Are you dreaming of making it to boxing? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, strategy has to be top of your list of skills to build. Could you take a look at our top tips?
You may not know it until you start boxing, but there are different ‘types’ of boxing. Some boxers are more focused on fitness, so it’s more about cardio and full-body training. At the other end of the spectrum are competitive boxers.
They could train for amateur circuits or professional ranking. Amateur competitors wear vests and headgear. They earn points for punches landed, and there’s no extra credit for knockouts.
The number of rounds per match differs as well, and the length of each round. Other differences involve ring size, foul rules, adjudication, and the role of the referee. Also, amateur boxers get ranked, but they are rarely paid.
In amateur comps, it’s more about earning points and avoiding fouls because three fouls equal instant disqualification.
Boxing tactics in the ring is a complex ordeal. So much thought goes into preparing strategies for a fight that many professional boxers at the highest levels of the sport spend extra time meticulously plotting their strategies before they step into the ring.
Of course, the ability to constantly switch between strategies and tactics mid-fight is a great characteristic to have. So be flexible in how you develop your skills.
Boxing strategy and fight tactics to help you win inside the ring. As you become more conditioned and skilful in the art of boxing, strategy becomes the final step for defeating opponents.
Strategy is the blueprint for winning, while training and technique are the goals and preparation. Read on for boxing offence, boxing defense, boxing counter-punching tips and more!
Boxing Tactics You Should Add To Your Game
The boxer’s tactics aim to make sure they outpunch and therefore outscore their opponent. Once boxers have established a good stance, nimble footwork and a few basic punches, they should start thinking about developing tactics to outsmart their future opponents.
You might be asking why one would want to take up such a seemingly violent sport. Boxing, however, is not just about violence. It is quite an effective exercise medium with several benefits for those who participate in it.
Boxing is all about endurance, and your levels will be boosted to levels that you had not thought possible before you began. Other than that, your confidence will also grow as you become more competent and accustomed to boxing.
Training is important in any martial art, especially in boxing, where so much of your success depends on your ability to execute. It’s an intensely physical game in the ring, and the better-conditioned fighter usually ends up getting the victory.
This is why most successful boxers practically live in the boxing gym.
Being in excellent condition and mastering the techniques will set you up for success, but there’s more to boxing than just training hard. In this particular martial art, a fair amount of strategy is involved. Therefore, it’s worth working on your boxing strategies just as much as your conditioning.
Importance of Tactics in Boxing
As physical as the sport is, boxing is also very strategically dependent. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing it competitively or purely for your enjoyment or building up your physical prowess.
You cannot turn your mind off simply because you are in a boxing match. Three major moves should form the basis of your mental acuity as you are boxing:
Keep punching, remember to dodge as smoothly and quickly as you can, and maintain movement.
Forming a mantra from these three will keep your mind in the ring long enough to make something of your time in there. It would help if you had mental fortitude as it might often be the only thing keeping you upright while in the ring.
Your mind has to support you through and past the intense physical demands that your body will be enduring.
Having an effective strategy is not an avoidable act if you wish to get better at boxing. Even the most accomplished participants concur that the mind is sometimes just as or more important than the body.
Today, we share common boxing tactics you can add to your game:
Cutting off the ring / Ring generalship
Perhaps the most important tactic in the ring is using your ring generalship and superior footwork to maneuver your opponents into certain areas of the ring where you have the advantage, particularly the corner or along the ropes.
This will allow you to be able to make the most out of your combinations, where you’re not just chasing your opponent around the ring but connecting on your power shots.
You could be dealing with an elusive opponent, for which this tactic is ideal. Knowing how to cut off the ring is essential to victory. This tactic involves a great deal of anticipation and ring intelligence. You have to study how your opponent moves mid-fight.
By determining your opponent’s movement strategy, you can better foresee where he plans to move next. This will allow you to cut off the ring by positioning yourself in your opponent’s pathway, closing off any escape points.
Once you’ve successfully cornered your opponent or trapped him along the ropes, then you can unload your combinations. Rinse and repeat.
Counter attacking boxing tactics
There are four main punches used in boxing: the jab, the hook, the uppercut and the straight punch.
These can also be used to come back at the opponent in a counter-attack. No boxer can realistically expect to win a fight just by deflecting an opponent’s punches — they should be prepared to hit back too. This is called countering or counter-attacking.
Left Jab Counter
The punch that boxers will face most often is the jab, and from a right-handed boxer, this will be the left jab…
- One good tactic for turning defence into an attack is to deflect the opponent’s left jab with the right glove, sending it over your left shoulder. A counter left jab should then be delivered to your opponent’s chin.
