Jose and Cesar ACFN6

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Boxing After 40

Is it safe to box in your forties? Are you likely to be injured? Should you even consider boxing if you have small children at home?

Lisa Creech Bledsoe at Second Round in Raleigh.

That’s me, still boxing at 47.

I started boxing at 42, I have a husband and three kids at home, and looking back, I’m slightly amazed that I never had these questions back when I started. But in those days I had other, more pressing issues. I’d never done anything like boxing (or anything else) for myself before. I was miserable and depressed. I didn’t think my marriage was going to survive. I frankly didn’t care what happened in the ring; I was just blindly hoping for something to relieve the darkness.

Boxing pulled me out of the abyss, and taught me how to fight for myself and the things I wanted.

And as I grew more proficient in boxing (and life) and started to spar regularly, people began to pose these questions to me.

They’re good questions from people who mean well, and some of them come from people who are not (or haven’t been) boxers themselves. But they ALSO come from boxers, like the awesome Glowing Edge reader who sent this email (I’ve edited it slightly):

I started MMA and kickboxing a year ago when I was 40. Been largely enjoying it and making good progress. I spar and grapple so it’s not pure ring work and punching but I do a fair share of boxing and boxing training.

I’ve definitely been tagged a few times. Nothing knee wobbling and no concussions but stunned a few times and a swollen nose once. And I can give it right back.

So, I’m not really scared about getting tagged, but after training I have a lot of thoughts, like, I’m 41 years old. I have small children at home. Do I need to be getting hit in the head at all? With all of the stuff in the news about concussions/suicide/etc. is even this very modest amount of boxing a risk? I need my brain at this point more than my fists. I talked to my doctor and she said she isn’t too worried if I’m not doing frequent, full contact boxing but I thought I’d see what your thoughts are.

I don’t see myself competing in the future unless it’s in jiu jitsu where you can compete as a “senior.” However, I like to put the skills I have into practice. I’m in the best shape and the least stressed out I’ve ever been so I’m hesitant to limit myself to just the bag but I also want to be smart.

First of all, how fantastic to hear about someone taking up a fight sport and getting in such great shape. And clearly doing well and enjoying themselves! Also, he got checked out by a doctor, who gave him a reasonably cautious but optimistic go-ahead (I’ll talk about frequency of sparring below). That’s win #2, because not all doctors will genuinely support someone who boxes; some are very frowny-scowly. And finally, the good news is that it IS possible to compete in a “senior” division in boxing, just like in jiu jitsu. See below…

I’ll get there, I promise! But let me see if I can answer a few of the most frequently asked questions first.

1. Can you box in your 40s?

Sure you can. Plenty of us do. You can even compete in boxing in your 40s on an official amateur or a professional level.

Even if you don’t get in the ring for sparring or competition, you can get a phenomenal all-body workout with boxing and get into the best shape of your entire life. But you probably already knew this. I think the real question comes next.

2. Do you have to get hit in boxing, or can you box without that?

You CAN box with NO body contact.

You will hit things, but you don’t have to BE hit. You can do all the fitness training that goes with boxing, even hitting the heavy bag, speed bag, and mitts, without ever getting punched in the face (or body) at all. For people who have concerns about safety, there you go. Non-contact boxing is going to be the safest path for you.

3. Are you going to get injured if you box?

Boxing is like any sport; you can, and probably will sustain some sort of minor injuries.

All of my non-contact boxing injuries were the kind I could have gotten simply going to a gym to work out. Beyond the normal aches and pains, the torn rotator cuff (which I got doing unassisted pull-ups, and I don’t do those any more) was the worst.

Jose and Cesar ACFN6

Cesar Hernandez and Jose Santiago, both fighting over 40.

If you do spar or compete, you may get a black eye, or a bloody nose. The more serious injuries tend to happen to new boxers who are not as skilled and a lot more scared than an experienced boxer.

My worst injury in the ring was as a newbie — I got a broken rib, and that bastard hurt. Took me about 3 months to get over that one, but I haven’t been seriously injured since.

So. Minor shit, yeah. Big stuff? No. And I try to spar about once a week, and compete every year.

