TITLE Boxing Blog

From inside the gym to around the world of combat sports, the TITLE Boxing Blog keeps you up-to-date with the latest MMA and Boxing news, training tips and fighting techniques. This is the kind of info you need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Author Archives: Doug Ward

After fighting as an amateur up until the age of twenty-one, Douglas Ward moved on to work in the boxing equipment industry, became a trainer, a fight manager and shares his passion for the sport of boxing at every opportunity. After spending over 30 years in various aspects of the fight game, he’s become an ongoing advocate for the sport and has touched nearly every aspect from corner to corner. After spending the past eleven years in the marketing arena, while running his own boxing company on the side, Douglas’ career has now come full circle, when he recently joined the Title Boxing Team as their Director of Marketing. This partnership creates the perfect combination of equipment design and development, historical insights and in-depth boxing training expertise. Douglas is also President of the Underground Boxing Company. Since its inception in 2002, the UBC has focused on preserving the integrity and respectability of the sport. The UBC serves a team of amateur and professional boxers through a comprehensive management/training system while striving to protect the financial, physical and spiritual well-being of its athletes. Douglas, the UBC and Title Boxing's FIGHTERS FIRST mentality is what the sport of boxing is all about. It is a philosophy they will continue to foster and promote.

  • All the Rage - Jake "The Raging Bull" LaMotta

    All the Rage - Jake "The Raging Bull" LaMotta

    Who was The Raging Bull?

    The complexities that made Jake LaMotta such an interesting character, so much so that Martin Scorsese made the infamous film about his tumultuous life entitled, "Raging Bull," also made him one of the most dangerous fighters of his era.

    LaMotta learned how to fight at an early age, while his father threw him into street fights for the entertainment of neighbors, passed the hat, took side bets, Jake began formulating his fearless fighting style. His natural transition into the professional ring saw him winning his first 14 fights in a row and it was the epitome of on the job training. Amidst a tough middleweight division and stiff competition, LaMotta developed a difficult style for any fighter to face. His chin was unquestionably unbreakable. His ability to roll with punches as easily as he absorbed them was uncanny. His instinct for infighting and drawing his opponent into a brawl was a strong suite.  And his unrelenting bullying, stalking and willingness to trade earned him a showdown with Sugar Ray Robinson in 1942.

    This confrontation with the great Sugar Ray Robinson would be the first of SIX meetings the two would have over the next nine years. Even though he only won one of their multiple outings, “The Bronx Bull” became Robinson's greatest nemesis. He became Robinson's defining adversary who brought out the best in Robinson every time they squared-off.  Their fights were highly anticipated and are, still today, a perfect example of the Bull versus the Matador ring scenario.

    LaMotta spent over 65 rounds and 169 minutes with possibly the greatest fighter of all time, and was still able to boast that "No son-of-a-bitch ever knocked me off my feet." Although that claim ended in December of 1952, when Danny Nardico dropped “The Bronx Bull” in the seventh round.  LaMotta fell into the ropes and went down for the first time, it was clearly toward the end of LaMotta’s career and well beyond his prime.

    There’s no question that, in an era of tough fighters and the stiffest competition, Jake LaMotta came up the hard way.  In a career spanning two weight divisions and 13 years, he fought the great Sugar Ray, the mafia, all comers and walked away in 1954 with an astounding 106 bouts on his ledger.  “The Raging Bull” lived a life worthy of recognition and would ultimately be immortalized on the big screen by Oscar-winning actor, Robert De Niro.  He is a legendary fighter who has created a Legacy worthy of a champion.

    Get your officially licensed "Bronx Bull" tees here: http://www.titleboxing.com/jake-lamotta-bronx-bull-title-legacy-tee

  • Taking a Punch, Better

    Taking a Punch, Better

    How to Take a Punch

    How to condition yourself for getting hit.

    Being able to get hit and keep coming forward has always been an admitted trait in boxing.  Hearing that you have a granite jaw or a good "beard" is about the best compliment you can pay a fighter.   On the other hand, no one wants to be suspected to having a glass jaw or a “questionable chin.”

    Let's hope you don’t fall into the second category, but if you have any doubts or just want to go the extra mile to be able to "eat leather," there are a handful of exercises you can do to improve the strength of your jaw.  Obviously you want to avoid taking a clean blow, but if it happens, there are steps you can take to make your jaw more shatterproof.

    Your first line of defense is a quality mouthpiece. Don't cut corners or try to save money here. Your sense and cents are both precious, so in this case, don't be afraid to put your money where your mouth is.  Even if a high grade mouthpiece provides a small increase in your ability to absorb a punch, it’s worth the investment. Don’t you think?

    There are also a couple of exercises you can do to strengthen your jaw muscles:

    1. Place your fist under your jaw and apply upward pressure. While doing this, slowly open your mouth. Keep the pressure and the amount of resistance consistent. Perform this movement about ten times.
    2. After that, make a fist and place it against the right side of your jaw. Apply steady pressure and push your jaw against it and out of alignment. Reverse this movement and do the same thing on the left. Doing these two movements each ten times will work well.
    3. Next, place your fist on the point of your chin and jut your jaw out, again applying steady resistance. Do this ten times too.

