For some, boxing is simply a way to burn off a few extra calories and learn some cool moves in the process. For others, boxing represents a way to test themselves mentally and physically in a constant search for self-improvement. You can train as hard as you want in the gym, but you won't really know what you're made of until you step into the ring against another trained boxer in a competitive match.
Find the Right Gym
Perhaps the most important step toward beginning your competitive boxing career is finding the right gym. Different pupils respond to different styles of training and teaching. If you don't have confidence in your trainer, you aren't going to have as much confidence in yourself heading into a boxing match. Hit a few gyms before settling on a home base to prepare for your fights.
Get Comfortable in the Ring
You shouldn't consider competitive boxing until you have a solid grasp on both the fundamentals and advanced moves in boxing. Once you've got the moves down, learn to execute them against uncooperative sparring partners in the gym. In sparring, the aim is to test each other without causing injury. If you're able to land combos on a sparring partner that you can land on a heavy bag, you're ready to find a fight.
Register to Fight
If you're at the right kind of gym, expressing interest in competition to your trainer should be enough to get the ball rolling. You need to register with a state or national boxing governing body, such as USA Boxing, in order to receive a license to compete. Once you get through the red tape, you can search out a local event and submit yourself for an amateur match.
The injury rate in competitive boxing is high, even at the amateur level. A 2005 study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that the rate of injury was 17 percent among professional boxers. The most common injuries were facial lacerations, hand injuries, eye injuries and nose injuries, respectively. Female boxers are less likely than males to receive injuries, but if you're going to step into the ring, you need to understand the risks involved.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.