4. What about hard punches to the face and head? Aren’t they dangerous?

They certainly can be. That’s why boxers (at any age)

    • wear protective gear (wraps and gloves, headgear, and mouthguard),
    • spar at lower power than we would compete at,
    • only spar once or twice a week, and
    • train with good coaches and sparring partners who have everyone’s best interest at heart.

And yes, there are lots of conversations in the media (even from President Obama, at this year’s Superbowl) and among scientists and pension boards about whether or not repeated concussions from boxing, football, and soccer are causing dementia, Parkinson’s, and a host of other problems. MMA head injuries are under the media microscope as well. All of those should be considered by someone who wants to get in the ring.

Have I thought about all this? Of course. But I also work pretty hard to mitigate the risks. And I haven’t been doing this since I was a teenager, so I’m not going to have the same number of years of it piling up like a young fighter might.

5. But professional boxers don’t wear headgear during their fights…

That’s true, and pro boxing definitely takes a harder toll on the body than amateur boxing, which requires competitors to wear headgear.

However, pro boxers don’t spend the majority of their time fighting at full power without headgear.

They spend MOST of their time training, lifting weights, doing intervals, and working the bags and mitts like everyone else. They spar more when getting ready for a fight, but even so, they don’t go out every single week (like football players do) and put themselves into the highest risk situations. They might fight a few times per year, even as many as 10 times a year in the elite circles. But the majority of boxers aren’t doing that.

6. Is boxing worse for injuries than other sports?

I might put competitive fighting (including MMA and all of the martial arts) in the top 10 of most dangerous sports, along with football, soccer, rugby, and cheerleading, but I don’t have any kind of science or data behind that.

But what about base jumping, free climbing, bull riding, motocross, pro surfing, scuba diving, street luge, BMX riding, heli-skiing, hockey, lacrosse, mountaineering, NASCAR, and other dangerous sports?

I do know that you can be mildly or devastatingly injured in any sport. You can build up cumulative damage over a period of years in any sport. It’s worth considering, but I’ve found that boxing is also worth doing.

7. Is it irresponsible to box if you have kids at home who need you?

Before I started boxing, my three sons had a mother who did everything for them and nothing for herself, and they had parents with a failing marriage. I don’t know if they knew how unhappy and depressed I was, but I know it’s very different for them now.

Since I started boxing, they’ve learned to do their own laundry, make their own meals, and they are expected to pitch in around the house. They have a mother who is tough and courageous. They have parents with a solid marriage and joy in life.

It’s clear to me which one is the better model.

I understand the people who worry about head injuries. I think that’s a reasonable concern, but I don’t see a lot of that in boxing, except at the long-term professional level.

Boxing teaches you to care for your physical, spiritual, and emotional health. It teaches discipline, respect, and balance. And fight sports are practiced in very controlled arenas, with coaches and teammates and specialized gear.

These all feel like very important life gifts and opportunities to have.

8. Should I let my daughter see her father fighting?

There are other parents who are not sure how they feel about their sons and (particularly) daughters seeing Mom or Dad punching and getting punched in the ring.

I think this is about personal preference, although I can tell you that I wish I’d discovered boxing LONG before I was in my 40s. But I had no idea women even boxed, and I’d certainly never learned anything about the real skills, training, and care that goes into learning to fight.

My sons aren’t particularly interested in boxing (not having grown up with it), but if you ask them they’ll tell you it’s kinda cool that their mom fights. They would be willing to come see me fight (and I’d love to have them), but I usually have to travel and can’t afford for all of us to go.

When people say “But you don’t want your children to see you getting beat up!” I always smile at the assumption that I’m getting “beat up” in the ring. Maybe other people are getting “beat up” by me, I’d love to say, but I know what they mean.

I hit, and I get hit, but I’m also okay. I like my sparring partners: we laugh, groan, grunt, and sweat together. We try to talk over our mouthguards. We get yelled at by our coaches. We work on specific tactics and shots. We nod and acknowledge particularly skilled moves.

Some days I suck, or perform poorly, or am utterly outmatched. Some days I’m teaching and supporting newer fighters. But it’s not typically an atmosphere of anger or ugliness.

I’d be fine with my daughter watching, if I had one.

