Is Boxing Still Growing? 7 Factors That Helped

A growing plant

Boxing has long been a widespread sport. Just look at the golden era of boxing, when Mike Tyson, for instance, was in his prime. Even back then, the number of people who watched boxing was astounding. We can see that from Tyson’s average payoff – standing at $7.5 million!

Boxing is still growing, even in current years. Various reasons, such as YouTube boxing and sports betting, led to this consistent growth. Likewise, boxing’s popularity skyrocketed when it was first introduced as an Olympic Sport. It has been declining in some years, such as in 2017. But it always climbs back up.

However, it does decrease in some years; for different reasons. For example, the 2016 boxing scandal led many dedicated followers, such as myself, to stop following the scene for a while.

That’s why you’ll see a decline in its popularity when you examine boxing’s long-term popularity. Many of these scandals ruin the watching experience for some of us. Thus, boxing has had rather lousy times.

This article will examine the current state of boxing according to accurate data. Likewise, it’ll calculate specific numbers and show graphs that show the popularity of boxing over time.

Before we dive in, follow the link to an article of mine if you want to learn whether boxing is a corrupt sport.

Is boxing gaining or losing popularity?

This section will examine the accurate numbers regarding boxing’s popularity. While there isn’t a way to know the exact number of annual followers, there are ways we can examine the numbers and come up with an estimate.

Boxing is gaining popularity, although the common belief is that it’s losing popularity. The reasons for this increase in folks interested in boxing are plenty. But some common factors for the increase are a higher overall interest in martial arts, the growth of sports betting, and YouTube boxing becoming a thing.

The following graph shows the trajectory of boxing in the last 5 years. Unfortunately, looking at it doesn’t give us information other than some spikes here and there.

Boxing's popularity in the last 5 years
Boxing’s popularity in the last 5 years

The graph below shows boxing’s popularity from 2004 until today. Now, this gives us a much more defined picture.

The one conclusion I came up with while looking at this graph is that boxing has been steady for the past two decades. Likewise, it hasn’t gained as much popularity as other sports did.

Boxing’s popularity from 2004 – Today

Now, let’s look at the actual numbers. The table and graph below show the popularity of boxing in averages. Now, we can see that its popularity took a nosedive in 2017. After that, however, it quickly regained popularity and became even more widespread in 2022.

YearBoxing’s Popularity (Google Trends Average Number)
Year & Boxing’s Google Trends Average

The graph below shows the same data, but in a way, some people understand better.

Boxing's Popularity from 2017 - 2022
Boxing’s Popularity from 2017 – 2022

Why is boxing gaining popularity?

When researching this topic, I’ve come up with seven reasons why boxing is gaining popularity in the last couple of years. However, it was pretty interesting to see the contradicting opinions in the boxing community.

What I mean by that is that most people think boxing is losing popularity. However, the opposite is true. It has regained its followers while recruiting new people to the equation.

This article will examine the seven reasons boxing is gaining popularity.

#1 – Boxing in the Olympics

The first reason is that boxing is an Olympic sport. Throughout the years, more people are starting to follow and watch the Olympics religiously. As a result, the Olympic Games sports will come to more people’s eyes.

Hence, more people will see boxing as an actual sport, not just two people hitting each other as hard as possible. More people will watch the sport and might fall in love with it, as I did.


#2 – Sport betting

The second reason is that some of you might have had some experience with it. Sports betting is becoming more popular each year.

It essentially puts the matches in the spotlight for people to follow. You can guess that the people who put money into a sports match will also watch it. Therefore, the rise of boxing links to the growth of sports betting in the last few years.

Slots machine
Photo by DEAR on Unsplash

#3 – Drama & Entertainment

The following reason is one I view as the dark side of boxing. I wouldn’t say I like putting my attention into it, as I know how fake it can sometimes be. But, boxer drama usually leads to more viewers as the fight gets more emotional.

