How Often Do Boxers Fight?

Last Updated: 07.12.19

 

If you are wondering how regularly you can spar after training on your best kickboxing bag, you should check how often boxers fight. The answer depends on multiple factors. An upcoming boxer will fight more often to increase the number of won matches. Also, how much money he/she wants to pile up during a year plays a big part. On the other hand, they have to keep an eye on their health so they fully recover after every fight.

 

Newer boxers

Boxers that are off to a good start, want to build and maintain a good record so they earn recognition from other fighters, boxing promoters, and potential sponsors. The only way to do this is to fight often and dominate their opponents if they want to box in the world’s biggest boxing venues. 

 

 

Being skilled

A boxer willing to get to the top might fight more frequently for a few reasons. First of all, his hard-earned skill set might allow him to outclass his opponents. It is not uncommon in professional boxing for boxers with 2 or 3 years of professional experience to be topped by a newer boxer. 

Easily defeating the opposition permits the new coming boxer to end the fight rapidly and add a win to his record without getting injured. For example, Ryan Garcia had 7 bouts in his first year as a pro and won them all with only one fight coming down to the judges’ decision. Currently, his record is 18 and 0.

 

Fight length

Some of the newer boxing prospects fight every 4 or 6 weeks. One of the reasons why they can maintain this intense rhythm is the fights’ number of rounds. In general, when they enter the professional boxing world, boxers fight for 4 to 8 rounds, each round lasting for 3 minutes. Fighting for less time significantly reduces the risk of getting seriously injured.

The shorters bouts are a good reason for young boxers to accept fights more often but this will not go on for a long time. As they build their careers and make their names known by boxing fans, 10 and 12 round fights are taking their places. 

 

Fighting for money

Some of the most famous boxers such as Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua are well known for their multi-million-dollars paychecks. But there is a long way until a boxer gets to that level. Some professional fighters told during interviews they were paid around $1500 for their pro debut. With such a small payment, there is no surprise that fighters compete as much as possible to take care of their families and their careers. 

Keep in mind that a boxer has to pay his manager, training staff, cornermen, training supplements and any other bill regarding their career. These costs have a great impact on a newer fighter so he will have to fight more frequently until he gets paid more or until he becomes the image of a company.

Because of these reasons, the regular upcoming boxer will have 6 to 10 fights per year. However, some of them might be participating in more boxing events if they are looking to get more popular or if they want to improve their professional record.

 

Boxing stars

As told before, the more successful you become, the less you fight. Let’s take a closer look at Floyd Mayweather as he might be the most famous boxer of our times. From 2000 to 2015, he stepped into the professional ring 26 times. So in the span of 15 years, he had 1.73 fights per year.

This is completely different than the beginning of his career. It took him only 3 years to have his first 20 professional fights. So at the start of his career, he averaged 6.7 fights per year. The turning point for these numbers is represented by Floyd Mayweather winning the lineal and WBC super featherweight titles at the end of 1998. 

This made him a target for all the fighters in his weight class. In 1999, his number of fights was significantly reduced to only 3 fights for the entire year. This allowed him to better prepare for the title defending and to keep his belt.

 

 

Being the champion

After winning the championship match, it is wise for the titleholder to increase the time between fights. Having more time to prepare for the fight means greater chances to successfully defend his title. 

Furthermore, a longer break means more time to advertise the fight and a larger payment since more interest from people all around the world will get the boxer more money. In general, boxing champions have less than 4 fights per year.

 

Lowering the risk

Risk is also a big factor when a boxer decides if he accepts a fight. There is no reason for him to fight more often when he can make the same amount of money for fewer matches. For example, a champion or a title contender will fight 2 or 3 times per year. Furthermore, the risk of injury is bigger for these boxers since their opponents are very skilled, making each match more difficult and risky.

 

Factors regarding safety

It is a known fact that professional boxing involves a lot of health risks. The main health concern for fighters is brain trauma. Suffering a brain trauma is a great cause for concern since it doesn’t generally heal. Furthermore, the odds of a career-ending injury increases with each formerly sustained trauma.

So every boxer wishes to become quickly world champion and defend his title twice or three times a year so he doesn’t get injured while getting the biggest paycheck. Take note that most of the championship fights are 12 rounds long, taking a serious toll on the fighters’ bodies, especially as the opponents are fiercer.

 

On amateur level

Amateur boxers have a long way to go before they can afford to box two or three times a year. It is not unusual for amateur fighters to have more than 300 fights before stepping into the professional boxing sphere. And there are plenty of reasons for them to fight this often.

 

 

Building a reputation

A young boxer with a good amateur record is on a safe way to become a successful professional fighter. Every agent, fan and boxing promoter has great respect for fighters with an undefeated record. Fighting on an amateur level is a good method to gain authentic boxing experience and it allows them to correct their mistakes. 

There is no doubt that even small mistakes can be costly when facing a top boxer.

 

Getting more experience

An amateur fighter that could be champion one day will try to prolong his amateur career to become as experienced as possible. This way, they make sure their professional career doesn’t start with a losing record. Some amateur boxers have more than 30 fights a year and sometimes they accept a fight on a short term notice.

For example, Vasyl Lomachenko had 397 amateur fights before turning pro. Out of that impressive number of fights, he only lost one. Furthermore, he participated in the Olympic Games and has won the gold to contribute to his fame.

So we should not be surprised that many boxing analysts considered Lomachenko to be one of the most skilled featherweights because of his amateur record. Due to his great reputation as a dangerous boxer, he quickly became a championship contender and was paid more than $600,000 for his second professional fight.

 

Back in the day

Some time ago, boxers were fighting more often than today’s fighters even though they were champions. First of all, they were paid less so they needed more fights to make money. There was not as much advertising as today and most of the matches were not transmitted worldwide. 

Furthermore, boxers didn’t really get involved in promoting the fight. They were spending most of the time in the gym, without giving interviews or attending press conferences.

Also, less attention was paid to medical recovery so the recovery periods between fights was shorter. This caused fighters to end their careers tragically with some of them being forced to retire because of aggravated brain trauma.

Even back then, boxers would fight less as they would get more recognized or after they became champions. For example, “Sugar” Ray Leonard had 26 fights (all wins) from 1977 to 1980 and only 12 fights from 1980 to 1990. 

 

 

Bibliography:

1) Boxing: A Cultural History

2) How long do boxers rest before a fight?

3) How often do amateur boxers fight?

4) Successful Boxing: The Ultimate Training Manual

 

 

 

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