9. Should I consider competitive boxing if I’m over 40?

USA Boxing, which governs amateur competition in the United States, puts all boxers over the age of 35 into the Masters category. It differs from the younger age groups in that Masters boxers are required to have a few more medical checks, like an EKG every 5 years. And in addition to the normal weight regulations, Masters boxers can not have an official match with anyone who is more than 10 years older or younger than they are.

So of course you can consider competitive boxing if you’re over 40. And for some of us, that’s the first time in our lives we actually do consider it!

10. How many fights can an over-40 boxer expect to get?

There aren’t nearly as many Masters fighters as there are in the under-35 bracket, as you might guess. I haven’t tracked the men, but most years in my state (NC) there have been between one and three registered female Master boxers. I usually know who they are. I’d guess there are at least five or six times that many male Master fighters.

So there aren’t as many opportunities to get matches, but if you have the money and can travel, Gleason’s Gym in NY holds annual Masters tournaments and Ringside also has a Masters tourney every year.


It’s not impossible to get fights in your local area (I’ve done it), but often you have to find and get someone to travel to your location. Corporate boxing groups like Atlanta Corporate Fight Night, are a newer thing in the US, and also offer opportunities for 40 and up boxers.

Coming Next: Best Advice for Over 40 Boxers

When I raised the issue of fighting after 40 on the Facebook page for The Glowing Edge, I got some great responses from boxers about what to think about, ways boxing is different for us, and what factors are the most different. Since this one got a bit long, my next post will cover some of those items, so check back soon.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll leave a comment below with your own questions and thoughts on the matter! Stay strong and keep swinging…

Image credits — Top: Johnathan Friedan; middle: Eric Langley Photography

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53 Responses to 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Boxing After 40

  1. Bonnie February 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Lisa, I faced a lot of the same issues when I started boxing (at age 26), questions about “safety” and “being responsible”, and about how much time I was investing into it. But I realized, like you, this was the first thing I had ever done just for myself and people in my life weren’t used to that, so there was a natural backlash.
    But just as you said, the things boxing can teach are so much more than “how to punch people” or be in shape. It’s forced me to deal with issues in my own mind and personality and constantly pushes me to move forward in life, things I was never able to do before being involved in this wonderful sport! Loved this post, it echoed so many of my own sentiments.

    • Grace October 18, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

      Hello l am over 40..l have been fighting for 2 years as unlicensed boxer. I am training every day in a really famous boxing gym, they asked me if l cpuld fight as amateur..and of course l said yes! But guess what l am in Europe and the limit is 40!! I gotted as l have passed the medical and l am super fit.l had a fight in Liverpool and they did not let me due to my age.Please l need lots of support! WHY SOMEBODY NEEDS TO DECIDE ABOUT MY LIFE!! Boxing lovers please help me

      • Honest September 23, 2020 at 7:42 pm #

        Get Help and wear a mask! Stay safe and fight on!

      • Sarah November 28, 2021 at 1:35 am #

        I started boxing at age 25 and I had only been doing so for a few months when I won VT Golden Gloves against a girl who had been boxing for a few years. I went on to win the New England Golden Gloves and then competed nationally against a girl who ranked like 4th in the nation at the time. I was pregnant and had no idea until returning home. I am almost 39 now and really want to get back into it. I have a 6 year old daughter who would love to get into it as well. It was some if the best times in my life and I was in immaculate shape. I’m not even sure how I would go about getting back into it. I guess I should see what they even offer in my area. I think what you are doing is nothing less than amazing!!!

    • Chris shaimas April 25, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

      Hi my name is Chris
      It’s been a life long dream to box I’ve had a life of drug use and I’ve been clean almost 2yrs I work out at the gym and been getting more fit and that life long dream has kept popping up I’m 45 yrs old and I want to box most people say are you crazy well a little but I don’t think it’s a bad idea in the end I’m going do it rocky said it’s not how hard you can hit it’s how hard you can get hit and keep going that’s how winning is done well I rather take the hits in the ring instead of the pipe or the needle life will knock you around but I’m ready for it thanks for the inspiration .