- Another good ploy is to duck beneath an opponent’s left jab and return a left jab to his body.
Straight Right Counter
A good boxer should never get caught by a straight right as it is within sight or when it connects.
- A good form of defence for the beginner is to block the punch by shifting the weight to the back foot and turning the body sharply to the right to catch the punch high on the left shoulder. A counter with a straight right should be delivered while keeping the chin well out of the way.
- The boxer can sidestep to the left to avoid the punch. And then return a straight right to the opponent.
One of the most common boxing strategies is pressure fighting. Throughout history, many great pressure fighters have seen varying levels of success at the top of the sport. Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is more prominent, as are similar pugilists such as Arturo Gatti, Israel Vasquez, and the like.
The ability to throw punches in bunches is a trademark of pressure fighters. Five or six punch combinations are standard for these types of boxers. They offer a constant torrent of forwarding movement behind a volley of offence. Opponents are often left exhausted trying to defend against the onslaught, as it rarely ceases.
The main goal of pressure fighting is to overwhelm opponents with volume punching.
A huge requirement for being a pressure fighter is insane cardiovascular endurance, which you’ll have to work on in training. To sustain a constant amount of pressure will require a fighter to be in top condition, and being in better condition than your opponent is a given.
Defensive boxing tactics
Good defensive skills are just as important as good attacking skills. A boxer needs to deliver good punches without receiving many in return.
A boxer needs to be agile and has good reflexes to defend himself and stay out of trouble. One way could be to stay out of reach, but that will not score any points.
There are several ways to defend yourself from a punch, either by dodging or blocking them:
- Sidestep — stepping to the side of the blow.
- Snapback — rocking backwards to avoid the blow connecting.
- Sway to one side — swaying from the hips to avoid the punch.
- Block — stopping the punch with the forearm, shoulder, elbow or glove.
- Duck down — duck out of the way of a punch.
- Parry or deflect to one side — knock the punch aside.
- Cover up — use the arms and gloves to protect the head and body best.
The range is a very important concept in boxing, and there are two types — having the ability to use range to fight from a distance or having the ability to move into close quarters to fight in the pocket quickly. Being proficient in both styles is ideal.
Both styles heavily rely on the use of the jab in varying methods.
Jabbing from the outside will prevent opponents from getting close as you pick them apart from range. Using the jab as a range-finder and a deterrent helps this particular style become more effective.
On the other end of the spectrum, using the jab to work your way on the inside is just as important. Coupled with great footwork, you can jab your way into close quarters or move inside behind your combinations. In this instance, the jab is thrown with the intent to damage.
In every fight, you’re boxing from the inside or the outside, so having a keen understanding of both range variations is essential to your boxing strategy.
A boxer can pretend to hit a part of the body but then hit a different area. By deceiving the opponent, it is hoped to open up an opportunity to get in a good punch. Feinting requires using all manner of parts of the body parts from the eyes, hands, body, legs, and facial expressions — all intended to trick an opponent about your next move.
Having better movement than your opponent gives you a great advantage in every instance. Usually, boxers who exhibit superior movement can easily handle their opponents, as they gain the ability to move in and out of range to apply different methods of attack or use their footwork to escape danger.
Movement drills in boxing are very important, and every fighter should focus on constantly improving their footwork. With the ability to glide across the ring, seamlessly transitioning between offence and defence, you can put yourself in a great position to impose your will.
A great example of a boxer with terrific movement is two-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko’s footwork is extraordinary, and it is his primary weapon. His ability to move in and around his opponents’ space is crucial to his success.
Other boxers with the great movement include Guillermo Rigondeaux, Floyd Mayweather, and Bernard Hopkins. Study how these fighters move and how they use movement to manipulate their opponents, and you will understand just how significant of an advantage it is to have superior movement.
One common trait found in amateurs is that they move too linear. It’s always forward and backward, left or right. If you want to take your movement to the next level, practice using angles to get in and out of range.
Pro boxers have unlimited angles. It’s never straight up and never telegraphed. They can move off the x-axis while throwing their combinations, and these attacks can come from anywhere.
A jab can cut right down the pipe or thread the needle diagonally. A right hook can go upstairs or downstairs, around the guard, under it, or at a 45-degree angle. It can come in pairs or trios. The bottom line is pro boxers have endless angles of attack.
One thing to avoid is moving straight backward after a combination. You may think you are out of range and can’t get hit with a counter, but often you are, and you get clipped on the way out. To avoid this, always exit your combinations at an angle.
