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How Many Amateur Fights To Become A Pro Boxer?

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Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: July 4, 2023

Ever wondered what it takes for an amateur boxer to make the leap into the world of professional boxing?

The journey from the amateur ring to the pro arena is a challenging and complex process, requiring not only physical prowess but also strategic planning, mental fortitude, and unwavering dedication.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the factors that influence the differences between amateur and professional boxing, and the preparation required to make a successful transition.

So let’s explore how many amateur fights it takes to become pro boxing and what it takes to achieve this goal.

Key Takeaways

  • Successfully transitioning from amateur to professional boxing requires dedication and preparation, including honing skills, setting goals, participating in fight camps and sparring with professionals.
  • Factors such as starting age, talent level and geographical location play a role in the number of fights needed for amateurs to become pros.
  • Professional boxers are distinguished by their higher skill level, improved training routines & access to better gyms & equipment compared to amateurs.

So, how many fights does it take to become a pro boxer?

The number of amateur fights needed to become a pro boxer varies depending on individual readiness, experience, and opportunities.

While it is generally recommended that a boxer have approximately 20 amateur fights before becoming a professional boxer, this number can differ for each individual.

Factors such as physical preparedness, successful amateur career, and good moral character play a crucial role in determining when an amateur boxer is ready to turn pro.

Gaining familiarity with boxing regulations and refining technique and skill through amateur fighting are significant aspects of engaging in amateur fights prior to turning professional.

Many boxers start early with professional training at a boxing gym. In fact, they often participate in local and national tournaments from the age of eight.

Doing well at competitions such as the Golden Gloves of America tournament can lead to international selection and may present opportunities to be signed by professional boxing promoters, who subsequently arrange pro fights.

Understanding the differences between Professional boxers vs. Amateur boxers

Before delving into the journey from amateur to professional boxing, it’s essential to understand the key differences between the two.

Factors such as skill level, training routines, strength and conditioning, coaching, financial support, and access to gyms and equipment set professional boxers apart from their amateur counterparts.

Boxing skills

The skill level between amateur and professional boxers are notably different, with pros focusing on game plan, pacing and can often plan for advanced tactics - which depending on the boxer will entail knock outs or points.

Whereas amateurs would focus on showcasing technique and racking up points. It’s extremely hard to knock someone out during the amateur ranks due to the strict rules, gear and gloves being mushy.

Boxing training routines

Training routines differ significantly between professional and amateur boxers.

Professionals dedicate more time and intensity to their training compared to amateurs, which enables them to hone their skills and maintain peak physical condition.

This is particularly important in professional boxing, where professional boxing bouts are longer and more physically demanding than amateur bouts.

Many of the top pros have the luxury to dedicate their full days to training since it’s their full time job, whereas amateurs are doing it for the passion - usually as a hobby.

Male amateur bouts are limited to a maximum of 3 rounds, whereas professional bouts can last up to 12 rounds, so the emphasis on cardio and pace is essential for pros.

Strength and conditioning

Strength and conditioning are more emphasized in professional boxing, as bouts are longer and more physically demanding than those in amateur boxing.

A comprehensive boxing strength and conditioning program should include exercises such as:

  • Close grip bench press
  • Trap bar deadlifts
  • Ballistic medicine ball throws
  • Squats, deadlifts
  • Core training
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Jump rope
  • Agility ladders
  • Slide boards
  • Running
  • And weight training routines conducted 2-3 days per week

This focus on strength and conditioning enables professional boxers to develop the necessary power, endurance, and physical resilience required for success in the ring.

Coach and supportive staff

Professional boxers often have access to better coaching and support staff, which can help them develop their skills and advance their careers.

A successful boxing coach should possess experience in boxing and an understanding of the sport, as well as strong leadership skills, organization, attention to detail, motivation, excellent communication, and the ability to make their boxers feel confident, encouraged, and supported.

Ultimately, having a good coach and supportive staff is paramount for professional boxers to hone their skills and progress their careers.

Financial access and support

Financial access and support play a significant role in a boxer’s ability to transition from amateur to professional status.

Amateur boxers can receive financial benefits from a number of sources.

These include endorsements, government grants and boxing federations.

In certain cases, promoters may offer financial compensation to amateur fighters who demonstrate exceptional talent, in order to help them reach professional levels.

Access to financial resources enables aspiring professional boxers to acquire the requisite training, equipment, and support staff needed to make a successful transition.

Gyms and equipment

Access to quality gyms and equipment can impact a boxer’s development and readiness for professional competition.

A dedicated boxing gym should feature knowledgeable professionals and instructors, as well as other trainees who can offer suitable sparring partners, and may even provide opportunities to train for prestigious events like the Olympic Games.

Maintaining gym equipment is essential to guarantee safety and efficiency when in use, with regular maintenance prolonging the life of the equipment and ensuring it is in optimal condition for use.

