There’s a lot of boxing terminology going around. Shadowboxing. Cardio kicking. TKO … the list goes on and on.
But you shouldn’t be intimidated. Boxing lingo is easy to grasp. Whether you’re a beginner boxer or a new fan, you can learn boxing jargon to engage better with the sport.
In this post, we’ve gathered the most common words you’ll hear in a boxing gym, at the ringside, or during the training sessions. Have fun!
Boxing Terminology to Help You Understand the Sport
Here’s a rundown of the most common boxing vocabulary to keep you in the loop.
Boxing Combinations Terminology
Basic combinations in boxing include:
Throwing a jab is most likely the first move you’ll learn in boxing. The purpose of a jab is to ensure your opponent doesn’t come near you.
To throw a perfect jab:
Stand with your lead foot forward, maintaining a balanced stance.
Keep your fists at cheek height, elbows down.
Extend your lead arm straight out, rotating the fist.
Snap the punch quickly without overextending.
Return hand to guard position immediately.
Tip: Exhale sharply as you throw a jab to increase power and maintain rhythm.
The purpose of a cross is to counter a jab.
To perform a cross:
Start in a basic boxing stance with feet shoulder-width apart.
Pivot on your rear foot, turning your hip forward.
Simultaneously extend your rear hand straight out.
Rotate your fist so knuckles face down at full extension.
Snap the punch swiftly, keeping your lead hand guarding the face.
Quickly retract your hand, returning to the defensive position.
Mastering the hook allows you to take down opponents in a single shot. The hook is one of the most powerful punches, and you can throw it with either arm.
Most beginner combinations start with a jab, a cross, and a hook, which means you’re more likely to throw a hook from your less dominant hand.
To throw a hook:
Start in a basic boxing stance, feet shoulder-width apart.
Shift weight to your lead foot.
Rotate your lead hip and shoulder.
Bend your lead elbow to a 90-degree angle.
Swing your lead fist horizontally toward the target.
Keep your rear hand up, guarding your face.
Quickly return to your starting position.
A duck is a defensive move to avoid getting punched. You may not always want to duck a punch, but learning to avoid punches can help you avoid getting TKO’d if you turn professional. I’ll talk about TKO in a short while.
To duck a punch:
Start in a basic boxing stance, hands up.
Keep your eyes on your opponent.
Bend your knees swiftly, lowering your body.
Maintain a straight back as you duck down.
Move your head laterally, evading the incoming punch.
Rise back up quickly, ready to counter or defend again.
The movies Rocky and Million Dollar Baby popularized the “shoeshine” move. The technique involves a combination of quick punches close to your opponent.
Shoeshine is all above throwing quick punches while moving your feet fast.
To perform the shoeshine move:
Stand in a relaxed boxing stance, slightly crouched.
Start with both fists at chest level.
Rapidly alternate punches: lead hand, then rear hand.
Focus on quick, short-range uppercuts to the body or head.
Maintain a continuous flow, like polishing shoes.
Engage your core and rotate your hips slightly with each punch.
Return to guard quickly after the flurry.
A body shot aims at the opponent’s torso instead of the head.
Body shots target areas such as the ribs, liver, or solar plexus and can be highly effective in weakening an opponent or setting up combinations.
To perform a body shot:
Assume a proper boxing stance, hands guarding the face.
Step in closer to your opponent to shorten the punch range.
Rotate your hips and shoulders into the punch for power.
Drop your punching hand slightly to target the torso.
Drive the punch straight into the opponent’s midsection.
Quickly retract your hand, returning to your guard position.
Boxing Movements Terminology
Besides learning combinations, you need to master footwork to become an accomplished boxer.
Smart footwork allows you to maintain balance, control space, edge closer to your opponent, or force them into a vulnerable position.
Why do you need to perfect your footwork? …because hitting a moving target is harder, and you’d like to hear your coach or trainer yell the following boxing terminology.
Bob and Weave
To perform bob and weave:
Start in a solid boxing stance, hands up.
Bend your knees slightly, lowering your center of gravity.
As a punch comes, move your head laterally to one side.
Duck down, making a U-shaped movement under the punch.
Rise on the opposite side, effectively evading the blow.
Reset quickly to your original position, ready for the next move.
To perform boxer bounce:
Begin in a standard boxing stance, feet shoulder-width apart.
Stay on the balls of your feet for quick movements.
Lightly bounce from one foot to the other, maintaining rhythm.
Keep your hands up, guarding the face.
Use small, controlled hops, alternating weight between feet.
Maintain a relaxed posture, ready to move in any direction.
To perform a shoulder roll:
Start in a defensive boxing stance, lead shoulder slightly raised.
Tilt your body slightly, moving your front shoulder towards your chin.
As a punch comes, rotate your torso, deflecting it with your raised shoulder.
Use the rotation to evade the punch, letting it glide past your back.
Counter immediately, taking advantage of the opponent’s exposed position.
Quickly reset to the initial stance, ready for the next defensive move.
Boxing Training Terminology
We’ve talked about boxing terminology in the ring and the gym. Let’s switch gears a bit and mention common terms during training.
Shadowboxing: This is a solo training exercise in which a boxer moves around, throwing punches in the air, simulating the movements and techniques they would use in an actual boxing match orsparring session.
It’s a fundamental practice in boxing and martial arts, used to improve technique, footwork, and conditioning and mentally prepare fighters for competition.
Bag Work: This refers to the practice of boxing training with various types of punching bags. It helps improve power, technique, speed, and endurance.
In addition, bag work allows boxers to simulate striking an opponent, refine combinations, and develop offensive and defensive skills in a controlled environment.
Mitt Work: Often referred to as pad work, mitt work involves a trainer or training partner using padded mitts or focus pads to catch the punches the boxer throws.
Mitt work allows you to work on combinations, speed, power, timing, and accuracy while the trainer provides feedback, movement, and counter-punching simulations.
It’s a dynamic and interactive training method that replicates the feel and timing of a real bout, enhancing both offensive and defensive skills.
Sparring: This is a training exercise in boxing where two participants engage in a controlled fight, simulating actual combat.
The primary goal of sparring is to practice and refine techniques, strategies, and timing in a live setting without the full intensity or intention to harm as in an actual fight.
Boxers wear protective gear, such as headgear, mouthguards, and padded gloves, to control their power to prevent serious injuries.
Sparring helps fighters gain experience, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and prepare for competition.
Roadwork: This refers to the practice of long-distance running or jogging, often done outdoors. It’s a staple in the training regimen of boxers and many other athletes.
For boxers, roadwork helps build cardiovascular endurance, leg strength, and mental toughness.
Typically done in the early morning, it ensures fighters have the stamina to maintain energy levels throughout a fight.
Beyond physical benefits, roadwork provides a meditative space for fighters to prepare and focus on upcoming challenges mentally.
Heavy Bag Training Boxing Terminology
You’ll like to hear the following boxing terminology in a punching bag room.
Powercoast: This refers to a boxing training technique where a boxer maintains a slow and steady rhythm in their combinations but delivers each punch with maximum force.
The idea is to emphasize power generation while maintaining control, allowing the boxer to focus on the technique and force behind each punch without rushing the sequence.
It blends the idea of “power” in punches with “coasting” or moving at a steady, controlled pace.
Coasting: This refers to the practice of continuously repeating a boxing combination, such as a jab-cross, at a slower and steadier pace.
It serves as a form of active recovery, allowing a boxer to maintain movement and technique while taking a brief respite from high-intensity drills.
The strategy ensures that the boxer stays engaged and warm, facilitating smoother transitions between intensive training bouts and periods of relative rest.
Burnout: This refers to an intense, rapid-fire punching drill designed to exhaust the muscles and push a boxer’s endurance.
During a burnout session, a boxer might throw continuous punches at a heavy bag, focus mitts, or in the air for a set period, often at the end of a workout, to fully fatigue the arms and shoulders.
The goal is to challenge one’s stamina, build muscular endurance, and mentally push through when tired, mimicking the late rounds of a boxing match where fatigue sets in, but the fighter must continue.
Outside of this specific context, “burnout” can also refer to the general state of physical or mental exhaustion, especially due to prolonged stress or overwork.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is a 7 in Boxing?
The numbering system for punches can vary slightly based on the gym or trainer’s preference. However, traditionally, the number “7” is often associated with the jab to the body.
So, when a coach or trainer calls out “7,” they are typically instructing the boxer to throw a jab directed at the opponent’s body.
What Is a Boxing Line Up Called?
“Card” or “fight card” refers to the lineup of matches scheduled for a particular event or evening.
The fight card will list all the bouts set to take place, starting with the preliminary matches and leading up to the main event.
The main event is the most anticipated match of the evening, often featuring the most prominent fighters.
What Is a Boxing Knockout Called?
A knockout in boxing is called a technical knockout.
A “technical knockout,” abbreviated as “TKO,” refers to a situation in a boxing match where the referee determines that one fighter cannot safely continue, ending the fight.
This decision can be made for various reasons, including a fighter’s inability to defend themselves adequately, severe injury, or being overly dominated.
Additionally, in some jurisdictions and under specific sanctioning bodies, the fight can also be stopped by the official attending physician based on medical concerns.
Unlike a standard knockout, where a fighter is counted out due to being down and unable to continue, a TKO involves the referee’s or attending physician’s discretion regarding the fighter’s safety.
Learning Boxing Technology Brings Your Closet to the Sport
Understanding boxing terminology is key to truly appreciating the sport.
Whether you’re training, watching, or just chatting about a match, knowing these terms will enhance your experience.
With this knowledge, you’ll feel more connected and confident in the gym or watching a big fight. Dive in, learn the boxing lingo, and enjoy boxing on a whole new level.
Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquaio, Floyd Mayweather, and Tyson Fury are just some of the names that come to the minds of boxing fans when the debate of the greatest boxers pops up.
But who is the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time? The boxing world has seen outstanding talent over the years, but some fighters set records hard to ignore.
For starters, the term pound to pound was coined by boxing writers during the days of Sugar Ray Robinson to rank the best fighters in the game in all weight divisions.
While ranking the best pound-to-pound boxers of all time can be subjective, I crafted a list based on the following criteria.
The boxer’s skills and accomplishments, including belt titles
The number of wins and losses
Frequency of fights
Quality of opponents
Title reign length
Multiple weight division championships
Top Pound-for-Pound Boxers of All Time
Even though the list below isn’t conclusive, these boxers stand out whether you’re talking about title reign, skill level, popularity, knockout power, and the opponents they defeated.
These fighters deserve mention among the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time.
1. Sugar Ray Robinson
Official Record: 173-19-6, 108 KO
Years Active: 1940-1965
Championships: World Welterweight, World Middleweight (5 times)
The narrative of boxing’s golden age wouldn’t be complete without the name Sugar Ray Robinson lighting up its pages.
Famous for his boxing prowess, Robinson’s contribution to the sport goes beyond mere statistics.
Robison’s dominance was evident the first time he stepped into the ring. With a near-perfect amateur record, boasting 85 victories, his invincibility stretched well into his professional career. He didn’t taste defeat until his 41st bout against the indomitable Jake LaMotta,
Robinson won the welterweight crown in 1946, setting the pace for a glamorous career. He moved to the middleweight division and defeated LaMotta for the title, making up for his earlier setback.
Sugar Ray took a brief hiatus from boxing after losing this title to Joey Maxim in 1952. On his return, however, he reclaimed the middleweight title not once but five times, further cementing his legendary status.
From Jake LaMotta to Carmen Basilio, Gene Fullmer, Randy Turpin, Carl “Bobo” Olson, Henry Armstrong, Rocky Graziano, and Kid Gavilan — Robinson faced them all, winning with an electrifying blend of agility, precision, and power.
His legacy? Timeless. There can only ever be one Sugar Ray Robinson, arguably the best pound-to-pound boxer to grace a boxing ring.
Muhammad Ali, often called “The Greatest,” stands tall in the annals of heavyweight boxing. With a flair and charisma that polarized audiences, Ali’s imprint on boxing and global culture is undeniable.
Ali began his boxing journey as Cassius Clay, clinching his inaugural heavyweight title at the tender age of 22 after defeating Sonny Liston.
A significant highlight of Ali’s career was histrilogy against Joe Frazier. Even though he lost to Joe in the first fight, Ali emerged victorious in their subsequent two encounters.
What’s more, his strategic “rope-a-dope” maneuver caught fans by surprise during his bout with George Foreman in Congo in 1974. The masterful tactic forced Foreman to exhaust himself against his defenses, leading to Ali’s triumphant eighth-round comeback.
Ali’s glamorous record includes wins against highly-rated boxers like Bob Foster, Ken Norton, Jimmy Ellis, and Floyd Patterson. He is the boxer ever to have won the Lineal Heavyweight Championship thrice.
3. Henry Armstrong
Official Record: 150-21-10, 101 KO
Years Active: 1931-1945
Championships: World Featherweight, World Lightweight, World Welterweight
There’s a debate over who’s the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time between Henry Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Notably, Armstrong belongs to the elite list of fighters who held world titles across three weight classes. The achievement stands out because Amstrong fought when boxing had only eight weight divisions.
Armstrong’s victories spanned across a range of celebrated opponents of his time. In 1937, he clinched the World Featherweight title from Petey Sarron and moved to a higher weight class shortly after.
By 1938, he had defeated Barney Ross to capture the World Welterweight Championship and defended the belt a remarkable 18 times.
Although his reign was controversially halted by Fritzie Zivic in 1940, Armstrong’s legacy is unquestionable.
He secured the World Lightweight Championship as a welterweight, cementing his status as a simultaneous champion in the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight divisions.
4. Joe Louis
Official Record: 66-3, 52 KO
Years Active: 1934-1951
Championships: World Heavyweight
Joe Louis, fondly known as “The Brown Bomber,” holds an iconic status in the heavyweight division. For a record-setting 140 months, he wore the champion’s crown, defending it an unprecedented 25 times.
