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Your First Boxing Match

When am I Ready!

  How do you know when you’re ready to participate in your first amateur boxing competition?  Like other sports we play, there is a process that must be followed prior to “playing the game!” Keep in mind, that a new boxer can range anywhere from 8 to 48 years of age, give or take. It is not unusual for someone much older than a teenager to step into the ring for the first time.

The Timeline

   The foundation must first be laid with the fundamentals of the “sweet science” prior to competition. This can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more depending on the boxer’s dedication, cooperation and natural ability to learn.

Nobody’s Perfect

  The amateur boxer must also understand that he/she does NOT have to be perfect going into their first competition. New fighters typically wait much longer than what is necessary before entering the ring for the first time. This is a huge mistake! If perfection is what your waiting for, then that first ring experience will never happen! Nobody is perfect and nobody will ever be perfect at any level!

Nerves are good!

You will be extremely nervous the day of the fight. That’s normal. If a fighter tells me that they don’t feel a little “queasy” prior to fight time, they are probably not telling the truth. Nerves are a good sign to a coach.

Measuring Your Progress

That first amateur boxing experience is a measuring stick of sorts.  It tells the fighter which parts of their game need the most emphasis in training. If we never compete, how can we possibly ever know what part of our game needs the most work?

  That first amateur boxing match is equivalent to nearly 6 months of gym time. Yes! You got it. A half of a year’s worth of training all after just one fight!  The bottom line being you must compete to become a skillful competitor at a combat sport like boxing. When a new fighter returns to the gym following their first boxing match, it’s a magical and delightful experience. Regardless the outcome, the skill level has progressed to a newfound state. Training emphasis is now much clearer, and workouts become more productive.

Respect The Sport

   A quality boxing gym understands the physical and emotional measures which must be taken to prepare a new boxer for competition. Our duty as coaches is to first teach the student to respect the art of boxing. and it’s emotions. Boxing takes place in a controlled environment called the gym. It is not to be used as a “street sport.”

Physical and Emotional Preparation

Next, training should happen through small incremental progressions. This cannot be stressed enough. Therefore, we have various levels of contact sparring which are designed to acclimate the young fighter to “boxing situations.” The training moves forward accordingly.  It is the coaches responsibility to prepare the fighter for the emotional roller coaster that amateur boxing presents. If anyone reading this article has participated in competitive amateur boxing, you will understand exactly what I am speaking of! In this sport, preparation goes well beyond offense, defense and physical conditioning. The emotional aspect of competition must be considered along with all other parts of training and guess what? It’s o.k. to be nervous!  As a coach, if my fighter doesn’t have a funny feeling in their stomach prior to the big fight and during sparring training sessions then I’m concerned. It’s only natural to have these nerves.      

How Safe Is Amateur Boxing?

   It may sound peculiar to most, but amateur boxing, as a whole, is safer than many contact sports we allow our children to play! The objectives of boxing are very clear, and most of the contact occurs in the view of the participant unlike football, soccer and lacrosse. In these sports the focus cannot always be defense oriented. In boxing, defense and offense happen simultaneously. The amateur boxer is well protected with equipment, proper training, the referee, and the rules of the sport.

Who Decides When Your Ready!

So, who decides when that first boxing competition should take place?  Your coach will have a large influence on when that time is right. The ultimate decision though, comes from the very person that’s going to be climbing through the ropes and into a boxing ring. You are the one that sacrificed the countless hours in the gym and maintained proper discipline in other areas so that you could make yourself as fit as possible in time for that big moment.  It’s ok to have a little doubt when making this decision. Having a fear of the unknown is not uncommon and can fuel your motivation.

Just remember one thing along the way, you don’t have to be perfect prior to your first boxing competition. If you wait for perfection, the opportunity will pass!  

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The Honest Approach To Personal Training!

Why does someone hire a personal fitness coach? There are a variety of reasons for using this service. Yes! Personal training is a large and often lengthy investment and the commitment to a fitness lifestyle requires DAILY attention. Yes! It’s not easy, but nothing rewarding has ever been.

To achieve maximum results the knowledge and experience of your coach/trainer that you hire does play a factor when obtaining goals in a timely manner. Above all things, however, if your personal trainer is NOT completely 100% open and honest with you throughout the process, failure is inevitable. There should be a standard of low margin for error when making the “healthy lifestyle” transition.

It is our duty, as fitness specialists, to keep you on task with progress and be your personal lifestyle support system BOTH inside and out of the gym. It’s also our job to let you know when you are sliding off track and making improper choices. Honesty is the best way to show our appreciation and concern for your health!

We understand that our clients, both potential and present, have options. They can hire us and they can fire us following unsatisfactory results. Our present and future clients are also keenly aware that we as long time owners and operators of a specialized fitness operation (over 25 years) have similar options! It’s an open contract and that makes MAC different!

Yours in Health! Joe and Jane

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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.


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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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.



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.


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.


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!


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.


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.