Is Boxing a Good Sport to Get Into? 

Written by Alistair Knight | 26 June 2021

A young man throwing punches at a black heavy bag in a boxing gym.

Boxing has many pros and cons, so whether you’re thinking of getting into the sport as a recreational hobby to do with friends, to become fitter, or to become the next world champion like I wanted to be when I was younger, it’s important to reflect on the question of whether it’s worth getting into.

In this article, I’m going to break down what the pros and cons of boxing are whether you’re looking to train for fun or to compete, and then I’m going to give you my opinion on whether it is good to get into.

Sound good? Let’s get ready to rumble …

Here is the table of contents:

Is Boxing Good to Get Into to Improve Your Fitness and Start a New Hobby?

Pros

It reduces stress: Even just one boxing session per week can greatly alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression[1, 2, 3].

It’s great to do with friends and a brilliant way to make new ones: You can do boxing with your closest friends down the park with mitts and gloves and the boxing gym is a wonderful place to meet like-minded individuals.

It improves self-confidence: Exercise, in general, is a great way to improve your self-confidence and if you know how to protect yourself you will naturally feel more confident.

It’s an excellent workout: Boxing is a full-body workout that is easy to do for beginners.

It’s fun: There is nothing more fun than letting off steam when punching alongside good, fast music in symmetry with other fighters in the gym.

It develops muscular endurance: Punching and moving for an extensive period of time demands a lot of stamina which with consistent training, will develop over time.

It improves your cardiovascular system: Boxing increases your heart rate and you’re able to work both the aerobic and anaerobic respiration systems.

Cons

It can make you more violent: From personal experience, the more I watched boxing and the more I practiced it, the more I enjoyed watching people punch each other in the face. Therefore, you can say that it makes you enjoy watching violent things.

Did boxing make me more violent or aggressive towards others? Not really, but it might be different for other people who do not practice self-reflection and mindfulness.

It can hurt and injure if you partake in sparring: The headgear you wear in sparring does very little to protect you from brain damage and you are always open to body wounds.

To prevent being injured, you need to make it clear to every sparring partner that you only want to box at about 50% intensity and you also need to be careful to maintain that intensity yourself as it’s easy to try and hit harder; which will only be reciprocated.

Is it worth it?

Boxing is one of the best sports to get into if you’re looking to improve your fitness and have a lot of fun along the way because it requires your entire body to exert energy into every shot and the better you get, the more enjoyable the flow and movements become.

The only downside is if you choose to step in the ring and forget to let your sparring partner know that you don’t want to get hurt.

In summary, boxing is absolutely worth it due to a whole host of benefits and it’s one of my favorite sports.

Is Boxing Good to Get Into For Self Defence?

Pros

Note: All the pros in the above heading still apply to this section.

Less fear: I don’t know if it was growing older in age or if it was learning how to box that made me more confident when walking down a dark alleyway at night; I think both.

There is a lot of punching in street fights: If you get targetted by a gang or that big bully who isn’t trained in fighting, I can guarantee that the first punch they throw is an overhand right. If you learn how to box you’ll learn how to slip this punch and defend yourself effectively.

Cons

It’s not that effective when you are fighting multiple people at once: When a trained boxer goes up against a large group of untrained thugs, the thugs will likely be able to take you down and hold you down. Therefore, it would be better to train in parkour and join a running club. Here’s a fun example of why it can be better to train in parkour.

You can hurt your hands if you land a punch: Punching without a pair of boxing gloves on is something you want to avoid because it’s very easy to bruise and break your hand when striking a hard surface such as a skull. If you have to throw a punch, do it to the liver and kick, knee, elbow or run away instead.

Is it worth it?

Learning how to box is a terrific way to protect yourself when you unexpectedly find yourself in a street fight, and whilst other combat sports such as Taekwondo or Brazillian Jui Jitsu (BJJ) might be a safer solution for protecting your knuckles, you’ll be much better off knowing how to punch correctly than if you didn’t.

That being said, the majority of fights occur when you react to someone who is criticizing/bad-mouthing you.

Former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, said “whenever someone showed verbal hostility towards me, I simply paused for several seconds, smiled, put my hand out to shake the other person’s hand, and in a low, friendly voice, I’d say, “My name is Chris”.

Not surprisingly, this flabbergasted and astounded the other person who transformed their hostility into empathy and Chris was able to build a human-to-human connection.