Known for his punching power, Louis often tops several charts in all-time rankings. His groundbreaking achievements became all the more significant as he rose to prominence in a racially charged America.
Louis’s most memorable fight came in 1936 with Max Schmeling, touted as the Fight of the Year. Even though he lost in this bout, he retaliated with triumphant victories over boxing elites such as James J. Braddock, Billy Conn, and Jersey Joe Walcott.
Even more remarkable, Louis revived his rivalry with Schmeling, delivering a resounding first-round knockout, sealing his revenge.
5. Oscar De La Hoya
Official Record: 39-6, 30 KO
Years Active: 1992-2008
Championships: Won 10 world championships in 6 weight divisions (WBO Super Featherweight, WBO/IBF Lightweight, WBC Junior Welterweight, WBC Welterweight (2 times), WBA/WBC (2 times) Junior Middleweight, WBO Middleweight)
It’s hard to talk about the best pound-for-pound boxers of all time without mentioning Oscar de La Hoya.
“The Golden Boy” ranks high for his star power and boxing achievements. He generated the highest earnings in boxing history and became a major figure in boxing and mainstream sports.
Inside the ring, he secured wins over 17 world champions and won 10 world titles.
He competed against many prominent fighters of his time, and many believe he should have victories credited for his bouts with Shane Mosley (rematch) and Felix Trinidad.
6. Roberto Duran
Official Record: 103-16, 70 KO
Years Active: 1968-2001
Championships: 5 titles across four weight divisions (WBA/WBC Lightweight, WBC Welterweight, WBA Junior Middleweight, WBC Middleweight)
“Manos de Piedra,” as he was popularly known, Duran was synonymous with aggression and a flair for verbal taunts.
During his prime, Duran squared off against and emerged victorious over some of the most formidable talents of his time.
His achievement in the lightweight division remains unparalleled, with many crowning him as its all-time best. Additionally, his mastery extended across four distinct weight classes.
Boasting a career spanning five decades, Duran enjoys over a hundred professional victories. Among his many wins, one stands out: he was the first boxer to beat the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard.
7. Benny Leonard
Official Record: 90-6-1, 70 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 93-18-7
Years Active: 1911-1932
Championships: World Lightweight
Benny Leonard, with his rapid agility and keen strategy, is hailed as one of the finest lightweight contenders in boxing history. His intellectual style inside the ring places him among the sport’s toughest cerebral assassins.
Leonard possessed a powerful knockout punch in addition to his finesse and quickness, evident from the 70 KOs in his 90 official victories.
Leonard clinched the World Lightweight Championship during his career. However, his ambition to ascend to the welterweight rank came to a grinding halt following a disqualification for a punch on champion Jack Britton.
Sugar Ray Leonard shone during his time, conquering every opponent he faced. His fierce competition included multiple Hall of Famers renowned as some of boxing’s all-time greats.
From welterweight to light heavyweight, Leonard competed in five weight classes. His impressive track record boasts victories over legends such as Wilfred Benitez, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran, making him nothing short of a pound-to-pound boxing great.
9. Jack Johnson
Official Record: 53-11-9, 34 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 14-0-3
Years Active: 1897-1931
Championships: World Colored
World Heavyweight Jack Johnson’s legacy is cemented in the annals of boxing history, considering the racial barriers he faced as an African-American boxer.
While he defeated elite heavyweights and clinched the World Colored Heavyweight Championship, the opportunity to face titans like James J. Jeffries remained unjustly denied due to racial profiling.
In 1908, Johnson made history, becoming the first black heavyweight barrier champion.
His monumental win was met with protest by the white boxing fraternity, leading to the birth of the term “great white hope” in hopes of finding a white contender capable of dethroning Johnson.
But undeterred by the noise, Johnson fought and demolished challengers, including Stanley Ketchel and Jeffries, further solidifying his position as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” was an indomitable force within the heavyweight boxing division. His fierce punches and overpowering charisma spelled doom for many, often defeating opponents mentally even before the fight started.
At just over 20 years and 4 months, Tyson made history in boxing, becoming the youngest boxer to clinch the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship.
His historic triumph marked him as the first fighter to hold and unify the WBC, IBF, and WBA heavyweight titles concurrently.
11. Sam Langford
Official Record: 179-30-40, 120 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 32-14-15
Years Active: 1902-1926
Championships: World Colored Middleweight, World Colored Heavyweight (5 times)
Sam Langford’s boxing ability, characterized by his fearsome knockout power, often remains overshadowed due to the racism that marred his era and denied him multiple opportunities.
Even the acclaimed Jack Johnson, a ferocious black heavyweight champion, sidestepped a fight with Langford after his championship win. Despite such setbacks, Langford went on to win the World Colored Heavyweight Championship five times.
In his illustrious career, Langford defeated Stanley Ketchel in the middleweight category and came remarkably close to defeating Jack Johnson. The duel was a nail-biter, with Johnson barely scraping a win, a decision that many boxing fans believe was unfair.
12. Ezzard Charles
Record: 93-25-1, 52 KO
Years Active: 1940-1959
Championships: NBA (subsequently WBA) Heavyweight Champion, World Heavyweight Champion
Ezzard Charles, known as “The Cincinnati Cobra,” is regarded by many as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the light heavyweight and heavyweight categories. In fact, most boxing fans claim he is the best light heavyweight boxer in history.
Throughout his career, Charles boasted defeated Hall of Famers like Archie Moore, Jimmy Bivins, Jersey Joe Walcott, and Joey Maxim. Ezzard’s most significant achievement, however, was a win against the legendary Joe Louis.
13. Rocky Marciano
Record: 49-0, 43 KO
Years Active: 1948-1955
Championships: World Heavyweight
Rocky Marciano hung up his gloves undefeated—a distinction no other heavyweight champion can claim.
In a momentous fight christened “The Ring’s 1952 Fight of the Year,” Marciano wrested the title from Jersey Joe Walcott. He defended his championship belt six times, claiming victories against Walcott, Ezzard Charles (in two separate encounters), and the formidable Archie Moore.
14. Joe Frazier
Record: 32-4-1, 27 KO
Years Active: 1965-1981
Championships: WBC/WBA Heavyweight
“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier is best known for beating Muhammad Ali in the iconic 1971 “Fight of the Century.” He also defeated other heavyweight luminaries, including Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, and Jimmy Ellis.
Frazier’s championship reign ended in the hands of a rising dynamo, George Foreman, in a bout crowned The Ring’s 1973 Fight of the Year.
While Frazier couldn’t reclaim his championship status, he engraved his name in boxing history through two memorable clashes with Ali, the most famous being the epic “Thrilla in Manila.”
15. George Foreman
Record: 76-5, 68 KO
Years Active: 1969-1997
Championships: World Heavyweight, IBF/WBA Heavyweight
“Big” George Foreman is one of the best heavyweights ever. An Olympic gold medalist, he stunned the world by claiming his inaugural world title from Joe Frazier in 1973.
Foreman’s reputation as a brutal puncher was consistent throughout his early years and later fights.
He entered the “Rumble in the Jungle” against Muhammad Ali as a favorite, only to face an unexpected defeat in the Congo showdown.
Foreman took a break from boxing, making a sensational return a decade later. In 1994, aged 45, he became the oldest boxer ever to hold a heavyweight championship.
16. Larry Holmes
Record: 69-6, 44 KO
Years Active: 1973-2002
Championships: WBC/IBF Heavyweight Champion
With a staggering 48-win streak, Larry Holmes held the esteemed WBC Heavyweight Championship for half a decade and the IBF title for an additional two years.
Throughout his championship tenure, he successfully defended his title 20 times—a feat surpassed only by the legendary Joe Louis in the heavyweight category.
To this day, Holmes’ left jab is one of the most ferocious and powerful strikes the sport has ever witnessed.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a boxing gem who may never step inside a boxing ring. His defensive mastery, together with his boxing intellect, sets him apart.
He’s won world titles in three distinct weight classes, defeating many accomplished opponents. However, such achievements haven’t shielded him from criticism. Some argue that Mayweather hasn’t truly faced a prime, elite peer.
Mayweather almost faced defeat in 2001 against Diego Corrales. Regardless of what some fans say, Mayweather’s claim as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers ever is unassailable.
18. Manny Pacquiao
Record: 54-5-2, 38 KO
Years Active: 1995-Present
Championships: 10 world championships across eight weight classes (Flyweight, Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight, Lightweight, Junior Welterweight, Welterweight, Junior Middleweight)
Manny Pacquiao has won world titles in eight weight classes. It’s astounding how a boxer who began his boxing career at 108 pounds ascended to challenge and conquer elites in the heavier divisions.
Despite his recent upset by arch-nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao’s legacy remains intact. The shocking knockout might hint at the sunset days of a magnificent career.
Pacquiao, ever the warrior, not only faced Marquez but did so four times, demonstrating resilience when many elite fighters avoided facing Marquez.
19. Julio Cesar Chavez
Record: 108-6-2, 87 KO
Years Active: 1980-2005
Championships: 6 world titles across 3 weight classes
Julio Cesar Chavez is arguably one of the best Mexican boxers.
Chavez remained undefeated across 87 initial fights, demonstrating a relentless, aggressive style rarely replicated in boxing history.
A persistent and stalking fighter with a powerful chin, Chavez’s career holds unforgettable moments. The most iconic was his dramatic comeback against Meldrick Taylor, turning the tide in the bout’s dying seconds to claim victory.
Chavez also recorded wins against stalwarts such as Greg Haugen, the revered Hector “Macho” Camacho, and Edwin Rosario.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is one of the preeminent middleweights of his era. His undisputed championship reign lasted an impressive seven years, from 1980 to 1987, until the contentious and razor-thin split decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard.
Hagler, celebrated for his solid chin, held his ground against the best fighter of his days. Despite the loss to Leonard, his achievements include a decisive victory over Roberto Duran and a monumental knockout win against Tommy Hearns, a fight that was named The Ring’s 1985 Fight of the Year.
22. Carlos Monzon
Record: 87-3-9, 1 NC, 59 KO
Years Active: 1963-1977
Championships: WBA/WBC Middleweight Champion
Carlos Monzon was a boxing legend with a chaotic personal life.
The boxing world celebrated Monzon for his reign as the unified WBC/WBA middleweight champion and a then-record 14 title defenses. However, his notorious off-ring demeanor, climaxing in a 1989 murder conviction, casts a long shadow.
Inside the ropes, Monzon was a formidable force. His legacy includes decisive victories against eminent fighters like Emile Griffith and Jose Napoles.
23. Archie Moore
Record: 185-23-10, 131 KO
Years Active: 1935-1963
Championships: World Light Heavyweight
With a career spanning decades, “The Old Mongoose” is one of boxing’s most enduring figures, often hailed as the finest light heavyweight ever.
Throughout his long career, he defeated top fighters like Joey Maxim—who had a win over Sugar Ray Robinson—Jimmy Bivins, and Lloyd Marshall.
Although his mastery was undisputed in the light heavyweight division, he didn’t do as well in the heavyweight class. He was defeated by legends such as Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano but remains one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time.
24. Jimmy Wilde
Official Record: 132-4-1, 98 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 7-1
Years Active: 1919-1935
Championships: Multiple European Titles, World Flyweight Champion
Jimmy Wilde is often revered as one of Europe’s best boxing talents, some even labeling him the absolute best. He made a name for himself in Europe, winning several prestigious titles during his career.
Wilde further distinguished himself by becoming the first officially recognized world champion in the flyweight category.
25. Joe Gans
Official Record: 145-10-16
Newspaper Decisions: 14-2-4
Years Active: 1893-1909
Championships: World Lightweight
Fighting in the lightweight division, Joe Gans became the first African-American world champion in boxing.
During his tenure from 1902 to 1908, Gans held the lightweight title for an impressive six years and laid the groundwork for future African-American boxers to follow in his footsteps.
26. Eder Jofre
Record: 72-2-4, 50 KO
Years Active: 1957-1976
Championships: World Bantamweight Championship, WBC/WBA Bantamweight Championship
Even though Eder Jofre is an unsung hero outside his homeland of Brazil, his boxing achievements are clear for everyone to see. With an undefeated record in his first 50 bouts—a streak later surpassed by Julio Cesar Chavez—he tasted defeat only in Japan, courtesy of “Fighting” Harada.
Harada stands as the only boxer ever to beat Jofre. Following that loss, Jofre rebounded stronger, winning both the World Bantamweight title and the newly instituted WBA and WBC Bantamweight championships.
27. Jack Dempsey
Official Record: 61-6-9, 34 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 4-0-2
Years Active: 1914-1927
Championships: World Heavyweight, NBA (later WBA), Heavyweight
Jack Dempsey was the embodiment of heavyweight boxing from the late 1910s to the early 1920s. Possessing lethal strength in both fists, he was a force to reckon with and undoubtedly one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers in his division.
Dempsey won the world title in 1919 from Jess Willard, “The Manassa Mauler,” and maintained his reign until a 1926 defeat by Gene Tunney.
He then secured a triumphant knockout against Jack Sharkey, earning a rematch with Tunney, but fell short in a decision loss. To date, Dempsey consistently ranks among the all-time heavyweight elites.
Emile Griffith stands out for his multiple championship stints in the welterweight and middleweight categories.
Some fans even peg him as a contender across three divisions, although the junior middleweight title wasn’t officially acknowledged then.
His rivalry with welterweight titlist Benny Paret is particularly memorable, with Griffith emerging victorious in two out of their three encounters. Their third clash remains controversial, as Paret tragically succumbed to injuries inflicted during the match.
Griffith’s career further featured compelling trilogies against Luis Rodriguez and Nino Benvenuti.
Despite his best efforts, he fell short against renowned boxers Carlos Monzon and Jose Napoles, both of whom are revered in boxing history.
29. Ruben Olivares
Record: 89-13-3, 79 KO
Years Active: 1965-1988
Championships: WBA/WBC Bantamweight (2 times each), WBA Featherweight, WBC Featherweight
Ruben Olivares reigned supreme as Mexico’s boxing jewel for a significant duration. To many, he is one of the best bantamweights of all time.
