9 Boxers Who Started Late – 9 Examples Proves That Age Is Just A Number


This year you are over 25 years old,  and you still have a painful dream of becoming a boxer. You are wondering if you should quit your job to start a boxer career. If still having a bee in your bonnet the following 9 boxers who started late will help you find the answer for yourself.

Boxers Who Started Late Have Successful Careers? 

When it comes to sports, talents need to be discovered as early as possible. When exposed to sports at a young age, children will have many opportunities to practice flexibility, strength, and agility. 

Boxing is no exception. The ideal age to start practicing boxing to become a professional puncher is around 12, when children are thought to be aware of the violence.

But the following boxers have proven that even if you start late, you can still enjoy great success.

#1. Bernard Hopkins 

Spending his teen years in prisons and reformatories, Bernard Hopkins had a spoiled and naughty youth. Only until the age of 18, Bernard Hopkins was known and practiced boxing.

At the age of 25, after a huge battle with Roy Jones Jr, despite losing, Bernard Hopkins became a big star, and he extended his peak career even in his 40s.

Hopkins’ career has 3 “flowering”: At the age of 25, the year he was nearly 40, the year he was over 40. At the age of 46, Hopkins won the WBC Light Heavyweight title against young rival Jean Pascal.

#2. Rocky Marciano

Although Rocky Marciano was only 1m70 tall, weighing about 90kg, he had a good ability to withstand the blow and the desire to win. Rocky Marciano is a legend of Heavy Boxing, a 49-0 record and 43 wins over KO speaks for itself. However, in the early part of his career, people still saw only Rocky Marciano as a powerful puncher, no less.

He entered the game with a clumsy and “amateur” look under the eyes of many people. Only when he was about to turn 30 did Rocky Marciano change his style, he practiced more in footwork, balance and quickly became one of the scariest names of heavyweight.

Read: Average height in boxing weight classes and Best Boxing Referees 

#3. James Toney

At the beginning of his career, the audience knew “kid” James Toney in his smooth hands and skillful dodge ability. It was only until James Toney lost to Roy Jones Jr and Montel Griffin that “ah, he was all!”

But even when everyone thought that James Toney had passed the peak of his career, he was still diligent, researching and redeveloping his style, and he achieved great success after that. Only until the “old” mangoes, the way Toney’s playstyle reaches the legendary peak.

#4. Sonny Liston 

In the years 50-60s, Sonny Liston was a great name that everyone respected. However, due to the lifestyle associated with violence, Sonny Liston constantly had to go to prison to examine during his youth.

At the age of 32, Sonny found himself again when KO legend Floyd Patterson in the first half. At the rematch, Sonny Liston continued to KO this legend once more. He only indeed reached the top after being defeated by the young name Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali).

It was the legendary Muhammad Ali who admitted: “Of all the men I took to the throne, Sonny Liston was the most feared.”

#5. Dwight Muhammad Qawi

Two-weight boxing champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or Dwight Braxton, grew up in Camden, New Jersey. Growing up in a poor area, Qawi was no different than most delinquent children of the same age. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for armed robbery.

But unlike accomplices who were still immersed in violence, luck came to Dwight Muhammad Qawi when he practiced boxing at Rahway prison in 1978 when he was 25. Qawi later admitted that Boxing saved his life.

After 20 years of fighting and having an illustrious career on the ring, Dwight Muhammad Qawi returned to New Jersey. He is still working as a consultant for alcohol and drug addiction cases.

#6. Ken Norton

Ken Norton is also a late-starting world champion in boxing. When he was 24 years old, he just started to become a professional puncher. 

The pinnacle of Ken Norton’s career was when he beat legendary puncher Muhammad Ali in the first round. People still call Ken Norton with the nickname “The Black Hercules”.

In 1992, the champion of world heavyweight was recorded at the International Hall of Fame. 

#7. Deontay Wilder

In the boxing world, Deontay Wilder is a scary monster. In the ring, no one can stop the 35-year-old puncher. The 39-game win and 97.4% knock-out rate says everything.

At the time when he just turned 20, Wilder never thought of pursuing a boxing career. His dream is rugby, and his destination is nothing but his hometown club, Alabama Crimson Tide.

However, seeing his first daughter struggle with spina bifida, Deontay Wilder reluctantly stepped into boxing, and that decision changed his life.

#8. Antonio Tarver

Antonio Tarver was born in 1968. He is from Orlando, Florida. He started to play professional boxing on February 18, 1997, when he was in the late of his 20. 

He won his first 16 grand games, all in the medium class. The winning streak was stopped by Eric Harding in June 2000. January 25, 2002, Tarver won the titles of the American Middle-Class Championship from the National Boxing Federation and the American Boxing Association by defeating Reggie Johnson.

#9. Sergio Martinez

Before coming to boxing, Sergio Martinez trained to become a cyclist or football player. Until 1995, Sergio Martinez decided to become a boxer. Sergio Martinez is coached by his uncle. He entered the amateur league and set a record of 39 wins and 2 losses.

Sergio Martinez’s performance is also awe-inspiring in the professional league: 45 wins (including 24 wins by knock-out, 2 losses, and 2 draws.

Off the ring, Sergio Martinez is an active spokesperson in the fight against domestic violence against women. Sergio Martinez has published the book Corazon de Rey (The Heart of a King).

What Should You Prepare To Become A Boxer Who Starts Late? 

The stories above are proof that age is just a number. Whatever your age, you can become a professional boxer.

The boxers who started late above still have achieved significant successes and major career titles. When they are the same age or even older than you, they begin their careers. However, that doesn’t stop them from becoming champions.

Prepare yourself for perfect health, a mentor who always encourages, gives you enthusiastic guidance, a high determination, and a resilient spirit to get rid of all the worries about age.


It is not too late to pursue your passions and interests. Wondering if you should become a boxer when you are over 20 is not difficult to understand.

The boxers who started late prove that these flowers, although blooming late, are still very colorful.

Determination and energy will surely make you one of the world’s great who started late boxers.

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