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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.

Inspiration

  • The Mastery of Muhammad Ali

    The Mastery of Muhammad Ali

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Yes, he stakes claim to the title The Greatest of All Time. Many historians even consider him the best fighter, Pound-for-Pound, of any era. His power and presence extended far beyond the boxing ring; but what truly makes Muhammad Ali one of the best fighters to ever lace-up a pair of boxing gloves is a combination of traits that few athletes are able to wrap into one package.

    Let's break these down and look at each one, starting from the top:

    His jab. Jimmy Jacobs, who owned the world’s largest collection of fight films, once stated that, “On film tests with a synchronizer, Ali’s jab was faster than even Sugar Ray Robinson’s.” Jacobs contended that Ali was not only the fastest heavyweight, but also the fastest fighter he had ever seen on film. On top of the speed, Ali also used it accurately and often. He used it to dictate the pace of the fight and the range the bout was fought at. It is as simple as that.

    His footwork. He used it like military ground forces. His feet dictated when and where war would be waged. His quickness carried him in and out of trouble and was used to frustrate his opponents. Ali was always on his toes to maximize mobility and gain leverage on every punch.

    His reflexes. His speed and keen sense of the ring made him a difficult target to hit. He was able to make his opponents miss their punches by millimeters while always staying in position to counterpunch.

    His ring intelligence.  Muhammad Ali had a boxing IQ that vanquished more opponents than his athleticism did. From positioning to purpose, Ali was able to slow the action down, control it and simply react.

    His showmanship. To say he was the ultimate showman would be an understatement. He was a promoter, a publicist, and a performer all rolled up into one superior athlete.  This unique combination to "work a room" gave him the ability to name the round, give the reporters their story and the fans their money’s worth.

    His resilience. Although he shared the ring with some of the greatest punchers to ever climb through the ropes, Muhammad Ali only tasted the canvas four times, in 61 total fights. Henry Cooper dropped him into the ropes in the fifth round of their first encounter and Joe Frazier had him on the seat of his trunks in the 14th in the first of their legendary trilogy. Sonny Banks and Chuck Wepner even have bragging rights to have gotten Ali down, although Wepner’s was questionable. Beyond that, Muhammad Ali tasted and weathered the fire power of some of boxing history’s most enormous power punchers like Sonny Liston, Ernie Shavers and George Foreman. When his amazing defensive skills failed him, Muhammad Ali was still able to stand up against huge punches and a tremendous amount of punishment...maybe to his detriment.

    There are many nuances to Muhammad Ali's personality, in and out of the ring. His passion as a fighter, his compassion as a human being, and an insatiable appetite to shake up the world is a pursuit that no fighter can go wrong in trying to accomplish. Mimicking the best traits Ali had to offer may not make you the greatest, but…will allow you to make your mark.

    Shop Ali apparel and equipment here.

  • The Fight Continues

    The Fight Continues

    By Laura Newton

    "Laura, um, um," said the voice reluctantly over the phone "I asked the pathologist to check the samples over and over again because I couldn't believe the results...the tumor is malignant; it's cancer. It's cancer. I'm sorry to be calling you so late on your cell phone but I will be away at a conference for a few days and I just have to tell you that it's a very aggressive cancer. I recommend you have it removed as quickly as possible."  I looked down at the clock, it was about 10:15pm. I sat there in my car staring at a brick wall. It seems almost symbolic now.

    I had been driving and pulled over to talk to the doctor and prepare myself for the results that I had been waiting on since this roller-coaster ride began a couple of weeks before. After I hung up the phone, I knew my life would never be the same again. I literally hit a brick wall and could not continue the way I was going. I cried. I now know they were tears of anger more than anything. How did I get here? Where do I go from here? Do I have it in me to even figure it out? Is this the end? No, it can't be. This can't be how my story ends! I made up my mind right then and there that I was going to do anything I had to do to get rid of this cancer and make sure it NEVER returns again. Whether or not I would survive was no longer a question in my mind!

    10.4.17 the fight continues sub 1 Laura Newton

    I didn't realize it at the time but anger fueled my desire to fight for my life. I was angry at myself for allowing this to happen to me and why now? I had just separated from my husband and our 12-year marriage had come to an end. In my marriage I had settled into a very comfortable sedentary lifestyle. I stopped exercising, indulged in the typical "American Fast Food Diet" and gained a lot of weight. At 5'2", I weighed over 160 lbs. I masked many health issues like depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders with medications. I had completely gotten away from all that I knew was good for me and sacrificed my health for the sake of convenience. No more cutting corners, a drastic change needed to happen in order for me to not only survive this but to thrive afterwards.

