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LANDING THE FUNDAMENTAL 1-2 BOXING COMBINATION

When people talk about landing the 1-2 in boxing, this refers to the jab followed by a straight.  Why is this basic combination spoken about so much?

Because it is one of the most basic boxing fundamentals, yet, even many professional boxers still forget to use this boxing combination.

The reason why this combo is so effective is because the jab which is thrown first, should ideally land near your opponent’s chin, this should be enough to temporarily distract your opponent, which in turn allows you to follow up with a powerful straight punch.

Sometimes the straight can even result in a goodnight punch.  Going back to the jab, even if the jab doesn’t land, it can be used as a distraction such as to block your opponent’s vision, resulting in them not seeing the follow up straight.

Practicing the 1-2 combo on a hanging heavy bag would be a good start, or even better having someone hold the focus pads.  However, unfortunately, these training methods will never be as effective as sparring, as a heavy bag doesn’t move quite like an opponent, or fight back.  Focus pads can be quite good, but it all depends on who’s holding them.

WAYS TO LAND THE 1-2

Perhaps it’s easier said than done, landing the 1-2 combination is not always that easy when you’re sparring or fighting more experienced opposition.  However, there are effective ways to land this combination.

You might get away with landing the first few 1-2 combinations, but sooner or later most opponents will start to read your pattern.  The key is to not be predictable, therefore, I will now go through a few effective ways which you can land the 1-2.

DOUBLE THE JAB

Giving two quick jabs is a great way to set up the cross, more so if you feel you might have become quite predictable.  When someone is expecting a 1-2 combination, it can be quite easy to avoid or worse, counter.

Doubling up the jab may catch your opponent off guard as they’re not expecting a follow up jab after the first one, instead they’re expecting a cross.  Maybe the second jab will land or if not at least distract your opponent which sets up the cross.

A prime example of this would be when a young Manny Pacquiao finished off Lehlo Ledwaba with a double jab, straight, in his first fight on American Soil.

TRIPLE THE JAB

Pretty much the same motive as the double jab, straight, but even when you throw that combination too many times, you become predictable.  Therefore, tripling the jab followed by a straight may catch your opponent off guard.

FAINT THE JAB

Feinting the jab is a great way to get your opponent to open up.  If your feint is convincing enough, by that I mean your opponent thinks you’re going to actually fully commit to the jab, then ideally you want them to try to parry the jab.

This will cause them to temporarily drop usually their rear hand in an attempt to parry your feinted jab, this creates an opening and is the moment where you strike with a quick sharp straight punch.

SLIP THEIR JAB

Probably more difficult to execute as this requires really good timing.  When your opponent throws their jab, slip to the outside while simultaneously throwing your jab, then follow up with a cross. If this is executed and timed really well, this can really hurt your opponent even with just the counter jab because they’re not expecting to be countered.

Mayweather Jr. pulls back to avoid Canelo’s straight right.

WAYS TO AVOID OR COUNTER THE 1-2

Now we’re going to look at ways to avoid or counter the 1-2.  There are actually so many ways to avoid or counter these punches, so I’m going to list some of the most common ways.

MOVE BACK

Probably the easiest way to avoid the punch if you don’t want to risk getting hit.  Simply take a few steps back when your opponent is about to throw the 1-2, so you’re out of range.  Downside to moving back is that you’re going to be out of range to throw anything back.

STEP TO THE SIDE

Stepping to the side can make them miss and you might also be within range to throw an attack of your own once you make them miss.

CATCH OR PARRY THE JAB THEN COUNTER

Catching their jab or parrying it away creates an opening as their lead arm would be away from their chin.  In return, quickly throw either a jab or straight to hopefully disrupt their rhythm.

SLIP THE JAB THEN COUNTER

Slip their jab to their outside and you need to be quick and counter with a straight punch.  Your opponent will be throwing their own straight after the jab, so even if you slip their jab, there’s a chance you can still get hit by their straight, which is why you need to be really quick when throwing the counter straight.