Preparation required for turning to Professional boxing from Amateur boxing

As we’ve explored the differences between amateur and professional boxing, it’s time to delve into the key aspects of preparation for making the transition.

Aspiring pro boxers need to focus on mindset and mental preparation, goal setting, fight camps, amateur competitions, and sparring opportunities with professional fighters.

Each of these components plays a crucial role in preparing amateur boxers for the rigors of professional competition.

Mindset and mental preparation

Mental preparation and mindset are crucial for transitioning from amateur to professional boxing.

There’s a saying that in boxing, 90% of it is mental, and 10% is physical.

Which means that 90% of your success in professional boxing will be attributed to mental preparation, including mental toughness, focus, visualization, self-talk, and meditation.

It is important for boxers to develop a mindset that enables them to produce maximum effort while still being able to think clearly.

Notable examples of professional boxers who have incorporated mental preparation and mindset into their training include Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Mike Tyson.

Goal setting

Setting clear goals can help aspiring pro boxers stay focused and motivated during their journey toward professional status.

Goals may include honing their skills through rigorous training, achieving success in amateur bouts, participating in local and regional tournaments, and aiming to compete in the U.S. Amateur Championships.

Additionally, obtaining the necessary license and participating in their first professional fight are crucial milestones in an aspiring professional boxer’s career.

Fight camps

Fight camps provide intensive training and preparation for upcoming bouts, typically lasting 6-8 weeks.

During fight camps, boxers engage in a variety of training and preparation activities, including strength and conditioning, sparring, and technical drills.

These preparations come with experienced coaching and supportive staff to help them hone their skills and prepare for upcoming bouts.

The supportive atmosphere and access to experienced coaches and sparring partners in fight camps enable boxers to refine their skills and bolster their confidence in the ring.

Amateur competitions

Participating in amateur competitions helps build the experience and skills needed for professional boxing.

By competing in local, regional, and global amateur competitions, boxers can gain valuable exposure and experience in the ring.

This experience allows them to refine their skills, gain confidence, and establish a reputation, all of which are essential for a successful transition to professional boxing.

Sparring opportunities with professional fighters

Sparring with professional fighters is the best way for amateurs gauge their readiness for professional competition.

These sparring sessions offer numerous benefits for amateur boxers, such as improved technique, timing, distance judgment, defensive skills, counterpunches, physical conditioning, coordination, speed, stamina, and tactical awareness.

Engaging in sparring activities with professional fighters allows amateur boxers to assess their preparedness for professional competition and identify areas for improvement.

Simply even observing how professional boxers carry themselves in the ring can be a valuable experience.

You get to see how composed and disciplined they are when it comes to training and sparring.

Factors affecting the number of fights needed to turn professional

Several factors can influence the number of fights needed to turn pro, including starting age, talent, geographical location, and financial considerations.

Understanding these factors can help aspiring boxers develop a realistic plan for their journey to professional status.

Ensuring they have the necessary experience and preparation for success in the pro arena is key to achieving their goals.

Starting age

Starting at a young age can impact the time it takes to become a pro boxer, with younger athletes having more time to develop their skills.

While there is no definitive age for beginning a professional boxing career, children around the age of seven are usually physically and mentally capable of engaging in boxing.

Athletes must be a minimum of 18 years of age to be eligible to partake in a professional boxing match.

Though starting early provides you with advantages, there are some notable late starters that you can take inspiration from, such as:

  • Rocky Marciano , who started his professional career only at the age of 25
  • Bernard Hopkins, who started boxing professionally at the age of 27
  • Joe Joyce, who turned professional at the age of 32

It’s never too late to start a career in professional boxing if you are determined, dedicated, and disciplined.


Talent plays a significant role in determining how quickly a boxer can transition from amateur to professional status.

Boxers with exceptional talent may be able to progress more rapidly through the ranks, achieving greater success in the ring and attracting the attention of sponsors and promoters.

Talent can facilitate rapid advancement and help aspiring professional boxers stand out from the competition, making it an important factor to consider when assessing the number of fights needed to turn pro.

Geographical location and opportunities

Geographical location and opportunities can affect a boxer’s ability to gain experience and exposure in the sport.

Areas with more boxing gyms, amateur competitions, and sparring chances with professional fighters will likely provide an easier transition to professional boxing.

Iconic boxing cities like Las Vegas, New York City, and Los Angeles host a plethora of boxing events, gyms, and training opportunities, which can help amateur boxers gain valuable experience and exposure, and ultimately, transition to professional boxing more smoothly.

Financial considerations

Financial considerations can impact the number of fights needed to turn pro, as aspiring boxers may need to balance their boxing career with other financial responsibilities.

Pursuing a career in professional boxing necessitates a considerable investment in terms of training, equipment, and travel costs, and compensation is only received for competing, not for training.