    I did just as the doctor recommended, I had the cancer cut out as quickly as I could and had three major surgeries in less than one year. While in treatment I had to be away from my children for long periods of time. I remember many times telling my daughter over the phone that cancer was like a war in a city. "After you win the war, you have to rebuild your city. I'm sorry I can't be there with you and your brother. Mommy is rebuilding her city." I tried my best to not let her hear the heartbreak in my voice. Being away from my children made my desire to survive and persevere even stronger and somewhere along the way the anger that was driving me was replaced by love. The love for my children, the love for my family, my Jesus, my body, my LIFE! I decided not to do any other treatment after the surgeries, my body had gone through enough. I was going to do things differently from that point forward. I had no idea how I was going to do it but I was going to figure it out. I knew the first step was to forgive myself for neglecting my health and then to direct the anger towards the cancer fight. It wasn't about blaming myself, it was more about taking responsibility for the state my life was in so that I could begin to make changes.

    I began by researching different ways to take care of my health and my research kept leading me back to my roots, natural medicine and chiropractic care. I started to evaluate every product I use or consume, eliminating many toxic products from my daily use including medications and alcohol. I started drinking a lot of water, eating a lot of vegetables and avoiding animal products, sugars and preservatives as much as possible. My weight came back down to 105 lbs. but the biggest transformation started to take place several years ago when I was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu is a form of submission grappling, similar to wrestling where you submit your opponent via choke or joint lock. Jiu-jitsu teaches techniques that allow a smaller person to defeat a much bigger opponent. As I learned these techniques, I began to feel so empowered; growing stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.

    10.4.17 the fight continues sub 2 Laura Newton

    In 2015, I married my boyfriend, a martial arts instructor who introduced me to Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu. That same year I competed in my first jiu-jitsu tournament and won a gold medal. I am now a Blue Belt. I train regularly with my husband who is a Brown Belt and I assist him in coaching. One day I hope to coach women's jiu-jitsu, as I believe it to be the most effective form of self-defense for women. My son, who is now ten, is a Yellow Belt. Jiu-jitsu has brought him such confidence that he has also taken up rock climbing and is rapidly excelling. My daughter is now 16, and she wrestles in high school. Some of our best bonding time is spent out in our garage that's been converted into a gym. She teaches me wrestling techniques, I teach her jiu-jitsu, and we grapple. My step son is 19, he wrestled through high school and wrestling provided a scholarship for him. He is now a sophomore in college. In the last year, my husband and I have taken up rock climbing and bouldering (climbing without a rope). We fell in love with climbing as we did with jiu-jitsu, and we now climb regularly. At 40 years old I am in better shape than I have ever been. I don't take any medications since I don't have those symptoms anymore. Most importantly, I have remained cancer-free for seven years and I am thriving! I rebuilt my city and reinforced it with something so much more powerful than steel; Love. The love from my children, my husband, my Jesus. Love is the reason I was able to transform my life, my body, my mind. Love is the reason I will continue to fight like a girl! I have been asked, “What exactly does that mean?” Well, there's a reason you never hear anyone say, "I was in the woods when all of a sudden I came across a Papa Bear and his cubs and I was terrified."  No! It's Mama Bear you have to fear when her cubs are in danger! There is no force more powerful than a mother trying to protect her young. As women, we have tremendous power lying dormant inside.

    As I sat and stared at that brick wall that night, I thought of my children in danger of growing up without their mother. It was not fair to them for me to choose to do anything other than to fight with all the power in me; to fight like a girl! Cancer was like that unpleasant alarm that jolts you awake way before you're ready. I'm awake, I'm ready, and I'm NOT going back to sleep! The fight continues.

    *This article is a follow-up to a 2012 article also written by Laura Newton. To read her first article please click here.

    To shop the Breast Cancer Awareness and Young Survival Coalition-branded apparel and equipment click here. 10% of all proceeds from the sale of select pink products through the month of October go to YSC and its mission of providing resources for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Pound-for-Pound the Sweetest Fighter Ever: Sugar Ray Robinson

    Pound-for-Pound the Sweetest Fighter Ever: Sugar Ray Robinson

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing*

    His fundamentally sound fighting style, combined with blazing hand speed and knockout power in both hands, established Sugar Ray Robinson as what many would consider, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter of the century. He was also one of the pioneers of modern-day boxing.

