Odd and Fun Ways to Better Yourself for Boxing Without Boxing

Boxing is a gruelling sport, requiring full body fitness and sharpness of mind. You may be able to swing a good punch, but that’s not worth much if your footwork is off, or if you haven’t got the stamina to go 12 rounds, or if you can’t outthink your opponent in the purest of sports. Many of the great boxers found their edge by going beyond the ring for their training and in the build-up to fights.

Muhammad Ali went to a secluded cabin and cut down trees before he fought Joe Frazier for a second time, and to put the fear into Chris Eubank, Steve Collins claimed that he’d been seeing a hypnotist. In the end, all that you have in the ring are your fists, so any way that you can find an edge can help you to get past your next opponent. Here, we’re keeping it light and venturing to some of the odd and fun ways that you can improve outside of the boxing gym.

Get those feet working

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Vasyl Lomachenko is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of his generation. Seeing him in the ring, it’s easy to see how he earned the nickname ‘The Matrix,’ with his swift upper-body movement and precision punching never failing to baffle foes when he’s on top form.

Now 17-2 as a professional, Lomachenko owes a lot of his skill to the somewhat bizarre training regimes that his father put him through. From a young age, he partook in many different sports, and for a time, he wasn’t allowed to box, and had to take lessons in ballet instead.

When you see how he tees up combinations, switches stance, and shifts to the outside without his opponents even having time to move their guard, it’s easy to see where ballet came in use. As it’s all about balance and strength in your toes, and the generation of power begins in your toes when boxing, ballet can prove to be very useful.

Thinking strategically about the outcomes

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Boxing is such a pure sport that, when defending, you need to think about a straight, hook, uppercut, or perhaps a shovel coming your way. Each requires a slight adjustment of the guard. On the offensive, you can throw combinations, look for patterns, and work out the odds or habitual nature of your foe putting up the same blocks.

This is where fast critical thinking can come in handy. If you can swiftly assess the habits of the boxer, the likelihood of them throwing a certain block or counter, and know how to get around it, you’ll have them in your pocket all night.

To better get your mind in this state of play, you can turn to the classic card game of blackjack. By using blackjack guides, you can quickly get to grips with the rules, side bets, and potential outcomes, as well as work in strategic thinking for probability. When you get a hand, you need to quickly assess the best play, be it hit, fold, or stand, all of which comes down to assessing the cards in front of you and the potential outcomes.

Whole body flexibility 

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Even heavyweights can benefit from being flexible from head to toe. Having the ability to pivot quickly, or quickly fling your arms back up in front offers natural advantages in boxing. To get the kind of flexibility that will not only enhance your reactions and movement, but also help to stave off potential injuries, it’s best to turn to gymnastics.

One of the greatest mixed martial art fighters of all time, Georges St-Pierre, was famed for his gymnastics training, and it just so happens that Lomachenko also trains on gymnastics apparatus, such as the rings. The sheer strength and agility required make gymnastics a superb underlying activity to get into to improve in just about any sport.

For some fun and odd ways to improve at boxing, consider sports that few would associate with boxing, or even the mind games of a classic card game.  


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years