Preparing for your first boxing fight can be a real rollercoaster of an experience. Excitement, apprehension, anxiety… you do a lot of drills, spar some, and basically do everything you can to figure out how to win a boxing match.
After all, nobody likes being cannon fodder, especially if you hope to go far with your boxing career. Unfortunately, it’s very common for beginners to be exactly that. The lesson here: set up your own success.
The thing is that going into a match isn’t like anything else, where it’s easy to say “make your mistakes and learn from them”. When you make a mistake in your boxing career, that record will be there forever, and it can even affect your chances of getting future match-ups.
So we have to say it’s better to overprepare rather than to be underprepared for your fight. In how to win a boxing match, make sure that you don’t run into any surprises that you can’t bounce back from. In this article, we go over some tips to help you be at the top of your game on fight night.
1 Manage your nerves
You’ve trained for months. You sparred countless times, many of which have been for the same duration as the boxing fight. Yet, when it comes down to fight time, your gas tank is empty after the first round. What’s going on?
It’s something we call the adrenaline dump. It’s a sudden drop in adrenaline after being wound up for so long. Simply put, the excitement and nerves of the situation take a toll on your body and can affect how to win a boxing match. The pressure you feel on fight night is much greater than the pressure you feel during training. This pressure can drain your cardio.
You’ll have to take precautions to limit the effect as much as possible. We suggest the following:
- Visit the venue and accustom yourself to the environment.
- Spar harder opponents than the fighter you’ll face in your fight, and spar for longer than the length of your fight. If you do 2-minute rounds, you should get used to doing 3-minute rounds to make 2 minutes feel like a breeze!
A big reason people get so nervous in a fight is that there are people watching. (Stage fright, anyone?) There tends to be a lot of pressure around fighting in front of a crowd. To resolve this, get some people to watch you in the gym to get a feel for this sensation.
Nothing can prepare you 100% for a fight, but these tips should put you in a better position.
2 No distractions
You may worry that the audience will distract you – they won’t. When the bell rings, and your opponent is coming at you, you’ll have nothing else on your mind other than your opponent.
It just happens, and we call it the zone-in effect. This should give you some reassurance that focus won’t be a problem on fight night.
While it becomes a world with nothing but you and your opponent, try your best to listen out for advice from your coach when fighting. They will advise you based on their experiences and offer you a helpful perspective. They won’t be the ones performing in the ring, which means that they can provide advice as on-lookers. In fact, the boxer’s connection with some coach is so important that it may make or break the outcome of a fight.
3 Rest is essential
The week leading up to the boxing fight is generally the worst on your nerves. The night before tends to be when nerves peak, and you may spend hours wondering how to win a boxing match. Ensure that you get a good night’s rest. It won’t be easy, but every minute of sleep that you get will make a difference in the fight.
Although you fight with your hands, boxing is a sport of the mind. You give your body and mind fuel with rest and a good diet. This allows you to function better when the time comes to throw down in the ring.
Do your best to eliminate potential distractions and interferences during your fight camp, especially fight week. While this may not sound fun, it’s essential if you want to show up in the best shape possible.
Leave the partying, drinking, late nights and other similar behaviour until after the fight. Trust us, the after party will be so much sweeter with the W in your pocket.
4 Train like a champion
Knowing your opponent allows you to be ready for anything. You’ll likely match up against someone of the same experience level on your first fight. This is key information on how to win a boxing match.
Due to the lack of experience, little information will be available on your opponent. If you can find out the essentials, then that would be excellent intel for your preparation. These include height, hand dominance, and the kind of shape they’re in
To ensure you’re ready for whatever come your way, assume that your opponent is going to be better than you. This will motivate you to push yourself harder during training and will get every drop of effort out of you.
5 Lead the dance
You’re likely going to be up against someone with as much experience as you. It isn’t a stretch to say that you’re likely to have the same nerve-wracking emotions.
