10 things every beginner boxer should know

When it comes to combat sports, there is no sport like Western Boxing. It is an extremely exciting sport, and training it can and will change your life. “The Sweet Science” of boxing has been perfected over thousands of years, and in many ways, it is the most refined martial art out there.

Boxing is a very well-established sport, and no matter where you live, it seems like a boxing gym is always around the corner. Because of this developed infrastructure, getting started in boxing is very easy, whether you want to do it for fun and fitness, or you want to become a professional boxer and become the next undisputed champion of the world.

Boxing is also widely regarded as the best martial art for self-defense, and it can do wonders for your self-confidence, and self-esteem. Therefore, if you are thinking about taking up boxing, here are 10 important things every beginner boxer should know.

Find the right Gym:

Boxing is a sport that requires discipline, and teamwork, therefore, there is no way that you can start training alone. So, the first step is to find yourself in a good boxing gym.

Now, I’d suggest starting off at a gym where you can get more personal attention. In many large and famous gyms, the coach and trainers have to focus more on the professional and amateur athletes, and they might not be able to give enough time to beginners like you. Therefore, a smaller gym might be the better option.

In a gym, you have a coach and other teammates to guide you, which can make progress easier and more fun.

Protect your hands:

This is very important, before you can start hitting the bag, or pads, you need to learn how to protect your hands. Don’t show up to the gym without the proper gear, you should have your wrist wraps, and gloves with you so that you can keep your hands safe.

Secondly, listen to your coach, and focus on developing good technique and form before you start hitting the heavy bag, this will save you from unnecessary sprained wrists and other injuries.

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Start following boxing as a sport:

I have personally seen many wannabe boxers in the gym who don’t follow the sport, or haven’t watched a proper boxing match in their life. These beginners have a tough time developing their form and getting their punches straight. Moreover, it can take them years to truly understand their style.

On the other hand, people who watch boxing regularly are much easier to train. I guess when you keep watching high-level boxers fight, it develops a mental image of what a proper jab, cross, hook, and uppercut should be like. Moreover, you know what fighters you want to imitate, and that helps you develop a boxing style.

Cardio, Strength, and Conditioning is an essential part of training:

Though hitting a heavy bag, and doing pad work with the coach may seem cool, that is only a small part of training, you also need to focus on cardio, conditioning, and strength training. Which can be really “not fun” sometimes.

However, they are an essential part of the game, and if you want to be a good boxer, you can’t skip them. So, be ready for some pushups, and a lot of running.

Know about your aptitude:

 

This is an important one. Now, there are many different styles in boxing, and you need to know which style you have the predisposition for.

If you are shorter, you need to develop an aggressive style to get inside the range of your opponents, if you are tall, you can be a better range fighter. If you naturally have heavier hands, and more power, you can develop your style around that like Mike Tyson, Deotey Wilder, or Gervonta Davis.

On the other hand, if you don’t have much power, but you are fast, you can focus more on power striking like Manny Pacquiao or Vasyl Lomachenko. Therefore, to become a good boxer, you need to know your aptitude and train according to it.

Punches in Bunches:

Whether you are a power striker or a volume striker, developing good combinations is essential. The first punch rarely lands, it is usually more of a probing shot to test your opponents guard. It’s the longer combinations where you do the real damage.

No matter how much power you have in your punches, it’s quite unlikely that you are going to knock out an opponent with a single shot. Even mike Tyson used combinations to get in range before throwing that knockout punch.

Furthermore, it is important that you focus on the basic combinations because that’s what actually works at the highest level. All the advanced footwork, angles, and movements come later. First of all, you need to make that jab-cross perfect.

Therefore, make sure to practice the basic combinations everyday.

Spar responsibly:

Even though a boxer steps inside the ring alone, Boxing is a team sport. It is very important to have good teammates in the gym, who push you to be a better fighter. The comradery and the friendships formed inside the boxing gym are one of the best things about boxing.

Therefore, whenever you are sparring, it is important to take care of your teammates. Many beginners tend to go too hard in sparring, which is bad for them and can hurt their teammates as well.

Avoid building bad habits:

Bad habits that are developed in early training can prove to be detrimental later on in your career. Therefore, it is very important that you focus on developing proper techniques, and avoid bad habits. Here are some habits that you should avoid.

Don’t overextend while throwing a power cross, because it can put you out of position, and at risk of a counter. According to traditional boxing wisdom, you shouldn’t lean past your knees while throwing a punch.

Keep your fists loose, and feet planted.

When you aren’t punching, don’t keep your fists tight. Remember, when your muscles are loose, they are faster, therefore, don’t keep your fists tightly clenched unless you are punching. In fact, when you are shadow boxing, keep your hands loose to develop speed.

Keep your feet planted when punching, many beginners tend to lift their foot from the ground while punching to get more power, however, this has the opposite effect, and puts you out of balance as well, therefore, you aren’t able to angle out, or move back after you have landed a punch.

Keep your eyes on your opponent:

Many beginners make the mistake of taking their eyes off their opponents, and this can be devastating. For instance, when they are rolling under a hook, they might look at the ground, or when they are trying to cover up, they may also cover their eyes with their guard.

It is important to avoid this and always stay alert. It is common for many beginners to close their eyes when they see a punch coming towards them. Though this is normal and eventually the fear goes away, if you start holding pads for your teammates, it can actually help you keep your eyes on your opponent

Final thoughts:

Boxing is a very deep and interesting art. Though it may look simple, there are a lot of intricacies and details that everyone doesn’t understand. Especially in the case of beginners, there are many things that they don’t know, which can lead to bad habits, unhealthy training environments, and in some cases even demotivate people completely. Therefore, I hope that this post helps you in your boxing journey, and makes the start a little easier.

4 comments

  1. Hi Justin, great article on Boxing. Super interesting and practical. I love what you mention about never taking your eyes off your opponent. Really easy to forget to be alert at all times! There are a lot of details and intricacies to this sport, as you said, and it’s great to see you cover some of them. Also, a good reminder here to keep doing cardio and strength training because it is important- although it may not be so fun!

    1. Thanks for reading Beth! I’m glad you were able to learn something. We agree, Cardio and strength is not fun but it’s a must! lol

  2. Hi, Justin!
    Truth be told I would never engage in any kind of boxing, learning, playing or watching it. I understand it´s a great help though as self-esteem and self-confidence are concerned. As far as I know, my country hasn’t got a great tradition of boxing gyms so I guess it’s why not many people opt for other martial arts. 
    Nevertheless, I respect people choices and I have to admit your review is very well written, thorough and clear.
    Thanks for sharing and keep safe!

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