HOW TO BECOME AN AMATEUR BOXER
If you are looking to get some more competition in your life and you’ve ever seen boxing, you might have thought to try out boxing competition. Whether you know it or not this means that you want to become an amateur boxer, whether if it's just for one match, an amateur career or if you want to become a professional down the line.
What this article covers:
- Starting in Boxing
- Learning to Box
- Getting in Shape
- Getting Your First Fight
- Preparing for Your First Fight
This process isn’t easy and you might not know where to start so we are going to break down the process of becoming an amateur boxer, as well as continuing your career in the sport.
STARTING IN BOXING
The first step to starting your amateur career in boxing, is to actually, well, start boxing, so how do you start boxing? Your first step should be to look for a gym to go and train at. You might be tempted to buy some gloves and set up a heavy bag at home and training completely solo. This isn’t recommended, especially if you don’t have any experience in combat sports or even general fitness training.
It's crucial to join a gym where a coach will keep an eye on you and make structured corrections to your form so that you can advance. To truly qualify as a competent boxer, you must improve your footwork, punching, and head movements and even work on having a good boxing stance. A good boxing teacher will teach you the appropriate boxing stance as well as all the right movements.
The training partners you will have as a result of joining a gym are an additional advantage; these partners are essential to your progress as a boxer. They can point out mistakes that you might not notice, just like your coach can. These training partners can also be sparring partners that can help you train your boxing against a live opponent and serve as a measure of how much you have progressed over time.
Also, the gym probably has equipment prepared for you. At the very least, this includes many heavy bags, but it's also likely to include items like a ring for you to move about and spar in, possibly even some specialized heavy bags like speedbags and double-end bags, focus mitts, and perhaps even gloves you can use until you can get your own pair. The usual fitness gym equipment like weight sets, treadmills and other cardio machines may even be available in some gyms.
When it comes to actually find to a gym to train at you can search online, check out local directories, or ask for recommendations from friends or family. Make sure to choose a gym that has experienced coaches and trainers who can guide you through the fundamentals of boxing. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that gives you multiple options to choose from, try out some of the gyms in your area. Most gyms will have some sort of trial for newer people that is usually, at a discounted price and sometimes even free. If this is not the case they can often have drop in prices that you can take advantage of.
From there, choose the gym that best suits your needs. Base your decision on the coach and your training partners because those are what matter most. No matter how good a facility is, it won't matter if the trainers and coaches are unappealing or just not your style.
Before you start boxing, you'll need some basic equipment, such as hand wraps, gloves, and a mouthguard. You can either purchase these items at a sporting goods store or borrow them from the gym if they have a loaner program. Keep in mind that if your gym does have extra gear to borrow, it will most like be old and used and maybe not the most sanitary, so its highly recommend that you invest in some gear of your own.
LEARNING TO BOX
Now that you’ve chosen a gym it's time to start actually training. You might be wondering how long does it take to learn boxing and unfortunately there is not really a clear answer to that question. It really will depend on your ability to learn and how much and how consistently you train. To speed up this process train as often as your body can handle, which if you aren’t the most physically fit person at the start, might not be very much. You should also listen to your coach, especially if you put the time into finding one that you feel is best, as they will only help your technique. It might be frustrating at first but it is a learning curve that everyone has to get past.
In the beginning, your coach will likely focus on teaching you the basic boxing techniques, such as footwork, punching, and blocking. Listen to your coach's instructions carefully and practice the techniques until they become second nature.
Speaking on consistency, if you are not the fittest person and have not been regularly exercising until starting boxing, to improve your skills and fitness, you'll need to train regularly. Start with two to three sessions per week, and gradually increase the frequency as your stamina improves. Don’t do too much too soon, as that increases the risk of injury and increase the chances of burnout, which could cause you to quit altogether
After you start training consistently, set goals for yourself. These can be things like improving your speed, endurance, or technique. Having clear goals will help keep you motivated and focused on your progress.
After a while of training, you might start to learn more advanced techniques and tactics and eventually you will start sparring, which will allow you to try out your techniques against a live actively resisting opponent.
GETTING IN SHAPE
If you want to get into your amateur career as quickly as possible, then you will want to start getting in shape as quickly as possible, so how do you get into boxing shape fast?
The first thing that you are going to want to do is stay consistent with training like we mentioned before. Train as often as you can without putting yourself into an overtrained state.
Boxing is a high-intensity aerobic activity, so you'll need to work on improving your cardiovascular fitness to be able to keep up with the demands of the sport. This can include activities such as running, cycling, or jumping rope. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five times per week.
Boxing also requires you to have strong muscles, especially in your upper body and core. Incorporate exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and planks into your routine to build strength and endurance. Aim to do strength training exercises two to three times per week.
Proper nutrition is essential for boxing training, as it helps fuel your body and support your recovery. Eat a diet rich in lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Finally, make sure to give your body time to rest and recover between workouts. Aim to get at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night, and take rest days as needed to prevent overtraining and injury.
GETTING YOUR FIRST FIGHT
To get your first fight you are going to want to talk to your coach and see if you are ready. If your coach says yes, then you are already most of the way there. Your coach can be a valuable resource for helping you find and prepare for your first amateur boxing match. Talk to your coach about your goals and ask for their guidance on finding and preparing for your first fight.
From there you are likely going to need to register with some sanctioning body, usually in your state or province. This will likely involve getting a membership with that body and paying a fee.
From there you or your coach should look into amateur promotions and competitions where you can get your first fight. Reach out to the promoters for these events to get experience from there if you talk to the promoter give them your fight experience and what weight you want to compete at, and from there they will work to set you up with an opponent, hopefully with the same or at least similar level of experience. Once the fight is confirmed and accepted, now you go into training camp.
PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST FIGHT
Now that you know how to box, you will need to sharpen your skills and get your body in fighting shape, this process is generally called camp or being in camp. Camp is usually about 6 to 12 weeks long, but since it is amateur it usually ranges from around 6 to 8 weeks. Not only will lyou work on sharpening your technique and developing a game plan for your matches. You will also need to be in top shape and conditioning for this fight, so just how do you get into boxing shape?
You will need to do all the things we mentioned previously about getting into shape. However, with a busy schedule, this might be difficult to come up with, especially on your own so we will give you a quick outline of what a standard amateur boxers week might look like when they are in a training camp preparing for a fight.
In terms of boxing skills training, you should be getting in around 5 to 6 sessions a week with some harder and some lighter. These sessions should include shadowboxing, pad work, heavy bag work and sparring. You might even want to consider making one of those sessions completely focused on sparring.
When it comes to cardio and conditioning sessions, 2 to 4 times a week depending on what you can handle is good. These should be a mix of long-distance running, especially further out from the competition and sprint-style work or circuits, especially closer to the fight.
For strength or resistance training sessions, try for 2 to 3 sessions a week, focus on on either building strength or explosiveness. It's better to build strength further out then build explosiveness and power closer to the match. Use tools like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands and medicine balls in these workouts.
Finally you should also leave one day a week where you do no kind of training, for most fighters this tends to be Sunday. This will allow your body to recover from all the damage it took during the week so that you can stay fresh and prevent injuries. Remember it’s when you recover that you actually get better.
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