Do you want to be the next Manny Pacquiao, Wladimir Klitschko or Jane Couch? Well you’re in the right place!
As a professional boxer, your job won’t only involve punching people in the head. You’ll also need to punch people in the ribs from time to time!
All jokes aside, if you really want to make a living from boxing, you will need to make it to the very top of the sport. In order to do this, you will need to train and train and train again! Indeed, the majority of your professional life will be spent in the boxing gym.
Becoming a professional boxer is more of a lifestyle choice than a career. In order to be successful, you will need to keep your body in peak condition at all times, and you will constantly have to refine and develop your strength, agility and technique.
You will need to manage your diet, train every single day, and have serious drive and determination.
Professional boxers tend to compete in one specific weight category, e.g. flyweight, bantamweight or heavyweight. However, some boxers control their weight, purposefully increasing it or decreasing it, so that they can compete at different weight levels in an attempt to win more titles and belts.
Salary & benefits
Professional boxers do not earn a salary; they are paid per bout. Whilst the winner of the fight will receive the most money, the loser will also be paid for their participation in the event. Professionals also make money through sponsorship, endorsements and prize money.
Making a living from boxing is very difficult. At amateur level, it’s very unlikely that you will be paid for a fight.
Even once you have become a professional, you will only be paid a small amount, perhaps a few hundred pounds, for each fight. Indeed, many boxers have part-time jobs to fund their training and equipment costs.
Eventually, if you hit the big time, you could end up earning millions of pounds for just one boxing match. Fame and fortune is incredibly rare though! Only the top fighters, such as Mayweather, Haye, Pacquiao and the Klitschko brothers, earn this kind of money for their fights.
If you do eventually make big money for your fights, your trainer, manager and promoter will also get a cut of your earnings.
Understandably, this is not an average nine-to-five job. To become a world-beating boxer, you will need to eat, sleep and breathe boxing.
You will be required to travel all over the world for boxing matches, which may involve working weekends and national holidays from time to time.
Understandably, boxing can be a dangerous sport. You will be putting your body on the line every time you fight. Expect bruises, blood, broken teeth and some serious head trauma. Some boxers have even been paralysed or killed in the ring. If you’ve ever seen Million Dollar Baby, you’ll know what we’re talking about!
There are no academic requirements for professional boxers. To thrive in this sport, you will simply need natural talent, determination, strength, technique, discipline and the ability to land a well-timed and powerful punch.
It doesn’t matter if you’re ‘double hard’ or even ‘triple hard’, you will have to bide your time and put in some serious effort at amateur level before you can become a professional boxer.
Sure, Rocky Balboa was an amateur and he got a random shot at the big time, but that was a movie. That never happens in real life!
Your interest in boxing should start out as a hobby. Join a local boxing club and begin competing at an amateur level.
As you progress and win more fights, you should arrange higher profile fights with better amateur boxers. As you progress even further, you may be selected by Team GB and invited to train for international boxing matches all over the world.
International success at amateur level will open opportunities for you to be approached by professional boxing promoters (e.g. Don King) who will attempt to sign you and then arrange professional bouts for you.
Training & progression
If you really want to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, you’ll have to train every day. With the guidance of your trainer, you will refine your technique, build your strength, increase your stamina and work on combos, different kinds of punches, footwork and strength.
There is no real career progression. Once you have established yourself on the international boxing scene, it will be up to you to stay there by winning fights and training like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV…ok, maybe not.
Once you are past your peak and take a step back from fighting, you may look to focus the remainder of your career on training other boxers as a sports coach. Alternatively, you could become a boxing promoter like Ricky Hatton.