With victories against Bobby Chacon and Jose Luis Ramirez under his belt, Olivares is a boxing great and a national icon in Mexico.
While he recorded many victories, one of his most discussed fights is the clash against Alexis Arguello, which led to an Olivares loss.
30. Thomas Hearns
Years Active: 1977-2000
Championships: 5 World titles across 5 weight divisions
In 1987, Thomas “Tommy” Hearns became the first boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions. Known more for punching prowess than fighting technique, Hearns went on to win titles in five weight categories.
He was a fusion of strength, speed, and unpredictability, making him a spectacle in the ring.
His notable victories include wins over legends like Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez and a memorable draw against Leonard. Hearns went toe-to-toe with 21 champions from various eras.
31. Alexis Arguello
Record: 77-8, 62 KO
Years Active: 1968-1995
Championships: Three in three weight divisions (WBA Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight)
Alexis Arguello is recognized as one of the top punchers ever and was named the best junior lightweight by the Associated Press.
He never lost a world championship in a match but gave them up to seek titles in other weight classes.
Arguello is also remembered for his challenges against Aaron Pryor for the Junior Welterweight Championship.
32. Barney Ross
Official Record: 72-4-3, 22 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 2-0
Years Active: 1929-1938
Championships: World Lightweight, World Junior Welterweight, World Welterweight (2 times)
Barney Ross was never knocked out in 81 pro fights, many against top fighters.
He defeated greats like Tony Canzoneri and Jimmy McLarnin. In 1938, Ross defended his World Welterweight title against Henry Armstrong.
Even though the bout was tough, Ross fought to the last round and didn’t allow the fight to be stopped. His fight with Amstrong is often cited as a highlight of bravery in boxing.
33. Mickey Walker
Official Record: 94-19-4
Newspaper Decisions: 37-7-1
Years Active: 1919-1935
Championships: World Welterweight, World Middleweight
Mickey Walker frequently fought over a dozen times a year, typical during his era.
He secured the World welterweight and World Middleweight titles in his career.
Walker defeated well-known fighters like Jack Britton, from whom he took the welterweight title and Tiger Flowers. However, he lost at middleweight to Harry Greb and at heavyweight to Max Schmeling.
Despite the losses, Walker features prominently in the discussion about who is the best pound-for-pound boxer of all time.
34. Tony Canzoneri
Official Record: 137-24-10, 44 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 4-0
Years Active: 1925-1939
Championships: NBA (later WBA) Featherweight, World Lightweight (2 times), World Junior Welterweight (2 times)
Canzoneri is one of the best fighters in an era full of greats, such as Jimmy McLarnin, Barney Ross, and Henry Armstrong.
He simultaneously held world titles in three weight divisions, similar to Armstrong and Ross. Some highlights of his career include wins over McLarnin and Kid Chocolate, even though he lost twice to Barney Ross.
35. Salvador Sanchez
Record: 44-1-1, 32 KO
Years Active: 1975-1982
Championships: WBC Featherweight
Many boxing observers believe Salvador Sanchez could have become the greatest featherweight fighter if not for his tragic death in a 1982 car accident.
During his career, Sanchez defeated top opponents such as Danny “Little Red” Lopez (twice), Ruben Castillo, Juan Laporte, Wilfredo Gomez, and Azumah Nelson. His full potential remains a topic of speculation, though.
36. Ike Williams
Years Active: 1940-1955
Championships: NBA Lightweight
Ike Williams, Ring Magazine’s 1948 Fighter of the Year, held the NBA Lightweight title from 1945 to 1951.
While he lost some of his fights, he defeated top fighters like Kid Gavilan (54th), Beau Jack (60th) twice, Sammy Angott, and Bob Montgomery.
Promotion issues marred his career, and promoters slapped him with an embargo for attempting self-promotion despite being cheated out of his earnings.
Still, Williams earned a spot on Ring Magazine’s 100 Greatest Punchers list and remains respected by fans and historians.
37. Roy Jones Jr.
Record: 55-8, 40 KO
Years Active: 1989-Present
Championships: Eight world titles in four weight divisions (IBF Middleweight, IBF Super Middleweight, WBC/WBA Light Heavyweight (2 times each), IBF Light Heavyweight, WBA Heavyweight)
Roy Jones Jr. had numerous world titles, requiring multiple people to carry his belts.
He ranks among the top light heavyweights, facing few true rivals in his prime. Some criticize Jones for reigning during a time with limited strong competitors.
However, he defeated notable opponents like Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Mike McCallum, and Virgil Hill.
Remarkably, Jones, who began at 154 pounds, is the only boxer to start below middleweight and later secure a heavyweight title.
38. Harry Greb
Official Record: 104-8-3, 48 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 157-11-15
Years Active: 1913-1926 Championships: World Middleweight
Harry Greb had over 300 fights, frequently against top fighters of his time, and many were challenging.
He regularly competed against fighters in the light heavyweight and heavyweight classes. Greb’s aggressive and overwhelming style was hard for many opponents, as shown by his 100 knockouts in 104 wins.
Greb went as far as using unconventional tactics to win. Notably, Greb is the only boxer to beat heavyweight Gene Tunney and has a victory over Mickey Walker.
39. Gene Tunney
Official Record: 65-1-1, 48 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 15-0-3
Years Active: 1915-1928
Championships: World Heavyweight
Gene Tunney took a tactical approach to boxing, differing from the typical aggressive heavyweight fighters of his time.
He relied on his left jab to strategically dismantle opponents. Tunney secured the world heavyweight title and famously defeated Jack Dempsey twice.
His only professional loss was to middleweight Harry Greb. However, no one beat him in the heavyweight category.
40. Willie Pep
Official Record: 229-11-1, 65 KO
Years Active: 1940-1966
Championships: World Featherweight
Willie Pep became famous for his speed and endurance in the boxing ring. Plus, the sheer number of his matches is astounding and rightly puts him as a contender for one of the top pound-to-pound boxers ever.
Pep started his career on a winning streak, claiming victory in his first 62 professional matches. As a result, he positioned himself as the undisputed featherweight maestro not just of his generation but arguably of all time.
His nearly unblemished record faced a dent in 1948 at the hands of Sandy Saddler. Undeterred, Pep retaliated in a subsequent face-off, recapturing his lost title.
While Pep’s encounters with Saddler left him with a 1-3 record, his supremacy remained untouched against nearly every opponent in his weight class during that period.
Such dominance has etched his name prominently among the greatest fighters ever to grace the ring.
41. Bernard Hopkins
Official Record: 52-6-2, 2 NC, 32 KO
Years Active: 1988-2016
Championships: Five world titles in two weight divisions (IBF/WBC/WBA/WBO Middleweight, WBC Light Heavyweight)
Bernard Hopkins possesses remarkable physical ability combined with keen boxing intelligence.
He is a former undisputed middleweight champion with a record 20 successful title defenses, surpassing Carlos Monzon’s record.
Hopkins became the first to defend and retain titles from all four major sanctioning bodies and The Ring in a single match. In 2011, at 46, he won the WBC light heavyweight title against Jean Pascal, becoming the oldest to claim a world title.
He hoped to win another championship at age 48 but retired before actualizing his dream.
42. Aaron Pryor
Official Record: 39-1-0
Years Active: 1976-1990
Championships: Light Welterweight
“The Hawk” held the world Light Welterweight title in the early 1980s and won both fights in a famous series against Alexis Arguello.
Their initial bout, ending in Pryor’s 14th round TKO victory, earned Ring Magazine’s 1980s Fight of the Decade. At 5’6″, Pryor was shorter than most fighters in his weight class and era but showcased exceptional skills.
A single defeat to Bobby Joe Young marked his otherwise flawless record during his second comeback.
After facing drug issues post-retirement, Pryor turned his life around and now serves as an ordained Baptist minister and motivational speaker, including for the New York Jets.
43. Terry McGovern
Official Record: 59-5-4, 44 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 6-1-4
Years Active: 1897-1908
Championships: World Bantamweight Champion, World Featherweight Champion
“Terrible” Terry McGovern, originally from Pennsylvania, started out in Brooklyn, New York.
He secured world championships in both the bantamweight and featherweight categories. McGovern beat Joe Gans, although Gans later claimed he intentionally lost.
The Ring counts him among the top punchers ever, and many rank him as a leading featherweight in boxing history.
44. Jimmy McLarnin
Record: 54-11-3, 21 KO
Years Active: 1923-1936
Championships: World Lightweight, World Welterweight (2 times)
While Jimmy McLarnin’s nickname was the “Baby-Faced Assassin,” he packed significant power in both fists, which may not be evident from his record.
He had a trio of bouts with renowned welterweight Barney Ross, and even with two losses, he showcased impressive skill. McLarnin ended his career with wins over legends Tony Canzoneri and Lou Ambers. Many rank him among the top five welterweights ever.
Billy Conn, also known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” held the undisputed light heavyweight title.
However, his most memorable bouts were against Joe Louis for the heavyweight belt. Both fighters missed critical years due to their service in World War II.
In 1941, before joining the military, Conn faced Louis after giving up his light heavyweight title.
Conn didn’t bulk up for the match, taking on the larger Louis at his usual weight. By round 13, Conn was ahead on two of the scorecards, but Louis clinched the win with two powerful punches.
After the war, they had a rematch, with Louis securing a more evident win.
46. Kid Gavilan
Years Active: 1943-1958
Even though he was nicknamed “Kid”, this Cuban welterweight stood at 5 ’11”, unusually tall for his weight class.
Gavilan’s fighting style was fluid and relentless, similar but more refined than Paul “The Punisher” Williams. He secured victories against Ike Williams and Carmen Basilio and had a close bout with Sugar Ray Robinson.
After retiring, Gavilan received honors from the original boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his significant impact on boxing.
47. Stanley Ketchel
Official Record: 51-4-4, 48 KO
Newspaper Decisions: 2-1-1
Years Active: 1903-1910 Championships: World Middleweight (2 times)
Ketchel, a middleweight, frequently took on opponents much larger than him.
His most significant fight was against the heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson. Ketchel weighed 35 pounds less than Johnson in their match.
Yet, Ketchel managed to knock Johnson down in the 12th round. After getting up, Johnson immediately knocked Ketchel out.
Despite the defeat, Stanley Ketchel remains recognized as one of boxing’s most courageous fighters, earning him a position in the list of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
Eder Jofre, nicknamed “The Golden Rooster,” was an exceptional Brazilian bantamweight and featherweight boxer.
Out of 72 wins, he only faced defeat against Fighting Harada twice. Despite his impressive record, which includes three bantamweight titles and a featherweight title, he wasn’t widely recognized. Ring ranks him number 19 on their list of top fighters in the past 80 years.
While not well-known to casual fans, dedicated boxing enthusiasts hold Eder Jofre in high regard for his powerful punches, sturdy chin, and impressive two-decade career.
49. Sandy Saddler
Record: 144-16-2, 103 KO
Years Active: 1944-1956
Championships: World Featherweight Championship (2 times), World Super Featherweight Championships
Sandy Saddler, a dominant force in his era, ranks among the top featherweight champions.
He’s widely recognized for winning three out of four bouts against the renowned Willie Pep.
With over 100 knockouts in his career, Saddler is not only a member of an elite group of fighters but also remembered as one of boxing’s most powerful punchers.
Jose “Mantequilla” Napoles, born in Cuba and later embraced by Mexico, is among the top welterweight boxers ever.
Contrary to his nickname “butter,” Napoles showcased fierce punching power. He claimed his first title by overpowering Curtis Cokes, a success he duplicated in their rematch. He also secured victories against Emile Griffith and Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez.
After an unsuccessful bout against middleweight champion Carlos Monzon, Napoles returned to the welterweight division and enjoyed another champion streak until John Stracey defeated him.
51. Ricardo Lopez
Official Record: 192-32-14, 79
KO Newspaper Decisions: 40-13-12
Years Active: 1909-1929
Championships: World Welterweight Championship
The respected boxing historian Bert Sugar rated Ted “Kid” Lewis as the 33rd best boxer of all time.
Lewis clinched the World Welterweight Championship multiple times and is widely recognized for his 20-fight saga against Jack Britton, with whom he frequently exchanged the title.
In their memorable series, far longer than most, Lewis secured a record of 3-4-1 with 12 no-decisions.
Note: Newspaper decisions were common in the early years of boxing. When bouts ended without a knockout, they’d often be labeled a no-decision.
However, ringside sportswriters would frequently agree on a winner and publish their choice in the newspaper. While these decisions provided insight into a fight’s outcome, they didn’t alter a boxer’s official record.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who Is the Best Pound For Pound Fighter in History?
Sugar Ray Robinson is often considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in history.
Ezzard Charles, Ali, and Hank Armstrong are also frequently mentioned in this conversation. However, most experts place Robinson at the top of the list.
Who is the Best Between Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali?
Muhammad Ali competed in 541 rounds, compared to Tyson’s 211. This vast difference of 330 translates to 27.5 more 12-round matches for Ali. Such experience is invaluable. Ali often sought to outmaneuver and humiliate his rivals.
However, Tyson’s attributes shine in areas where he outperforms Ali. Tyson surpasses Ali in Power, Speed, and Defense — all essential elements in boxing.
Ali edges out Tyson in six critical areas: Style, Chin, Heart, Psychology, Key Losses, and Stamina/Endurance. Even though Tyson had the upper hand, Ali was strong in power and speed.
Tyson, however, showed significant weaknesses in chin, heart, psychology, and stamina. Anyone who defeated Ali did it through a tough battle lasting AT LEAST 10 rounds.
Is Mayweather a Pound For Pound Boxer?
BoxRec rates Mayweather as the second-greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound.
Numerous sports and boxing platforms, such as The Ring, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Yahoo! Sports, have twice ranked Mayweather as the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer within the last decade.
