Can Boxers Have a Beard? (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO Rules in 2022)

If you have a beard and would like to start boxing at a competitive level, then you may be wondering if you’ll have to shave it off. You may have also seen one of your favorite boxers with an interesting beard style and wondered why they used it. Many professional boxers have beards with style and look great!

Beards are allowed in professional boxing, although the boxing board rules state that the fighter’s jawline must be visible in the fight. Rules vary depending on the level and association. For example, amateurs under the USA boxing rulebook must be clean-shaven or have a thin mustache whereas pros may have a small beard.

Keep reading for more information about what kinds of facial hair boxers can have in each popular organization, plus some examples of boxers who create memorable beards within the bounds of the rules (at least mostly, at least).

Are boxers allowed to have beards, mustaches, or facial hair?

In boxing, there are many specific rules fighters must follow, and they are typically very strict. Facial hair is no exception to this, and there are a few rules fighters must follow. Although rules may differ across different countries and boxing federations, here we will look at the USA boxing rulebook as a general guide of these rules. 

According to the USA boxing rulebook, amateurs in the US must be clean shaved before medical exams. Amateurs may either be clean-shaven or have a thin line mustache while fighting. Professional and master boxers allow you to grow a short beard and mustache. 

These are the general rules, but they will vary depending on where the boxing bout is held and the specific rules they follow. Be sure to look into your specific boxing association to become familiar with the facial hair rules they follow.

If you’re an amateur, you’ll likely have to keep it shaved. If you’re a pro, then there’s likely more leeway for a small beard. 

Facial hair policy for the World Boxing Association

For the World Boxing Association, facial hair that has grown out for more than 48 hours is prohibited.

A mustache is permitted as long as the hair doesn’t extend below the upper lip and mouth area, and the hairs are short. You will have to keep a very short beard or thin-line mustache. 

Facial hair policy for the World Boxing Council

The facial hair policy for the World Boxing Council is like the previous one.

You can only have a very short beard that hasn’t grown out for more than two consecutive days. The mustache must also be short, thin, and not overlap with the upper lip. 

Facial hair policy in the International Boxing Federation

The facial hair policy for the IBF is slightly different from the last two.

Amateur boxers are prohibited from having any facial hair and must be clean-shaven before every match. Professional boxers in the IBF have a bit more leeway though and are allowed to have a small amount of facial hair. 

Facial hair policy in the World Boxing Organization

The facial hair policy for the WBO is also the same as the World Boxing Association.

If you’re an amateur, you can have a short beard or a thin-line mustache. If you’re a professional boxer, then you can have a short beard. 

Facial hair policy in The Ring

The facial hair policy for The Ring is the same as the WBO.

If you’re an amateur, you can have a short beard or a thin-line mustache. If you’re a professional boxer, then you can have a short beard. 

Olympic boxing facial hair policy

Olympic boxing policies are very strict, and facial hair is no exception.

No boxers are allowed to have any facial hair and everyone must be clean-shaven before the match.

Is having a beard an advantage in boxing?

Having a beard isn’t just a stylistic choice because in boxing it can have some advantages.

Depending on the length and fullness, having a beard in boxing is an advantage. The hair is capable of reducing the force from the impact of a blunt strike to the face and reducing the chance of failure or injury. 

One of the most commonly fractured and injured facial bones in boxing and punching sports, in general, is the mandible or jawbone. Growing your beard out may help protect this area of the face when you’re in a boxing match, hence why most boxing organizations ban facial hair.

It’s clear why boxing organizations would want to ban facial hair as it may give the opponent an advantage in some way. This is especially true for professional boxing where the matches have strict policies that must be followed to ensure a fair fight. 

Famous boxers with beards

Even though these strict rules apply in many boxing organizations, there are still boxers who have beards that look amazing. Although they can’t grow it out as much as they’d like to, many of them still are able to pull off a good style. 

Here are some famous boxers who have great looking beards:

Conor McGregor

McGregor is perhaps one of the most iconic boxers in contemporary times. He usually has a short and natural-looking beard that covers most of his jawline.

Kimbo Slice

Kimbo is one of my favorite boxers. Is it because of the huge beard that he usually has while in the ring? Kimbo has a longer and natural-looking beard that covers most of his lower face and jaw.

Roy Jones Jr.

Jones has a beard that is a lot tamer than Kimbo’s. He usually shaves his cheek areas and keeps a very thin beard and mustache line in fights. 

Keith Thurman

Thurman has a beard that’s between Kimbo and Jones. It’s a bit untamed but still quite short and meets the policy that hair cannot extend above the upper lip.