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Though boxing began as a Greek and Roman sport about 6,000 years ago, amateur or Olympic-style boxing appeared as a sport around 1888. At that time, USA Boxing developed as the governing body for the sport in the United States. It is part of the world governing body known as the International Amateur Boxing Association. Both organizations define the types of compensation that amateur boxers can receive.
Rules 309.2 to 309.5 of the 2008/2009 USA Boxing Rulebook state that amateur boxers cannot compete for money purses or prizes. In addition, they cannot “capitalize on athletic fame,” receive “compensation for athletic services” or become “a professional.” Even if an amateur boxer coaches or teaches another boxer, he is not allowed to receive pay, other than for actual expenses. Violating these rules disqualifies or suspends a person from competing in any amateur boxing events sanctioned by USA Boxing. However, the organization does have an appeal process to counter such terminations.
Rule 309.6 of the 2008/2009 USA Boxing Rulebook shows that the exceptions to this rule are teachers, including physical education teachers. As long as they do not get more than 20 percent of their income from coaching boxers, they can compete as amateur boxers. As for paid expenses, a signed, itemized statement of these payments must be sent to the fighter’s local boxing club, which must keep copies of these statements for at least three years. Expenses can include reasonable amounts for both accommodations and food.
Rule 309.7 of the 2008/2009 USA Boxing Rulebook states that endorsing a specific product, or receiving compensation for using a specific product is prohibited, unless it follows strict guidelines, and the compensation goes into an escrow account held by USA Boxing. Participating in any radio or television broadcast that is “directly or indirectly connected with an advertisement” is also not allowed without special permission by USA Boxing. However, advertising athletic, civic, charitable or educational events is allowed, if previously approved by the Local Boxing Committee. Using a boxer’s photograph for advertising or movies, whether or not the boxer gets paid, is prohibited. News pictures are allowed, however.
In July 2010, the International Amateur Boxing Association set up the World Series of Boxing, to allow amateur fighters to compete in modified professional bouts that are team-oriented. The opportunity is only offered to a few fighters who have Olympic aspirations. It differs from amateur bouts in removing headgear, and using five three-minute rounds. Fighters earn salaries of $25,000 to $300,000 per year, and an extra $5,000 when winning one of 12 matches. Winners of each of the five weight divisions automatically earn positions on the USA boxing team for the 2012 London Olympic Games.