SLIP THE JAB AND CROSS THEN COUNTER

Slipping both the jab and the cross is more difficult than slipping just the jab.  Nonetheless, slipping this 1-2 combo will put you in a position to throw a counter lead hook which can do some serious damage.

Michael Katsidis did exactly this in the 3rd round against Juan Manuel Marquez during their fight in 2010, this counter lead left hook put Marquez on the canvas, but the great Marquez done well to recover.

DUCK AND COUNTER

Ducking your opponent’s jab and throwing a cross to their body simultaneously will allow you to take some wind out of your opponent.  Also, if you get the timing right, they’re unlikely to throw the straight after the jab, as your head will be out of sight, plus the counter punch disrupt their pattern.

BLOCK AND WAIT FOR YOUR OPPONENT TO DROP THEIR GUARD

Covering up when your opponent is attacking is not always the best option, as some damage can still be inflicted onto you.  But, you can also use this tactic as bait, inviting them to throw the 1-2 and waiting for them to drop their guard, so you can throw a counter punch.

This tactic would work well if your opponent often drops their guard after throwing punches, otherwise standing there and just covering up won’t work against a boxer that punches and moves a lot.

FINAL WORD | LANDING THE 1-2

It’s important to know how to land the 1-2 combo as well as how to avoid or counter this combo.  Understanding this from an attacking or defensive perspective means you will be more alert and aware, which will mean you’re less likely to get caught and more likely to land.

Try mixing up different attacking and defending tactics so you’re harder to predict, therefore likely to confuse your opponent more often than not. You can learn more boxing training tips and techniques over at The World Class Boxing Channel on YouTube!


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ANDRE WARD DEMONSTRATES HOW TO TAME A PRESSURE FIGHTER

Aggressive pressure fighters can be a nightmare to deal with in the ring, particularly those with good head movement and punching power.

In this video by Fight Hype, Andre Ward demonstrates in not so many words, how to tame an aggressive pressure fighter.

Learn How to Increase Your Punching Power, Speed and Stamina With These Padwork Drills Now

Though it may look as though Ward is just throwing a bunch of punches and moving around a heavy bag rather than an actual opponent, there’s a more technical aspect of what he’s doing which I’ll break down below the video.

UTILIZING THE JAB

In many cases, pressure fighters have a shorter reach and slower hands and feet. These physical disadvantages mean that they need to constantly come forward and find a way to get within punching range. They will continuously advance forward if there are no obstacles in the way.

The best obstacle you can use is the jab, which you should use often with variations – jab to the body, feint jab, double jab, triple jab and so forth. Andre Ward displays the normal jab and the up jab at [0:48].

Ward puts a bigger emphasis on the up jab, which he throws from the waist and at a slightly crouched position. From this position, it looks as though he may shoot the lead straight right. This kind of unpredictability can offset the opponent’s rhythm and make them think twice about getting in range.

GETTING LOW ON TALLER FIGHTERS

In some cases, you may end up fighting a pressure fighter who’s taller than you, and possibly even have a longer reach than you. This situation can be tricky because in order to be relatively safe, you should be all the way outside of your opponent’s reach, or all the way inside where he cannot get any leverage into his punches.

“Overly aggressive guys who got height and try to come in winging [punches], they work against defense.”

At [1:22], Ward demonstrates getting low on the inside of a taller fighter. In order to safely get inside, you must disguise your intention by performing a certain maneuver that allows you to close the distance quickly.

This can be something as simple as a forward step jab with head movement or something a bit more advanced like slipping the punch while parrying at the same time.

UTILIZING FEINTS

A feint in boxing terms is a deceptive maneuver that’s designed to make the opponent think you’re going to perform a particular attack, when your real intention is to perform another action such as a different attack or movement.

“Feint him out of position.”

Using feints against not only pressure fighters, but any fighter is extremely effective and underused by most boxers. Ward demonstrates some feints at [2:22], where he quickly jerks his body forward to make the opponent think he’s going to attack, but instead steps around and creates different angles where he can attack from.

