How to Become a Professional Boxer in the US

floyd mayweather professional boxer

Nothing defines the modern boxing profession like the likes of Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. There is no doubt every aspiring professional boxer desires to engage in a multi-million dollar fight. If you are passionate about the sport, and you would love to one day world boxing champion, keep reading.

What do professional boxers do?

What else do professional boxers do apart from punching opponents in the ring? Well; they also:

  • Spend time in the boxing gym training (training very hard). In fact, you will spend most of your professional life in the gym
  • Take instructions from your coaches or trainers
  • Ensure adherence to the rules of the sport and various competition policies
  • Adhere to instructions given by the referee during boxing matches
  • Undertake any examinations, such as drug tests, that may be ordered by a government agency or competition organizers

Work environment

You guessed it! Professional boxers literally live in the gym! Although some may have private offices where they handle contractual negotiations, many often delegate this responsibility to their managers.

Although there is no fixed work schedule, many professional boxers typically adopt a regular training schedule, which can be adjusted to accommodate more training sessions when preparing for matches or competitions.

Boxing is an aggressive sport, so injuries are quite common. Boxers are required to wear cushioned gloves, head gear and mouth guards during a fight, and also when training to prevent injury.


According to Indeed, professional boxers earn an average annual salary of $63,000. While many boxers earn as little as $200 to $500 per fight, at the top of the sport the picture is very different. Established pros with a massive reputation can pocket hundreds of millions of dollars a fight.

Entry requirements

Like any other professional athlete, you need to develop a passion for boxing at a young age. Boxing legends such as Mike Tyson knew they want to become boxers when very young.

Although no educational requirements are required to join the sport, it is desirable to have at least a high school diploma.

Early in your career, you will start out as an amateur boxer. Amateur boxing competitions are typically organized by amateur boxing associations and are also held at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games.

To participate in a boxing competition in a particular state, you typically must obtain a license from the state’s athletic board or boxing commission. You will need to pass a series of physical and medical tests.

While at the amateur level, be sure to join a boxing club and keep training hard. Participate in as many boxing competitions as possible and strive to win. This will enhance your reputation and chances of going pro.

Importantly, there are a number boxing weight divisions, namely flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight. Boxers often purposely add or lose weight in order to compete in various divisions.

Going pro

At the professional level, the game is defined by power, strength, endurance and speed. This means spending more time to up your boxing skills. Unlike amateur boxing where there are three rounds, professional boxing can last 12 rounds, unless you knockout (KO) your opponent or he gives up sooner.

Next, be sure to hire professional trainers and a manager who can set up fights for you. If you practiced amateur boxing as a part time career, going pro may mean becoming a full-time boxer.

Finally, be sure to become a member of the International Boxing Federation or any other boxing association of your choice.

Remember, you will need to obtain a license in each state or jurisdiction you will be fighting in.

Important qualities

The skills and abilities you need to be a top boxer include:

  • Boxing talent
  • Physical stamina
  • Physical endurance
  • Emotional stamina to cope with psychological pressure
  • A passion for the sport
  • The desire to compete and win
  • A sound understanding of boxing rules
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork skills – You will need to work hand in hand with your coaches during training
  • Respect for your coaches and trainers

Job opportunities

Professional boxers are self-employed. Your manager’s ability to set up prize fights on your behalf determines how many fights you can have in a year.

However, with a solid reputation and a high marketing value, various corporations may hire as their brand or product ambassador. This means more money!

According to Statista, the number of participants in the U.S. boxing industry has been rising steadily since 2006, meaning it looks promising to aspiring professional boxers.

So if you feel you have what it takes to throw punches that can deliver a knockout, and you are passionate about the sport, then you may be able to become a professional boxer.