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Ask HP Answers: Part 1

By Matt Johnson, USA Boxing | June 03, 2020, 11:18 a.m. (ET)

On behalf of USA Boxing’s High Performance department, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their questions. Many of the questions received were similar in nature, so we grouped some of the answers together to efficiently answer them as best as possible. If you have any additional questions or would like any further information regarding a particular HP matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at mjohnson@usaboxing.org.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and go USA.

Matt Johnson

High Performance Director

USA Boxing


Question: Many of the questions asked how a boxer is selected or qualifies to be on a USA Boxing High Performance Team.

Athletes are selected onto USA Boxing’s National High Performance Teams through the following processes

  • Elite High Performance National Team Selection Process (In Non-Olympic Years)
    • Over the past 4 years, USA Boxing has used a two-stage process for its elite team selection, whereby athletes qualify to compete at the Elite National Championships through one of four qualification pathways: the previous year’s Elite National Championships, the Western Elite Qualifier, the Eastern Elite Qualifier, and two Wild Card selections. Following the Elite National Championships, the top two boxers advance to an evaluation stage, where they participate in a training camp and international competition and are evaluated over a variety of criteria. Based on the results of this evaluation stage, USA Boxing makes its team selections for each weight class for the year.
      • NOTE: Given the current limitations in place due to COVID-19, along with the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Boxing is in the process of amending its selection process to determine the elite National Team for 2021. Once finalized, this process will be posted to usaboxing.org and announced across all USA Boxing social media platforms. This process will not impact the Olympic Team selections made in 2020 but will provide a process for elite boxers to advance to other National Team opportunities in 2021.
  • Junior & Youth High Performance Team Selection Process
    • Junior & Youth High Performance Teams are determined based on the results of the USA Boxing Youth National Championships & Junior Team Open, which takes place in December of each year. The champion in each international weight division is selected to the Junior or Youth High Performance Team for the following year.
  • Note: Once a boxer qualifies to the National Team, the boxer must compete in the same weight division that he or she qualified at. Boxers may not move up or down in weight classes to maintain their place on the High Performance Team.
    • Ex: If a youth boxer wins the national championships at 132 lb./60kg. he or she will be invited to High Performance camps and/or competitions at 132 lb./60kg for the entire year.
  • Note: USA Boxing does not select boxers to High Performance Teams based on USA Boxing’s Rankings System
  • Note: Boxers must have USA citizenship and a valid US Passport to be eligible for selection to High Performance Teams

Question: What does it take to qualify for the national team? If accepted, what do time commitments look like?

Information outlining the qualification process for USA Boxing’s National High Performance Teams can be found in the question and answer above. Regarding the time commitments as a team member, there are different schedules for each team depending on the year. Generally speaking, the time commitments are as follows:

  • Elite Team – Training camps take place nearly every month, typically lasting 2-3 weeks per camp. In addition, the elite team competes in several international competitions per year.
  • Youth Team – Training camps take place roughly two to three times per year, typically lasting 10-14 days. In addition, the youth team generally competes in one or two international competitions per year.
  • Junior Team - Training camps take place roughly one to two times per year, typically lasting 10-14 days. In addition, the junior team generally competes in one international competitions per year.

Question: Many questions received asked how someone can make the Olympic Team

USA Boxing has written selection procedures that outline the step by step process for boxers to make the team that attempts to qualify to each Olympic Games. The procedures for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games can be found at the follow link:


Note: The athlete selection process for the 2020 Olympic Games has been underway since 2018 and the athletes who will attempt to qualify for the Olympics have already been selected.

  • Note regarding future Olympic Games:
    • USA Boxing will write and post athlete selection procedures that outline the specific process for boxers to qualify to future Olympic Games (i.e. 2024/2028) once the qualification guidelines are announced. This typically happens 1-2 years prior to the start of the Games.

Question: What is the age requirement to travel? Do you guys offer financial help or everything is out of pocket?

USA Boxing's has national teams at the junior (15-16 years old), youth (17-18 years old) and elite (19-40 years old) age divisions. Once a boxer qualifies to one of these national teams or is selected as a training partner, all expenses of travel, housing and meals are covered by USA Boxing for the duration of the event.

Question: My son is interested in joining the "Team USA" International Competition (as a boxer). What are the requirements to join and or sign up. And is there an incentive or a college scholarship for boxing to be part of the "Team USA" International Competition.. When will boxing gyms be able to resume back with this pandemic? 

Please refer to team selection answer above for requirements of qualifying to a USA Boxing National High Performance Team.

Regarding schooling for Team USA boxers, USA Boxing provides tutors for all national team athletes who attend training camps in Colorado Springs. For student athletes, study halls are mandatory and in place to ensure academics remain at the forefront of priorities while athletes are away from home.

Regarding scholarships for Team USA boxers, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee's Athlete Career and Education (ACE) program serves and empowers active and retired Team USA athletes in their pursuit of personal, educational and professional success. ACE connects Team USA to a trusted community of athletes, employers, mentors, career coaches and resources to inspire confidence, self-discovery, personal and professional growth and well-being. Additional information can be found at: https://www.teamusa.org/athlete-career-and-education-program

Lastly, please click the following link for information regarding the return to boxing protocol, in wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic:



Question: How are sparring partners selected/invited? (Sparring partners that are not on the performance squad, but who are invited to spar with members of the performance squad)

Training partners for High Performance camps are selected based on the discretion of USA Boxing’s national coaching staff to best prepare its High Performance team members for international competition. Due to restrictions in place by the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center where our national gym is located, USA Boxing has a limited amount of spaces that that can be utilized for training partners. Therefore, the national coaching staff must be selective in determining training partners and they must be the right fit to help prepare national team boxers for international competition.

When determining training partners for High Performance camps, USA Boxing reviews the results of its main national events (i.e. National Championships, Western/Eastern Qualifier) along with other national tournaments to see who is competing at a high level on the national stage. We understand that not all boxers are able to compete at the National Championships in December, so these other national events provide a good insight into emerging talent throughout the year that can be integrated into training with national teams when the opportunities arise.

Question: How does a boxer get the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs? What are the qualifications for a boxer to compete at the international events?

Boxers are invited to participate in training camps at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center either by making the national team or by being selected as a training partner. The process for making a national team or being selected as a training partner are outlined in the answers above.

Question: I live in the United States, can I train with Team USA (training partner) if I’m not representing the USA, but on track to compete at Tokyo 2021 for my country? 

USA Boxing hosts multi nation camps with the national teams of other countries at various times throughout the year. If your national federation is interesting in participating in one of these multi nation training camps, please have a staff member from that federation contact High Performance Director, Matt Johnson, at mjohnson@usaboxing.org.