The Bottom Line
Given the sport’s rich history and diverse talent pool, ranking 51 best pound-for-pound boxers of all time is a monumental task.
The fighters listed here, spanning different eras and weight classes, embody the essence of boxing—skill, power, agility, and heart.
While rankings might spark debates among enthusiasts, there’s no denying that each boxer listed left an indelible mark in the sport.
As boxing continues to evolve, this list is a testament to its timeless legends, reminding us of the dedication and spirit that define the sweet science.
Boxing demands precision, power, and agility. Allboxing equipment, including the shoes, plays a role in a boxer’s performance.
Shoes created for boxers are not just another athletic accessory but an essential gear that can make or break a fight.
What Makes Boxing Shoes Different From Regular Athletic Shoes?
When you compare boxing shoes to regular athletic shoes, there’s a clear distinction.
First, they are designed specifically for the movements and demands of boxing. The sole is thinner, allowing closer contact with the ground for better stability.
Boxing shoes are available in high and low tops design. While the choice between the two is personal, high-tops offer more ankle support and stability. Low tops, on the other hand, provide more freedom for ankle movements.
What Should the Best Boxing Shoe Offer?
Good boxing shoes provide:
Traction and Grip
The boxing ring can become slippery, especially when sweat drops. Thus, boxing shoes must provide a firm grip. This ensures boxers can move swiftly without the fear of slipping, reducing the risk of injuries.
Ankle Support and Mobility
Ankles bear the brunt of quick pivots and lateral movements in boxing. Therefore, boxing shoes need to offer exceptional ankle support.
Yet, it’s a delicate balance. Too much rigidity can restrict movement, while too little can risk injury. The best boxing shoes strike a balance, giving support without hindering mobility.
Footwork is everything in boxing. A good pair of boxing shoes should be lightweight to ensure the boxer is not weighed down. The right shoes can significantly enhance the speed and agility of footwork, giving boxers a critical edge in the ring.
Breathability and Comfort
Boxing can be a long and exhaustive sport. Moisture can accumulate without proper ventilation in the shoes, leading to discomfort and potential foot health issues.
Good boxing shoes offer breathability, ensuring feet remain dry and comfortable throughout the bout.
Here’s the thing; a boxer’s power originates from the ground, traveling through the legs and culminating in the punch.
A boxing shoe that can transmit this power efficiently can make punches more potent. Understanding the biomechanics of this can help boxers choose shoes that amplify their strength.
Durability and Longevity
Given the rigors of the sport, boxing shoes undergo a lot of wear and tear. Investing in a durable pair made of robust materials ensures that they last through intense training sessions and bouts, offering value for money in the long run.
Personal Style and Confidence
Beyond the technical aspects, there’s also the matter of personal style. Like all athletes, boxers have a unique flair, and their shoes can express that.
A stylish pair of boxing shoes can make a statement and provide a psychological boost. You feel good when you look good, and that confidence can translate to performance in the ring.
Tips for Choosing the Best Boxing Shoes
Now that you know what the best boxing shoes should provide, here are some actionable tips to help you choose the right pair.
1. Consider the Fit and Size
The fit of your boxing shoes can make a huge difference in your performance and comfort in the ring.
Here’s how to ensure the shoe that you pick fits:
Measure Your Feet: Remember that sizes can vary between brands. Always measure your feet before buying, especially if you’re switching brands.
Go for the Snug, Not Tightness: The shoes should fit snugly around your feet but not be so tight that they cause discomfort. Your toes should have room to wiggle.
Consider Heel Security: Ensure that your heels are secure and don’t slide within the shoe. This can prevent blisters and offer better stability.
2. Test the Grip and Flexibility
A good grip is essential in the ring, but so is flexibility.
Here’s what you need to know:
Grip: The soles should provide enough traction to prevent slipping, especially on the wet canvas. Look for soles with a non-slip pattern.
Flexibility: Your boxing shoes should be flexible enough to allow quick movements and pivots. Test them by flexing and bending. They should move with your feet without resistance.
3. Evaluate the Lacing Systems and Security
How your shoes lace up and secure around your ankles can influence safety and performance in the ring:
Lacing Length: The laces should be long enough to provide a secure fit but not so long that they risk being undone or causing a tripping hazard.
Lacing Design: Some boxing shoes offer traditional lacing, while others might have Velcro or other mechanisms. Choose what feels most secure and comfortable for you.
Ankle Support: Depending on whether you opt for high-tops or low-tops, ensure that the design offers adequate ankle support. The shoes should neither be too rigid nor too loose around the ankles.
4. Read Reviews, It’s Important
Customer reviews are a goldmine of information. Reading reviews allows you to determine the following:
User Experiences: While specifications and features are useful, real-world experiences can give you a clearer picture. Look for reviews that discuss the shoe’s performance in actual bouts and training sessions.
Durability Insights: One of the most valuable pieces of information from reviews is the shoe’s durability. Users often report how the shoe stands up to wear and tear over time.
Brand Comparisons: Many reviewers compare brands. These insights can help you decide if a particular brand or model is right for you, especially if you’re torn between options.
5 Best Boxing Shoes
The boxing shoes below meet the specifications and thresholds we’ve discussed in the sections above. They have rave reviews and high ratings to their name.
In addition, they come in various prices to cater to diverse budgets. So, if you’re scouting the best boxing shoes, these make the cut. Read on to discover what makes them stand out.
The Hayabusa Pro has everything you’d want in the best boxing shoe. First, it comes with a rubber sole to provide a good grip on the ring, minimizing the chances of slips. The Anchored Grip offers even more traction, essential during training and matches.
The Hayabusa’s lightweight design ensures easier movement. By extension, this means boxers can move quickly without feeling weighed down.
The shoe’s mid-height build offers a secure fit around the ankle. It gives necessary support and isn’t too tight, a balance that boxers will appreciate
The shoe’s durability comes from its microfiber leather. The material allows the Hayabusa to handle regular use while still looking decent.
Meanwhile, the mesh panels in the shoe offer ventilation, which helps keep feet dry. And then there’s the slim rubber outsole, contributing to the shoe’s long-lasting nature without adding extra weight.
The VENUM Elite is right on target for boxers prioritizing support and stability. Its mid-cut design ensures dynamic lateral support, which is crucial during those rapid side-to-side movements in the ring.
The rubber outsole of the VENUM Elite doesn’t disappoint either. It guarantees grip, which is fundamental for boxers to prevent missteps. Moreover, this outsole lends the shoe durability and stability, so boxers can trust it match after match.
Comfort, an essential aspect, gets a boost from the shoe’s anatomical insole. This design choice ensures that the foot feels natural and supported during use. To top it off, VENUM has glued the insole, eliminating the risk of slipping during critical moments of a match.
Furthermore, the VENUM logo, positioned at the ankle and on the tongue, adds a touch of brand identity without being overly flashy.
The Everlast Elite has our nod as one of the best boxing shoes if you’re looking for reliable traction. Thanks to its technical sole, boxers get maximum grip, ensuring stability in and outside the ring.
The open weave mesh upper of the Everlast Elite is a definite highlight. The design ensures better airflow, allowing your feet to breathe. The mesh upper means less moisture and more comfort during those long training sessions or fighting bouts.
Meanwhile, the Everlast Elite’s hybrid design adds to its appeal. When you’re not using the shoe in the ring, you can wear it to the gym for workouts, making the unit versatile.
In addition, the shoe comes in three colors — black, red, and blue, offering more personalization. With the multiple colors, you can pick a shade that aligns with their preferences or matches other gear.
The Everlast PIVT, a collaboration between Everlast and Michelin®, offers stellar quality for a boxing shoe. With such trusted brands behind its creation, you anticipate reliability and top-notch performance.
Its hybrid design ensures versatility for both gym workouts and in-ring action. The dual-purpose approach eliminates multiple pairs, simplifying a boxer’s gear selection.
And then there’s the Michelin® Technical Sole. The sole guarantees maximum traction, essential for firm footing in the ring.
Beyond just grip, Michelin® Technical Sole also offers flexibility and support, ensuring you have the freedom to move while feeling grounded.
Adding to the shoe’s impressive features is the tread design. The tread not only prevents slips but also optimizes side-to-side movement. This ensures quicker pivots and better agility during bouts.
Moreover, the open weave mesh upper brings in the comfort aspect. It keeps the shoes lightweight and breathable, reducing foot fatigue and ensuring sustained comfort.
The Adidas Mat Hog 2.0 wraps up our collection of the best boxing shoes.
It boasts an open mesh upper for breathability, essential for keeping feet cool during matches and training. The shoe also comes with an adjustable ankle strap to ensure a perfect fit.
To enhance its durability, the quarter panels have material reinforcements. The design strengthens the mesh and ensures the shoe stands up to regular use. Meanwhile, the perforations in the Adidas Mat Hog 2.0 help manage moisture effectively, minimizing the chance of a wet and slippery interior.
In addition, the shoe has a synthetic suede in the toe cap and medial forefoot for added longevity. This offers resistance to abrasion, keeping the shoe in prime condition even with intense use.
Moreover, the full-length adiWEAR outsole ensures consistent ground contact and the drive zone in the forefoot provides the grip needed for swift foot movements.
Breathable open mesh upper
Synthetic material in the quarter panels
Perforations for smooth airflow
Synthetic suede in the toe cap
Full-length adiWEAR outsole
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Running Shoes OK for Boxing?
No, running shoes are not suitable for boxing. Boxing shoes have specific traction for quick lateral movements, pivots, and sudden direction changes in the ring.
Running shoes focus on forward motion and lack the ankle support and grip essential for boxing. Using running shoes for boxing can lead to reduced performance, increased risk of injury, and compromised footwork in the ring.
Do You Wear Long Socks with Boxing Shoes?
Yes. While some individuals might opt for standard socks, wearing boxing socks with boxing shoes is recommended.
These socks are specifically designed to complement the support of boxing boots and help minimize the risk of injuries.
Get the Shoes Designed for the Ring
Selecting the best boxing shoes is paramount for any boxer.
The right pair enhances performance, ensures stability, and minimizes the risk of injuries.
Moreover, good boxing shoes provide essential ankle support, preventing sprains and strains. Skimping on quality can compromise one’s footwork, a cornerstone of boxing technique.
In essence, investing in the right boxing shoes is as crucial as mastering the art of the sport itself, reflecting the blend of safety and performance every boxer strives for.
With the information in this article, you can now confidently choose the best boxing shoe.
This translates to being nimbler and more reactive for boxers, dodging punches and moving strategically more easily.
Coordination and Balance
Jumping rope is a cyclic activity involving maintaining a steady, regular interval, which, in turn, enhances the coordination between a boxer’s eyes, feet, and hands.
The repetitive rhythm of jumping rope forces the body to work in unison, ensuring a fighter can deliver punches with improved accuracy. It also enhances defenses during intense bouts.
Strength and Muscle Toning
Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for targeting specific muscle groups crucial for boxers. The dynamic workout targets the calves, ankles, and core to provide fighters with a solid foundation for balance and stability in the ring.
Additionally, the rhythmic motion of swinging the rope tones the arms and shoulders, enhancing the endurance and power required for throwing rapid, precise punches.
Mental Focus and Rhythm
The continuous repetition of jump rope exercises demands focus, sharpening a boxer’s capacity to remain fully engaged even in the most high-pressure moments within the ring.
Furthermore, it sets a steady rhythm for breathing and movement, aligning a boxer’s actions with a controlled cadence.
The synchronization helps fighters maintain composure, making clear split-second decisions while ensuring their moves are accurate and calculated.
Jump Rope Offers Cost-Effective and Portable Training
Jump rope training can effortlessly integrate into any routine. In addition, the cost-effectiveness makes it accessible to athletes of all levels, requiring minimal investment compared to complex gym equipment.
What sets a jump rope apart is its portability – you can pack a jumping rope into a bag and take it anywhere, allowing boxers to train on the go. The point is; jump rope is a training tool that adapts to any location or schedule, whether in the gym, at home, or even outdoors.
7 Jump Rope Routines to Make You a Better Boxer
Like honing any skill set, improving your jump rope technique is gradual.
Begin by setting achievable goals. You can, for instance, start with just three to five consecutive jumps without getting caught in the rope.
Gradually increase your target to 10, then 20, and eventually 30 uninterrupted jumps.
You shouldn’t worry if you stumble once or twice during those three minutes; it’s all part of the learning process. What truly matters is conditioning your body for the demands of a round in the ring rather than perfecting the art of rope skipping.
Once you’ve established a comfort zone with your jump rope, here are seven drills to elevate your boxing game, helping you build coordination, stamina, and mental focus.
Basic Jump Rope Workout
You can use this jump rope routine as a foundational warm-up and training exercise.
Start with 5 minutes of basic jump rope to get your heart rate up and your muscles engaged.
While you’re at it, focus on proper form – hold the rope’s handles with a comfortable grip, keep your elbows close to your body, and jump using your wrists for a smooth rotation.
After the warm-up, dive into 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, with 1-minute rest intervals in between. During these rounds, you can experiment with your jumping speed, alternating between slow, controlled, and faster, more intense jumps.
The basic jump rope workout enhances your overall cardiovascular fitness, rhythm, and footwork. It’s a fundamental exercise for boxers, helping you build endurance while fine-tuning your coordination.
Double-Unders for Footwork
Double-unders involve swinging the rope under your feet twice in a single jump. Start with 2 minutes of basic jump rope to warm up.
Then, spend 1 minute practicing double-unders. To perform a double-under, jump slightly higher and rotate the rope faster than usual.
Repeat this pattern for 3-5 rounds, focusing on consistency and control during your double-unders.
Double-unders are excellent for improving footwork, timing, and coordination. It challenges you to jump higher and turn the rope faster, which translates to enhanced agility in the boxing ring.
Interval Training for Stamina
Interval training is designed to boost your stamina and endurance, replicating the intensity of boxing rounds. Begin with 5 minutes of steady-paced jumping to warm up.
