Boxing is a physically-demanding ring combat sport of fist strikes (punches) between two people wearing protective equipment viz. gloves, hand wraps (for wrist and knuckle support), mouth guard and groin guard. It can be fast, furious and frenetic. The contest takes place within the confines of a roped square called a ring and consists of timed rounds (the end of each signalled with the sound of the bell) and separated with a short rest interval. Boxing is also unpredictable. Fight times can vary. The bout can run its pre-determined allotment of rounds (called going the distance) or it can end prematurely when one boxer knockouts (KOs) the other. Officially, a referee controls the fight within the ring whilst judges outside the ring will adjudicate a winner on points if the match runs its course and doesn’t end early via KO.
NB. Ring dimensions for the outer perimeter is 7.8 x 7.8m (25.6 x 25.6 ft.) and between the ropes the “fight zone” is reduced to 6.2 x 6.1m (20.1 x 20.1 ft.).
Amateur and Pro
Boxing is rich in history. It’s Olympic roots go way back to the Ancient games in 688 BC and it made its debut in the modern Olympics in 1904 in St. Louis. Amateur fighters feature at this level and wear protective headgear. Rounds are three in total, 3-minutes long with 1 minutes rest in-between. Professional fights, however, are longer in terms of number of rounds, usually 10 or 12. Headgear is not worn at the pro level.
There are 3 components or “sides” to the “boxing triangle”:
A boxer should be competent in all three. If one or more sides of the triangle is missing due to technical inadequacy or disappears during a fight due to lack of fitness, the triangle will “collapse” and the boxer will invariably fall or collapse too.
The stance is a boxer’s home. It’s how a boxer stands (usually slightly staggered feet) and places their feet, head and hands. The stance should best position a fighter to defend and attack, doing both effectively and efficiently. Boxing starts with the stance.
The 8 main punches in boxing are:
(1) The Jab. A quick straight-arm punch thrown from the lead or front hand.
(2) The Cross. Once again, a straight-arm punch executed from the rear or back hand. The strike travels across the body.
Both the 1 and 2 typically target the head but can also strike the chest or abdomen.
(3) The Lead Hook. A semi-circular or bent-arm punch from the lead hand that targets the side of the head.
(4) The Rear Hook. A semi-circular or bent-arm punch from the rear hand that targets the side of the head.
(5) The Lead Uppercut. A vertical punch from the front hand that targets the underside of the chin.
(6) The Rear Uppercut. A vertical punch from the rear hand that targets the underside of the chin.
(7) The Lead Rip or Lead Low Hook. A semi-circular punch with a slight upwards trajectory that targets the liver or underside of the rib cage.
(8) The Rear Rip or Rear Low Hook. A semi-circular punch with a slight upwards trajectory that targets the spleen or underside of the rib cage.
Boxing at it’s core is the interplay between attack and defence. A good defence is vital to staying safe and remaining on your feet. If you can’t get hit, you can’t get knocked out.
Defensive moves include:
- Footwork to stay out of range or beyond your opponent’s punches
- Covering up or front blocking to protect the face from jabs, rear cross or uppercuts
- Rolling. Dropping your height and rolling sideways under lead or rear hooks
- Slipping. Moving the head and shoulders left or right to avoid a straight-arm punch
- Pullback. Feet still, lean back from the hips to take head beyond the range of an incoming punch
- Catch. Slightly raise your lead or rear glove to side block a lead or rear hook.
- Low block. Slightly lean to one side, lowering your elbow to your hip to low block a lead or rear rip
- Parry. Deflect a straight-arm punch using a flicking motion with gloved hand
- Duck. Drop level straight down underneath a straight-arm strike.
There’s five broad boxing styles: infighters, outfighters, boxer-punchers, counterpunchers and sluggers. The style adopted by fighter will depend on his/her strengths, physical traits and skills.
The Final Bell
This is just a snippet into the big sport of boxing. A sport that delivers so much and is enjoyed by millions whether they’re ring competitive, participating for fitness, self-defence and fun or simply observing. It really is global. Who knows, hopefully you’re keen or interested in getting your wraps on. You’ll be glad you did. Happy training!
Yours in Boxing,