Boxing – What Age Is Too Old to Start? And Why


A boxer punching a punching bag

Today, there’s a common misconception about what age is too late to start boxing. As you have likely guessed, I’m about to write that it has no age limit. Frankly, you’re not wrong. And still, it’s vital we discuss the details and understand why everyone can start their fighting journey today.

There’s no age that’s too old to start boxing. Whether you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s, you can start to train, at your own pace, and work your way up the skill ladder. The oldest boxer to ever turn pro—is actually 54 years old. If he managed to do it, you can too, regardless of your age.

You don’t need to be in your prime to work on yourself. Boxing isn’t only a way of fighting, it’s also a lifestyle. You’ll drastically improve many aspects in your life, such as your confidence, self-esteem, and stress-management. In contrary, you’ll be reducing negative symptoms simultaneously.

For that reason, people who understand that are capable of starting their journey as late as in their 70s. When I had my first Muay-Thai class, I was the youngest student there. Eventually, all the other trainees were able to beat me, even a guy in his mid 60s.

This article isn’t supposed to motivate you. However, if it does so, I encourage you to grasp it and savor it in yourself. When you’ll need it most, you’ll be capable of starting your journey with all your spare motivation.

Let’s discuss why you can start boxing at any age, even in your 80s. Before we do that, I encourage you to follow the link if you want to learn more about perfecting your punching technique. Doing so—is tough, but will be highly rewarding; so, do give it a read.

What is a late age to start boxing?

If you currently want to start your boxing journey but think you’re too old, let me explain why you’re not. First, let’s understand why you don’t have to go all-in in your first session. Until you feel comfortable, you won’t spar with anyone, which is what most people are afraid of in the beginning.

There’s no late age to start boxing at because you can always improve yourself through this sport. Your coach or instructor won’t go all-out to ensure you’ll never want to come back again. Rather, you’d first do all the exercises that’ll feel comfortable to you. Hence, you won’t spar if you’re not ready to do so.

The primary concept is that you can first start with what’s comfortable. Thus, you’re not even required to hit the punching bag, if you don’t want to. As a result, you’ll be improving yourself, slightly, every single day.

That is what boxing is all about, improving yourself. Of course, you’ll be pushing your physical and mental limits all the time. Waking up sore—after a tiresome session—will feel natural. Likewise, your mental shape will also improve with time, such as your confidence, self-esteem, and ability to manage stress.

If you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s, you can show up to training. At first, start with what you’re familiar with. Then, continue lifting the pace a bit. Repeat that process and you’ll see major improvement.

Does boxing have an age limit?

If you want to start boxing, or any martial art for that matter, begin now. Don’t hesitate because you think there’s an age limit. If you stop yourself from improving yourself by indulging in such training, you’d be missing out on some crucial benefits.

Boxing doesn’t have an age limit, although most people think it does. You can start with the exercises that you can perform. Then, slowly push your comfort zone to ensure you do progress, even if it’s slight improvements. Regardless of your age, you’ll highly benefit from rigorous boxing training.

Boxing coach
Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash

Another solid improvement you’ll gain from boxing, and martial arts in general, is social connections. You’ll be meeting like-minded people who you can create deep bonds with. In the later ages of life, this can be crucial for keeping one’s mental health and well-being in touch.

I’ve witnessed numerous elders lose many of their cognitive abilities they used to do before—by not trying to move. By not pushing your physical limits, your ability to function will slowly decline.

Eventually, you don’t have to become a top boxer if you box. Simply, you can adopt what you can and like to do in training, so you’ll constantly be pushing yourself. Finally, there’s no reason that it won’t help in your journey, even if you currently are afraid to walk out of your comfort zone.

Is boxing good for people over 50?

I’ll be mentioning this story more throughout this article. Let’s discuss the oldest boxer to ever turn professional. That’ll hopefully help you understand that you can do anything that you desire to achieve, regardless of your age.

Boxing is beneficial for people over 50s because it’ll help them improve both their mental and physical shape. While some may think that it’s impossible to box at such ages, since you can fight other people in that age. Nonetheless, you don’t have to compete or spar, if you think that’s too much for you.

Instead, you can utilize all the physical attributes in training and adopt them. In that case, you’ll be doing pad work, punching bag drills, and other aerobic and anaerobic exercises, such as sprinting or long-running. All these will help you learn how to box while improving your physical shape.

Back to the story, Steve Ward is the oldest boxer to turn pro, doing so at the age of 54. Although he has been boxing for more than 10 years, you can still understand that it’s possible in these ages. Take what you’d like from this story; I personally take the possibility you still have when you’re in your 50s or 60s.

The correlation between your mental and physical health—have long been proven by numerous medical publications. If you can improve one of them, which you’ll do in training, you’ll also be improving the other. It’s, indeed, a cycle of well-being!

Professional boxers who started late

When discussing boxers who started late, we usually talk about pros who began training in their 20s. The popular opinion is that you must start boxing at the age of 6, if you want to have the slightest chance of turning pro. However, that’s simply untrue.

  • Dwight Muhammad Qawi (25)
  • Ken Norton (24)
  • Rocky Marciano (23)
  • Sonny Liston (17)
  • Jess Willard (27)
  • Luis Angel Firpo (23)
  • Deontay Wilder (20)
  • Antonio Tarver (28)
  • Ron Lyle (23)

We’re talking about some of the best boxers out there. If you truly understand the meaning of this list, it is that you can start boxing whenever you want. You might feel that it’s too late to start your boxing journey, but here you have individuals who managed to reach prime performances when they started training at age 28.

That should be extremely motivating for some of you. When I heard of these ages, I was shocked. How can someone start training at age 25 and become world champion at something? But, now you may understand that it’s not too late to start your boxing career, even if you don’t want to work as hard.

You can, indeed, become a world champion a few years from now, if you really want to!

If you want to know which boxers are best in the history of boxing, do follow the link to see the complete list!

Boxer turning pro at age 54

As I previously mentioned, the oldest boxer to turn pro was 54 years old at that time. I hope you understand how astounding such a feat is. Steve Ward was able to cross all that’s possible, and attain a superb accomplishment.

I hope it can motivate you to do better, each and each day. Start small and work your way up by pushing your physical limits in every single workout. If Ward was able to do it, you can start boxing at any age, period.

Can 12-year-olds do boxing?

Boxing is for all ages. While there’s no age limit, there’s also no age-restriction. So, even young trainees can start their journey and enjoy all the physical and mental benefits. If you want to know what the mental benefits of boxing are, follow the link to an article of mine on the topic.

12-year-olds can do boxing under a qualified and skillful coach. The coach’s part is to ensure that all the trainees wear headgear when sparring or have any potential hazards to their head. 12-year-olds can enjoy the mental and physical benefits as much as trainees at all ages can.

Final words

To end this article, I want to emphasize my appreciation for all the people doing boxing. Whether you’re 15 or 82 years of age, you should appreciate yourself for all the hard efforts you’re putting into this wonderful art.

Even if you’re not competing or sparring, you’re learning the art. But, most importantly, you’re pushing your physical and mental boundaries. That’ll inevitably cause an improvement in various areas in your life.

If you want to read the complete list of the benefits you’ll experience from martial arts, follow the link to read it.

I highly recommend starting to box as soon as you can. The most difficult part is to begin. So, if you can minimize the learning period, where you’ll need to put most the effort, you’ll stay consistent and more dedicated in your training in the long-term.

Levi

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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