When you see boxers fighting, most of them are clean-shaven or have only a small amount of stubble. So, can boxers have beards?
In short, yes they can, but this isn’t always the case as it differs in amateur and professional boxing.
This question has popped up a lot recently as beards have become popular in the last five to ten years. Keep reading to see which boxers can have beards and when it is against the rules.
Is a beard allowed in boxing?
The fact that there are so many different boxing governing bodies makes this question complicated. In Britain, there is no rule stating that you can’t fight if you have a beard. This is backed up by the British Boxing Board of Control which regulates professional boxing in Britain.
Beards and any facial hair used to be illegal in all amateur boxing in Britain. But, this rule was removed as a lobbying group that represented Sikh and Muslim boxers battled the old rules.
Whether boxers can have beards or not falls on where you’re from and where you’re fighting. For example, if you wanted to get into the USA boxing team as an amateur boxer, you wouldn’t be allowed to fight with a beard or any facial hair.
Boxing Boards have become more lenient with beards in the last few years, but you should still be able to see the jawline of your opponent.
Why do boxers shave their beards?
One of the main reasons that boxers shave their beards is so that cuts or injuries are easy to treat. Also, as we stated, some boxing governing bodies won’t allow you to box with a beard so you may be forced to.
If you’re in a state that allows beards in boxing, but the other fighter says they won’t fight you with a beard, then you will likely be forced to shave.
You’d be able to keep the beard in training, but before the medical checks, you’d need to get rid of any facial hair for the fight.
Can Olympic boxers have beards?
The short answer to this question is no. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) that regulates sports and martial arts in the Olympics, including boxing, doesn’t allow boxers to have beards.
There is no reason given on the Olympics.com website, but as boxing in the Olympics used to only allow amateur boxers we expect it was because of this. In most countries, amateur boxers still have to shave their facial hair anyway.
Since 2016, professional boxers can enter the Olympics, so this rule could potentially change. Or, the IOC will make it clear that if you want to compete you’ll need to be clean-shaven to do so.
Does a beard soften a punch?
No, even if you have a big beard it’s not going to soften a punch as you’re still going to get a blow to the jaw. So, if an opponent has a small subtle beard then it’s not going to soften a punch at all.
Is a mustache allowed in boxing?
Yes, a mustache is allowed in boxing at least when it comes to professional fights. A mustache only occupies a small part of your face and it doesn’t block you from seeing an opponent’s jawline.
Look at Andy Ruiz Jr. who had a goatee when he faced Anthony Joshua and in his other fights.
Famous Boxers with Beards
As professional boxers can have trimmed beards that aren’t too long, there have been many great boxers with some facial hair. Here’s a list of boxers that fought and some that still do fight with beards:
- Manny Pacquiao
- Roy Jones Jr.
- Joe Frazier
- Lamont Peterson
- Lennox Lewis
- Roberto Duran
- Anthony Joshua
- Tyson Fury
- David Haye
- Derek Chisora