    Even the Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali described Ray Robinson as, "The king, the master…my idol." Robinson’s influence on him and many of today’s fighters can still be seen and was absolutely instrumental in some of the liberties boxers of today experience. He was one of the first fighters to begin making demands, dictating his own terms and creating his own rules about how the game would be played. Inside and outside of the boxing ring, Ray Robinson left an indelible mark as a trend-setter, torch-bearer and everlasting example.

    Although Robinson had actually been born Walker Smith, Jr (he had no middle name), he learned early on in his career and quest to become a fighter, how to work the system in his favor. When he was just fifteen years old, three years too young to legally fight, he tried to enter his first boxing match and when asked for his AAU membership card (to prove that he was an amateur and not a professional), his coach submitted one from a fellow fighter who no longer showed up at the gym. The certificate he used had the name “Ray Robinson” on it, so from that day forward, that’s who he became. He later picked up the additional nickname of “Sugar” after knocking-out a highly-regarded amateur from Canada who was stopping all of his opponents. At 118lbs. Robinson was giving up eight pounds against a bigger guy, but after stopping him in the very first round with a left hook, a New York sports editor told Robinson’s coach, “That’s a sweet fighter you got there. A real sweet fighter.” A lady sitting ringside overheard the comment and added, “As sweet as sugar!” You can guess how his name read the next day in the paper. “Sugar” Ray Robinson would ultimately go on to amass an amateur record of 85-0 with 69 of his victories ending in a knockout, 40 of them in the very first round!

    Turning professional in 1940 at the age of nineteen, Robinson raked up a professional record of 128–1–2 with 84 knockouts by 1951. In that span he began setting new rules in the business of boxing, as it related to the hot commodity called Sugar Ray Robinson, becoming the first fighter to demand and receive a percentage of television, theater and gate revenues. And by the mid 1940s he was commanding an unheard of $50,000 per fight.

    He was one of very few fighters at that time, who had enough power and pull on his own that we was able to avoid any mafia ties and outright denied them the ability to have any control over his career. Robinson also understood the value of diversification and the power of leveraging his boxing popularity. In addition to a few ventures into the song and dance and entertainment field, he was also able to capitalize on his celebrity by owning a literal city block of businesses in Harlem. Among a few were; Sugar Ray’s Quality Cleaners, the Golden Gloves Barber Shop, Sugar Ray’s Bar and Grill and Sugar Ray Enterprises.

    Robinson was able to accomplish and maintain all of this, while remaining a rising star, at the top of his game. From 1943 to 1951 Robinson was unbeaten in ninety one fights, the third longest streak in boxing history. He held the welterweight title for five consecutive years, from 1946-1951 and was the five-time middleweight champion between 1951 and 1960. His historic battles with Jake LaMotta, who he fought six times and won five of them became instant classics. He took on the best in the game and, during his reign, boxing was long on talent and toughness. There was no mention of a “bum-of-the-month” club when fighters like Kid Gavilan, Gene Fullmer, Randy Turpin, Carmen Basilio were all lining-up for their shot at Robinson’s title. He was the man-to-beat for two decades and was thirty-eight years old when he won his last middleweight title.

    After having amassed a career record of 173 wins, just 19 loses with 108 knockouts Robinson finally retired in December of 1965 at the age of forty four. Sugar Ray Robinson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and has left a boxing legacy as sweet as anyone could have every imagined.

    Shop Sugar Ray Robinson Legacy apparel here.

    *This post was originally published on December 15, 2014

  • Fighting: In the Ring and On the Scale

    Fighting: In the Ring and On the Scale

    By Chris Johnson

    At 6’0” and 245 lbs, I was grossly overweight. I had tried “the salad diet”, Atkins, intermittent fasting, juicing...heck even one I invented on my own now infamously dubbed “the burrito diet” (don’t ask). In the end, each attempt to lose the weight had a very brief positive effect while my motivation was a peak, followed by a loss of motivation and subsequent weight gain. I was what you’d call a “YoYo dieter."

