To become a boxer and actually win your first boxing match requires devotion to a rote of the craft and an unwavering will. Read on and we will break down the things you need to learn before embarking on the life of a fighter.
There is something about the sport of boxing that rivets the curiosity of a spectator unlike any other. Perhaps it is similar to how an avid reader is drawn to a heavyweight literary work of art that nonreaders cannot fathom.
Boxing is very much a cerebral sport than it is physical. It is more than mere controlled violence or satiating the appetite to inflict hurt against an opponent.
This article shall first touch on the tangible and intangible forces that define a fighter.
How to Win a Boxing Match: The Desire to Fight
Have you ever watched a highly competitive slugfest, witnessed the gore and cuts on the fighters’ faces involved and ask why they do it, or, wonder if it is all worth the trouble?
Before we discuss further on how to win a boxing match, specifically your first fight, we need to step back a little.
Dig in deeper. Go farther back from the spoors of blood and tears in the ring, or even out of the stench of sweat inside your neighborhood gym.
First and foremost, ask yourself what makes you want to train and fight.
This will be the most basic, yet the most important question you will ever ask yourself that will determine whether boxing is the right decision or career path to take.
If you are entirely new to the boxing scene, you will find that the range of reasons that pushes an individual to step in the ring is so wide and full of intrigue.
For example, it was known among members of boxing circles how former world boxing champion Johnny Tapia (59-5-2) fought throughout his career to battle his demons; an indirect way of taking control over his life that was otherwise spiraling out of control.
Johnny Tapia exploited this seemingly perennial negativity in his life to spur him to win a boxing match, if not every fight he has ever had. He lasted only a year after he quit the sport.
Another quick example, for the purpose of explaining this section of the article, is how world champion Maureen Shea (26-2-1-1) who hails from the Bronx, chose boxing as her way of coping after going through an abusive relationship.
If you are convinced that boxing is the ultimate sport for you, whatever reason gets you involved in it, you shall have to re-evaluate it every single time you are put to the test.
There will be many along the road, starting from the challenge of how to win your first boxing match.
Character building can be an ideal reason for teenagers to stick to a sound boxing program at school or in a local community.
Training kids to box can be an effective strategy for values formation. Through sport, minors are kept out of the streets and the influence of bad elements.
Not only will they learn how to strategize and win a boxing match, but also it will be a fun way of introducing them to the values of:
- Hard work
All of the aforementioned are hoped to crossover beyond their training and applied in scholastic events. This way, youngsters are trained to win boxing matches and, over the long haul, to become winners in life.
This section simply refers to all the things that we have more control over and are equally important in the arduous journey of finally winning a first boxing match.
- Buying the right gloves
- Finding a suitable gym to train
- Hiring a knowledgeable coach
- Following a proper diet
- Avoid vices at all cost
Fists are a boxer’s primary tools. Invest in proper gear.
When buying the best pair of boxing gloves, regardless of the manufacturer or its price tag, it is vital to choose the ones that provide the most protection. Remember that gloves are designed to protect its user and not the target.
This means its leather and cushion must have enough padding to ensure that your wrists don’t get bent upon impact, and the knuckles don’t get hurt or result to a broken hands.
It must be sturdy and durable to give a boxer enough confidence to give his all when training.
Choose a suitable gym.
To learn how to box, to train and win your first boxing match, one does not have to enroll in a fancy, expensive gym. Spending more does not necessarily equate to getting the best value out of your investment.
Try asking around to find out where the best boxers in your area are stabled. Chances are high that they are set up where the best trainers and coaches are too.
Even from watching the prizefighters training around the gym, subtle learning begins in a keen observer’s mind. Of course, these are far from even forming a solid foundation, but can soon reinforce in our learning as the program progresses.
The most receptive are almost always able to pick up and learn from various practitioners.
You become gradually acclimatized with the new environment and even form ideas of what to expect when your turn starts. So breaking into the regimen won’t be as tough to transition into due to one’s mental conditioning.
Furthermore, when training in a suitable gym, not only is a student of the sport exposed to a positive exemplary influence, but finding the best sparring partners will be readily available for when the right time comes to introduce it.
Having the best sparring sessions mean that you get to test your skills against different fighting styles, from orthodox to southpaw, from boxing purists to brawlers, and whatnot.
This training experience will prove invaluable when training to win your first boxing match. Sparring helps us to adapt and adjust to an opponent in the middle of a fight.
The best trainers around understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a fighter.
Just as we all have different individual personalities, the same goes with how one feels natural and comfortable at when fighting. It could also be about physiology, one’s physical structure.
This is why finding the proper coach is very important. Instead of making a noob follow a set template or to fit in, the right coach builds around a person’s inherent strengths and assets.
A developing boxer is taught to appreciate what makes him special and how to make it work in his favor, while also addressing his weaknesses.
The best thing about the sweet science is that the stronger fighters don’t necessarily mean they’ll win all the time. Boxing is not the same as street fighting. In fact, it can be said that the sweet science works as an equalizer.
A shorter or smaller prizefighter may take advantage of his speed and stamina to wear down the more physically gifted ones.
Lanky boxers whose capacity to take in bodily harm may be suspect may exploit a bulkier, brutish, yet slow-footed opponent, by moving around the ring and boxing in circles and whipping jabs. Keeping his distance should be his key to victory.
A good trainer will teach you how to execute a punch. However, the best ones will teach you all that and make you understand why throwing a particular punch is necessary, and what its implications are.
Again, just to refer back to our earlier discussion, boxing is a thinking man’s sport. In some ways, it is not unlike the strategic game of chess, so to speak.
That’s why we have a number of punch combinations. Each punch is designed to set up an opponent for the power punch, and so on.
They are enmeshed, structured for a purpose yet open for reinvention. Punches are not to be merely arbitrarily thrown without a game plan in mind.