You can use this to your advantage to impose yourself on your opponent early on. Play some mind games with them, bluff a bit. You want to have them on the back foot and defensively boxing from the start. You’re likely to do more damage, score more points, and also take less damage this way!
Don’t be reckless, though. Nothing will ruin your night like charging in to attack your opponent and getting knocked out. Be sure to keep your defence solid.
It’ll take a bit of practice, but having a convincing poker face and a headstrong mindset will likely rattle your opponent. Fundamentally, it will put you in the psychological driving seat in the boxing fight.
It is worth noting that if you are more of a counter-fighter naturally, you like to wait for your opponent to make a mistake and then take advantage of it. Perhaps this may not be your go-to option. If you are unsure of what kind of fighter you are, we encourage you to use this strategy until you figure it out!
Training with higher-level partners is good, but try sparring with people of your level as well. This is to allow for your confidence to gradually build.
If you’re constantly under attack by higher levels and find yourself in a defensive stance, you may bring this role to the fight.
Being the nail in the gym sometimes isn’t a problem. In fact, it will help you grow significantly quicker. But, if you are always the hammer or always the nail, that’s not good. Too much of anything is never good for you.
6 Hands up
Keeping your hands up is an essential part of how to win a boxing match. Shorter rounds mean your opponent will set out to headhunt. What is headhunting? It is when you or your opponent are specifically aiming shots at the head the majority of the time.
No matter if it’s an amateur fight or a professional fight, we always suggest ‘cooking’ your opponent’s body all over.
However, if your opponent is coming at you headhunting, you do not want to be dropping your hands. Although it’s one of the most important parts of a fighter’s game plan, it’s often the first to get thrown out the window. In an attempt to save energy for firing shots, fighters will keep their hands low, opening themselves up for headshots. Don’t be that guy.
Whether you’re shadowboxing, hitting pads, the bag, or sparring, make sure you keep your hands up. Return your hands to a defensive position after throwing punches. If you can build in these habits at the gym, it’ll ensure that you will do them automatically or as close to in a fight.
It’s not uncommon for people to hold their breath without noticing when in a stressful situation. In fact, you’ve probably held your breath the first few times you hit the pads! This can result in devastating consequences for a fighter in a ring.
So much of the success a fighter can achieve relies on their ability to breathe properly. It affects how well you can take a punch, how well you can deliver a punch, the chances of you keeping a clear head even when under fire, and how well you can maintain your gas tank.
When caught up in a firefight, it can be very easy to forget to breathe properly. If you’re wondering how to win a boxing match, holding your breath will hurt your chances.
We breathe by default, thankfully! But by becoming more aware of our respiratory system while it is being used, we are able to use it to our advantage in a combat situation.
Become aware of your breathing when you are practising in the gym. Be aware of when you tend to hold your breath. Counteract this damaging habit by re-establishing the necessary breathing techniques that will allow you to perform at your best.
8 Stick and move
Your intention should be to put on an absolute clinic on your opponent. Doing so will likely open up opportunities for you to dispatch your opponent. It will also highlight key areas that you need to work on, not uncommon for first-time fighters to get caught admiring a shot or combination they’ve landed.
Don’t leave yourself open for a counter just because you’re left in amazement of your own skill. Be methodical, pick your shots, and admire your handy work only when they hit the deck.
Having a teammate film your fight can serve multiple purposes. Not only will it allow you to enjoy how masterfully you dispatched your opponent. It will also highlight key areas that you need to work on to develop your game. Don’t feel shy about being recorded. It’ll be a priceless memento and will allow you to evolve as a fighter at an expedited rate.
Everyone remembers their first fight, and it will be a special experience for you. Prepare yourself for battle as best you can by following the points mentioned above, and don’t forget to train your socks off! That’s how you can win a boxing match.
At the end of the day, win or lose, you’re a full-on warrior the moment you step into that ring. Good luck, train hard, and one last thing: breathe.