Next, jump at maximum intensity for 1 minute, pushing your speed and effort to the limit.
After the intense minute, rest for 30 seconds. Use this time to catch your breath and recover.
Repeat this pattern for 5-10 rounds, gradually increasing the number of rounds as your fitness improves.
This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) mimics the demands of boxing matches, enhancing your cardiovascular fitness and ability to maintain energy and focus throughout the fight.
Cross Training for Agility
Cross-training involves incorporating crossovers into your jump rope routine. Begin with 3 minutes of basic jump rope for warm-up.
Then, introduce crossovers by crossing your arms in front of your body while jumping. This movement challenges your coordination and rhythm.
Spend 1 minute practicing crossovers, then switch back to regular jumping for recovery.
Alternate between crossovers and regular jumping for 3-5 rounds.
Crossovers help improve your agility, hand-eye coordination, and rhythm, essential attributes for a successful boxer.
Shadow Boxing and Jump Rope Combo
This combination routine merges jump rope training with shadow boxing, simulating the movements and intensity of a boxing match.
Begin with 3 minutes of basic jump rope to warm up your body.
Transition to 1 minute of shadow boxing, focusing on proper form and technique while throwing punches and moving around as if in a real fight.
Repeat the jump rope and shadow boxing sequence for 3-5 rounds, allowing you to work on your cardiovascular fitness, concentration, and rhythm simultaneously.
Shadow boxing and jump rope combo helps you maintain mental focus and physical coordination during a simulated match, making it a highly effective training exercise for boxers at all levels.
Front To Back
The “Front To Back” jump rope focuses on footwork, balance, and coordination.
Begin with 3 minutes of basic jump rope to warm up your body and prepare for the exercise.
To perform “Front To Back,” start by jumping forward and landing on your left foot, then immediately jump backward and land on your right foot.
Alternate between forward and backward jumps with each rope rotation, maintaining a steady rhythm.
Continue this pattern for 2-3 minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.
“Front To Back” jump rope helps improve your ability to control your movements in different directions, which are essential skills for a boxer in the ring.
The Boxer Skip
“The Boxer Skip” is a jump rope technique that mimics the movements and footwork commonly seen in boxing.
Begin with 2 minutes of basic jump rope to warm up your muscles.
To perform “The Boxer Skip,” alternate between short, quick hops on one foot while the other is slightly lifted, resembling the boxer’s footwork.
After a few hops on one foot, switch to the other, mimicking the way boxers move in the ring.
Maintain a brisk but controlled pace, focusing on rhythm and balance.
Continue this pattern for 2-3 minutes or longer, gradually increasing the duration as your skills improve.
“The Boxer Skip” enhances your ability to move swiftly and change direction in the ring, closely replicating the footwork used by boxers during actual bouts.
Incorporate Jump Rope Into Your Boxing Routine
Adding jump rope into your boxing routine can be a strategic decision to elevate your skills and performance in the ring.
As you’ve seen from the seven rope routines above, a jump rope is a simple yet versatile tool for improving your coordination, stamina, mental focus, and agility.
Remember that mastering jump rope is a gradual process, and every jump brings you closer to boxing excellence.
Whether you’re a seasoned fighter or just stepping into the world of boxing, the jump rope is your steadfast companion in becoming a better boxer.
So, take that first jump, embrace the rhythm, and let the repetitive motion propel you toward more outstanding boxing prowess.
Boxing isn’t just about throwing punches. The key to success and safety in boxing also lies in choosing the right equipment.
With appropriate equipment, you’ll optimize your performance and safeguard yourself against potential injuries. Every boxer, whether a newbie or a seasoned pro, must understand the significance of quality gear.
Just as a musician needs the perfect instrument to produce the best sound, a boxer requires the best boxing gloves, protective gear, and training tools to deliver powerful punches while staying protected.
This boxing equipment guide breaks down the selection process, ensuring you make informed decisions tailored to your skill level.
Having underscored the importance of the right equipment, let’s explore the essentials.
Basic Equipment for Every Boxer
Whether you’re stepping into the boxing ring for the first time or gearing up for your hundredth fight, certain pieces of equipment are non-negotiable for every boxer. These are:
The primary reason you need boxing gloves is to reduce impact trauma, including concussions, cuts, and bruises. Here are the common types of boxing gloves:
Bag Gloves: These are for punching bag training. They have a thick layer of foam padding to protect your hands from the heavy impact of the bag.
Regular use of bag gloves helps build strength and improve technique while protecting you from injury.
Sparring Gloves: These gloves are for practice fights with a partner. They are heavier and have more padding than bag gloves to ensure the safety of both you and your sparring partner.
Using the correct sparring gloves helps develop speed, accuracy, and timing without harming yourself and your partner.
Competition Gloves: While competition gloves come in different weights, they are the lightest among the three and have the least padding.
These are for competitive matches where you aim to land powerful punches.
Beginner Gloves: These are all-purpose gloves and, like the name suggests, are for beginners engaging in various training activities.
Beginner gloves provide a balance of protection and versatility.
When choosing boxing gloves, consider the padding thickness and the weight. At the same time, keep in mind that while thicker padding offers more protection, it may reduce speed and feel, especially if it makes the gloves heavy. It’s important, therefore, to find a balance that works for you.
Besides padding, consider the fastening; Velcro is quicker to put on and take off. Lace-up gloves, on the other hand, offer a more secure fit.
When selecting competition gloves, check the regulations regarding weight. Speaking of which, be sure to read our guide on boxing gloves weight for professionals.
Furthermore, when choosing beginner gloves, consider the activities you’ll engage in. If you plan to do a mix of bag work, sparring, and light competition, you’ll need gloves that balance padding, weight, and flexibility.
Hand wraps support the wrists, knuckles, and the small bones in the hands, all vulnerable to injury during boxing. They also help compress the tissues of the hand, providing a protective layer underneath the gloves.
When choosing hand wraps, you’ll want to consider the length, material, and closure type.
Length is crucial as it determines how much protection and support you can get. For most people, wraps that are 180 inches long provide adequate support.
Material is another critical factor; cotton wraps provide good support and are breathable, while elastic or ‘Mexican’ style wraps offer a snugger fit.
The type of closure may vary depending on your preference. Traditional wraps have a tie closure, while modern ones often have a Velcro closure for ease of use.
A mouth guard safeguards your teeth, gums, and jaw from potential injuries, such as fractures and dislocations caused by punches to the face. Additionally, it can help reduce the risk of concussion by absorbing and distributing the force of a blow.
Consider the fit, material, and design when choosing a mouth guard. A well-fitting mouthguard will stay in place during a fight and provide optimal protection.
Pick a mouth guard made of thermoplastic material that you can mold to the shape of your teeth for a custom fit. Moreover, consider the design. Choose a mouth guard with additional features like reinforced areas for extra protection or channels to aid breathing.
Wearing headgear minimizes the risk of head injuries, cuts, and bruises. It provides a cushion against blows to the head, helping to distribute the force of the impact and reduce its severity. It also protects the forehead, cheeks, and chin.
When selecting headgear, consider the following factors:
Fit: Good headgear should fit snugly without being too tight or loose. A well-fitted headgear will stay in place during a fight and offer optimal protection.
Visibility: Ensure that the headgear does not obstruct your field of vision. You should be able to see clearly in all directions.
Protection: Look for headgear with adequate padding, especially in the front and sides. Some headgear also comes with a face bar or cage for additional protection.
Comfort: You want headgear that’s comfortable to wear for extended periods. Check for adjustable straps and a design that doesn’t cause discomfort.
Boxing shoes provide support, stability, and traction in the ring. Good footwear is crucial for optimal performance, as boxing involves a lot of footwork, quick movements, and directional changes.
When choosing boxing shoes, consider the following factors:
Fit: Pick shoes that fit snugly and comfortably, with no space for the foot to move inside the shoe. A well-fitted shoe will provide better support and help prevent injuries.
Ankle Support: Boxing shoes typically come in two heights: low-top and high-top. Low-top shoes provide more mobility, while high-top shoes provide additional ankle support. The choice depends on your preference and any previous ankle injuries.
Traction: Good traction is essential to prevent slipping in the ring. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole that provides a good grip on the surface.
Weight: Lightweight shoes allow for quicker movements and less fatigue over time. However, make sure that the lightness does not compromise on support and durability.
Breathability: Shoes with good breathability will keep your feet comfortable and dry during a fight.
Choosing the boxing j equipment isn’t just about protection but also enhancing your performance and technique. Here are three essential items for beginners to help you accomplish this.
A punching bag is a fundamental piece of training equipment for any boxer. It helps build strength, improve technique, and enhance punching power.
While there are different types of punching bags, these two are ideal for beginners.
Heavy Bag: A heavy boxing bag is essential for practicing punches and combinations. When choosing one, consider the weight, material, and filling.
The bag’s weight should be appropriate for your level of strength and the intensity of your training. The material must be durable to withstand regular use, and the filling should provide adequate resistance.
Speed Bag: A speed punching bag is crucial for developing rhythm and timing. Consider the size, material, and swivel when selecting a speed bag.
Choose a bag whose weight matches the training difficulty level. You want one that’s durable with a swivel that provides smooth, fast action.
A jump rope is a fundamental tool for improving cardiovascular fitness, agility, and footwork. It is a low-cost, versatile piece of equipment that can significantly impact your boxing performance.
When scouting a jumping rope, consider the following factors:
Material: Commonly materials include PVC, leather, or wire. PVC ropes are durable and provide a good balance of speed and control. Leather ropes are heavier and offer more resistance, making them suitable for strength training. Wire ropes are the lightest and fastest but can be challenging to control for beginners.
Length: The length of the rope is crucial for effective training. A short rope will make it difficult to maintain a consistent rhythm, while an unnecessarily long rope can cause tripping. To find the right length, stand on the middle of the rope and lift the handles; they should reach your armpits.
Handle: The handle of the jump rope should be comfortable to hold and provide a good grip. Some ropes come with weighted handles for additional resistance.
Weight: The weight of the rope affects the intensity of the workout. A heavier rope provides more resistance and helps in building strength, while a lighter rope is suitable for speed and agility training.
Focus mitts are targets a trainer or training partner holds for practicing punches, combinations, and defensive techniques. They are an essential tool for improving accuracy, speed, and power.
Here’s what you need to consider when looking for focus mitts.
Size and Shape: Focus mitts come in various sizes and shapes. Smaller mitts are ideal for precision training, while larger options provide a bigger target for power punches.
The shape of the mitt can also affect the training; flat mitts are suitable for straight punches, while curved ones are better for hooks and uppercuts.
Padding: The padding of the focus mitts should provide adequate protection for the trainer’s hands and wrists. It should absorb the impact of the punches without being too soft.
Fit: The fit of the focus mitts is crucial for the trainer’s comfort and control. They should fit snugly on the hands and have adjustable straps for a secure fit.
Material: The material of the focus mitts should be durable enough to withstand regular use. Leather is a popular choice due to its durability and comfort.
Weight: Lighter focus mitts are easier to maneuver and are suitable for fast combinations, while heavier options provide more stability and are suitable for power punches.
As you progress in your boxing journey, your training will become more intensive and specialized. It’s crucial to upgrade your equipment to match your developing skills and training regimen.
The following section focuses on essential intermediate boxing equipment to help you take your training to the next level, focus on specific areas of improvement, and ensure you stay protected as the intensity increases.
Double-end bags help in enhancing accuracy, timing, and reflexes. Unlike heavy bags, they move unpredictably, mimicking an opponent’s movements.
When choosing one, consider the following:
Size: Double end bags come in various sizes. Smaller bags are more challenging to hit but are excellent for honing precision and hand-eye coordination. Larger bags provide a bigger target, making them suitable for practicing power punches.
Adjustability: Look for a bag with adjustable cords. This allows you to change the height and tension of the bag, tailoring the setup to your training needs.
Material: Durable materials such as leather are excellent as they can withstand the regular impact of punches.
Rebound Speed: The bag’s rebound speed affects the difficulty level. A bag with a fast rebound speed will require quick reactions, while a slower bag will be easier to hit but less effective for improving speed.
Attachment Points: Some double-end bags have single attachment points, while others have multiple. A double-end bag with several attachment points allows for more varied movements of the bag, enabling a more challenging workout.
Boxing timers help you structure your training sessions and develop pace. A timer allows you to simulate the rounds of a real boxing match, enabling you to work on your endurance, speed, and power.
Consider the following when looking for a boxing timer:
Intervals: Look for a timer that allows you to set custom intervals for work and rest periods. This will enable you to tailor your training to your specific needs, whether working on short, explosive bursts or longer, sustained efforts.
Volume: The volume of the timer should be loud enough to hear over the noise of your training but not so loud as to be distracting or annoying.
Display: A large, clear display will help you quickly and easily see how much time remains in each round.
Portability: A portable timer can be taken to the gym, used at home, or even taken outside for training sessions.
Battery Life: Ensure the timer has a long battery life or can be plugged in to avoid running out of power during your training sessions.
As you evolve into a skilled boxer, your training demands will increase, requiring more specialized equipment to refine your techniques and boost your performance. Below is some boxing equipment for pros.
Customized Punching Bag
A customized punching bag allows you to tailor your training to your needs, ensuring you work on specific areas of your technique.
Selecting the appropriate filling material is crucial when customizing your punching bag, as it influences your training effectiveness and long-term physical health.
The filling should align with your training objectives: for power development, a harder filler material, like sand, is ideal. A softer filling, like fabric or foam, is better for technique honing and joint preservation.
Consider the following factors when choosing the filling material:
Training Goals: Go for harder filling like sand for power development, while a softer filling like fabric or foam is ideal for technique honing and joint preservation.
Impact on Joints: Harder fillings can cause more stress on your hands and joints, while softer fillings offer a gentler impact.
Consistency: The filling material should maintain a consistent punching surface and not settle at the bottom over time, a common issue with sand-filled bags.
