Want to Get Started in Amateur Boxing? Follow These Steps

Finding a reputable gym and coach are two important steps to getting started in amateur boxing.
Image Credit: Nick David/Stone/GettyImages

If you've always enjoyed boxing and want to kick things up a notch, you might consider becoming an amateur boxer.


But, you may be wondering, "How do you get into amateur boxing?" Don't worry, we've got you covered. Ahead, we'll share tips on finding a gym and coach, what you need to do to train, how to get your boxing license and start fighting in matches.

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A Quick Note on Language

Here at LIVESTRONG.com, we carefully consider language surrounding sex and gender. We typically avoid language that implies a sex or gender binary in favor of inclusive language. However, USA Boxing and the International Amateur Boxing Association categorizes weight classes into "men's" and "women's," so we've used those terms below.

What Is Amateur Boxing?

Amateur boxing is practiced at the amateur or collegiate level, according to Red Owl Boxing, a Toronto-based boxing gym that provides boxing classes, lessons and pro training. Amateur boxers can compete at the Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan American games.

In an amateur boxing match, judges identify which athlete had the cleanest punches, as opposed to which athlete had the most strength.

A few amateur boxing rules to note, according to Red Owl Boxing:

  • A men's amateur boxing match has three 3-minute rounds, each with a 1-minute break in between.
  • A woman's amateur boxing match has four 2-minute rounds, each with a 1-minute break in between.
  • Repeated low blows aren't allowed, and you can be disqualified for throwing them.
  • Repeated holding tactics aren't allowed.


The sport is divided into 14 weight classes across men's, women's and juniors' categories:

  1. Super heavyweight
  2. Heavyweight
  3. Light heavyweight
  4. Middleweight
  5. Light middleweight
  6. Welterweight
  7. Light welterweight
  8. Lightweight
  9. Featherweight
  10. Bantamweight
  11. Light bantamweight
  12. Flyweight
  13. Light flyweight
  14. Pinweight

With the exception of heavyweight, which has no limit, each class has a weight limit range. Determine which class you currently fit in, or wish to fit in, then move forward with training to prepare for your boxing event (more on that below).


Amateur Boxing Weight Classes

Weight Class

Men's Weight

Women's Weight

Juniors' Weight

Super heavyweight

91+ kg




81 to 91 kg

81+ kg

80+ kg

Light heavyweight

75 to 81 kg

75 to 81 kg

75 to 80 kg


69 to 75 kg

69 to 75 kg

70 to 75 kg

Light middleweight



66 to 70 kg


64 to 69 kg

64 to 69 kg

63 to 66 kg

Light welterweight

60 to 64 kg

60 to 64 kg

60 to 63 kg


56 to 60 kg

57 to 60 kg

57 to 60 kg



54 to 57 kg

54 to 57 kg


52 to 56 kg

51 to 54 kg

52 to 56 kg

Light bantamweight



50 to 52 kg


49 to 52 kg

48 to 51 kg

48 to 50 kg

Light flyweight

46 to 49 kg

45 to 48 kg

46 to 48 kg




44 to 46 kg

Source(s): Red Owl Boxing

How to Get Started Amateur Boxing

1. Find a Boxing Gym

The difference between a regular gym and a boxing gym is that a boxing gym will provide the staff, coaches, sparring partners and training resources you need to become a competent amateur boxer.


Regular gyms may provide boxing-like classes, but the general participants in these classes are fitness enthusiasts, not those training for a fight. In addition, boxing-like classes, such as cardio kickboxing, may not involve actual contact with a partner or boxing training devices, such as a punching bag.


You can use USA Boxing's platform to help you find a boxing club in your area.

2. Find a Coach

A boxing coach will teach you proper hitting techniques, hold the mitts while you spar and watch you hit the punching bag and offer advice on how to improve your form. They may also provide effective workout and nutrition advice. Speak with the owner of your boxing gym to see if they know of any reputable boxing coaches.


3. Get Your Amateur Boxing License

Once you've been training a while and you and your coach feel you're ready to take the next step in your amateur boxing career, you need to register with USA Boxing (download and fill out the application here) to obtain your amateur boxing license in your state and athlete passbook, according to IronGloves Boxing Gym in Tempe, Arizona. You'll need this to compete in fights.


In order to register, you'll need a doctor's sport physical first.

If you're under 18, the application must be signed by a parent or guardian. Mail your completed amateur boxing application, two passport-sized photos, the original or a notarized copy of your birth certificate, your physical exam form and registration fee to your local boxing committee.


4. Sign Up for Your First Event

Once you have adequately trained and prepared, your coach will tell you that you're ready to attend and fight in an amateur boxing event. Your weight determines the class in which you'll start your amateur boxing career. Amateur boxing events are both local and national, and many culminate in championship events.


How Boxers Train

Becoming an amateur boxer takes a lot of training and a high level of fitness. A typical week of workouts can look like this, according to FightCamp, an on-demand home boxing gym:

  • Strength training 2 to 3 days a week
  • Speed bag work 2 to 3 days a week
  • Punching bag work: 2 to 3 days a week
  • Daily cardio

5 Boxing Benefits

1. It Builds Muscle and Strength

Boxing involves using all the muscles in your body, according to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). You use your upper body to throw a punch, your lower body to pivot and step and your core to stabilize yourself when doing all of this.

Plus, training typically involves strength work, like deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups, according to Evolve MMA, a mixed martial arts academy in Singapore.

2. It Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Boxing and training with exercises like burpees, jumping rope, running and HIIT workouts improves your cardiovascular fitness, according to Evolve MMA. The better your cardio fitness is, the lower your risk tends to be for conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, per the ISSA.

3. It Boosts Your Endurance and Stamina

When you're boxing, you're working more than your resting. This constant movement builds stamina and endurance, according to the ISSA. Stamina is the amount of time you can do an activity at max effort (or close to it). Endurance is the amount of time you can do an activity not at max effort, but for as long as possible.

4. It Improves Your Mental Health

Boxing benefits for mental health include helping you release stress anger in a healthy and safe way, per the ISSA. (But remember, no form of exercise is a replacement for therapy!) The sport can also be a confidence builder as you progress and meet your goals.

5. It Helps With Balance and Coordination

Boxing requires a lot of agility to be able to duck, pivot and punch and move very fast overall, according to the ISSA. Even the cross-training exercises you do to train for boxing, like agility ladders, jumping rope and deadlifts, require a certain amount of balance and coordination. Boxing and conditioning consistently helps improve these skills over time.




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