Feints are especially helpful in giving the boxer more breathing space because in that brief moment, the pressure fighter will pause. Of course, feints will only continue to be effective if you actually disguise them among real hurtful punches too. You cannot bluff your way through a fight and expect to win.

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5 WAYS TO IMPROVE PUNCHING SPEED

Being able to punch faster than your opponent is a vital part of winning boxing matches. If your speed needs improvement or your progress seems to be slowing down with your current regime, try these five ways to improve punching speed.

Quick to put into action and see results, you still need to be consistent with your training to succeed – in boxing there are no shortcuts.

IMPROVE YOUR PUNCHING SPEED BY…

1) SPEED BALL WORKOUTS

Try a range of forced hand speed exercises using a speed ball or floor to ceiling ball. These balls force you to think fast, move your hands fast and punch even when you might not want to. This is important for fights as you will need to punch proactively and reactively, whenever you can.

Even when you’re tired, push pass the fatigue and your limits. You’ll always need to react quickly with a speed ball, as well as think quickly. Combine 2 or 3 rounds on a speed ball with 2 or 3 rounds on a floor to ceiling ball, seeing how many times you can punch in set periods of time. Remember to punch through the target, not just tap it.

2) SHADOW BOXING

This training technique of punching in the air prepares you physically and mentally for fast punches. Shadow box before a workout to loosen your muscles and perfect your technique. Practise each type of punch – jab, right hook – in front of a mirror and add hand weights for even better results.

Start loose and build up your speed over a number of 2/3 min rounds, adding in long combination punches where you can practice your breathing. The process will loosen your muscles and build muscle memory, which makes punches flow more naturally without hesitation and with less errors. Learn the basics of shadow boxing here.

3) QUICK BREATHING

Focus on improving your breathing technique while punching, with a particular determination to breathe faster. If you’re tensing up and keeping in your breathe to punch, it’ll be holding you back. You need to inhale and exhale to the rhythm of your punches, and keep your shoulders loose and relaxed as you punch.

Why does this work? Breathing keeps your blood charged with oxygen, which helps keep your mind focused and your muscles fuelled. The act of breathing also tightens your core, which adds power to your punch. Understand that one big breathe in, can produce many smaller breathes out as you move and punch!

4) COMBINATION PUNCHES

Specifically training to deliver lighter combination punches makes your mind think fast, which is the basis of moving fast. To begin, punch as fast as you can in intervals of 15 to 20 seconds using a punch bag, then add in some different combinations that you’d use in the ring. Keeping the punches light is key to increasing speed.

Then, take these techniques and spar with a partner, focusing on fast hits and disrupting their rhythm. Try not to get too hung up on each individual punch, but instead work towards an easy flow of different combinations; thinking too much on one punch rather than multiple punches can slow you down. Sometimes try the preferred boxing gloves that are used in competition, so you’re training with the equipment you’ll use when it counts.

5) FASTER FOOTWORK

Short sprints, intense skipping exercises and sparring with a partner are all effective ways to increase the speed of your footwork, which will speed up your whole performance.

Interval sprinting will train your body to move faster increasing your potential speed for boxing, while skipping will build on the muscle endurance and improve agility. Combine these with a sparring session where you focus on your stance, weight distribution and movement into the punches.

By following these steps, you should be able to improve your punching speed and overall performance in bouts. As your endurance improves, your punches should also be more consistently solid, which is vital in later rounds.

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7 INJURY PREVENTION TIPS WHEN PUNCHING THE HEAVY BAG

Ever had that excruciating sharp pain that just shoots through your arm at the speed of lightning following a misplaced punch on a heavy bag?

If this feeling sounds all too familiar to you, then the chances are that you probably didn’t punch or lift anything heavy for a while. The heavy punching bag is the equipment of choice for most fighters but it’s also the thing that causes the most injuries; injuries that likely could have been prevented.

If your hands, wrists or even shoulders are prone to injury, then follow these crucial tips before you go ballastic on the heavy bag next time.