Bag Shape: The filling material can affect the bag’s shape over time. For instance, bags filled with fabric or foam retain their shape better than sand-filled bags.
Freestanding punching bags are an excellent alternative to hanging bags. They’re particularly useful for boxers who don’t have the space or ability to install a hanging bag. These bags are portable, easy to set up, and usable indoors and outdoors.
When looking for a freestanding punching bag, consider the following:
Base Stability: The stability of the base is crucial as it determines how much the bag will move during your workout.
A stable base will help you practice your punches and kicks more effectively.
Bag Height: The height of the bag should match your own height and reach. Some freestanding bags are adjustable, which is beneficial for practicing punches at different levels.
Bag Weight: The weight of the bag affects its stability and resistance. A heavier bag will provide more resistance and move less, while a lighter bag will move more and offer less resistance.
Surface Material: The surface material should be durable and withstand powerful punches and kicks. Leather or synthetic leather is the best material due to its durability and feel.
Rebound Speed: The speed at which the bag rebounds after being hit is also essential.
A faster rebound speed will help you practice your speed and reaction time, while a slower rebound speed is better for practicing power punches.
Footwork is a fundamental aspect of boxing that often gets overlooked. Advanced footwork ladders are an essential boxing tool for improving agility, speed, and coordination.
Here’s what to look for in a good foot ladder for boxing:
Length and Width: The length and width of the ladder should be adequate to allow a variety of drills.
A longer ladder will enable more extended drills and sequences, while a wider ladder will allow side-to-side movements.
Material: Go for a ladder made of durable material that can withstand the rigor of training. Plastic rungs and nylon straps are common materials for durability and longevity.
Rung Spacing: The spacing between the rungs affects the difficulty of the drills. Closer rungs require more precise and quicker steps, while rungs spaced farther apart demand larger steps and greater leg strength.
Adjustability: An adjustable ladder that allows you to change the rung spacing and configuration can offer a more versatile training experience.
Portability: Pick a lightweight, portable ladder that can be easily folded and carried, especially if you train in different locations.
While these aren’t the only boxing tools you need, they are some of the most essential. When choosing boxing equipment, it all boils down to the item that’ll serve your needs best.
Unless there’s a boxing store near you, most purchasing happens online, so you can’t physically assess the equipment.
When buying your equipment online, it’d be best to read an independent review to determine if it offers what you want. Go for tools with high customer reviews and positive feedback.
You also want to check the specifications to determine size and dimension. If you’re buying a punching bag, for instance, checking the dimensions allows you to know how big or small the unit is and if it can fit into your training space.
Choosing the best punching bag for boxing can make all the difference in a boxer’s training regimen. It’s vital to understand, however, that not all punching bags are made equal.
A good punching bag should complement your training goals, match your skill level, and fit well within your space. Beyond these factors, finding a durable bag that offers value for your money is crucial.
Throughout this detailed guide, we’ll equip you with the insights to refine your options, ensuring you pick a punching bag that meets your boxing needs.
The Different Types of Punching Bags
The first step toward choosing a punching bag for your boxing workouts is understanding the various types available. That way, you can determine which type of bag aligns with your specific requirements.
Here’s a rundown of common types of punching bags.
Heavy bags absorb hard punches, helping you build strength and hone combinations. Heavy punching bags feature durable materials like leather to handle the rigors of hard punches.
Heavy bags are essential for boxers looking to improve their punch power and technique.
Speed bags, mounted at eye level, enhance hand-eye coordination and punching speed. Their rapid bounce lets you refine timing and rhythm.
Speed punching bags are ideal if you’re keen on improving agility in the ring.
Double-end bags connect at the top and bottom, moving in all directions when hit. The random movement lets you sharpen reflexes and precision, simulating a moving opponent.
Meanwhile, the adjustable tension enables you to customize the challenge levels, which can help in reflex training.
These bags stand on a weighted base. A free-standing bag is suitable for various punches and kicks. The bags are portable and great for spaces where hanging isn’t possible.
A free-standing punching bag offers both flexibility and stability in training.
Wrecking Ball Punching Bag & Uppercut Bags
Round in shape, wrecking ball bags allow you to practice uppercuts and hooks. Their unique shape provides varied resistance, which can be helpful in powerful strike training.
Wrecking ball punching bags bring diversity to routine workouts and are best used when hanging.
Designed for uppercut punches, these bags have a slanted surface. They help perfect this challenging technique and are also suitable for jabs and hooks.
In addition, they add depth to boxing training, enhancing punch variety.
Wall Mounted Bags
Secured to walls, these bags save space and offer a stable punch surface. They’re ideal for refining precision and are great for tight spaces. Their sturdy design ensures safe and focused workouts.
How To Choose the Best Punching Bag?
Besides knowing which punching bag to pick, you must also understand how to determine if it will deliver what you want.
Here’s what to consider before spending money on a punching bag:
Size and Weight
Choosing the right size and weight of a punching bag is vital.
The weight impacts resistance; a heavy bag offers more resistance, perfect for strength training, while a lighter bag swings more, which can help with speed and reflex training.
Meanwhile, the size determines how much surface area you have for striking.
A bigger punching bag allows varied punch placements but might take up more room. Proper size and weight cater to your training intensity and ensure you’re not straining your hands or joints.
The exterior material of a punching bag dictates durability.
Materials like genuine leather last longer, standing up to daily abuse. It’s essential to pick a high-quality punching bag with sturdy outside material to ensure it doesn’t wear out quickly.
A durable bag provides a consistent training experience and ensures safety, preventing unexpected ruptures or tears during intense workouts.
Avoid synthetic leather unless you train occasionally.
What’s packed inside the bag affects its hardness and the feel of the punch. Traditional fillings like sand or textiles give different resistances.
Besides, the right interior material protects your hands and wrists from injury. It also influences the bag’s weight and how it moves when struck.
Ensuring a suitable inside material optimizes the training experience and the bag’s lifespan.
Speaking of what’s inside a punching bag, you may buy a pre filled bag or get an empty one and fill it yourself.
While filling your bag means you can save money in shipping costs, it also implies choosing the right material.
We recommend buying a pre filled punching bag if you’re a beginner. Seasoned boxers looking to customize their bag’s resistance to match their training regimen or skill level can opt to fill theirs.
The shape of a punching bag plays a significant role in the variety of punches and moves you can practice.
For instance, a narrow type of punching bag is ideal for straight punches, while a teardrop shape is great for uppercuts.
Furthermore, the shape directly influences your workout’s versatility. By selecting the right shape, you can effectively diversify your training sessions and focus on specific techniques.
Hanging straps determine how the punching bag will suspend and its mobility. Quality straps ensure the bag stays in place, offering consistent resistance.
It’s vital to ensure the straps are strong and adjustable. Well-mounted bags provide a stable training experience, while inferior mounting can lead to erratic bag movement or accidents.
Before buying your punching bag, consider where you’ll place it. Ensure there’s enough room for the bag and for you to move around.
Adequate space affects training efficiency. A cramped area can limit movement, while a spacious setting allows for varied footwork and angles, leading to a more comprehensive workout.
Budget is a practical consideration. While it’s tempting to go for premium options, assess if they align with your training needs. Investing wisely means getting a bag that offers value without breaking the bank.
Getting the best punching bags doesn’t always mean being expensive; it means buying one suitable for your specific training goals and frequency.
Your proficiency in boxing influences the type of bag you should get.
You might benefit from a softer, lighter bag to develop technique if you’re a beginner. A seasoned boxer, on hand, may benefit from a heavy bag and one that’s durable for intense training.
Matching a bag to your skill level ensures you progress effectively without risking injury.
Punching Bag Size
The size of your punching bag will dictate its weight.
You must consider your height to determine how big or small your bag should be. An adult heavy bag that is half your weight should be adequate for starters. You can go with a larger bag if you’re unsure what size to get.
Traditional heavy bags measuring 2.6 to 3.6 feet should be enough for most people. Consider an extra-large bag if you need something longer.
As a rule of thumb, though, you’ll want to buy a punching bag one size bigger than you need.
Some punching bags have an integrated mechanism that allows you to adjust them to your weight as required.
Common Punching Bag Sizes For Boxing Gyms
Here’s a quick rundown of common lengths for punching bags.
3Ft Boxing Bag (90cm)
A 3ft boxing bag weighs around 20 kilograms and is perfect for beginners. Because it’s shorter and lighter than many gym bags, it can swing a lot, especially when hit hard.
With lighter bags, you want to make sure to leave enough space around it for movement and practicing footwork. We recommend this bag for boxers of all ages, especially those getting their first bag.
4Ft Boxing Bag (120cm)
A 4ft boxing bag weighs around 30 kilograms and is the typical size in boxing gyms. It’s long enough to practice head and body punches, offering enough resistance for stronger hits.
This bag is ideal for both boxing and basic kickboxing moves, making it a versatile choice for enthusiasts of all ages.
5ft Boxing Bag (150cm)
The 5ft boxing bag, common in Muay Thai, kickboxing, and boxing gyms, weighs around 40 kilograms. It can handle all kinds of strikes and clinches easily.
The bag swings less than the 3ft and 4ft bags when you hit it. If you want a great bag for punching and kicking combinations, the 5ft option is a top pick.
6ft Boxing Bag (180cm)
The 6ft boxing bag weighs over 50 kilograms and is a staple in Muay Thai and kickboxing gyms.
Often considered a heavy punching bag, it’s best for bigger teens and adults of all heights who aim to integrate powerful punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and clinches in their training.
It stays relatively still like a traditional heavy bag, even with forceful strikes. If you’re seeking a bag to deliver strong punches and kicks, the 6ft bag is worthwhile.
5 Best Punching Bags for Boxers of All Levels
Whether you’re an aspiring boxer or a seasoned pro, the right punching bag is essential for honing your skills. Here are top punching bags tailored to cater to boxers of all expertise levels, ensuring peak performance and optimal training.
These are highly rated with rave reviews to their name.
Prorobust Punching Bag for Adults
The Prorobust punching bag is a solid addition to any boxing or home gym. At 4 feet tall, it’s just the right size for adults and teens between 47″ to 70″ in height.
If you’re a professional boxer, you’ll appreciate the robustness of this bag. Touting a sleek black exterior, the outer material combines polyurethane (PU) and faux leather. Not only does it look professional, but it feels incredibly durable as well.
What’s more, the Prorobust punching bag comes with a pair of 12oz boxing gloves, making this heavy bag ideal for those just getting started or seasoned boxers looking for a quick session.
The bag measures 15.75 “W x 47.24 “H, making it space-efficient without compromising quality. For anyone looking to add a reliable punching bag to their setup, the Prorobust is a top contender.
Everlast PowerCore Freestanding Punch Bag
The Everlast PowerCore freestanding punching bag is an expertly assembled unit. It comes with an air-foam chamber, giving it a realistic feel whenever you punch.
The chamber makes the training experience much more authentic. We also love its rounded design. The construction lets you easily move around the bag, upping your cardio game, enhancing leg conditioning, and improving hand-eye coordination.
Furthermore, this freestanding bag has a power transfer-ring at the base to absorb impact effectively. No more annoying sliding or excessive base movement every time you land a hit.
You can fill the base with water or sand. With water, it weighs around 250 lbs. If you’re going for sand, it’ll be about 370 lbs. The solid base means you have a steady target to hit, maximizing your workout sessions.
Meanwhile, the adjustable height of 54″ to 65″ makes the Everlast PowerCore freestanding bag super convenient.
Meister SpeedKills Leather Speed Bag
The first thing you’ll notice about the Meister SpeedKills Leather Speed Bag is the top-notch leather craftsmanship. You can tell just by looking at it – the precise stitching and glossy finish exude quality and style.
The SpeedKills performance is stellar, too. At its core is a replaceable Lightweight Latex Bladder. The feature allows you to replace the bladder if wear and tear take a toll on it. It’s an innovative move by Meister to prolong the bag’s life and give you more bang for your buck.
Additionally, the SpeedKills’ bounce and rhythm are distinct and tailored more for those with intermediate or advanced boxing experience.
If you’re a beginner, you might need time to adapt, but everything else becomes routine once you have passed that phase. Every punch move feels rhythmic and fluid, integrating seamlessly into challenging training workouts.
The Meister SpeedKills combines durability, performance, and style, making it an excellent speed bag for high-repetition training.
Cleto Reyes Double End Bag
The Cleto Reyes Double End Bag targets boxers eager to enhance their reflexes and strategic punches. Its design focuses on helping you train toward better coordination and refine your jabs and hook punches.
The Cleto Reyes Double End Bag uses premium leather reinforced with durable nylon linings, ensuring longevity while offering great value for your money.
The bag comes with an extra bladder for convenience, ensuring you can quickly replace it in case of wear and tear without disrupting your training routine.
You’ll need two swivels and an elastic band to mount to the floor and ceiling, sold separately for setup. Cleto Reyes advises keeping the bag’s air pressure around 10 lbs for optimal performance.
The Everlast Nevatear hanging heavy bag stands out due to its specially blended filler. It boasts a mix of sanitized synthetic and natural fibers to deliver outstanding shock absorbency. The filling means your punches feel realistic. It also implies your hands and wrists stay protected.
The bag’s exterior features premium synthetic leather paired with reinforced webbing. It looks sleek and offers reliable use for the long haul.
Meanwhile, the heavy-duty nylon straps ensure everything stays secure during intense workout sessions when hanging the bag. Additionally, the double-end loop adds another layer of functionality, perfect for those looking to diversify their training.
The Everlast Nevatear zipper tab at the top appears broken, but that’s intentional to ensure the stuffing remains intact and undisturbed. This hanging bag promises a premium training experience, combining functionality with durability.
The Everlast Nevatear weighs 80 lbs and measures 43.31 x 16 x 13.7 inches.
How to Properly Set Up Your Chosen Punching Bag
Once you have your punching bag, setting it up correctly becomes crucial for safety and effective training. Here are some tips to help you install your bag the right way and maximize your workouts.