Never stay right in front of an opponent. Use your angles.
Other boxing techniques: Breaking Away
This is a good tactic to use when fighting up close. The boxer should aim to get in and deliver a quick succession of blows and then move out to arm’s length before suffering too much damage.
To break away from an infighting situation, the boxer can put their gloves on the opponent’s arms and push themselves backwards, thus preventing the opponent from delivering any punches.
It’s all in your head.
That said, strategic boxing technique is the same whether you’re getting fit or chasing trophies. The most critical strategy starts in mind. Many boxers will tell you mental toughness is more important than physical ability.
Get your mind right. It will help you push through exhaustion during those seemingly endless rounds in the ring or reps in the gym. It can also keep you standing when you’re facing a daunting opponent.
Don’t think about their physical stature, fight stats or success. It doesn’t matter if you’re sparring with a pal or punching with the world champion. Keep your head in the game, and remember that your triple attack is universal no matter the circumstances.
All you have to do is throw your punch, dodge their counter-punch, and keep moving. When your muscles are aching, you feel defeated and want to run out of the ring. Remember those three things. Punch. Dodge. Move. That’s all you have to do.
Don’t forget to breathe.
Exhale when you punch. It would help if you weren’t huffing and puffing or grunting and roaring. Just a quick ‘punchy’ exhale. It focuses your rhythm, relaxes your stance, and puts the power in the punch. It would help if you did this both in the ring and while sparring.
Take deep, relaxed breaths to build up your energy when you’re dodging and moving.
Try to remain calm. Panicking saps your energy and drains your breath, so stay focused. Punch. Dodge. Move. Breathe. Keep your confidence levels up by developing your rhythm.
As early as possible in the fight, identify your opponent’s dominant hand. This isn’t necessarily a right-handed or left-handed thing. It’s more of a ‘stronger punch’ thing, and most boxers have one.
Spot it, then keep an eye on it. If you’re tracking their strong hand at all times, you can dodge it. Then even if they hit you with their weaker hand, it won’t do as much damage. At the same time, direct your punches from your elbow, not your fist.
That way, you are hit with more power. Finally, even when protecting your head, always have a clear line of sight to your opponent’s head or chest.
A Final Word About Boxing Tactics
Boxing requires more than just brute strength; a lot of thought is required to outsmart an opponent. A boxer needs mental toughness to succeed and has to be prepared to both receive punches and give them. Very few boxers win a fight by losing their temper.
When it comes to tactics, the boxer needs to try and work out what tactics their opponent is employing and try to find a weakness. It may even be necessary to change tactics part way through a fight if things are not going according to plan.
What Is The Best Boxing Techniques?
The golden rules of boxing footwork
- Keep the weight balanced on both feet.
- Keep your feet apart as you move to maintain a good balance.
- Move around the ring using short sliding steps on the balls of your feet.
- Never let your feet cross.
- Always move the foot closest to the direction you want to move first.
What Are The 4 Styles Of Boxing?
Primary styles. Four generally accepted boxing styles are used to define fighters. These are the swarmer, out-boxer, slugger, and boxer-puncher. Many boxers do not always fit into these categories, and it’s not uncommon for a fighter to change their style over some time.
Why Do Boxers Lean On Each Other?
Boxers who rely on clinching when tired often end up losing even more energy, whereas slowing your opponent’s rhythm can result in fewer hits and more breaks before you’re worn out.
What Is The Most Important Aspect In Boxing?
The importance of having a good stance can’t be stressed enough. It provides balance and is a key to both defensive and attacking techniques. To fight effectively, boxers should throw punches in succession without losing their balance. Being off-balance can allow your opponent to strike.
How Important Is Technique In Boxing?
In boxing, technique turns good punchers into knockout artists. But fighters should realise that technology isn’t just more important than power in boxing. On the contrary, it is the catalyst of power. A fighter’s form is enhanced with the good sound technique, and his movements become tighter and more compact.
- Find a gym. Boxing gyms aren't typically found in the yellow pages, but there are resources on the internet that can lead you in the right direction. ...
- Be sure the gym is within striking distance. ...
- Be open-minded. ...
- Choose your coach carefully. ...
- Do judge the gym by its cover.
So, can boxing be self-taught? Boxing can be self-taught but it's not the quickest and most effective way to become better at the sport because you aren't able to tap into the knowledge of a boxing coach who would be able to help you one to one.
Best Age to Start
Specialists in sports medicine believe that boxing classes are better to start from 9-10 years. Starting too early could result in putting the student off, as boxing is hard work and not always as fun as team sports, such as football or rugby.