One of the questions you always ask yourself when starting doing some sort of sport is – am I too old? Certainly, when you start off at a young(er) age, the question doesn’t really come up, but if you start in your late twenties, thirties or even forties, you ask yourself whether you should just stay at home, read a decent book and watch CNN or really put yourself into some dedicated training?
You are never too old to start boxing. There are plenty of reasons why you should start with boxing regardless of your age. If you start boxing at an older age, you will get in better shape, be healthier, socialize more, feel younger, and have better mental health.
Although you can ask yourself this question in any discipline, martial arts tend to cause more dilemmas because of the individual and physically demanding nature of the sports. One of those arts is boxing and, in this article, we are going to answer the question whether there is an age limit to start with boxing.
Age and Sports
People usually start doing sports at a young(er) age. Children usually do it on their parents’ incentive, while adolescents tend to explore different disciplines themselves.
Scientists and medical professionals always stress out the importance of workout and encourage children to engage in some form of organised sporting activity from an early age. Although a lot of those children won’t turn professional, the importance of the workout itself is a strong enough reason to start.
But there are a lot of people who start doing sports at a much later age, without having any prior sporting experience. Although we could not get our hands on exact statistical data, we all know someone who started running, working out, playing tennis or basketball in their thirties or forties, just for the fun of it and to stay healthy, of course.
Plus, if you just look it up on Google, you will find a large number of forums and board where people share their experience of commencing with sporting activities, pondering whether they are too old or not.
Most people end up as (solid) amateurs, but there are a lot of examples of people who started off with a sport unusually late in their lives, but became well-known professionals.
For example, famous football (soccer) strikers Ian Wright, who played for Arsenal, and Didier Drogba, arguably the best Ivorian footballer ever, didn’t start playing professional football until they were 21. Famous NBA center Hakeem Olajuwon started playing basketball when he was 15, which was a relatively old age to start, and still became one of the best players ever.
There are also examples from the world of boxing. Ken Norton, the man who would beat Muhammad Ali and become a WBC heavyweight champion, did not start boxing until he was in the Marine Corps.
Middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins started boxing at the age of 23, while the legendary champion, Rocky Marciano, had his first professional fight at the age of 25. Remember, Marciano later became a heavyweight champion and retired with a record of 49 wins and 0 losses!
The question of age and sports is not just related to start of sporting activities, but also the end of such activities. One should never stop doing sports, but it is difficult to maintain a professional level of activity at a later age. Still, there are a lot of examples of people that defy nature’s and society’s usual norms and still do professional sports, despite being what is generally considered to be too old.
For example, Japanese football player Kazuyoshi Miura still plays professional football for Yokohama FC, despite being 53 years old! A lot of boxers also had professional fights in their forties, even fifties and the legendary George Foreman became champion at the age od 45(!) when, in 1994, he defeated the 26-year-old Michael Moorer for the heavyweight title.
Are You Too Old to Start Boxing?
So, to answer your question – are you too old to start boxing? – no, you are not! There is no bad time in life to start doing sports, and boxing is not an exception. People might look at you queerly, but you should not mind that, you’re doing it for yourselves!
Still, you have to bear in mind that you have to predetermine your goals before starting. If you want to remain a (solid) amateur, the age limit is practically non-existent, because as an amateur you’re the one dictating the pace, the pressure and the decisions. There are no external factors that can force you do something or not do it.
If you want to turn pro, you have to bear in mind that there are a lot of external factors that determine how your career plays out. Certainly, starting in your late twenties or early thirties still enables you to retain a chance of becoming a professional, but professional managers and organisers are less interested in older clients so you’d have to have a bit of luck as well.
Also, the physical strains on your body are much harder at a later stage of life, so bear in mind that if you plan to turn pro at the age od 35, you’ll have to work a lot harder than your adolescent peers.
10 Reasons Why It Is Never Too Late to Start Boxing
Having said all of this, we shall give a list of 10 reasons why we think it’s never to late to start boxing, although bear in mind that you have to decide whether you want to remain an amateur or turn pro. That goal should, in a very large percentage, influence your final decision on if and when to start boxing. Here are the reasons:
- The benefits of physical activity – any physical activity is highly recommended and boxing is an art that demands a lot from you, but also gives you a lot of benefits. You’ll be healthier, more mobile and will generally look and feel better.
- Socialisation – although boxing is an individual sport, training sessions, going to the gym and sparring sessions all require close social contact and can, perhaps, lead to the formation of a strong friendship or relationship with someone. Just remember how Rocky Balboa, the main character of Stallone’s cult franchise, had a close relationship with his coach.
- Discipline – boxing is a martial art that requires a lot of determination and is very demanding. Not everyone can do boxing the way should be done and if a person does not have the required discipline, he may quit. Luckily, boxing does build one’s discipline so it can be beneficial in that aspect likewise.
- Learning your limits – since boxing is a martial art that requires a lot of discipline, it teaches the boxers to control themselves. You do not fight to kill someone; you fight to win and there are certain limits you’ll have to adhere to in order to be a good boxer.
- Self-defence – people who take on boxing while learning how to attack, also learn how to defend themselves. Although you should always avoid confrontations when possible, life sometimes doesn’t allow you to escape or avoid a conflict. In such situations, it is better to know hot to defend yourself than not. Be sure to check out how boxing compares to other martial arts when it comes to self-defense.
- Building confidence – while teaching you how to attack, how to defend and how to win, boxing builds on your confidence. It allows you to create a better, a much stronger image of yourself and the confidence you have in the ring, during a fight, will emanate to all other aspects of life.
- New knowledge – boxing is not just punching, it is a very sophisticated martial art where tactics usually play a much bigger part in winning, than just pure physique. Learning new tactics and tactical approaches doesn’t just increase your knowledge, it stimulates your brain as the adrenaline of a fight demands for a quick response.
- You’ll feel younger – this one is more for our older readers, as the physical and health benefits of boxing will, undoubtedly, result in your body, and with it your mind, feeling younger. The mere fact that you can hold out and win a fight against someone who’s probably younger than you will be a boost so strong that you’ll probably feel at least 10 years younger.
- You’ll grow as a person – each new experience is special and enables you to develop yourself as a human being. Boxing has a lot of different aspects and approaches, and learning (about) them will certainly enable you to grow as a person.
- You never know… – relating to the above-mentioned stories, you’ve seen that Rocky Marciano started at the age of 25 and ended with an unbeaten run. You never know what the future hold, so even if you start at a later date, just remember that you might become the new Marciano.
And that’s it for today’s article. Now that you are a step closer to starting your boxing journey, check out what equipment will you need. Keep checking to see our new content and more on the topic of martial arts.