Anchoring vs. Hanging
When setting up your punching bag, the debate often revolves around anchoring versus hanging.
Anchoring works for freestanding bags, while hanging is ideal for a typical heavy bag.
Both methods have their merits, and your choice largely depends on the type of bag you have and your training goals.
For hanging punching bags, the installation process involves securely attaching the bag to a beam or stand. It’s imperative to hang the punching bag in a way that distributes its weight evenly, preventing undue strain on any one point. This ensures both safety and a consistent training experience.
On the other hand, freestanding punching bags come with a base that you anchor, typically with sand or water. The key is to ensure stability so your bag remains stationary during those intense workout sessions.
Here’s what you need to remember when hanging or anchoring your bag:
Ceiling Strength: Before hanging, check the strength and stability of the ceiling or structure to which you’re attaching the bag to.
Base Filling: For free-standing punching bags, fill the base with sand or water for optimal stability.
Floor Protection: Place a mat or protective layer under free-standing bags to protect the floor from damage.
Swivel Use: Incorporate a swivel with a hanging bag to allow for smooth movement and reduce wear on the bag.
Space: Ensure ample space around hanging and free-standing bags for full movement and safety.
Adjustability: Check if your hanging method allows height adjustments to cater to different training needs.
Mobility: Free-standing punching bags offer the advantage of easy relocation, which is helpful if your training space serves multiple purposes.
Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the mounting points of hanging bags and the base of anchored ones for signs of wear or damage. Safety first.
How to Make the Most of Your New Punching Bag
The effectiveness of a punching bag, like any fitness equipment, is determined by its quality and how you use it.
Whether you’re shadowboxing, honing your technique, or working up a sweat, understanding the nuances of training can significantly elevate your experience.
That said, here’s to max out your new training partner.
When using your punching bag, always prioritize your technique over the power behind each punch. It’s easy to get carried away and focus on landing the hardest hit, but maintaining proper form ensures you’re training effectively and reduces the risk of injuries.
Keep your stance, footwork, and hand positioning in check. A well-executed punch with the right form often delivers more impact than a powerful yet poorly aimed strike.
To get the most out of your punching bag, change your routines regularly. Try integrating interval training sessions.
For instance, throw punches at high intensity for a minute, then rest for 30 seconds. This mix of high-intensity activity followed by a short rest period helps build endurance and strength, ensuring a balanced workout.
Set specific days and times during the week dedicated to your bag workouts. Consistency helps build muscle memory; over time, you’ll find your movements becoming more fluid and your strikes more accurate.
A routine ensures you make steady progress in your training.
Don’t just stick to one type of punch. Use your bag sessions to practice jabs, hooks, and uppercuts. Additionally, work on your defensive techniques.
Duck, weave, and practice footwork around the bag, simulating a real opponent. The bag is not just for offense; it’s a tool to sharpen all aspects of your boxing game.
Rest and Review
Training hard is essential, but so is giving your body time to recover. After a session, take a moment to review your performance.
Consider recording your sessions and watching them to spot areas of improvement. Rest days are crucial, too. They allow muscles to recover, reducing the risk of overtraining and injuries.
Pick The Right Punching Bag
The best punching bag should complement your training goals, fit your space, and match your skill level. Pinpointing the right bag is more than going with the most popular choice.
It’s also about listening to your needs, assessing your objectives, and making an informed decision. With a good punching bag by your side, you’re investing in a piece of equipment and your journey to becoming a better boxer.
With the tidbits shared in this post, you should be able to pick a bag that aligns with your requirements and, more importantly, make the most of your new boxing equipment.
Sand: A sand filled punching bag offers high resistance and is perfect for developing punching power.
However, sand can settle at the bottom of the bag over time, making it stiff and potentially leading to injuries. Besides, stuffing your punching bag with sand only can cause it to rupture due to excessive weight.
To avoid this, fill your bag with small layers of sand in the middle and clothes or fabric on the outside.
This approach not only mitigates the risk of injuries but also ensures a gratifying “snap” sound with every punch.
Sawdust: While it is not as hard as sand, sawdust provides a firm feel to the bag.
Like sand, you can combine sawdust with small fabric pieces to maintain a weight that won’t be too strenuous for your bag’s outer shell.
2. Soft Fill Material
Soft punching bag filler offers less resistance and a softer impact.
Common options include:
Shredded Fabric or Rags: Fabric offers the cheapest way to fill a punching bag while reducing the risk of injury.
Foam: Punching bag foam is great if you are a beginner looking for even resistance and a softer impact.
Air: Used primarily in speed and double-end bags, air offers less resistance than other materials. On the flip side, it requires regular inflation to maintain firmness.
Water: Water-filled bags offer a unique feel that simulates hitting a real opponent. Water allows easy weight adjustment but requires a durable outer shell to prevent leaks.
Soft fill material is excellent for small, lighter punching bags.
The best practice when filling a punching bag is to do it layer by layer. In addition, ensure you apply enough compaction to give your bag a uniform look and feel. You can use a thick broom or piece of wood for compression.
DIY Guide: How to Fill a Punching Bag at Home
Note: For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on sawdust, sand, and fabric as the materials of choice for filling a boxing bag.
Why? …. because they’re some of the most readily available and require less filling technique.
That said, filling an empty punching bag can take hours, so allocate enough time to complete the process.
As a rule of thumb, start filling a boxing bag with the casing on the ground and the lid off. That way, you can easily stuff what is inside a punching bag and leverage the ground for compaction.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go about it.
Step 1: Choose Your Filling Material
Choose a suitable filling material based on your skill level, training goals, and type of punching bag. You can use one or a combination of several punching bag filling materials.
As stated, material like sand and sawdust offers high resistance and is ideal for heavy bag filling.
In contrast, materials like foam or shredded fabric are gentler on the hands and excellent for a soft punching bag.
Step 2: Prep Your Filling
Cut the stuffing into small pieces if you’ve chosen fabric or clothing. For sand or sawdust, make sure it is dry to avoid any potential for mold growth.
Step 3: Begin the Filling Process
First, open your punching bag. As stated, it’d be best to place your bag on the ground, even if it’s a hanging type.
Start stuffing the material in layers. If you’re using a combination, such as sand and fabric, alternate them to ensure an even mix.
Step 4: Pack Each Layer Down
Compress the filling after each layer.
The idea is to ensure that you fill your bag evenly and tightly. A loosely sand-filled punching bag, for instance, can result in uneven density and potential for injuries.
Continue adding filler material and compressing it until your boxing bag is nearly full. Leave a bit of room at the top for closure.
Step 5: Seal and Test Your Bag
Seal your punch bag once you’ve filled it to the desired level. Most bags have a zipper or laces at the top. Make sure it’s securely closed to prevent the stuffing from spilling out.
Then, give the bag a few punches and kicks to test it out. It should feel firm but not too hard. If it feels too soft or lumpy, you may need to add more material or compact it further.
Step 6: Conduct Routine Maintenance
Over time, what’s inside a filing bag may settle, making it feel harder, especially at the bottom.
If this happens, empty the bag and repeat the filling process. Also, regularly check the bag for leaks or tears, especially if it’s water or sand-filled.
Side Note: Safety comes first. So, if you are not confident about filling the punching bag yourself, consider seeking professional help.
Where to Buy Punching Bag Filling Material Online
You can purchase punching bag filler from various online retailers. Some popular options include:
Whether you prefer the sand’s firm resistance, the foam’s softer impact, or the unique feel of a water-filled bag, you want to ensure that your chosen material aligns with your training objectives and skill level.
By customizing your punching bag with the appropriate filling, you can optimize your training sessions to improve your strength, speed, technique, and overall boxing performance.
Furthermore, understanding the proper method of filling your bag and performing regular maintenance can extend its lifespan, allowing you to enjoy your training session.
One more thing, always prioritize your safety when training.
There are so many fantastic reasons to take up boxing.
First, what is boxing? Boxing is a sport. But it’s a lot more, too. For some, boxing is a way of life. It’s a self-defence system. A great and fun way to get fit. It boosts confidence, flexibility and overall health. A way to connect mind and body.
Boxing classes and training have become increasingly popular in recent years for their many overarching benefits. Whether you’re a man, woman or adolescent who wants to increase self-esteem and feel more confident about being able to protect yourself, learning to box is a good way to go.
To learn to box is also to learn to use your body more efficiently and build strength and balance. It promotes health and fitness. Boxing also benefits your posture because the natural movements and the training involve strengthening muscles that the modern way of living often neglects.
And the elderly are getting in on it, too. While fighting professionally or duking it out in the ring against an opponent might be the goal of some, boxing to increase vitality is becoming more popular. Unlike in decades past when people thought weight training and intense physical exercise were bad for the elderly, we now think differently. Scientists back hard physical training for the elderly. And boxing classes for seniors are a great way to go to get a fun yet intense workout.
Boxing is great for self-defence
When people think of boxing, they think of two people fighting. While crime rates continue to decrease in the western world, learning to defend oneself is empowering.
Boxing is a fundamental cornerstone in almost all forms of fighting. It’s practised in a myriad of ways and is included as a strong foundation for many different martial arts. When you learn to box, you learn to strike. You also learn foot coordination and balance. It’s a discipline that teaches people the values of hard work, effort and dedication.
It’s fantastic for fitness
Boxing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to keep fit. It’s also one of the most fun. Rather than going round and round like a hamster on a treadmill, boxing breaks a sweat through rapid all-body movement.
Throwing punches over and over again, running and working the speedbags are all great ways to increase your heart rate, burn calories and build strength. It’s an all-around fitness regime that brings about true balance, mobility and strength. Boxing will tone your muscles, increase power and build endurance like nothing else.
And these are only some of the benefits of boxing for fitness.
It’s good for relieving stress
Western society is taught to hold in their emotions. To keep a stiff upper lip. To play it cool. But what happens when anger and stress are repressed?
Boxing allows one to relieve that tension. And in a world increasingly sedentary with all the technology we have, people find themselves more stressed than ever. Boxing is an incredibly therapeutic way to relieve built-up tension and anger. There’s something about reaching a meditative state while smashing the bag that channels stress and anger that’s so therapeutic it can be joy.
Moving the body, intense training and increasing your confidence with hard punches is a beneficial and healthy way for anyone to relieve stress.
Learning to box will increase your confidence
As well to being great for fitness and relieving stress, one of the greatest benefits of boxing is how it increased confidence.
Parents send their children to martial arts classes to increase their confidence because it works. But it works for anyone at any age. It’s not only learning to fight. Being in a class or working one-on-one with a trainer in an intimate zone boosts confidence.
But to learn to fight, to know one can punch and protect oneself if necessary, is one of the greatest boosts for a healthy self-esteem anyone can get. And the beauty and overarching benefit of this increase in confidence and self-esteem are with you wherever you go, in everything that you do.
People have been fighting in hand-to-hand combat since the dawn of time.
Boxing, as a sport with rules and procedures, can trace its origins as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. We have documented facts and evidence in the form of incredible depictions which display men fighting with their fists in Sumerian reliefs (sculptures moulded together on a flat background).
Another relief from Egyptian Thebes from all the way back in 1350 BC depicts a fight and a crowd of spectators. These earliest images of recorded boxing show their fighters both bare-fist and sporting hand wraps.
Suffice to say, the origins of boxing have worldwide prominence just as it does today. It wasn’t only in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt we find evidence of men fighting with their fists to roaring crowds. Boxing also existed in the most ancient of civilisations, India.
Tales of brave fighters were handed down and then written down in the earliest texts, the Vedas. The Mahabharata depicts warriors fighting with clenched fists and fighting with punches, kicks, headbutts, knee strikes and finger strikes.
The fascinating history of the sport of boxing through the millennia
While the origins of boxing, that is, fighting with fists go back to the earliest recordings in human history, boxing as a sport with rules and regulations came to be in the time of the ancient greeks.
In ancient Greece boxing was a well-developed sport known as pygmachia. It was very popular. Popular enough, in fact, to be introduced as part of the 23rd Olympiad, or Olympics, as an official sport in 688 BC. The fighters would wind leather thongs around their hands to protect them.
The Greeks were hard-hitters. A fight would go on without rounds until one acknowledged total defeat or refused to go on. Weight categories were yet to be introduced so heavy fighters tended to dominate. But boxers in ancient Greece did have style.
Fighters would tend to fight in a left-leg stance. The left-arm semi-extended as a guard. They drew their right arm back steady, ready for launch. Rome followed Greece and boxing was a popular sport there, too. They even held boxing events in their amphitheatres.
These fighters wore tight leather strips to protect their knuckles. They later used harder leather for protection and the strips as weapons. And just like the Roman gladiators, boxers were revered by men, women, and children the city over.
As Rome fell, however, so did their records of boxing. But boxing resurfaced in the streets of London in the early 16th century. This form didn’t use protection. This was bare-knuckle fighting, or prizefighting as they called it. Later, through these tough heavy-hitters, the modern sport of boxing began to surface.
Quick facts and stats on boxing today
Call yourself a fan? Think you know your boxing? Here are some quick facts and stats to challenge yourself with.
Boxing history facts
Boxing goes back over 5,000 years.
Boxing has been an Olympic event since 1904.
John ‘Jack’ Broughton is known as the father of English boxing.
Injury stats and facts
13 fighters die in the ring per year on average.
Professional boxers are far more likely to suffer concussions.
Jimmy Doyle is the first fighter to die in a title match since the 1800s.
Boxing sport stats
Around 7,750 fighters were involved in boxing in England in 2020.
More than 400,000 women participated in boxing between 2018-2019.
The youngest-ever boxing world champion was 17 years old.
The greatest boxers in history
Claims for the greatest boxers in history are a contested area. And it depends on how it’s defined. But if we go by the numbers, the answers become clear.
No one can deny the fury of Mike Tyson and his near-total domination of the sport in the late 80s.