Financial support through endorsements, government grants, and boxing federations can help amateur boxers transition to professional status by providing the necessary resources for training, equipment, and support staff.

The professional boxing route is tough as even pro boxers may still have full-time or part-time jobs.

Boxers working in other jobs helps them maintain financial stability until their boxing career can sufficiently support them.

This balance can always be a challenge and a significant factor when considering the transition to a professional fighting career.

Examples of Pro boxers with extensive amateur fights

Examples of pro boxers with extensive amateur fights highlight the importance of experience and skill development in the transition to professional boxing.

Examples include:

  • Vasiliy Lomachenko who amassed a record of 396 wins and 1 loss, with that loss avenged twice, before turning pro.
  • Ryan Garcia also had a noteworthy amateur career, concluding with a 215 - 15 record.
  • Gennady Golovkin had an impressive amateur career with a record of 345 wins and 5 losses, before turning professional.
  • Claressa Shields, one of the most successful female boxers, ended her amateur career with a record of 77 wins and 1 loss.
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. was also highly successful in amateur boxing, with a record of 84 - 6 before turning pro.

These examples demonstrate the value of accumulating experience and honing skills through amateur careers before making the leap to professional boxing.

Frequently asked questions

How long can it take to become a pro boxer?

It typically takes around four years to become a professional boxer. An amateur boxer usually participates in approximately 118 fights before transitioning to the professional level.

This usually occurs within the four-year timeframe, assuming the boxer starts competing at age sixteen.

Becoming a pro boxer requires years of training, dedication, and experience in the ring.

How do boxers go from Amateur to pro?

Boxers typically progress from amateur to professional by participating in amateur fights, refining their skills, and establishing a reputation.

They may also need to identify a gym and coach, obtain a license, and participate in their first professional fight.

Can you go pro in boxing in 2 years?

It is entirely possible to go pro in boxing in 2 years, but it’s highly dependent on factors such as age, talent, skill level, experience, physical and mental health, dedication, and the number of amateur fights.

However, the typical time frame to become a professional boxer is approximately 4 years. The boxing community believes that achieving professional standing requires a minimum of 100 fights.

How big is the jump between Amateur and Pro Fighting?

The jump between amateur and professional fighting is significant, with primary distinctions including the number of rounds, the size of the gloves, the requirement of mouthguards, the goal of the fight, and the remuneration.

Many people wonder how many amateur fights take place before a boxer turns professional.

Amateurs typically compete for three rounds, use larger 16oz gloves, and strive to score the most legal punches, whereas professionals may fight up to 12 rounds, use smaller 12oz gloves, seek to knock out their opponent, and are compensated by sponsors.

What is the difference between Professional and Amateur fighters?

The primary distinctions between professional and amateur fighters lie in their experience, training, and remuneration.

Professional fighters receive remuneration for their bouts, have more advanced skills, and participate in more esteemed tournaments, whereas amateur fighters do not receive compensation for their bouts and focus primarily on accumulating points during fights.

Is it hard to turn pro in boxing?

Turning pro in boxing is no easy feat.

You must prove yourself in the amateur ranks by winning local and international titles, mastering physical and psychological conditioning, developing a robust and varied fighting style, as well as securing the financial backing required for success.

Becoming a professional boxer involves dedication, focus and hard work.

It takes more than just strong punches and fast feet – you need to have the discipline, passion and commitment to train regularly, keep your body in peak physical condition, develop and hone your technique and win bouts at the amateur level before taking the leap into the pros.

Turning pro in boxing requires significant dedication, focus and hard work.

Training and competing at the amateur level is a must before turning pro, and you will need to continuously be physically and mentally prepared to make it to the top.

Is 23 too late to be a boxer?

No, 23 is not too late to pursue boxing.

With determination and dedication, anyone can achieve their boxing goals, regardless of age.

Starting at 23 gives you plenty of time to develop skills, strength, and technique. Embrace the challenge and focus on consistent training to succeed in the sport at any age.

Is 29 too late to start a boxing career?

While it might be considered late in comparison to most athletes in the sport of boxing, 29 is not too late to start a boxing career.

Experienced boxers have found success in their 30s and 40s and age should not be seen as a barrier.

With the right determination, a consistent training program, and proper guidance, anyone of any age can reach their boxing goals.

The bottom line

The number of amateur fights needed to become a pro boxer varies depending on individual factors, preparation, and opportunities.

As we’ve explored in this blog post, factors such as skill level, training routines, strength and conditioning, coaching, financial support, and access to gyms and equipment set professional boxers apart from their amateur counterparts.

By understanding these distinctions and the factors that influence the number of fights needed to turn pro, aspiring boxers can develop a realistic plan for their journey to professional status and ensure they have the necessary experience and preparation for success in the pro arena.

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