    • Sarah November 28, 2021 at 1:33 am #

      I started boxing at age 25 and I had only been doing so for a few months when I won VT Golden Gloves against a girl who had been boxing for a few years. I went on to win the New England Golden Gloves and then competed nationally against a girl who ranked like 4th in the nation at the time. I was pregnant and had no idea until returning home. I am almost 39 now and really want to get back into it. I have a 6 year old daughter who would love to get into it as well. It was some if the best times in my life and I was in immaculate shape. I’m not even sure how I would go about getting back into it. I guess I should see what they even offer in my area. I think what you are doing is nothing less than amazing!!!

  2. Girlboxing February 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Love, love, love this post!
    Ultimately, how much boxing one does and whether one spars or competes is up to each individual. The point is to be comfortable and to do things at one’s own pace! I’m 58 and workout hard, however, I’m not sparring because I’m coming off recent surgery and am not in the gym enough to have the kind of crisp skills and savvy ring defensive moves to keep myself safe. With more gym time that could change. It doesn’t make my time in the gym any less valid or fun. More than anything, it is something to enjoy in a place with great people with wonderful spirit.
    Thanks again, Lisa for knocking this won “out of the park”!

  3. Lisa Creech Bledsoe February 12, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    @Bonnie — Wow, you got these kinds of questions at 26. Do you suppose the guys get those when they’re boxing in their 20s? I’d be curious to know.

    @Girlboxing — Thanks for the love, darlin. Gotta say you are an amazing woman, and quite an inspiration to me. I’ve been astonished at how patient you’ve been as you recovered from your surgery and got back into training. Impressive.

    Boxing definitely has that irresistible draw on me, too.

  4. Ann Appa February 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    I started boxing at age 45 and was immediately hooked. I, too was depressed, overweight and totally filled with rage due to many complicated losses and situations. It TOTALLY saved my life and now a year and a half later, I am STILL loving the sport and considering things like Judo or Karate’. Once you have boxed, you can do just about ANYTHING!!!!!

  5. Jesse Kaellis February 13, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    I was living in Vegas and I was sparring and getting in shape and I was in pretty good shape. I weighed about 142. My last fight at 132 had been at twelve years previous. I went to Hal Miller and asked him about getting a fight. He asked how old I was and he told me, “Well, well we do have a masters division but nobody is in it.” “Gimme my trophy then.”
    In the States it’s 34 I think but in Canada there is no age limit. I can’t even spar or hit the bag or work out now because I have a degenerative disc disease. A spinal disease. I can’t work either.
    As far as other sports having a higher fatality rate, yeah, but the deal with boxing is brain damage. Football and soccer players also experience concussions. Most of the pro’s I’ve known over the last thirty years mention short term memory loss. Of course I also do and I only had nine amateur fights. So who can know? But if you do this sport, you can expect some degree of neurological damage. And it’s different for everybody. I met Floyd Patterson in 1987 when I worked at Bally’s. He showed early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms. I shook Archie Moore’s hand at the same spa in Bally’s. Sharp as a tack and over 200 fights. Brains are the same but brains are different. You can acknowledge this; I was profoundly privileged to be involved in boxing in my own little way, but getting punched in the head can’t be good. Even a defensive genius like Benitez ended up punchy.

  6. Lisa Creech Bledsoe February 13, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    @ Ann — Boy does your story sound familiar. And like you, I tested out a couple of other fight sports, and I liked Jiu Jitsu the most, but I had an all-women class, which was incredibly convenient. It was short term, though, and I couldn’t stick with it because it cut into boxing time. So I made the choice to stick with the one I loved most. I still think about trying others, however — the big advantage is that there are SO MANY tournaments…

    @ Jesse — I took a look at your book; very compelling stuff you have going on there. And you’re right of course, with boxing (like with gambling) there are risks and it’s a matter of deciding what you’re willing to risk and taking as many precautions as you can.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the degenerative disc disease you’re dealing with now. That sucks, no way around it. It’s got to be hard to have to give up so many of the things you’ve loved in life.

    Thanks, both of you, for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Jesse Kaellis February 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      It could be worse, a lot worse. I mean my back. I started boxing late, very late. My first fight was when was 27 or 28. But better late then never. If I go to local gyms around here I am accepted and respected. That’s what motivates a lot of people who get into boxing; respect. And people do respect it. It’s hard and they sense that even if they don’t really know just how hard it is.
      Thanks for taking a look at my book. I really appreciate that. There are boxing stories scattered throughout the book.