    As I stepped on the scale in early December 2008 and read “245,” I realized something seriously needed to change. I needed something that would give me structure. I needed a target that would enable me to form habits rather than look up a quick fix on the internet.

    chris johnson weight loss journey 1

    Now was a better time than ever to pursue a lifelong goal I’d had of being a boxer. I’d always viewed boxers as the pinnacle of fitness, nutrition, skill and finesse. I admired the guts needed to get in the ring. Despite the skill and knowledge I lacked for the sport of boxing at the time, I recognized an even bigger fight was looming to get my weight under control.

    I found a boxing gym nearby called Front Range Boxing Academy and spoke at length with the head trainer and coach Dave before joining. On our first call he outlined the boxer’s basic regimen needed to be ready for a fight:

    Sprints (every single day), bag work (heavy bags, double end bags, speed bags), jumping rope and shadow boxing during each workout in the gym, daily calisthenics and sparring 2-3 times per week.

    At the time, I could tell this was a routine he had run several people through over the years. I wasn’t the first guy who wanted to lose weight through boxing and then fight, despite having zero experience.

    All things considered, I quickly dug in on the work outlined by my new coach. Every day started with running and sprinting at sunrise, capped by work in the gym on the bags and in the ring each night. All told I was surpassing 3 hours per day of training.

    The weight came off with the hard work- 245 to 225 in the first 2 months. As 5 months passed I came down to 200 which was fantastic progress, but not yet where I needed to land. My goal was to reach 177 pounds so I could box in the light heavyweight division of the Golden Gloves the upcoming spring. My weight dropped to 200 and stayed there. I wasn’t concerned when it stayed there at first, but as two months passed and I hadn’t lost another pound I became concerned.

    I sat down with my coach to talk about my concerns-- what was I doing wrong? I had followed the old school boxer’s workout regimen to the letter, and I had adhered to the boxer’s diet outlined in similar fashion. Since the old boxer’s workout routine had fueled such good early results, I hadn’t stopped to question my use of the diet method of old pro fighters. As I took a step back and looked at the “old school” boxer’s diet I’d been following the last 8 months, I realized there were some serious issues which were preventing me from losing more weight:

    No Calorie Restrictions, big meals, especially before sparring or fights (Steak and potatoes were a traditional fighter’s favorite pre-workout/fight meal), high fat, high carb and eating big after night workouts before bed (Dinner was the biggest meal and with late night training it often came right before bed).

    After researching how modern diet techniques were in stark contrast from these older diet “techniques” I made immediate changes to correct my diet:

    Cut the calories from liquids/drinks such as soda, no more late night snacks, no late-night carbs or big meals before bed, my meals got smaller over the course of the day: dinner being the smallest, I added poly-unsaturated fats to help me with hunger (almonds, spoonful of peanut butter), no more steak and potatoes—especially before sparring sessions (my only meats were fish or chicken) and still no calorie counting, but tried to watch portion sizes.

    After the changes were made, the weight loss picked up again almost immediately. As the weight dropped, new challenges emerged: I needed to learn how to move in the ring at a lower weight. Each time I sparred, the focus became taking advantage of the benefits of my lower weight. With two months leading up to my first fight, I focused exclusively on movement within the ring as it was quite awkward at 180 pounds compared to the near 200 I’d recently been stuck at.

    Having tried both the old school and modern diet techniques it was easy to contrast their impact on not only my weight, but also my boxing; I found I had more energy in the ring, and the sluggishness I previously felt (likely from the overloaded steak and potato meals) had vanished. I also noticed improvements in my recovery time between sessions. In short, the difference was day and night; I was a different athlete.chris johnson weight loss journey 4

    In the years since, I’ve worked with numerous clients as a personal trainer and boxing instructor. They see the appeal of boxing as a great weight loss tool, which it certainly is. I caution my new clients with my story. Weight loss through boxing has to be equal measures of hard work in the gym AND in the kitchen. When pairing boxing with a proper diet you’re hard pressed to find a better combo to lose weight, but without both in concert with each other you’ll likely only make it halfway to your goal.

    I was lucky enough to win my fight with weight loss and even luckier to win some great fights in the ring as well. Luckily, in the 9 years since I started, I never had to look down at the scale again thinking “something has to change." Both in the ring and outside of it, I keep fighting in hopes to never stop improving and to never return to where I started.

    Bio:chris johnson weight loss journey author pic

    Chris Johnson is a Golden Gloves boxer, CPT and boxing instructor from Boulder, CO. After spending the last 8 years working with both professional and amateur athletes he started his business, Cerus Fitness. It's an online site for people who want to work out and lose weight at home.

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