It would be easily forgivable to assume that the majority of members on the site SparGym.com are young men. You would come to that seemingly logical conclusion because when you think of boxing you think of fighters that are all between the ages of 18 to 35. By the time the professionals reach the age of their mid-to-late 30’s, they are usually out of the game, or very close to it (Bernard Hopkins notwithstanding!).
However, the statistics of SparGym.com show us that what we know about professional boxing hardly mimics what we see in the world of sparring. When people reach the age of 40, they appear to just be getting started with sparring. That age group makes up over 25 percent of the people signed up on the site. Of those 25 percent, 11 percent of those are over the age of 50. What could be the reason for this?
As we’ve stated on this blog before, there is a difference between real fighting and sparring. While sparring is obviously very serious business, and one where you must always protect yourself at all times, the majority of the time when you are sparring you know that it is in a safe and controlled environment. That kind of environment might be attractive to someone who is looking to stay in shape as they get older. There is no better sport in the world to train in than boxing if your goal is to get in optimal shape. As a 40 to 50 year old, this may seem like one of the best ways to both stay in shape and have fun.
Let’s look at the last word in the last sentence: fun. So many people go to the gym, maybe spend an hour on a treadmill or doing mechanical weights, and then leave. It probably feels a lot like work and it certainly isn’t fun. Being in a boxing gym can be just plain fun. You are hanging around a lot of interesting people from all walks of life. You may just enjoy being around professional or aspiring professional fighters. Nobody in your old gym is there trying to make a career out of being a professional treadmiller. For most people, the allure of being around professional athletes is more than enough reason to continue showing up to the boxing gym everyday.
Finally, as seen by the various comeback attempts by seemingly thousands of boxers, boxing is a really hard sport to quit. Sparring allows some of the former professionals a chance to stay close to the sport they love. Not only do they get to go to their “office” everyday, they also get to help the up and comers of the boxing world. After all, those older age groups know all the tricks to be learned in boxing. Passing off the knowledge has to be a rewarding experience, one I’m sure the younger generation appreciates as they try to move up in the boxing rankings.