    • Melissa Chenoweth October 3, 2020 at 9:04 pm #

      Hey I read your story is so inspiring I do live in Asheville is there any recommendations to as to what Boxing Gym tank would be great for a 45 year old beginner that is interested in someday and then latter part of next year maybe being an amateur competition and is that even realistic

      • Lisa Creech Bledsoe October 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm #

        There are not a LOT of boxing tournaments that happen in Western NC, but you can usually find one in Charlotte (or could, before COVID). You’ll have to do your homework to find a good gym in your area, and definitely see if you can connect with your local USA Boxing club. I expect the pandemic has put most everything on hold for the moment, but it’s not too early to do the groundwork. Good luck!

  7. Cynthia February 20, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    I’ve always wondered of possible answers to my questions especially when it comes to age limit at boxing. I’m fond of boxing. It’s a great sport and a good exercise indeed. But I’m aware that those in career have chances to develop brain injuries over the years. This is why the boxers should know their body limit, and I’m looking forward to your tips on how to continue this sport safely after 40.

  8. Jesse Kaellis February 20, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Headgear is mostly about cuts. I wore competition headgear in my fights and in the gym. Made by Everlast, the thickest part is maybe a half inch at the area right over my brow.
    A new amateur boxing governing body in BC called Comsport, allows amateurs to fight without head gear or shirts on.
    I could make a case that punches are even more diffuse and concussive with headgear on. The idea of pro’s fighting with headgear on has been explored before. Imagine an eight or ten round fight with sweat soaked headgear on. There would be even more rotation of the brain stem.
    Now this will sound like a conceit on my part, but if you are overly concerned with possible neurological damage then many boxing is not for you in the competitive sense. Everybody gets hit. If you are naturally talented you get hit less. Boxing takes a long time to learn. You can be good defensively and still you will get hit. It’s not the fast knockout that leaves permanent lesions on the brain it is the accrued attrition of many blows over time; in other words, heavier gloves are also not a de facto solution to brain damage in boxing.

  9. Rachel Hindle February 25, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    great blog i like the empowerment of female boxing

  10. Nat March 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Hey there! So, maybe you already know about this, but I’ve heard from friends in Mass and CT that they are opening up the amateur divisions to allow over over 35ers to fight with anyone over 19? Do you know anything about this. I’ve heard the regulations in the Amateurs are changing… What do you know, Lisa? Anyone else?

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe March 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      Nat, all I’ve heard is that they’ve changed the entry point for the Masters division, which is now 40 and over, rather than 35 and over. I’ve tried to find confirmation, but have not yet located any official docs.

  11. Jesse Kaellis March 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Those white collar “fights” at Gleason’s are one minute rounds I think. Ordinarily novice fights are two minute rounds; novice being ten or less fights. My fights were novice. I had nine fights and won a BC Silver Gloves in 1983.Some fighters get opened up after six or less fights. They are just too good and they are forced open. I know guys like that.
    Women’s professional bouts are limited to two minute rounds. That is patronizing and should be changed.
    The white collar fights at Gleason’s are glorified sparring matches and should be recognized as such. A lot of inner city gyms cultivate rec boxers because they aren’t making the nut on competitive boxers.

  12. Tulisa April 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I started recently and I’m 33 and I had those kind of question, I mean i’m not doing it to become a professional or anything I just want to get fitter and build a solid base.

  13. Eric Morris November 23, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    First I want to say thank you for this very informative blog! Thanks!

    I am new to the boxing sport. I am 39 years old, and have been training muay thai and boxing for a few months. My boxing coach wants me to box, as he thinks I have a natural talent and heavy hands (which is very inspiring to hear that from him). I have wanted to box ever since I was 18. Unique circumstances, a family to take care of, and bad choices never really let that happen. Now that my past 20 years have literally flown by, my family is better taken care of now, and I am realizing time to live is short, I am ready to try and take my boxing up a notch and give it a chance to see what I can do with it. I really love this sport. Their is nothing else like it. Getting hit hurts, and forgetting what you thought you knew hurts too, lol. Im hoping instinct will follow soon, so I can get a feel of what is coming and how to react without thinking!