1. USE A TOP QUALITY HEAVY BAG

There are many different types of heavy bags but the ones you want to avoid are the ones that transforms into a rock at the bottom after taking a beating. It’s not hard to see how punching a rock hard object can damage your hands.

There are a few reasons why this may happen – the wrong type of filling used, the bag being poorly filled, not enough foam surrounding the filling, or all three. However, you shouldn’t mistake this for a brand new heavy bag that just needs to be broken in (i.e. softened up via a beating).

It’s quite common for a sand or grain filled bag to have its contents settle at the bottom, causing the bottom to be a lot harder than the top. As a result, many decent manufacturers now use high density fabrics instead. There are even water filled heavy bags that generally remain consistent throughout.

2. WRAP YOUR HANDS PROPERLY

I cringe whenever I see someone slip on a pair of boxing gloves with just their bare hands. Not only is this unhygienic, but the hands and wrists are also a lot more susceptible to injury as there’s nothing supporting them from the sustained stress caused by a heavy bag session.

Get yourself a decent pair of handwraps and learn how to properly wrap your hands. There are different ways to wrap hands and none of them are particularly wrong, as long as you make sure every part of your wrist and hands are secured several times over.

3. PUNCH WITH THE CORRECT TECHNIQUE

If there’s any inconsistency in your body movement when throwing a punch, you’re going to feel it after a while. It may not have an immediate effect, but punching the heavy bag with the wrong technique over and over again will eventually take its toll.

Work on the technique of your punches by shadowboxing in the mirror. If you’re lost as to what the correct technique is, then you’ll find these guides useful:

When you do hit the heavy bag, don’t go full steam but instead, punch it lightly with the correct technique. It may not be as fun as going ham on the bag, but sharpening up your punches will make you feel more powerful than ever before.

4. USE THE RIGHT BOXING GLOVES

To the uninformed gym goer, any pair of boxing gloves will do, but if you hit the heavy bag frequently or actually train in boxing, you’ll know that not all boxing gloves are made equal; each type will serve a different purpose.

There are all-purpose gloves that are designed for all aspects of boxing training from sparring to bag work, but for the purpose of hitting the heavy bag, you really want to use well padded gloves from a good brand that weighs at least 14 oz., which helps to absorb the impact of a punch.

5. CONTROL YOUR POWER

Some fighters love to hit the heavy bag with full force on every single punch, while other fighters prefer to take a more measured approach and be a bit more selective with their power punches. If your hands are prone to injury, then be that second fighter.

Decide which punches are going to be thrown with power and which punches will serve another purpose other than causing damage. Implementing feints and set up punches in your game is great for improvising a real fight. It forces you to use brains instead of brawn, and you know what they say – boxing is a thinking man’s sport.

6. STRENGTHEN YOUR HANDS AND WRISTS

A boxer’s hands are the most precious parts of their body so it makes sense to protect them. It’s better to go a step further to strengthen them as much as possible so that you can punch harder while decreasing the possibility of fractures or broken bones.

I must admit, there isn’t exactly an endless amount of hand strengthening methods and you must be careful as some of them may ending doing more harm than good. With that being said, you can check out some effective and proven methods here.

Floyd Mayweather in a Cryogenic Chamber, designed to help the body recover after intense exercise.

7. ALLOW YOUR BODY TO RECUPERATE

Rest is just as important as work. Taking a day or two off from the gym will often leave you feeling mentally and physically refreshed with a new sense of vigour. If you cannot stay away from the gym, then at least stay away from the activities that are hurting you.

If you’ve had hand and wrist injuries before, and you have even the slightest feeling of pain in your hands and wrists, then it’s probably a sign that you should give it a rest until it fully heals.

As a fighter, you probably feel like you can fight through the pain, but unless it’s an actual fight, you should swallow your pride and do the smart thing. Better yet, turn this situation into a positive by focusing on other aspects of boxing training that doesn’t impede your health such as your stamina, technique and explosiveness.