When you think of some of history’s most famous athletes, there’s a good chance many of them come from the world of boxing.
Not only has it produced the world’s most recognizable talents, but it’s also been a central theme in many classic films and stories, with more and more people wanting to join the world of boxing for themselves.
Undertaking boxing training can be a huge feat though, and that’s just the practice.
Whether you’ve seen your favorite MMA fighter busting out some boxing moves or want to know more about the fitness aspect of it, there’s never been a better time to get involved in this popular combat sport, but only if you have the courage.
What is boxing about and what’s the aim of the sport?
Boxing is a two-person combat sport where opponents rely on speed, power, and strategy in order to defeat their opponent. There is a lot of stamina and strength needed in a boxing match, and if a fighter is not defeated first, it can go for three to 12 rounds.
This popular combat sport is about so much more than delivering a powerful punch, and if you’ve always wanted to learn more about it, here’s your chance.
With this in-depth guide to boxing, you’ll have all of your questions answered, and see what it is that has drawn so many to this feisty pastime.
Table of Contents
What is Boxing?
Boxing is a type of combat sport where two opponents attempt to land blows on each other until one of them is defeated and to dodge and defend against attacks on them.
The match takes place over multiple rounds with each round lasting a predetermined amount of time, and there can be different rules that govern what’s allowed and what’s not in a competition.
A boxing match is usually conducted in a ring, and the participants are wearing protective gloves that keep their fists in good shape due to the power of their hits.
There are different types of boxing, but when looking at professional competitions it’s likely be called boxing, amateur boxing, or professional boxing, with slight variations in each.
A good boxer will know how to move through various techniques, footwork, and guard positions, with an aim of tiring out their competitor. They’ll also need to know how to land a devastating blow themselves with punches and strikes that will weaken their opponent.
Boxing requires athletes to be strong and physically fit, but it’s far more than just having the most powerful punch.
You must be strategic, able to move fast, think quicker than your opponent, and have the skills to defend yourself as well as administer the blows that will take down the competition.
The History and Invention of Boxing
The exact history of boxing has never been confirmed, but there are many instances where the combat sport was recorded taking place in the past.
In 1500 BC, there’s evidence of bare-fisted fighters of the Middle East covered with just a strap over their hand, entering into competitions to defeat each other.
Boxing rules were first developed in Ancient Greece, and although there were no rounds, the fight was stopped when either of the men involved held up their finger or could not go on.
Participants came from all social classes and it was a sport enjoyed by all, although in the early stages it was standard for most to come from wealthy backgrounds, as was the case in the Roman Empire as well.
The spread of popularity slowed down a bit due to the influence of Christianity but picked up again the 17th century in the UK as a hugely successful spectator sport.
Boxing has been part of the Olympics since 1904, and there have been various offshoots of amateur and professional boxing throughout the world, most recently due to its involvement in MMA competitions.
How to Get Started in the Combat Sport
There are two avenues to take when you’re getting into boxing: the professional who does it competitively or the everyday boxer who is looking to get fit and stay sharp.
Regardless of where your goals are, you’ll have to start the same way as everyone else if you want to get into boxing.
The first step to boxing is to find a gym that’s close by, so you can test the waters and see if this combat sport is for you. It’s easy enough to watch a boxing match online and think that it’s something you’d like to try, but being involved in the sport is a different thing altogether.
When visiting a local training center, try to speak to some of the participants, coaches, and instructors to get a feel for what it’s all about.
Do a trial class to see if you want to do either competitive boxing or for fitness purposes only. Once you’ve established this is something you want to do, you’ll need to start a training program that’s specific for your goals.
Having a home gym can be a helpful way to build on skills in between your lessons and professional training sessions.
When you’re ready to compete, you’ll need an agent who can help secure you the bookings needed, and without a qualified professional, it can be a hard industry to get into.
The Gear and Equipment Needed for Boxing
Compared to other sports, boxing is a relatively cheap sport to get involved in. there will be an initial investment to get some basic gear, and if you want to upgrade as your skills progress, there’s always the option to go for more premium products.
These are a few things you’ll want in a home gym to keep your boxing training up to par:
A quality pair of boxing gloves are the most important tool you’ll need to train for this combat sport.
There are different sizes and weights depending on what you plan on using them for, and various adjustments to help them fit better as well as features depending on the type of boxing you do.
There are many bones within the hand, and you’ll need them all in good condition if you plan on boxing in the future.
A hand wrap goes underneath your boxing gloves and prevents sprains of the wrists, knuckles, and fingers, but can also prolong the life of your gloves, which are an expensive purchase.
If your striking is more focus in MMA, your Muay Thai gloves would be good enough for your boxing training sessions as well.
A punching bag is a boxing accessory used to develop speed, power, and precision in strikes.
These bags weigh around 70lbs but vary in size, with their main purpose to be heavy enough so they don’t move during practice. For a home gym, this is an essential tool in keeping up with your training.
Within this category are a few key items you’ll need to protect yourself from the blows of boxing.
A mouth guard to protect your teeth, headgear to prevent serious head injuries, groin protection in the form of a cup, and chest protectors for female competitors.
There are a few options for clothing and shoes specific to boxing, but it depends on the individuals’ preference during training and what’s required of you by your local club or competition.
boxing or MMA shorts, shoes, and undergarments are just some choices you can wear as you partake in boxing.
Understanding the Rules
As with any other sport, the rules of boxing must be followed strictly, but some variations are depending on where and how you’re competing.
At its most basic, boxing rules stipulate that two boxers will be able to strike each other using their fists, but only landing hits above the belt.