    The new rules in USA boxing says 35-40 year old boxers can now box open novice if they choose (19-40 year olds) with 12oz gloves (if I understand it correctly). They also have the option to choose to box in the masters group if they wish (over 41 years old, 16oz gloves…1 min rounds). Though whatever they choose, they have to stay. Cannot bounce back and forth. I am kind of on the fence about this. I was curious if anyone has been in the same position with this new rule, and what were their results?

    Once again, Lisa I thank you for this informative page, and I hope you keep swinging!

  14. Rob Campbell April 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Great article! I’m a Master Division boxer. I’m 40 and I just had my first two fights. I’m 2-0 with a win in the Ringside Azalea Festival tournament last month which I earned my first belt. Aside from arthritis and a bit of lingering annoyance from my football and Marine Corps days, I feel great at my age. I started by coaching All three of my sons last year and learning as we go, then I attracted a bunch of other guys. Now we have a boxing team and have competed in several shows since we started last summer. I eventually started training myself and am turning out to be a decent or maybe even good fighter. I’m having a blast and My Wife recently got her USA Boxing Coach certification too so she can help out a lot now. If youre healthy, GO FOR IT!

    • leigh pewtner December 9, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      I am 47 years old and two years ago my 14 yr son was having a horrific time at school from bullying and tried no end to get him to learn to box but was haunted by the possibility of being hurt and put in the spotlight of embarrassment and also was worried about the fact that he would attract more unsociable,negative attention,”so” there was a white collar venue coming up and I signed up ,I did mot train for this as I had boxed all through school and thought my experience would do justice,my opponent was 19yrs old and a lot heavier,time to walk the walk and I was taken for granted due to age,rd 1 and spectators began rowdy but were silent when the young gun couldn’t land his bombs and was wincing from body shots ,rd 2 ,it was on ,he was upset and I was gulping air like a drink ,low on energy bang ,8 count ,broken nose ,wounded lion instinct set in and the blood bath began and it was anyone’s night ,but I had nothing left after round 2, my friend and coach retired me on the stool ,I was devastated as I had let my boy down by loosing but full of tears he had listened to comments from the spectators and is now in preparation for his 2nd fight but the best of this demonstration of stupidity by the old man is we r on the same venue for the second time and now I have the biggest trophy of all ,good times tears blood all the emotions,photos new friends and most of all one brave little man who is on the spectrum for autism and has control over his life and has nothing but respect from his peers which outweighs the the way of the cowardly people who r only afraid of themselves because the heart is much more powerful than the loose lips demonstrated in public and social places ,my advice?, get up and shut these people up with what u know u can achieve because while they are too cool for school they will become boring to others while u become that interesting,unpredictable,person that people want to get to know more about .x .

  15. Nat figger December 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    Can men fight women? I’ve gotten in trouble for fighting with women in the past, but I’d like to do it legally! Well, lemme know please. – nat

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 7, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      Men and women can not legally go against each other in a boxing match under USA Boxing rules. We do spar together all the time, though.

  16. Al pallone February 18, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    Great info that can sort things out for people who want to use boxing for various reasons👊🏿 I’am 67 and use boxing for fitness👊🏿 Title Boxing Club has 1hour classes that are like a boot camp with various exercises & bag punching 👊🏿 Dropped from 255lb to 220lb over the course of a year 👊🏿 The best part is you use every part of your body so less chance for over use injuries 👊🏿 You can adapt exercises to fit your fitness & injury level 👊🏿 Stretching b4 & after & warming up prior to fast movements is major at an older age👊🏿 Hitting mitts is like sprinting through the punching combinations with the correct foot patterns 👊🏿 Will start controlled sparring with the goal of masters competition 👊🏿 I have a lot of football & wrestling experience but some movements are the opposite in boxing 👊🏿 One of the best mantras I’am using is preparation will take care of the fight 👊🏿 Don’t be consumed with the goal as to proper preparation to reach the goal 👊🏿 Hope to continue the dialog as we all do what we do 👊🏿

