Introduction to Youth & Amateur Boxing

As a parent, you aspire to raise your children into self-disciplined, determined, and confident individuals. No other sport challenges athletes to establish these qualities more than boxing. Athletics, especially boxing, provide youth with valuable life lessons. This guide discusses the benefits of boxing for youth, and reviews amateur competition possibilities for young adults.

Boxing Improves Lives

Boxing has been used as a rehabilitation tool for troubled children who appear unmotivated. Boxing allows these kids the opportunity to set goals for themselves. Second Round, a boxing program in Raleigh, North Carolina, serves as a perfect example. The program helps gang members stay off the street by channeling their time and effort into the challenging sport of boxing.

Many prison inmates have turned to boxing in order to focus their talents on something positive. Bernard Hopkins, who has compiled more than 50 professional wins and earned several world titles, began his boxing career as a young adult in Pennsylvania’s Graterford Prison. Hopkins is among the countless boxers who credit boxing with instilling in them the positive characteristics displayed by successful individuals.

Boxing also enables many adults to live healthier lives and acquire a new and exciting skill. Many people now engage in “White Collar” boxing matches to challenge themselves and train with a purpose. “White Collar” boxing involves business professionals who box after work. These individuals train in order to prepare for a match against another hardworking individual. Boxing serves as a constructive outlet for people that have unique backgrounds and upbringings.

Young Boxers Benefit

Without a doubt, boxing can aid youth in their development as well-rounded, driven individuals. There are physical, personal, and social benefits to youth that engage in boxing. Below are some life skills and values acquired by youth boxers:

  • Respect: Boxers learn to respect their bodies. The more a boxer respects his body through training and proper eating, the more enjoyable the training will be. Also, young boxers quickly learn to respect other boxers in the gym who train hard alongside them.
  • Self-esteem: Boxing is a difficult sport that, when practiced and improved upon, can instill a great deal of self-confidence in young individuals.
  • Valuing preparation: Improvements can easily be seen in novice boxers. Sparring and competing in matches allows young athletes to improve for each upcoming challenge; they begin to understand that you can’t get better without practice.
  • Handling success & failure: You win some, you lose some. Kids often get upset when things don’t go their way. Boxing allows kids to feel the triumph of winning and the disappointment of losing.
  • Sportsmanship: Boxing provides coaches with the opportunity to instill sportsmanship in young boxers. It’s a one-on-one sport that prevents participants from blaming teammates for their own mistakes. Young boxers learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

Most boxing gyms welcome youth as valued members, and many trainers don’t mind lending a helping hand to young boxers. Trainers understand that the competitive sport of boxing has been on the decline in recent decades, and they value the opportunity to coach children and young-adults who want to learn the necessary skills to be successful. The Police Activities League (PAL) often establishes programs in boxing gyms directed toward youth as well.

Competitive Opportunities for Youth

Opportunities to compete will arise once you find a gym for your child. Different countries provide different rules and regulations regarding youth boxing. The minimum age requirement for USA Amateur Boxing is eight. USA Boxing regulations break up boxers by age, with weight classes within each division, as follows:

  • Bantam Division: 8-10 years old with three one-minute rounds and one minute rests.
  • Junior Division: 11-12 years old with three one-minute rounds and one minute rests.
  • Intermediate Division: 13-14 years old compete in this division with three 1.5 minute rounds and one minute rests.
  • Senior Junior Olympic Division: 15-16 years old with three two minute rounds with one minute rests. Boxers of each of the four following divisions also participate with the same round and rest lengths as the Senior Junior Olympic Division.
  • Sub-novice Class: 17-34 years old without any bouts.
  • Novice Class: 17-34 years old with 10 or less bouts.
  • Open Division: 17-34 years old with more than 10 bouts.
  • Master Division: 35+ years of age compete in this division.

USA Amateur Boxing competitions occur in cities across the country. Bouts at all amateur levels occur informally at local gyms as well as on a larger scale at venues such as the annual National Championship Tournament.

The Golden Gloves Tournament

The Golden Gloves tournaments are the most well-known amateur boxing tournaments in the United States. Golden Gloves occur on state, regional, and national stages, and participants must be at least 16 years old. Tournaments began in 1928 and have featured many famous fighters prior to their introduction on the global stage as professionals.

Additionally, there are Silver Gloves tournaments for kids 10-15 years of age. Silver Gloves is broken up into three divisions: 10/11 year olds, 12/13 year olds, and 14/15 year olds. Within each division there are various weight classes.

Competing on the International Level

There are many competitions on the international level for amateur boxing. The international body that governs amateur boxing is the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The most prestigious tournament offered through AIBA is the World Amateur Boxing Championships, which occurs every two years.

The Pan-American Games include various nations of the Americas and provide a notable stage for amateur boxers. These games occur every four years in the year before the Olympic Games.

Representing your country at the Olympic Games is the ultimate achievement for amateur boxers. Boxers who make the national team are invited to compete against challengers from all over the world. The top three performers in each weight division earn a medal.

Learn & Have Fun

Popular thought often simplifies boxing as a brutal activity, but in reality it’s an artful sport that requires dedication and focus. Boxing teaches youth the importance of creating goals, while also allowing young athletes to acquire valuable skills that can be used throughout life.

You now know about the available competitive opportunities for young boxers. Encourage the youth around you to get involved. At the very least, they can learn some important values while enjoying the process.

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