For the purpose of this article, in a beginner’s attempt to win a first boxing match, coaches should focus on the following tips:
- Keep instructions simple. A beginner may be too distracted by the crowd, the threat imposed by the opposition, fear, and anxiety. One or two instructions at a time shall be sufficient.
- Consistently remind a boxer to focus on the fundamentals. No fancy stuffs or showboating. It is time to apply what had been taught day in and day out in the gym!
- Encourage openness. Communication is vital, but also watch out for body language to pick up signs of your fighter’s current physical condition. Some are too tough for their own good that they may end up suffering lasting injuries.
Following a proper diet, eating the right food.
The first couple of weeks of being engaged into deep training can be described as hell on earth for any fighter.
For beginners who are learning the proper execution of punches and timing while synchronizing their movements, enduring muscle pain, struggles with stamina, the realization that boxing is so much harder than initially expected starts to loom.
But the real struggle isn’t restricted within one’s training quarters. As you step outside and head home exhausted and hungry a new level of struggle begins.
The curtailment of one’s previous lifestyle necessary to cut down in weight hits you hard.
And it is not only for weight-cut purposes that one needs to shift to a healthy lifestyle (e.g. getting enough sleep), but also for a preparation to push your body in a way that had never been done before. Boxing is the loneliest, the toughest sport in the world.
Prizefighters ought to have nutritionists, dieticians who will guide them in either gaining weight properly (if fighting at a higher weight class), or safely trimming down so one doesn’t end up too drained, as the case may be.
The general rule, however, is to stay away from the three S’s. This refers to food with high content of:
This goes without saying that alcohol intake or smoking habits and other vices, if any, should be put to a complete halt.
Drinking soda wouldn’t prevent a boxer from improving his skills or developing his power, but this may cause one to be paunchy.
As training progresses to an advanced stage a bulky abdomen can restrict the movement of the hips, especially when throwing a hook. A flabby, wider girth will result to a slower twitch reaction of the muscle.
Boxers who feel bloated or look puffy despite the heavy training they undergo are more likely consuming products with high sodium content. This could be a problem if one is planning to trim down and make weight to qualify for a fight.
Lack of discipline or the utter disregard for following the prescribed diet could result to a loss way before the fight even starts.
In certain scenarios when an opponent decides to go ahead in a fight despite the other fighter not making the weight limit, stiff financial penalties are entailed. This leaves a wayward pugilist a bad reputation and may cause difficulties in signing up for future matches.
How to Strategize and Win Your First Boxing Match
When former world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. (38-5) battled the then undefeated Fernando Montiel (54-6-2) in 2011 to unify the WBO and WBC bantamweight belts he predicted a knockout in the first three rounds in spite of Montiel’s superior record.
Thanks to the Internet and the advent of downloadable digital technology, unlike the old days, prizefighters can now study an opponent even from the other side of the world.
In turn, Donaire’s victory turned out to be so emphatic and popular that his future challengers took heed of his vaunted left hook.
This eventually worked against him though as he’d failed to show versatility in his succeeding fights, relying heavily on the same hook that every opponent now watches out for.
The lack of material to study makes it hard for a beginner to prepare against a same level foe.
To compensate for this lack of data, in preparation for one’s first boxing match, the focus of the training needs to be aimed on solidifying the fundamentals of offense and defense.
It is almost as if you are training to fight against yourself, and the weaknesses you have to watch out for are your very own.
The more you sacrifice and push yourself in training, the more you are able to identify your limits. In essence, the more you know about yourself, the more that you are able to understand your opponent’s tendencies, which are merely reflections of traits you identify in yourself.
What is the best way to deal with nervousness and anxiety before your first boxing match?
As with all other aspects in life, some people tend to overthink things. This behavior usually branches out into multiple questions that aren’t easily answered and lead to self-doubt.
The great Sugar Ray Leonard, who now travels all over the United States as a motivational speaker, highlights the importance of self-confidence.
Doubts are distractions. It all boils down to believing in what you are capable of. He talks about practicing the “tunnel vision” where all of one’s energies are focused on that one thing only.
So keep it simple. Be goal-oriented. Eliminate whatever thoughts that don’t belong or add value to achieving that objective.
Many legendary sportsmen talk about winning their first championship in their respective sport and how they’d won it many times in their minds before they actually win it in reality.
The best way to counter one’s fears and anxieties is to work hard and leave no stone unturned.
Check out the video below from Zubair Khan on dealing with pre-fight anxiety.
How Long Do Boxers Train Before a Fight?
The best boxers in the world normally train for six to eight weeks before the scheduled event. This may vary according to how a particular boxer gains weight in between fights.
But they say the best and smartest among them is never out of shape and is practically prepared to jump into action on short notice, or when the opportunity arises.
On the other hand, a specific timetable is more difficult to impose upon beginners. Apart from the necessity of giving them enough time to address one’s learning curve, it is hard to assess how the body reacts to the physicality of the sport.
Boxing programs usually consists of miles of roadwork, sets of shadow boxing, pad work, hitting the heavy bag, speedball, skipping rope, double-ended ball, and this will increase as the training progresses.
Coaches normally set sparring sessions at least once or twice a week. Apart from open sparring, there are technical sparring sessions where techniques are repeatedly demonstrated.
It would not be a surprise if training for beginners will have to be extended to give way to common illnesses as the body struggles to keep up.
How Many Days Before a Fight Does a Boxer Start to Taper Down?
It is important to give your body enough time to recuperate for at least 5 days before the match. Let bruises from sparring heal. Wear and tear will start to show after weeks of training, and you should never fight over trained.
Training should be limited to relatively light exercises, shortened roadwork. Sparring by this time should have been completely done a week prior to avoid the risk of injuries.