Ask any boxer and he or she will tell you there is nothing as memorable as stepping into the ring for the first time. But understand that you’re not going to fight on day one. It will usually take a few weeks before the coach will put you in the ring to spar. The coach will watch you develop and won’t put you in that situation until you can actually defend yourself. Whether you started boxing for fitness or because you want to compete, one of the most scary and exciting things you’ll ever do is step into the ring for your very first sparring session.

You’ve done something most people would never dare try. Once you’ve cleared that first monster hurdle, you need to do it again.

Once you have been training at your club for a while you may decide you want to compete. Your coach will help you decide when you are ready for this. Some amateurs will be ready for there first competition bout after training for a few months. People just cannot appreciate how fit you have to be to box 3 rounds. You should be in the best shape possible before you take that first bout. You need skills to succeed in amateur boxing, but the match is usually won by the boxer in better shape.

All boxers need to get ‘carded’, which involves a doctor filling in a medical form to say that you are fit to box. Once you have your medical card you can train towards your first competition. Training to compete includes sparring with other members of your club to develop your skills. When you are ready to compete, your club coach will ‘match’ you (based on your age, weight and experience) for a club show or a skills bout. Getting a good amateur boxing match together is never ever effortless. It’s the most complex, chaotic, and frequently emotional mess you ever did see.

Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, by the time you get to weigh-ins a lot may have changed. Boxers who expected to compete have been injured, or can’t get to the event, or were unable to get to the weight they planned. So any preliminary matches that were considered may no longer be remotely workable. On the day of your bout you will need to attend a weigh-in with the tournament supervisor, before going to see the doctor for a medical to ensure that you are fit and well enough to compete. Both of these processes are in place to ensure the safety of the boxer and that the bout is fair.

Enjoy yourself it will be an unforgettable experience that you will be able to talk about for the rest of your life. If you show particular talent you may eventually find yourself competing in one of England Boxing’s championships or at international level.