    Another trick is an old timer’s approach. Fighters from the past have been known to chew on flexible, but tough materials to strengthen their jaw muscles. Jack Dempsey, for instance, constantly chewed on a piece of leather and HE had a rock solid chin. Although it's not as hard or doesn't sound as tough, gum chewing has some equal benefits. It might not be as demanding as gnawing on a piece of leather, but it's a little more socially acceptable and certainly more convenient.

    In the end, frankly, it all comes down to the fact that some guys are blessed with the ability to take a good shot, while others just aren't genetically gifted in  that way. In either case, the more you can do to NOT leave it all up to chance, the better off you'll be when that chin-checker moment happens.

  • Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

    Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

    The most successful people in this world, the most highly acclaimed and well-respected individuals, have reached their positions because of a shared attribute - they simply love, are driven by or have a passion for what they do.  Some guys and gals in this sport, who want that level of success, might say “I love boxing, but I get so nervous that I don’t enjoy fighting.” Fair enough.

    There is no doubt that boxing is absolutely different than any other sport, especially in terms of what it demands from you physically and mentally. The risks, the fear and possible failure always loom on the horizon.  It can be scary, so how in the world can anyone enjoy THAT? The answer is that many athletes DO enjoy it.  They’ve learned that with the right approach, the right system, many of those stresses can be diminished.  More enjoyment can be created through repetition, experience, preparation and the right outlook. Yeah, that sounds easy enough doesn't it? Maybe too easy. Maybe not.

    Let’s look at it, you apply it and then you be the judge:

    REPETITION is an activity done, with precision and care, over and over and over.  It is execution of the basics until they become intuitive. Knowing your craft with an “eyes closed” mentality is key to top performance.

    Next, any successful athlete, actor or entrepreneur will tell you that they improved through EXPERIENCE. Learning from your mistakes, shrugging it off and going right back up to bat is experience.  It's not just winning.

    PREPARATION is crucial for being able to enjoy what you do.  Otherwise, it’s kind of like cramming for a test at 2am. It's not very effective and robs you of knowing what you need to know, as opposed to walking into a situation feeling totally prepared.  When you have done everything possible and are confident in your abilities…then you're rewarded with the sense of ease that comes with it.

    Finally, you need to be exercising the RIGHT OUTLOOK.  Sometimes performance anxiety is a result of faulty thinking. When you take a look at your worries, try looking at them logically, instead of emotionally. Be honest with yourself.  State your fear.  Consider it and ask “Why am I afraid of this?” Go through the whole list until you've called each one out. Oftentimes you’ll find that once you've brought it up and out in the open, it might not have as much significance as you'd thought at first.

    The key to exceptional performance in any career or pursuit is enjoyment. It's not a prerequisite in all instances, but you certainly up your chances of success by loving what you do. Commit to these basic principles and you may soon find yourself grinning from ear to ear… behind a mouthpiece of course.

  • Risk vs. Reward

    Risk vs. Reward

    Double End Bag Training

    Although every bag and piece of equipment has a unique purpose, I've always felt that the double end bag is the most demanding and, therefore, the most beneficial. When used correctly, it forces the action, keeps you thinking about offense and defense and, in general, requires more focus. It can test your willingness to go all-out in training and could potentially expose you, if you can’t match its pace or speed. That's the exact reason why many fighters avoid it.

    Frankly, it is hard. It requires focus. It's frustrating. It's not easy work.

    When you think about it, approaching the double end bag kind of parallels life. Many boxers, especially when they’re starting out, tend to hold back. They hesitate. They won’t fully commit to a punch because they want to wait for the "right time" to throw and they only want to throw when they KNOW the punch will land. Specifically, on the double end bag, they want to be sure they can catch-it and land a solid, satisfying hit. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. For some, their approach to life is very similar. Most people are scared to make mistakes. They're afraid to look silly and risk being embarrassed, so they make the easy choice. They take the path of least resistance. They try to fly under the radar and do just enough to get by, without drawing attention to themselves. Unfortunately, that's not how you get better. You get better by doing uncomfortable things. You improve by taking risks, potentially looking dumb, even foolish. That is the risk = reward dilemma many people are faced with in life and boxers have to confront every day in the gym. It’s the only way you ultimately win.

    The moral of the story is; you have to throw punches, not knowing if they're going to land. You have to have faith, confidence and know that, eventually, you'll connect. One punch landed, leads to two. Two punches lead to four and eventually you pick-up the rhythm of the double end bag. Once you get the rhythm and timing down, that’s when you can really begin to excel. That’s when you improve. That's when life comes together for you...when you stop waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect punch and you just THROW.

    In the end though, it has to start with that first step into the unknown, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. This is where most people fail, due to fear. They don't fail from an inability to learn or lack of physical skill. They fail due to the crippling fear of the unknown and unwillingness to risk. Muhammad Ali put it best when he said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

    Live life. Throw punches and be willing to make mistakes. Whether it's a bag or big dreams in front of you, dare to risk, miss and even completely fail. It might be a little rough at first, but being comfortable is highly overrated. Put yourself out there. No one ever achieved anything great by playing it safe.

    Grab your double end bag here.

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