At the corporate fighter boxing gym in Sydney, we see a lot of amateur boxers going in to their first fight. We get asked a lot of questions about how do I train for my first fight? There are a lot of emotions going through the head of a boxer fighting for the first time, but the thing they are most worried about is being nervous. The simple answer for most of the questions being asked by first time fighters can be solved by one thing only, Preparation. If you are nervous going into a fight, it probably means that you haven’t trained hard enough. You may be nervous about performing in front of a crowd of people. The gravity of being on show in a physical contest where the risk of defeat and injury are very real can sometimes make people feel overwhelmed when they are doing it for the first time. Again, you can never be over-prepared.
The harder you work in training in the months leading up to your fight, the more right you have to be in the ring on fight night. If you didn’t train at 100% the whole time, you deserve to be nervous. By the time you enter the ring on fight night, you should have experienced the punishment of hard training in the boxing gym and paid your dues. This fight is your prize, your compensation for the hard work. This fight is your moment. It should not be something to be nervous of or scared about. It should be something that you have earned the right to own. Own it.
A big differentiation between boxers in the ring on fight night is fitness. The conditioned fighter has many more options in the ring to dominate and they will get a lot luckier as the fight draws on. On fight night you will have three bouts of two minutes each and you will potentially feeling physically wrecked after the first thirty seconds. Remember that this a high intensity sport. Six minutes in the ring at this intensity is a lot. Resilience will count all through the match, but especially in the final round. If you haven’t gotten your fitness to a level that can sustain that kind of performance, then you have essentially been negligent in your training. Use this as a tool to keep you motivated throughout your training. Being humiliated in the ring in front of a bunch of friends and colleagues in the last round because your stamina died prematurely should be a strong incentive to go that extra mile during training.
Once you are in the ring and that first round has commenced – keep your body relaxed. If you tense up, you will not be able to deliver as much power in your punches. Remember your technique and breathe. Your breathing during this contest is your energy, it is your sustainability. Keep breathing with each action you take in this fight. If your opponent does not do the same, then it is your advantage.
Be confident in the ring, aggressive even. You are not sparring anymore, this is fight night. This is competition. Make your opponent feel like he is going to be hurt by you – this will unnerve him and possibly force him into making big mistakes. When you hit him, make sure he knows he has been hit and follow up with more punches. Keep moving, a moving target is much harder to hit than a still target. Be cautious of your opponents counter attack, being careless will get you knocked out.
This is your night. You have earned the right to be here. Don’t let anyone else own it.