    • Richard July 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

      Really interested in your comments. I’m also 67 (from UK) and started boxing training September 2016, having had no previous martial arts experience. I have half an hour coaching 3 to 4 times a week which includes bag work, pad work and a few minutes light sparring, which I particularly enjoy. To be able to spar competently is my great aim. As with yourself my weight has fallen a lot and I’m much fitter. I’m now 174lbs @ 6.0ft whereas I had been 196lbs. Unfortunately my problems start when I spar in general classes with the other guys. Most of them are far more advanced, have boxed for longer and are younger and my technique often deteriorates during the course of a session and I often take some strikes to the head and face. Though not injurious these are humiliating. I wonder if slower reflexes due to age could be the problem. I suppose you have to accept this and just persevere, but would be interested if you had any comments or advice.

      • Lisa Creech Bledsoe July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

        You got it in one. Yes, as we age our reflexes slow. However, you’ll be shocked at how much you will improve if you keep training. As I got better and better, I found I did have an advantage over a lot of boxers who were younger and less experienced: I could operate better under fire. So they might have been quicker physically, but I could out-think and out-strategize them, which leveled the field somewhat. And there’s great joy to be found in collecting some reliable sparring partners both better than and worse than you are; you get to learn and you get to help others learn. And that’s not limited by age at all.

        • Richard July 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

          Lisa, thank you for your reply and positive and inspiring comments! You have fired up my determination to drive on with my training! I am discovering that boxing is not an easy game and that it is only with time and application that we can expect any rewards! Also, how much I enjoyed reading your blog as well as all the interesting comments it has prompted.

      • Hugh Cardy May 2, 2019 at 8:47 am #

        Well done Richard. Maybe find me on FB? Hugh Cardy

  17. Susan May 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    I am new to boxing at 53 years old. I have a coach who works with me one day a week and I box a total of four days a week. I am in great shape and am blessed with incredible endurance. After reading your post, I am concerned that I will not get to fight, due to my age. I really want to get into the ring. Have you heard of anyone my age that has competed? What boxing gloves and headgear do you use that are USA boxing sanctioned?

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe May 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

      Hi, Susan. Good for you for doing the hard work that it takes to get in shape for boxing!

      You may be able to find a match at one of the tournaments I mentioned in the post, but it will be a challenge. I had to work pretty hard to find my matches.

      As for gear, here’s a link for you:

      Headgear that is USA Boxing sanctioned is clearly marked with a patch. If you’re shopping online, you’ll usually see a category for competition gear, and you just have to look for the USA Boxing logo/stamp.

      Competition gloves are often provided at the event, but you can also bring your own. Typically Masters boxers are expected to use 16 ounce gloves, although you’ll see some variations at local events.

      Good luck!

  18. Baljeet Shira August 8, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    Hi it is very useful for us who crossed 40 years of their age

  19. Hulme Scholes December 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    I’m 50 years old and I recently (9 November) had my first boxing fight against a much younger opponent, about half my age and I won. I’ve done endurance sports for over 30 years and I got into boxing about a year ago. Believe me, you’re never too old, you’ll just have to train really hard and do strengthening excersizes to stay up there with the youngsters. I box in a so called “white collar” environment in South Africa, which is strictly and professionally managed so although the fights are tough and you give and take blows, the referees will not allow the fight to continue
    if a boxer is being totally dominated by an opponent or is at risk of injury.

  20. Bill B. January 28, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

    Just started boxing a few months ago at age 68. I’d done combative training, but that isn’t really a sport.

    I was shocked at the level of fitness required. The combative was 10 to 30 second bursts, and the assumption was it was all over at that point, one way or the other. You boxers are always moving! It is exhausting.

    We only do light sparing and aren’t trying to knock anybody out, but I was very surprised to discover that even through those big gloves you can still feel individual knuckles. And they hurt. Who knew?

    Anyway, enjoying it and I wish I had started young, like in my 40’s. 😉

  21. billy April 6, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    @Jesse If you have degenerative disc disease you cannot box? I’ve recently taken some boxing classes down my local gym and love it, but I have back problems (suspected degenerative disc disease) shall I stop boxing?

