The United States’ Boxing Capital

When you think of boxing in the United States, the first state that pops into most people’s minds is New York – the birthplace of Mike Tyson, “Raging Bull” Jake LaMotta, and Riddick Bowe, to name a few.

But while New York may be an important part of the country’s boxing heritage, we wanted to see if the state truly is the center of the USA’s boxing culture. And we were extremely surprised when to find out that it definitely isn’t!

Using data from Google Maps, we set out to answer the question: which state is the United States’ Boxing Capital? The results may surprise you!

Top 10 U.S. States by Boxing Gyms per Capita
Top 50 U.S. States by Boxing Gyms per Capita

Top 10 U.S. States by Boxing Gyms per Capita

To uncover the best U.S. cities for boxing, we used Google Maps to find every boxing club and gym in the US, which came to a total of 4,379 across all 51 U.S. states. Then, we used U.S. census data to calculate each state’s boxing gyms per capita (i.e. we divided the number of boxing gyms by the state’s population and then multiplied that by 100,000).

That gave us a list of the the states which are the most enthusiastic about boxing!

1. Rhode Island

Famous for its beaches and seafood, Rhode Island is often called the “Ocean State”. 

Another good name for it would definitely be the “Boxing State” because it’s firmly at the top of our list!

With a population of just over 1 million, Rhode Island is home to 85 boxing gyms. On the surface, this may seem like a low number.

But if we run the numbers, we can see that Rhode Island has a whopping 7.77 boxing gyms per capita – well above the number 2 state on this list.

It’s a remarkable score and it’s a real testament of the resilience of Rhode Island’s boxing culture. It’s a good indication of a strong community of boxing enthusiasts who are dedicated to the sport!

2. Wyoming

Wyoming is best known for being the home of a number of national parks, among which is Yellowstone, with its iconic Old Faithful Geiser, the largest hot spring in the U.S., and the Devil’s Tower. 

Being the least populous state in the U.S. with only 581 thousand residents, you’d think it would be much lower on the list. However, with a total of 39 boxing gyms, it gives the state 6.71 boxing gyms per capita, which is a great result for this mountain state!

3. North Dakota

Situated in the Midwest, most people associate North Dakota with being the No. 1 producer of honey in the U.S. It’s also the state with the highest wheat production.

But as far as I’m concerned, it should also be known for its high number of boxing gyms per capita! With a population of 779 thousand and 46 boxing gyms, it sits at a very impressive 5.9 boxing gyms per capita!

4. Idaho

If most people had to use one word to describe Idaho, it would probably be “potatoes” – after all, around a third of the United States’ potatoes come from Idaho. The state is also a rich source of gems, earning it the nickname of “The Gem State”.

But it turns out that it’s also a big source of boxing gyms! With 85 boxing gyms and a population of 1.9 million, Idaho ranks firmly in fourth place on our list, with 4.38 boxing gyms per capita!

5. Montana

Known for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty, Montana is also very rich in mineral deposits. It’s got a booming mining industry dating back to the 1860s, mainly concentrated in extracting copper, silver and gold. It also has large deposits of oil and natural gas.

Similar to other Western states, Montan also ranks really high on our list!

With a 1.2 million population and 44 boxing gyms, it comes in fifth with a total of 3.92 boxing gyms per capita.

6. Iowa

Iowa, a.k.a. the “Hawkeye State,” is mostly known for its agricultural sector. It’s one of the nation’s leading producers of corn. About 57% of that corn goes to making ethanol fuel, making the state the leading ethanol producer in the country.

Iowa is also the birthplace of two-weight world champion Michael Nunn, so it’s no surprise that it ranks highly on our list!

With 112 boxing gyms and 3.2 million people, Iowa has 3.5 boxing gyms per capita – very close to Montana’s 3.92.

7. Connecticut

Famous for its manufacturing industry, Connecticut is also known for it amazing seafood and maple syrup production.

Connecticut is also the founding place of ESPN – one of the most famous sports channels.

In terms of our metrics, the state is very similar to Iowa. It’s got a population of 3.6 million and 111 boxing gyms, giving it a total of 3.06 boxing gyms per capita, as opposed to Iowa’s 3.92, placing Connecticut in 7th place overall.

8. New Hampshire

New Hampshire – the “Granite State”. It’s probably best known for its extensive granite formations and quarries.

However, boxing fans most commonly associate New Hampshire with the birthplace of Marvelous Marvin Hagler who the undisputed champion of the middleweight division from 1980 to 1987.

So it’s no surprise that this state of 1.3 million ranks so high. With its 40 boxing gyms, it comes in at 2.87 boxing gyms per capita.

9. Alaska

You might be surprised to see Alaska rank above so many other states. We definitely were! 

But with a population of 730 thousand and with 21 boxing gyms, the state of the Northern Lights boasts an impressive 2.86 boxing gyms per capita – just 0.01 less than New Hampshire!

10. Nevada

And to round out our top 10, we’ve got Nevada! The home of Las Vegas.

Among the plethora of things Vegas is known for, one of them is the gala boxing nights that are often held in it. If there’s a big fight coming up, you can make a safe bet that it’s going to be in Vegas.

So it’s no surprise that even with a high population of 3.1 million, Nevada has 2.83 boxing gyms per capita.

Top 50 U.S. States by Boxing Gyms per Capita

RankingStateNo. of Boxing Clubs/GymsPopulationBoxing Gyms per Capita
1Rhode Island851,093,7347.77
3North Dakota46779,2615.90
8New Hampshire401,395,2312.87
13West Virginia471,775,1562.65
21South Dakota18909,8241.98
24South Carolina975,282,6341.84
36District of Columbia10671,8031.49
38New Mexico302,113,3441.42
39New Jersey1289,261,6991.38
46North Carolina10210,698,9730.95
48New York13519,677,1510.69

If you’d like to take a look at the raw data we got from crawling Google Maps, you can find it here.

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