Introduction: Boxing Ring

Don't have $10,000 to spend on a boxing ring?  Don't have a warehouse in which to fit one?  For about $1,200 you can build one in your backyard.  With some prior experience with carpentry, it takes about three days for three people to do.  The finished project is a 20ft deck with 16x16ft inside the ropes.  The deck is not padded, but the 1/2" plywood provides a little give.

This ring was built during the summer of 2010 (published summer 2012) so we've had two years of use to work out the kinks.  Issues we've run into are:

Water pooling - partially fixed by drilling holes in plywood and lining the holes with epoxy.

Delamination of treated plywood - minimized by addressing the water issues and caulking the seams between sheets.

Broken Corner post - Added angle braces.

Besides these items, the ring is holding up very well getting about 3hrs of work per week by 3-5 people... no heavyweights, though.  If you're regularly going to be sparring with folks over 220lbs, you may want to consider 5/8" plywood.

Step 1: Materials List and Plans

[I won't be covering basic framing techniques in this instructable.  If you've never built a deck or similar structure, you may have trouble following these instructions.]

Below is the materials list and the basic plans for the ring.  Essentially, we're building a 20x20 deck with 4x4 posts every 10ft.  The joists and bands break on these posts.  The joists sit on ledger on the beams that cross the center of the ring and the band and these beams sit on 2x6 boards that are screwed and nailed to the posts and sit on the concrete footings that the posts are set in.  Be sure that the corner posts will be high enough over the deck for the ropes.

5-6 treated 4x4x ~8' (length depends on how high off the ground the parts of the ring will be)
12 treated 2x10x10 (Band, center beam, scabs)
32 treated 2x6x10 (joists)
13 sheets of treated 1/2" 4x8 plywood
10 treated 2x4x10 (Ledger, corner braces, blocks between joists)

200ft of 3/4" twisted yellow polypropylene rope (found 300ft for $87 from Contractor's Rope, IL)

5lb box of galvanized 12d nails
5lb box 1 1/2" deck screws
10 4x1/3" lag screws and washers (to hold board to corner post that band sits on)
4 turn buckles 
12 metal rings
~16' of chain
Lag hooks (to attach chain to corner posts)
Hose clamps
1gal Thompsons water seal or something similar

Step 2: Layout, Footings, Band

Your platform will be 20'x20' giving you 16' square inside the ropes.  Because the ring will be a raised platform, it can be constructed on uneven terrain. 

First step is to layout your four corners.  These need to be as close to perfect as possible!  If you don't get the corners laid out right, you'll be dealing with a disaster later on.  TAKE YOUR TIME HERE.

One tip: we set one side of the ring 1/2" lower than the other to facilitate water run off; however, after a couple years of use, the deck remains pretty uneven and pools water in some spots.  I would recommend a 1-1.5" drop in addition to the other water control steps noted in the finishing section. 

Step 3: Framing and Decking

Our 2x6 floor joists are 16" on center and sit on 2x2 ledger which is nailed to the band and beam.  Between the joists are 2x4 blocks every 4', which stabilize the floor and act as nailers for the plywood.  2x10 boards are used to scab together the beam and band where they meet on the posts.

Make sure you crown your joists and try to keep the tops of the joists and blocks as even as possible.  The plywood should be staggered by 4ft; make sure you spray or roll a coat of water seal on the bottom of the decking before you lay it down.

As noted in the final corner picture below, when the ring was first built, it did not have braces on the corner posts.  After one corner snapped at the deck level during a sparring match, the braces were added.  The final pic also shows the repair of the corner.  It was more than a year before the post broke.  After several months, the braces seem to have prevented any further breaks.  If you're worried about it, you may want to consider using 6x6 in place of 4x4s.

Step 4: Ropes and Finishing

To save the money on rope (an expensive material) we went with the ABA 3-rope guidelines from the '80s; putting them at 1'4", 2'7", and 4'3" off the deck. The ropes should be approximately 2' from the outside of the deck, which puts the length of the chains or turn buckles around 17-20" (don't forget about the thickness of the post).

1) Screw the lag hooks into the corner posts at the noted height.

2) One rope at a time, run them through the loops (we used chain patch links and carabeeners) that are attached to the chains and turn buckles.

3) Pull the rope tight and have someone check the distances from the rope to the edge of the deck, adjust chains and turn buckles accordingly. Do this with the turn buckles loose.

4) After adjustments look right, use two hose clamps to tie the ends of the rope together. Tighten the turn buckes and check your work. The bottom rope should have turn buckles on each side of the ring, the other ropes seem fine with just one.

5) When adjustments are good, put foam pipe insulation over the hose clamps and cover in duct tape. Tie small ropes vertically between the three main ropes to keep them together.

After the ropes are up, spray paint your red and blue corners. Then use a pesticide sprayer to coat the decking and band with water seal. This will need to be done once every 8-12mo. If pools of water appear on the decking, drill 5/8" holes and line the holes with epoxy. This won't completely remove the problem but will help.


After several years, we replaced the decking as preventative maintenance (which had developed a couple soft spots). Instead of using deck water seal, we put on a couple coats of Cabot Deck Correct paint. It has been 5 months and it is holding up VERY well. The paint as a grit in it so we were able to spar in the rain the other week and no one slipped and fell.

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