  22. Barb April 19, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    Thanks so much for the great information. I started boxing on December 12th 2016 and I love it. I was recovering from a back injury (muscle related), was depressed, on pain killers, inactive, and overweight. I have lost 31 pounds, am strong for the first time in my life, my confidence has soured, my gym has become my family and I am learning more every day. I am 47 and loving myself, the sport of boxing, and my life. I will check back soon for your next post! Thanks so much!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 20, 2017 at 7:32 am #

      Rock ON, Barb! So glad to hear you had such a powerful, redemptive experience with boxing. Good for you.

  23. Ron July 15, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    Great article. I am 57 and getting back into martial arts but wanted to do something a little more competitive than just doing forms, an d conditioning. So I have looked at doing kickboxing and sparring but I have been concerned about injuries. I have kids and Need to work. So your thoughtful discussion was super helpful and encouraging!

  24. VPW September 8, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    Can you explain which rules you are boxing under? Official International (Olympic) boxing rules seem to limit age to 40.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe September 8, 2017 at 7:42 am #

      USA Boxing rules are the Olympic rules, but there is not Masters (the age bracket you mention) boxing in the Olympics.

  25. andrew bassett April 8, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    Dear Lisa, Just a line from a 70 yr old limey living in SPAIN. Aged 67, I went to agym and started boxing training. This of course was bag bashing etc. These periods were monitored by the coach,and gradually got llonger-.I Some while later Iwas asked to join the blokes sparring as one was short a partner.The rest as they say is history.
    I have yet to see tears ,but we always have a laugh.I am long retired from work,but when working received several injuries, some serious. 5 yrs ago I HAD A TRIPLE HEART bypass, but my lastcheck up with a female cardiac specialist was good, and she told me to keep going with boxing, just be careful. Earlier tests with male specialists were gloom and doom, but hockey is ranked as more dangerous, so they said. I WILL SIGN OFF NOW, but a last comment. I have never been approached in the gym by any one armed with a weapon, or with the wish to kill me. That was NOT the case in my job as a police constable.

  26. andrew bassett May 7, 2018 at 4:24 am #

    just put this bit of info to help convince new addicts to the sport. andy.

  27. Jeff Bassett October 11, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    Agree on all points! I have recently begun my boxing journey at 48. I am excited to begin competition next year after a long road of training. Find a good gym and a trainer who understands your goals and wants to help and you will have a great time!

  28. D Regg Green August 3, 2020 at 10:27 pm #

    I still got the bug. Had a short but Winning Amateur career.

  29. Melissa Chenoweth October 3, 2020 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi my name is Melissa I live in North Carolina Asheville I am also interested in boxing for the first time I have mostly runny Fanning that’s one of my passions oh my God entered in song half marathon and Asheville 5K 10K and also enjoy running so I’m not in bad shape but definitely don’t know much about boxing but would love to train and even try at least one amateur boxing match on 45 is it possible and where would you advise me to start

  30. william ryan January 1, 2021 at 5:14 pm #

    Lisa, great to read your articles on boxing, you have an excellent knowledge of the sport. It is a pity it is not promoted more among adults, male and female, a place for all. Unfortunately there is often a very negative outlook on the sport. There should be more boxing tournaments for boxers to box at and a better grading system for novices, masters, experience etc. Having competed in the boxing ring yourself you know that boxing is a tough individual sport, demanding fitness diet and discipline. As you are aware it takes courage to get into the ring and face an unknown opponent for a contest.
    Well done Lisa and keep up the good and encourage more adults to get it a go,
    They could put in on their bucket list.

  31. Mr T June 26, 2021 at 6:20 pm #

    Great article. Very inspirational.

  32. Sayed Qubadi July 18, 2021 at 4:03 am #

    Excellent job
    Really helpful content to learn more about boxing and mixed martial art.

  33. Enayet hossain August 30, 2021 at 4:21 pm #

    I am 45 once time state championship in fly wait now I restart in bantom can I again join the competition contest

  34. Raymond Lopez April 14, 2022 at 5:28 pm #

    I was a heroin addict for 25+ years and had very severe fear issues its thanks to my boxing coach and my shaman that I’m 43 sharp and strong as I’ve ever been and ever thought I could be self confidence is something that can be raised at any age I’ve been clean for 2 years now and training and sparring for 1 and will put my efforts into competing in the masters this year, I now believe that a determined human being is capable of virtually anything

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