I tried this technique before and it worked.

I was on a night out a few months back in Old Street, London, when the bouncer at a nightclub reacted negatively to my question of whether it was busy inside or not.

The bouncer denounced, disparaged, and insulted me in front of a group of people in an aggressive manner. I put out my hand and did what Chris suggested, and instantly he shook it, and shockingly, he opened up his truer, kinder self.

In summary, boxing will improve your ability to defend yourself but it would be wiser to run away instead (if you can).

Is Boxing Good to Get Into For a Career?

Pros

Huge salary if you make it: As you probably know, the best boxers are paid more than most professional athletes. For example: Floyd Mayweather’s net worth – $450 Million; George Foreman’s net worth – $300 Million; Manny Pacquiao’s net worth – $220 Million.

Fans, fame, and recognition: The better you get, the more fans you will have. You’ll see fans with tattoos of your face on their arm and artwork of you spraypainted on walls across the world.

Incredible fitness: Boxing is physically demanding and your Vo2 max will be incomparable to the average person.

A lot of boxers start late meaning you don’t necessarily have to be young: Interestingly, many of today’s best boxers started in their late teens/early twenties, which shows that you can start at this age and be equally as great. See the heading, When is it too old to start boxing.

Discipline: Everything in your life will be regimented for you to perform at your best. This includes what you eat, how often you train, how often you rest, and much more.

Lifelong memories: You’ll look back with utmost happiness, pleasure, and joy.

Cons

It can overinflate your ego: Being a celebrity will mean you get a lot of people complimenting you all the time. This can make some fighters feel more superior when around others.

You can die from one punch: Approximately seven boxers die each year from fights. (Data based on pro/amateur boxer deaths 2000 – 2011.)

You have to get punched every week in sparring: Practice makes progress, and sparring hard is a part of this practice. Unfortunately, the headgear doesn’t protect your brain from rocking around your head if you get hit and there is nothing to protect your body.

Dieting: Boxers have to fight at certain weight classes, and the lower the weight class, the easier it can be. However, not all boxers diet, take for instance, Tyson Fury, who has a layer of body fat.

Boxing is taxing on the joints: Training five or six days a week (sometimes twice per day) is extremely taxing on your body and you might need a walking stick in your old age. Solution: Take plenty of rest days and listen to your body.

You earn virtually no money in the beginning: Amateur boxers might get free equipment and a few hundred pounds per fight which will mean you’ll need some other source of income. The smartest fighters utilize social media by documenting their training and building relationships with sponsors. An example of someone who has been doing this well for a while is Ryan Garcia.

You may be unlucky in access to the best coaches: Who do you think will be a better fighter, a 15-year-old newbie who has walked into Floyd Mayweather’s gym and is being coached by the man himself, or a 15-year-old newbie who has walked into a local gym with coaches who have only trained amateurs?

Is it worth it?

A career in boxing is one of the toughest, most brutal careers any athlete can have. However, a career in boxing can be worth it if, and only if, you have the right coaches, trainers, diet, facilities, and most importantly, the right mindset.

I tried going for it but I injured my Posterior Cruciate Ligament (a ligament in my knee) three times so I had to throw in the towel :(. But if you are genuinely passionate about the sport and are smarter with the number of rest days you take, you will go crush it.

I’ll end on this edited advice from James Clear:

“The list of mistakes you can never recover from is very short.

But you’ll likely realize your life will not be destroyed if you lose your next fight, or you don’t sell enough tickets, or you get slandered for something you said in a press conference.

It’s not the failed outcome that paralyzes us. It’s the possibility of looking stupid, feeling humiliated, or dealing with embarrassment that prevents us from getting started at all.

The first step to being courageous is being willing to look foolish.”

Believe in what YOU want! Go after your dreams, chase them and never give up! Only you can determine how far you can go!

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this article and have been able to make the right decision as to whether boxing is good for you.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

Do you think boxing is worth getting into?

Are you looking to compete or start a new hobby?

Perhaps you have a question you’d like to ask?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or via an Instagram DM.

Alistair Knight

Alistair Knight is an amateur athlete in boxing and the founder of Healthy Principles. He spends most of his time practising and learning more about boxing to ensure you get the best experience-based and evidence-based insights to learn. Learn more about Alistair Knight