As your ring skills improve and your confidence grows, it's only natural to think, "Where can I take this boxing thing? Where to next?"
And if you're like so many in the amateur gym, your answer is likely to be a resounding "To the pros!"
You have, after all, established a solid amateur career, you're dedicated to a hard training schedule, and you absolutely OWN anyone who cares to spar with you in the gym.
But then again, you haven't trained like a pro, nor have you sparred with one, and for good reason. That's because it takes years to work up to the training level of a pro, and a sparring session would have them mopping the floor with you like you were a tot.
And there's also that other factor, which is that everyone in the gym thinks there may be some spark of a chance that they've got what it takes to hit the big time, though few actually do.
The thing is, turning pro may seem like the perfect way to earn a living doing what you love, but it takes more drive, determination, focus, and flat-out SKILLS than you may imagine—at least if you want to live well doing it.
Plus, it's likely you'll have to keep up with a day job along with the long hours training in the gym, since turning pro hardly means instant huge payouts. In fact, only an elite few are able to earn life-changing money as pro fighters—same as being a pro footballer, or any other pro sport for that matter. It is, after all, only the top tier athletes who take the starting positions, and the rest hold down the bench.
Granted, holding down the bench in a big-money sport such as football may earn you a decent living, though boxing is a bit different than that. Instead, it requires you to pay your dues at the bottom while working your way to the top; and all the while working insanely hard in the gym nearly every single day.
But if you think you've got the grit, tenacity, and raw DNA talent to make it to boxing's top level, here's what you need to do to get there.
Hitting the Big Time
Lace 'em up tight Champ, since however hard you currently train, working yourself into pro-level condition will make it seem like a cake walk. This goes not only for you, but for your trainer, who needs to be every BIT as dedicated as you are to your goals.
In fact, though finding the right trainer is just one of the many keenly important aspects of going pro, it's perhaps the most important. Remember that each of you will be spending countless hours in the gym, and your trainer needs to be someone who believes in you at least as much as you believe in yourself.
And that too needs to be plenty, since to be the best, you need to know you're the best.
Ready to Train Like a Pro?
To give you an idea of the kind of brutal training regimen you'll need to commit to in your pursuit of a pro license, here's a look at what a typically professional boxer goes through in a week:
- 6-day work week
- Strength training sessions involving punching and leg movement. This includes loads of squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and other "push" exercises
- A morning run 5-days per-week
- Afternoon boxing sessions 6-days per-week
- Functional strength sessions of varying regularity depending on how close to a fight the boxer is. Sessions of bicep curls do little good for his punching power or leg speed, which is why he relies on things like kettlebells, sleds, and battle ropes to gain power that is useful in the ring
To build stamina, pad work is involved which includes:
- At least 12-rounds with leg weights
- Reverse punching medicine balls
- Chasing medicine balls
- Going rounds with the time increased from the standard 3-minutes, to 3.5 minutes
- Lots and LOTS of pad work to go along with all the bag work, speed training, reflex training, and combo drills necessary to continuously develop his speed, power, and skills
- Swimming 1000 meters once per-week
And on the 7th day:
While maintaining a workout routine 6-days per week, rest and recovery is also vital, which is the Sunday. All this goes along with his disciplined approach to his nutrition, sleep, and health.
And remember, it's not only a boxer who performs all this 6-days per-week, but his trainer too is right alongside him grinding out long hours in the gym and managing his progress.
Along with an intense training regimen and the right trainer, there are a few things required of you to get your license. Per the ABLIS' "Registration to Act as a Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Contestant - Western Australia," these include being at least 18-years of age, having an adequate skill level, a certificate of fitness signed by a medical practitioner, and proof that you're healthy.
And this all goes along with finding a boxing gym that fits your needs and schedule, hiring a manager to go along with your dedicated trainer, and successfully climbing the amateur ranks. Once you do all that, and if you're good enough to start winning fights, you can then rise through the pro ranks to where the real money is.
Remember though, as fast and hard as your fastest and hardest amateur fight could ever be, your easiest pro fight will be faster and harder. We're talking lightning speed and intense competitiveness that NEVER gives a millimeter. Couple that with the up to 12-rounds a pro fighter needs to endure in a fight, and you get the idea of what you need to train for!
Gong Pro: A Final Take
While all of this may sound more discouraging than encouraging, you also need to ask yourself, "What are my real dreams? What goals do I ultimately have for myself?"
If that answer is to become a pro fighter, then why NOT aim high? As Canadian Hockey star Wayne Gretzky once quipped, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
No, it's not an easy, safe, or guaranteed way to earn a living, though even if you never make it past the lowliest of pro ranks, having "Pro" on your resume can open other doors for you—such as you yourself becoming a dedicated trainer to the next great pro.
In other words, if it's what you love, do it, and there's a good chance the money will follow, one way or another.