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Differences Between Amateur and Professional Boxing 101

Differences Between Amateur and Professional Boxing

Before a boxer shines beneath the glow of the bright lights, or even earns a shot at worldwide championship, they have to navigate through the levels of amateur boxing—with the foundation laid for a successful move into the pro ranks.

On the face of it, amateur and professional boxing are very alike, but still, there are some quite essential discrepancies between them in their rules, scoring systems, and required skills. For this, it's worth knowing for the young fan or beginner to the sport.

At Made4Fighters, as specialists we aim to guide you through the main distinctions between professional and amateur boxing, with the sole aim of helping you know what to consider before you finally get to make the ultimate decision in respect to what pathway to take in the sport.

Whether it's the gear you need to protect yourself, the number of rounds, or the level of skill, we've got you covered on what to help make a choice that will support your boxing dreams.

Throwback Boxing Fight

Equipment / Protective Gear

Amateur Boxing: Safety gear is a hallmark of amateur boxing, with fighters required to wear headgear in addition to their gloves. Equipment in amateur boxing is standardised to ensure fairness and safety. Gloves tend to be larger, often 10-12 ounces, to cushion blows, and headgear is mandatory. 

Professional Boxing: Once a boxer moves to the professional ranks, headgear is no longer used, raising the stakes of each bout. The absence of this protection increases the risk but also amplifies the excitement and skill displayed in professional matches. The choice and quality of glove size and protective gear, such as mouthguards and groin protectors, become even more critical in this environment.  Gloves are lighter, typically 8 or 10 ounces depending on the weight class, allowing for harder hits. Pro Boxers will use lace-up boxing gloves oppose to hook-and-loop boxing gloves.


Amateur Boxing: One of the main differences between amateur and professional boxing is the round length, typically capped at three rounds. This setup aims to assess skill and agility while prioritising the fighters' well-being.

Professional Boxing: Professional matches show more endurance and strategy over a longer duration, with fights lasting up to 12 rounds. This extended match duration not only challenges the boxers' physical stamina but also their ability to strategically pace themselves and outthink their opponents over time.

Scoring System

Amateur Boxing: The scoring system in amateur boxing is point-based, with judges awarding points for clean, clear hits. This system requires boxers to focus on technique and precision to accumulate points over the bout's duration.

Professional Boxing: On the other hand, professional boxing employs a more subjective scoring method, where judges consider the power of punches, defence, control of the ring, and overall aggression.The professional circuit rewards boxers for aggression and control, pushing them to engage more directly with their opponents. All in all achieving a knockout is the main aim.

Note: The Amateur Boxing Point System encourages precision and technique over brute strength. The clarity of this scoring method ensures that amateur boxers focus on skill development, laying a solid foundation for those who aspire to turn professional.

Amateur Boxing Fight

Contracts and Sponsorships

Amateur Boxing: In amateur boxing, athletes step into the ring driven by their passion for the sport, proudly representing their clubs, colleges, or nations. The rewards here are more about personal growth and experience rather than financial gain.However, having a social media presence can often provide a platform for earning income.

Professional Boxing: Making the jump to professional status is life changing where athletes see all their hard work pay off with the flourish of a single signature! When boxers go pro they're signing up for a world where each fight brings a paycheck, and the chance for sponsorships and endorsements can seriously boost their income. 

Ring Size

Amateur Boxing: The ring size in amateur competitions is typically smaller, creating a more intimate and fast-paced environment. This setup encourages quick exchanges and close combat, allowing fighters to showcase their agility and reaction times.

Professional Boxing: Conversely, professional bouts often take place in larger rings. This additional space benefits fighters who excel in movement and range management, allowing for more strategic depth in matches. 

Level of Commitment

Membership to the boxing world comes at its own various levels of commitment and dedication, as an amateur or professional.

Amateur boxers often combine their passion for the sport with other life responsibilities, but take training as an empowerment to keep their own bodies fit, disciplined, and focused.

Professional boxers, on the other hand, as you know are wholeheartedly into it, considering boxing not a hobby but a proper full-time career. 

Summary: Transition from Amateur to Professional

Going from amateur boxing to professional boxing is so much more than making a simple switch in rules or the length of rounds - it is a whole new lifestyle and set of expectations.

This transition requires a boxer to not only adjust their training focus from scoring points to engaging in longer, more physically demanding matches but also to understand the business side of boxing, including negotiating contracts and sponsorships.

The path from amateur to professional boxing is fraught with challenges and changes, but immense rewards!

FAQ's: Amateur vs Professional Boxing

Is 23 too old to become a professional boxer?

While starting boxing at a younger age may offer some advantages, 23 is not necessarily too old to begin a career in professional boxing. Many successful boxers have started later in life and achieved significant success.

What age did Anthony Joshua start boxing?

Anthony Joshua began boxing at the age of 18.

What age did Deontay Wilder start boxing?

Deontay Wilder started boxing relatively late, at around 20 years old.

Can you get paid from Ametuer boxing?

While amateur boxers typically do not receive direct payment for participating in matches, they may receive stipends, sponsorships, or other forms of support. Additionally, successful amateur boxers may eventually turn professional and earn money through fights.

What is a professional boxing salary?

Professional boxing salaries vary widely depending on factors such as the boxer's skill level, popularity, and the magnitude of the event. Top-tier professional boxers can earn millions of dollars per fight, while lesser-known fighters may earn considerably less.