The goal of boxing is to deliver hits while guarding and defending yourself at the same time, and this will continue one for a predetermined number of rounds for a specific time.
A referee watches on to ensure fairness in the game, and when the rounds are over, points are tallied by the judges to determine the winner of the fight. However, if an opponent is knocked out before then, the other player will receive automatic victory.
The participants of a boxing match will be determined by their skill level and weight class. As with other combat sports, a fighter must weigh in and be within the limits of their class before the fight to compete, and these limits are strictly observed.
These are the currently recognized weight limits that most governing bodies accept today:
- Minimumweight: 105 Pounds
- Light Flyweight: 108 Pounds
- Flyweight: 112 Pounds
- Super Flyweight: 115 Pounds
- Bantamweight: 118 Pounds
- Super Bantamweight: 122 Pounds
- Featherweight: 126 Pounds
- Super Featherweight: 130 Pounds
- Lightweight: 135 Pounds
- Super Lightweight: 140 Pounds
- Welterweight: 147 Pounds
- Super Welterweight: 154 Pounds
- Middleweight: 160 Pounds
- Super Middleweight: 168 Pounds
- Light Heavyweight: 175 Pounds
- Cruiserweight: 200 Pounds
- Heavyweight: Unlimited
Popular Boxing Techniques
The first thing you’ll learn as you train for boxing are the basic skills that every competitor will have, and this will usually be done at a distance or ‘outfighting’ so that you don’t get hit too soon.
Being able to master these techniques means you’ll be prepared to train for more advanced moves, and thus give yourself a greater chance of success in the ring.
A boxer’s stance is the most important thing he has and will keep you strong enough to defend yourself but also to attack your opponent.
The aim is to throw a punch without losing your balance so that you’re never vulnerable to attack. A boxing stance is sideways towards the target and with feet shoulder-width apart, bent at the knee, and with feet at a 45-degree angle.
Footwork is the movement of your feet in the ring and it needs to be fast and precise to work. You’ll need the weight of your body evenly balanced on both feet and be able to keep them apart as you move around, preventing you from tripping.
There are four main types of punches in boxing, each with their own purpose and designed to hit the opponent in different areas.
- Jab: A jab is the most used punch and the one that you’ll learn first as a beginner. This is a smaller but sudden punch that can be useful at keeping your opponent away.
- Cross: Usually a straight right or straight left punch, this is used in a combo with other jabs, and is a more powerful attack.
- Hook: A hook is a punch delivered out of the line of sight of the opponent, hoping to catch them unaware. It can be either a right or left hook, and the boxer will turn his body into it to deliver full force.
- Uppercut: The best punch for a knockout and one that should be delivered up close for the best results. This punch will start from underneath and be quite forceful when done right.
The Biggest Boxing Organizations
The world of boxing has a few key organizations that hold regular tournaments and sanction professional boxing competitions. These are some of the names you might be familiar with when you start to develop an interest in the combat sport.
- World Boxing Association: Formerly known as the National Boxing Association, this group was organized in 1921 and had its first sanctioned fight in New Jersey in the same year.
- World Boxing Council: Started in 1963, this organization has sanctioned many of the world’s most famous boxing matches, and has had major controversies including one infamous story regarding fight promoter Don King.
- International Boxing Federation: Preceded by the United States Boxing Federation, this now global organization was created in the 1980s. Since then, it has been recognized by the International Boxing Hall of Fame as one of the biggest organizations for sanctioning boxing bouts.
Tips for Improving Your Boxing Form
Without the correct form, you won’t make it very far in a boxing match, even if it’s just for practice. Check out these tips to help you perfect your form and finesse your technique to make you a better fighter.
- Shadowbox in the mirror so you can see where you need improvement, and record yourself to watch back later and take notes.
- Watch how successful fighters move and see how their technique differs from what you’ve been doing.
- Think about the areas you need improvement in and focus solely on those until they’re up to the same standards of your strengths.
- Speak with a boxing coach before getting started to learn the basics of boxing, and then continue workouts at home to improve on what you’ve been taught. You can also incorporate a few boxing rounds in your MMA training sessions.
- Keep up a regular workout routine that focuses on strength and cardio, as both of these will be helpful in the realm of boxing.
Boxing and MMA: Is It Necessary?
Boxing has always been a popular combat sport, but thanks to the huge growth of MMA in recent years, it’s seen ever more of a resurgence.
Almost every fighter who steps into the cage will have boxing experience of some level, and if you plan on being an MMA competitor yourself, it’s something you have to master.
Although technically not classified as a martial art, boxing is a combat sport, and the techniques learned during training will serve you very well in the cage.
With a base knowledge of boxing, you’ll be an effective striker, know how to move quickly on your feet, and be able to guard and defend yourself from the fastest of hits.
All of these are powerful skills to have on your side and it’s why most MMA fighters today are proficient in boxing, as well as other forms of martial arts to complement it.
Boxing has enjoyed its status as the biggest combat sport in the history of mankind, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Whether you’re looking to box as a form of fitness and strength training or have hopes of competing at a professional level, there’s a lot to learn. We’ve answered some FAQs about boxing that can give you further insight into this popular sport.
What is a Haymaker Punch?
A popular type of punch used in boxing is referred to the haymaker punch, as it’s named after the action of cutting hay while using a scythe.
This punch is delivered by whipping the arm sideways from the shoulder and keeping the arm as straight as possible, coming at your opponent from the side.
Can A Boxer’s Punch Kill?
A punch that’s delivered at the right position and with the right force can be deadly enough to kill someone, even if the person doing the punching isn’t a professional boxer.
This is why it’s important to train with a professional who can teach you how to perform knockouts but not fatal hits that can end an opponent’s life