Is boxing a sin?

I really like boxing and its my favourite sport. But it involves punching and your main goal is to knock your oponnent out. While this may sound immoral, boxing isn’t really about that. Its about outboxing your oponnent with the friendly handshake at the start and alot of times in the every round. Pope John Paul II even accepted a pair of autographed boxing gloves sometime in the 90’s from the then time world’s heavyweight champion. But the main problem is that boxing isn’t in all cases good for building up as paul said it. While it can involve good excersice for your health, it can sometimes sent you to the hospital(escpecially professional boxing).

When i box i don’t feel guilt because i know that this is just a “fight” and we do not want to hurt each other in a bad way. I so far sparred only with my stepfather and we punched quite hard but we both laughed and had fun. When you are in a boxing ring, either in professional or amateur boxing you can most definetly respect and love your opponent and still “try to knock him out”. In my eyes its just a game, and what comes out of a person while playing it is his problem and can happen in all sports. But the only thing that right now gots me thinking if boxing is a sin is that its not always good for building up. Please help. Does loving and training boxing contradicts my faith?

Boxing is simply a sport, so no, it is not in itself sinful. However, if a boxer was in the sport because he liked to hurt people, or he wanted to knock the opponent out because he has something against his opponent (like a grudge), then it would be immoral for him because his motives are not good.

I have considered this to some extent along with other types of “aggressive” sports and came to the conclusion that, if the Golden rule is applied then they are not sinful.

Consider - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

The two people who step into the boxing ring know and freely accept what the other is about to do. Similarly with football or rugby or soccer or whatever…

That said - I’m not a fan of boxing because, while it can be said to be good exercise, there are other forms of exercise that do not risk me putting another person in the hospital.
Likewise - while I accept that the boxers are not sinning I’m not so sure that the same can be said for those watching the match…But that is a different subject and a highly personalized one…


Even St. Paul was familiar with shaodwboxing in his day (1 Corinthians 9:26). And it could be a bit of a stretch to interpret it this way but look at Psalm 144:1 where the psalmist praises God for training his hands for battle.

Boxing a sin? With malice and Mayweather greed, yes. For sportsmanship and staying in shape, no.

Ask George Foreman, former world champ and now an ordained minister.


Could you please explain yourself?

I’d rather not…I should have kept my virtual mouth shut…:blush:


I really enjoy watching boxing. I personally do not believe that boxing is a sin. :slight_smile:

the object of the game is to knock your opponent out. In and of itself, it is a sin in my opinion. As for enjoying watching it, I think that is also a sin. how can you claim to enjoy watching someone attempt to knock out another person.?

Boxing is one sport that concerns me. Well, even with football and soccer, the objective is to get the ball past them to the goal. People do get injured in the process, but the OBJECTIVE isn’t to injure someone. In boxing, it is. You are each trying to knock the other one out cold for at least a few seconds.

I realize people do like it. I’ve known people who have been really into it and LOVE it. It does involve a lot of discipline, physical training, strategy, endurance.

I’d be concerned about that, a sport that’s sole purpose it to significantly injure the other person, though.

I just think that God gave us our bodies and didn’t want us to mistreat them, or any others. I think he wanted us care for them and for each other.

Also, with boxing, it is just one step removed from gladiator times.

I live in Mexico, and we still have bull and cockfights and will have them full tilt even at fairs, all very legal. I don’t agree with it for humans or for animals, just my take.

I also know I’m going out on a limb, here, but I wish people would one day stop the running of the bulls, too!

Isn’t there some other sport, or activity, that a person could participate in that wouldn’t be quite so hazardous all around?

Just a side note; More boxing matches are won by TKO’s rather than actual KO’s.

Gong to the coliseum to watch the Christians be devoured by lions used to be wildly popular, too.

If “violence” or physical harm are the criteria, then no Catholic should watch, let alone participate in or support, NFL football - and by extension, college or even high school football either. Which would come as a shock to the heirs of Knute Rockne. I believe statistics would show that more people are injured each year, at all levels, in football vs. boxing. Certainly there have been more cases of total paralysis due to football than to boxing due to the nature of the sport.

Everyone who knows boxing knows that based on the fighting criteria boxing is DEFINETLY not a sin. The thing that concerns me is that boxing is not always good for building up like Paul says. Does this make boxing a sin, because is not always good for building up? And also because Paul said that we should keep our bodies like temples, holy. These words said by Paul are the only things that concerns me. As far as goes for the rest of the attacks against boxing, we boxing fans know that boxing is not really about hurting your oponnent till he can’t hit you no more.

I imagine orthodox Moral Theologians can address the question of if “boxing is a sin” differently --and under what aspects is or is not sinful.

Paul’s reference - I believe - is in relation to the keeping of the (Moasic) law. He is says “All things are lawful” but not all things build up. So - you are correct in surmising that boxing in and of itself is not sinful…
That said - since you have concerns about whether it “builds up” It seems to me to be something better avoided, especially since there are other things that can accomplish the same goals without striking another person.

Just my thoughts…


Not a fan of either. My sons will not play football (so long as they are children at least).

But I will note that I recall one orthodox Catholic moral theologian making the distinction that in football the injury is an unintended side effect where as in prizefighting the injury is the intended means (is boxing same as prizefighting???).

(that was before all we have found out about head injuries via football --so still --sorry boys Dad is not going to let you play such – take up fencing instead–with the points covered!).

I like boxing because it is a test of a persons toughness and ability to stand and take a punch and still go forward. It is a test of the will to not quit. I respect someone who has trained hard, and doesn’t quit when it gets tough.

At the end of the day boxers (and in general all participants in combat sports) respect their opponents.

Professional boxing fights like mixed martial arts (now wildly popular) are heavily regulated. Both fighters know exactly what they are getting themselves into. The rules are clear. There are periodic rest moments for water and simple medical attention. Referees are there to make sure there is no mismatch and to stop it as soon as one starts to completely dominate the fight. Someone may not like it but there is absolutely nothing sinful it in. It is a physical competition between two athletes based as much on technical ability and stamina as brute strength.

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