouts.


Despite the benefits of all the learnings you acquired over the years, practical application and experience remain the best teachers. What makes the amateur boxer distinct from a professional seems unclear since the 1990s.

You will rarely witness fighters utilizing skills such as body punching, bobbing, weaving, and mobile footwork. These practices since then have become lost in boxing arts.

Aside from learning various boxing skills and techniques, it is also crucial to enhance your strength, power, and stability to prepare you for a professional fight. Physical and mental preparedness are both essential if you wish to pursue a professional boxing career.

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