I was a PAL National Amateur boxing champion and Pennsylvania State Golden Glove boxing champion. As a professional, I was coached by the great Tom Yankello, compiled a record of 13-1-1 and was promoted by ROC Nation Sports. I regularly contribute boxing tips to Well & Good, T3.com, and Askmen.com.
There are too many reasons to count for why you should box.
This article could go on forever, listing every reason that you should seriously get in the ring at least once.
Instead, I give you the top 10 reasons why I think you should box from my own personal experience.
This past weekend I won my 10th professional boxing match. I’ve been boxing for 8 years now: 5 as an amateur and 3 as a professional. My professional record is 10-0 (13-1 as of this editing).
As an amateur, I amassed a record of 41-11, won a state title, a national title, and defeated a future Olympian. My peak ranking was 4th in the nation at super-heavyweight.
I also had a sponsor as an amateur which paid all my living expenses in Los Angeles along with a salary. So far, I’ve had a good career.
To celebrate this important milestone, I put together a list of the 10 best reasons to box. These are some of the most useful things I’ve gotten from the sweet science that I hope you get out of it as well.
1: Boxing makes your confidence soar
Confidence is the key to getting anywhere in life. If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anyone else? If hitting the weights makes you feel strong, wait until you know that your fists can defend you.
The difference is profound.
Lifting makes you feel strong. Boxing makes you feel invincible. That confidence—the problem-solvers kind of confidence—can’t be gained any other way than learning how to fight.
2: Boxing teaches you to manage your adrenaline
This is the difference between people who shine in high-pressure situations and those who crumble. Adrenaline causes you to experience the “fight or flight” feeling a.k.a. “butterflies.” Every boxer experiences this feeling before every fight.
We still perform because we’ve learned to act in spite of it. The difference between a new boxer and one with experience is adrenaline management.
This prevents him from tiring quickly. Adrenaline control in a fight crosses over into adrenaline control in reality.
3: Boxing teaches you that pain ain’t shit
Here’s a little-known secret outside of boxing circles: everything in boxing is painful. Unless victory is achieved by a devastating knockout, you’ll sustain quite a bit of pain even if you win.
This is because a person trained to hurt you is trying to do just that. It’s not like dealing with a hoodlum off the streets. A fighter’s punches have power behind them. But Rocky said it best:
“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
The training in boxing is extremely grueling and rough. You will experience tremendous pain just getting in fighting shape.
4: Boxing gets you in real athletic condition
There’s a debate between cardio or weight training.
Most dudes don’t want to look like a roided up freak show. Nor do they want to look like a skinny Kenyan marathon runner. They want to look ripped and athletic.
You can burn tremendous calories hitting the heavy bag. If you compete—and I recommend every man compete in a boxing match at least once—the training will turn you into a beast.
5: Boxing teaches discipline
It’s impossible to get good at anything without practice.
You can fool yourself about how often you run or go to the gym, but fight night tells no lies. Unless you want to suffer the pain of embarrassment, you train hard every day.
If you can handle boxing training, you can become whatever you want.
Between the technical training, mental concentration, toughness and physical conditioning, there is no room for laziness or non-commitment.
The discipline you develop in boxing can be applied to anything.
6: Boxing teaches you how to have fun
There’s nothing more enjoyable than slugging it out for a few rounds.
It’s great stress relief and you’re getting in shape. Boxing is also the first time many people are objectively judged. This assessment gives them a goal and a challenge to overcome.
There aren’t many things which challenge you like boxing. When you find something challenging, you have to stick with it because overcoming challenges is key to happiness.
7: Boxing teaches patience
My coach always says: “Bad things happen quickly. Good things tend to take a little longer.” All progress takes time. If you want things to happen quickly, you won’t last long in training.
Boxing weeds out people who expect quick fixes.
An immediate test of your patience is how long it takes before a coach takes you seriously. Unless you’re a ridiculous physical specimen or rich, most boxing gyms won’t pay attention to you at first.
This is because most gyms only have one trainer. This one trainer has to train other fighters, both professional and amateur. He might even run a few regular fitness classes.
And then there’s the new guy who most likely isn’t going to stick around. You’ll have to prove your worth and that will take time.
8: Boxing teaches humility
The only way to get better at this sport is to suffer.
You’ll suffer through running. You’ll suffer through sparring. Eventually, you’ll lose a fight in front of a crowd. It will be extremely embarrassing. Especially if you get knocked out.
But if you commit to the sport, you will not only get past these difficulties but you will become a better person. There’s nothing like a black eye, bloody nose, and sore ribs to make you humble.
9: Boxing reminds you of your mortality
I know every time I step in the ring there’s a chance that I come out permanently altered, and not for the better. The toughness needed to fight also exposes you to the fragility of human life.
You learn how easy it is to damage a human being. You develop a newfound respect for people and empathy for their pain.
This is not to say that one develops a tolerance for weakness in others.
Rather, what I have gained is a profound appreciation for the body’s ability to persist against difficulty.
You appreciate the mental fortitude required to continue in the face of pain.
10: Boxing teaches you the true meaning of fear
And how to deal with it.
Once you fight a man who is trained to hurt you, the rest of your fears seem small in the comparison. I once heard this phenomenon referred to as “drowning out the noise”.
A fighter is always scared before a fight and for good reason. A person is trying to hurt you. He has a good chance of doing it. If he succeeds, it will be in front of everyone.
The two biggest fears people have—dying and public humiliation—are imminent. All fighters experience this, but every weekend they act in spite of it.