Take Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor as an example. Countless conferences and debates were around the fight. These all led to more drama and emotion around the fight.

As a result, there would have been fewer views if they hadn’t hyped the fight up as much. That’s why you see many press conferences and exciting boxing matches.

Press Conference
Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash

#4 – YouTube boxing

You must be living under a rock if you’re unfamiliar with YouTube boxing or its hype. Nevertheless, it has played a central part in the spikes we saw in the graph in the first part of this article.

YouTube boxing started with the match between KSI and Logan Paul, who had the biggest fight. They cashed out on this fight and others who managed to ride the wave.

This brought plenty of new viewers to start following boxing’s scene. As a result, they got more folks, who eventually all became a part of boxing society.

#5 – The Paul brothers

The fifth reason is one I have to admit, but I’ll say it anyway. Although I wouldn’t say I like them, the Paul brothers brought their entire followers to watch boxing at its prime.

It’s only common sense that some of them have stuck around to watch more fights. I would be ignorant to claim Jake and Logan Paul have negatively impacted this sport.

They brought along new followers by fighting and highlighting their training sessions. That was also a part of the rise in the popularity of boxing.

#6 – Rising interest in martial arts

Another reason I was able to approve – is a rising interest in martial arts. Although boxing was always popular, more people were interested in all martial arts, including self-defense.

As such, some of these folks will also visit boxing to see if they like what’s going on. And part of this group will become dedicated fans. As such, they’ll contribute to the rising popularity of this beautiful martial art.

Martial arts master
Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash

#7 – The thrill of fighting

The last reason many are attracted to boxing, and martial arts in general, is the thrill of fighting. But, unfortunately, only those who have sparred before know how it feels to dominate someone else.

Likewise, you’ll also know how it feels to get beaten by someone. Both are important to feel – at some point in your life to improve your mental toughness.

Fighting can be the most enjoyable thing you do. Although you might think it’s not, you’ll understand once you face someone else. And, who knows? You might fall in love with this exciting sport.

Will the UFC takeover boxing?

UFC and boxing have long competed to see who will beat who. However, the years have only shown that these two martial arts can live in harmony, feeding each other sufficiently. So let’s see whether the UFC can take over.

UFC took over boxing long ago. However, they seem to have gained equal popularity in the last few years. As a result, UFC is more likely to take over boxing in future years. Nonetheless, boxing has risen over UFC in popularity at the end of 2022; so, we might see boxing rise over UFC.

A comparison of boxing and UFC's popularity in the last year
A comparison of boxing and UFC’s popularity in the last year

We can also examine the past 5 years to see the same results. Have a look.

A comparison of boxing and UFC's popularity in the past 5 years
A comparison of boxing and UFC’s popularity in the past 5 years

So, you can see how the UFC has become more popular over the last decade. As you can see, it also has a spiking interest because more people are interested in it – near famous fights.

When was boxing at its peak popularity?

Boxing is not currently in its prime. It has been on a steady decline since then. However, boxing’s popularity has been increasing ever since the 2000s. Let’s see when boxing was at its peak and why:

The prime of boxing was in the 80s. The 80s was when boxers such as Mike Tyson, Thomas Hearns, Michael Spinks, and Roberto Duran were at their prime. That’s why you’ll see the most growth in its popularity at these times. For your information, boxing has been in the same popularity since 2004.

Boxing seems to spike in interest when legendary boxers fight. As a result, you’ll see various spikes in the Google Trends data I listed in this article. Of course, there’s always more interest when there’s a good fight.

Final words

I’m a big fan of boxing. However, I was sure its popularity was declining until I decided to write this article.

I’ve also seen the same thought in more boxing fans. So, I found it interesting to see how the opposite is true. Boxing is a sport that keeps on rising, although most people suggest it’s past its prime.

However, it does seem we’re past the golden age, the 80s, when Mike Tyson was in his prime.

I recommend you box, as it can provide countless mental and physical benefits. However, if you want to know what they are, follow the previous link!


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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