Mike Tyson, also known as Iron Mike, still holds the record for the youngest heavyweight champion. This was previously held by Muhammed Ali.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather’s defensive fighting style has helped earn him the cleanest record of all time. Floyd’s record sits at 50-0-0. He also holds the record for the first boxer to become a billionaire.
Ali captured the hearts and minds of millions around the world. Muhammed Ali was more than a fighter. He was an athlete. He was a world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. His dancing style and his resolute confidence drove him in everything he accomplished. His record is 56-5 (37 KOs).
Watching some of these big fights on Pay Per View may lead you to start thinking - how did these guys get to where they are now? Even the undisputed champions of the sport had to start somewhere. How do you get into boxing - how do you find your trainer, your promoter, get fights, get known and challenge for a title? This is a question that is considered by many who might seriously consider a career in boxing, but possibly don’t know where to start.
Boxing is a difficult sport to get into, especially if you’re a young adult. Many people just don’t quite realise the reality of boxing - you are sharing a confined space with someone who wants to hit you and knock you out, and you do this for a living. However, if your love of the sport is such that you want to do this competitively, we’ve written a very comprehensive guide on what to do, what to look out for and how to cope as an aspiring amateur or professional boxer. You do, however, need to fully understand what you’re signing up for, and we’ll discuss that in this article.
Note - this is about how to get into boxing as a boxer - and not how to get into boxing as a fan. I’ll have a separate article on that shortly.
Boxing competitively - what you must realise
We talk about the mental toughness required to be a boxer later in this article, but before you start looking at getting into boxing seriously, you need to have some idea of why you want to do it. Honestly, if you’re just looking to get fit, this probably isn’t the right thing to do. Yes, box, by all means - but if you just want to lose a few kilos, getting into the ring with an experienced sparring partner is not the easiest way of doing this. Besides, you’ll need to be at a certain level of fitness before you’re even allowed to do this.
Boxing provides a huge number of benefits even to those who don’t do it competitively. In addition to being a great way to get in shape, boxing will improve your confidence, your self-esteem, your health, your respect and your ability to defend yourself. Boxing will change your life if you do it properly - it will teach you that no matter how good you are, there’s always someone who can humble you - but at the same, it gives you a level of self-esteem and toughness that in my opinion is unmatched in any other sport.
If you have a love for the sport, see it as a way to make a living, and you have the patience and the mental strength to realise that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but it will change your life, that’s more than enough reason to get down to the gym and start training.
Finding a gym
This kind of goes without saying - you need somewhere to train. It isn’t going to be enough to buy a heavy bag and train in your garage if you want to make it in boxing. You need the expertise of a coach, the experience of sparring, and the environment of being surrounded by other boxers if you’re ever going to fight seriously.
The easy way of doing this is just looking for a boxing gym online. Most gyms now have websites, and dedicated social media profiles where they show off the achievements of the fighters who train the gym. Often the gyms are run by former professional boxers who may have their own social media presence. Your first port of call should be search engines or social media sites in order to find a gym locally. Once you’ve found one, do a bit of research on boxers who’ve come out of the gym, and what they’ve achieved - this should give you some kind of indication of the quality of the gym - although a gym that hasn’t produced top-level competition doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad gym. What you can also do is do a search for boxers from your area and see where they trained - again, this gives you an indication of the quality of the training you might get.
One thing to be very sure about, though, is that the gym is local and is easy enough for you to get to. You’re going to be there very often - at least five times in a week, and probably for up to two hours at a time. Do the gym’s opening times fit around your schedule - or can you move your schedule to accommodate when the gym is open? How far away is the gym? You don’t want to be driving for hours just to get there - you need to pick somewhere that’s reasonably close and local to you.
You should spend some time evaluating the gym and its equipment and facilities. Most importantly is that you need to be sure that the coaching offered at the gym is a good fit for you - if you’re training with a coach that you don’t gel with, you’re wasting your time. You’ll need to give it at least a few months to make this decision, but if you feel you’re in a position where you’re not making progress after this time you need to look for somewhere else. Also, pay attention to the equipment - is it looked after, or are things broken and never fixed?
I want to touch on this as I feel it’s actually the most important aspect of becoming a boxer. It comes as a harsh realisation to many, but if you’re going to box competitively, you need to understand this.
There is not a fighter on this planet in any kind of combat sport, that has not had their ass handed to them at one point. Losing is inevitable - even for the best in the sport.
This is not a bad thing. However, you are delusional if you think you will never lose. And losing is a hard thing to accept - in fact, you shouldn’t accept it, it should give you the drive and the passion to get back in the gym and work on your flaws. Failing will only ever make you better in the long run.
However, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Don’t be that guy who walks out of the gym after losing a sparring session because you can’t accept the fact that you weren’t the better man.
Boxing is hard. Take a step back for a second and think about what it actually involves - you need to get your body into better shape than 99% of other people. Not only that, you need to be in a certain type of shape - you need to have huge stamina, and you need to be lean. And you need to do this just to be able to play the game - nobody’s giving you any titles just for being in shape. Not only this but you need to keep your body at a certain weight for large portions of your career, and if you can’t make that weight come fight time, you won’t be able to box.
And when you do make the weight, and you get into the gym, you’re going to think you can box, and your coach is going to tell you you’re fighting like a clown. You might have some naturally good punches that won’t need a lot of attention in the gym but there will be others that will take you months and even years to get right. And if your coach is any good, they won’t sugar coat your flaws - because if they did, you wouldn’t take them seriously and you’d get yourself knocked out. You need to be able to go into a gym, listen to your coach, internalise their advice and actively work on yourself and your boxing.
And all of this is hard, and someone who’s weak mentally won’t be able to do it. And this is before you get into the ring opposite the guy who wants to put you on the canvas - that’s a whole level of mental toughness in itself.
We discuss the financial impact of equipment later in the article, but it’s worth discussing your equipment as a separate topic. You aren’t going to be able to train properly unless you have your own stuff. Yes, some gyms have communal equipment for you to use - but I wouldn’t particularly want to share some other guy’s groin guard. You need your own stuff.
You don’t necessarily need to have everything from day one - but if you’re taking this seriously, you’ll need to make an investment in your future, bite the bullet and get hold of some decent stuff. And when I say decent stuff, I don’t mean that you need to buy the best gloves on the market just to start sparring, but also don’t buy the cheapest synthetic pair of crappy gloves you can find on Amazon. Go for a decent brand like RDX, TITLE, etc - a middle of the road brand that will provide you with a reliable product without breaking the bank.
A really important consideration is that if you’re going to be sparring, you need 16oz gloves. Get a pair of bag gloves and sparring gloves and do not mix them up - training on the heavy bag with your sparring gloves will compress the padding and make it much more uncomfortable for your opponent. If you have anything less than 16oz gloves, you likely won’t be allowed to spar in most gyms.
We put together a full equipment list later in the article, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves - start with a good pair of gloves and wraps, and work your way up from there.
Commitment to training
Let’s be clear - you won’t get anywhere if you’re not committed to boxing. Committed doesn’t mean walking into the gym once per week and doing 15 minutes on the heavy bag, standing around chatting and then going home. You need to be putting in serious work in the gym for you to reap the benefits of boxing, and for you to have any chance at making a living out of the sport.
I liken this to being a professional musician. Not some guy who plays in a band on the weekend for fun, but someone who actively wants to play in an orchestra and will be willing to spend hours and hours and hours every day, correcting even the tiniest of mistakes that hardly anyone is going to notice. Think of it this way - could you learn to be a concert violinist? Of course you could, with enough practice. You have arms and fingers, just like the best concert musicians have. However, could you learn to do this in a few hours, or even a few months? Not a chance. You need to put in the time, you need to put in the work, and you need to study - and you’re going to FAIL. No two ways about it. But fail enough times and you’ll start to succeed.
You need to be in the gym a minimum of ten hours per week. If you’re not doing this, you aren’t going to get the opportunities to fight that you want. And like I mentioned - this needs to be time spent working. You need to give boxing at least this much time, and you need to work the rest of your schedule around it in order to gain enough experience. You also need your coach’s confidence that you’re ready for a fight - they aren’t going to put you in for a bout if they think you’re going to get KO’ed, and the only way you’re going to ensure they have confidence in you is if you show up to the gym, work, and listen to what they have to say.
Starting as an amateur or a professional?
This is a big consideration for any aspiring fighter, and it’s really important to realise that there are significant distinctions between both. For example - how amateur boxing is scored is very different vs professional boxing, the number of rounds is lower, etc. Many fighters don’t like the amateurs and turn pro quickly - others prefer the amateur field and don’t ever turn pro.
Of course, if you’re going to earn any money from boxing, you’ll have to turn pro sometime. However, there’s no stipulation that you have to fight at the amateurs at all - you could quite simply turn pro without ever having a real sanctioned fight before, and there are people who have done this. I personally feel this is a big disadvantage, for good reason:
Nobody cares about your amateur record.
Everyone cares about your professional record.
What this means is that you could have 50 fights as an amateur and lose every single one of them, but as soon as you turn pro, the slate is wiped clean. You’re 0-0-0. It makes much more sense to get some fights and experience behind you before you turn pro, simply because if you turn pro straight away, lessons you could have learned in the amateurs when nobody cares about whether you win or lose you’re now learning as a professional where it’ll result in a black mark on your record.
Unfortunately there’s a lot of record discrimination in boxing - and this does make sense even if only for commercial purposes. Do you think fans will be more interested in watching someone who’s 10-0 who lost 12 fights at amateur and learned their lessons when it wasn’t going to tarnish their record, or someone who’s 10-12-0 and turned pro with no amateur experience - despite the fact that these fighters might be equally good?
If you get to this stage as a pro, you’re never going to be able to challenge for a significant belt - people just won’t give you the time of day. You’ll be seen as a journeyman - the guy who fights up and comers and is likely to get knocked out. This isn’t where you want to be in your career - you’ll never attract media attention (except maybe as a sideshow if you get knocked out badly enough) and you’re never going to make any significant money out of the sport. You might as well get the word “opponent” tattooed on your head - because that’s the only way anyone will see you any more - someone to test fighters that promoters have invested in.
One thing that is also worth mentioning is that you may be able to get the attention of a promoter at amateur level - which will help you in your career. If you win a significant amateur belt or tournament, or even get picked for the Olympics, people will notice you - especially people who can get you fights and get you on TV. A good example of this is Amir Khan, who was something of a celebrity before he ever turned pro - and there was definitely an element of this in him booking his first few pro fights.
Another thing to consider seriously is how you’re going to afford to be a boxer. This might seem a little bit of a silly thing to say when you see guys like Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua driving around in fancy cars and living in huge houses, but these are the guys who’ve made it to the point where they’re highly marketable athletes. You, as maybe an amateur boxer who’s had a good few fights, aren’t in a position to be making any kind of money out of your fighting, and even when you turn pro, your first few fights aren’t going to pay you enough to make a living.
The main concern here is the thousands of hours you’ll need to put into your craft in order to get to the point where you can even start fighting. If you’re not at a particular level of fitness in the first place many coaches won’t even let you in the gym. And the one thing it takes to develop this level of fitness and hone your boxing craft? Time. And it’s time you won’t be paid for.
On top of this you are going to have associated costs with being a boxer. You will need to buy your own gear - trust me, I’ve been in a situation where I’ve been at the gym and had to use a spare pair of gloves that were lying around, and it’s very unpleasant. Other people’s gear stinks, and you need your own. I’ve put together something of a shopping list below, but this is really the bare minimum you need while you’re in the gym.
Heavy bag gloves
Hand wraps or gel inserts
You’ll also want to look at some of your own training gear, such as maybe your own skipping rope.
All of this costs money - and you can’t buy crap, you need to buy something that’s at least half decent. Unless you have a rich uncle who can bankroll your boxing career, you’ll need to invest in yourself and your own gear - which means fitting your boxing training around a job.
And this is just to be in a position to show up at the gym. Many gyms are going to charge membership fees - which you’ll need to budget for. Then if you have a fight scheduled and the sanctioning body requires a medical, you’ll need to pay for that. If your fight is an hour’s drive away, you’ll need to budget for travel, for a hotel, etc - it all adds up. Likely you’re going to end up carrying a bit of debt until your boxing starts paying to cover your expenses.
The other thing to think about is that if you’re fighting on a regular basis and you have a regular job, you need to think about how your boxing is going to impact this job. Now, if you work in an office and you never see a customer, you’re probably not going to be affected by this too much - I’m sure it’ll be an interesting story to tell if you ever show up with a broken nose, but it might not necessarily affect your employability. However, if you work retail, or any kind of job where you need to meet with clients or customers, it probably won’t give a good impression if you turn up for work and you look like you’ve been beaten up. Additionally if you have some kind of manual labour job and a boxing injury prevents you from doing that job, you might have to go off sick for a while - which affects your income.
The build up to your first fight
As I mentioned previously, you won’t even be considered for a fight if you’re not ready. Getting to the stage where you’re ready to get into the ring for the first time for real takes a lot of work, and there’s a lot of things you need to consider.
Firstly, you may need to cut weight if you’re likely to come in over your weight limit. Your coach will be experienced in this and will show you what to do, but what this involves is diet and dehydration in order to make a particular weight, which you’ll then put back on again after the weigh in. This is a really dangerous thing to do without the proper experience as you can make yourself sick, and is something you really need to take guidance from your trainer on. Even if you’re not preparing for a fight, you should be watching your weight anyway and trying to keep it roughly in the range of your weight class so you’re not having to go through this process weeks before a fight.
Additionally you will find yourself suffering from nerves. The week before the fight, you need to take things easy - training extra hard isn’t going to help, as if you haven’t done enough work by now, or you’re not in good enough shape, it just isn’t going to happen - there isn’t enough time. Take things easy in the gym - don’t spend hours and hours on the heavy bag, spar light, do mitt work and shadowboxing. You need to keep yourself sharp, but don’t over exert yourself.
Finally, relax - all the work and all your training has led you to this moment. Make the most of it. Win a few fights and it might be you challenging for a belt one day.