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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.

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  • The Stars to Emerge in Boxing for 2018

    The Stars to Emerge in Boxing for 2018

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    By Jeff Zimmerman - TITLE Board of Advisors

    Boxing had a breakout year in 2017 by every indication and 2018 has the potential to be even bigger. There were great fights all around the globe from Vladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua in London, Sor Rungvisai vs. Roman “Chocalito” Gonzalez I in New York to the most anticipated fight of the year GGG  vs. Canelo in Las Vegas.  And what potentially comes from great fights are emerging stars and with so much young talent bursting on the scene, 2018 should be the year that boxing emerges from the large shadow of one Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Then again, as we found out with his money grab with Conor McGregor, don’t count him out to steal the spotlight once again if money talks. But with Mayweather no longer in the top 10 pound for pound list due to his “retired” status, there are plenty of fighters ready to shine as boxing’s next superstar.

    Here’s a list of the 7 fighters that could potentially cement themselves as one of the Faces of Boxing in 2018 or at least become a household name. The list was based on boxing ability plus intangibles such as personality, marketability, willingness to fight all comers and in the prime of their career.

    1. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez – Canelo is already bigger than boxing in many regards, after all he is known by his singular nickname, dates A-list celebrities, paid a visit to the Pope and has the country of Mexico on his back. He’s the true one and only cross-over superstar in boxing today and he reminds everyone when he says this is “mi era”. Canelo finally fought GGG in one of the most anticipated fights in recent memory. Although many thought Canelo lost in a close fight, the fight was ruled a draw. They will fight a rematch Cinco de Mayo and if Canelo could win in dramatic fashion, by let’s say a knockout of GGG, Canelo will undoubtedly continue to be the face of boxing. And if Canelo does get by GGG, there will be a long line of guys itching to fight him as he is the cash cow in the sport today. Canelo is still young and has showed a willingness to fight anybody, so expect more big fights from him for years to come.
    2. Anthony Joshua – The heavyweight Joshua is already a superstar in Europe filling up 90,000 seat arenas and with his GQ looks and cut up physique he has the potential to rule the sport for years to come. Boxing has always thrived with great heavyweights and right now it is the best it has been in years.  Joshua showed a championship heart when he outlasted and finally stopped future hall of famer and the ruler of heavyweights over the last decade in Vladimir Klitschko in the 11th round last year. A massive payday awaits him if he finally battles American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. And if somehow that fight comes to America and he stops Wilder, he would no doubt become a global icon. Let’s hope that fight can be made in 2018.
    3. Terence Crawford – Crawford has been one of boxing’s best for a while now becoming a world champion at 135 and then the undisputed champ at 140. His skills are undeniable as he can switch from orthodox to southpaw on the fly and take over fights in a flash. He is now jumping up to arguably boxing’s best weight class at 147 and will fight for the WBO title against Jeff Horn who won a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao last year. If he can get by the unorthodox Horn and get a title, he will undoubtedly want money fights with the likes of Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman who hold the other belts. That’s where things could get sticky as Crawford fights under the Top Rank banner and Spence Jr., Thurman and others like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter are under Al Haymon’s guidance. But if the fight is big enough and the money is there, it will get done. If Crawford could successfully make the move to 147 and take over, he will be the pound for pound best in boxing.
    4. Errol Spence Jr. – Spence Jr. is already in the top 10 pound for pound after winning his first title last year against Kell Brook for the IBF crown in Brook’s hometown and in front of 30,000 people. Spence Jr. has had superstar written all over him since he came out of the 2012 Olympics but it took some time to get his title shot. Now that he has it, he has no plans of slowing down. He has repeatedly called out Keith “One Time” Thurman who holds the WBC and WBA titles, but Thurman, coming back from elbow surgery, seems in no hurry to make the fight. After Spence Jr. dominated former 2x world champion Lamont Peterson recently showing off his full arsenal of punches, it’s even more doubtful that others are lining up to fight the powerful southpaw from Dallas. Spence Jr. said recently he is still learning every day from his coach, who happens to be Ring Magazine & Yahoo Sports trainer of the year, Derrick James. Hopefully Spence Jr. will get the fight with Thurman at the end of 2018 or early 2019 and then a fight with Crawford for 147 lb supremacy.
    5. Vasyl Lomachenko – Arguably the best pound for pound fighter today, Lomachenko won a world title in his 3rd pro fight after winning 2 Olympic gold medals. He has already beaten the likes of Nicholas Walters, Gary Russell Jr. and most recently another 2-time Olympic gold medalist in Guillermo Rigondeaux. Although he is a tremendous fighter, he will likely continue to move up for marquee fights and to build his profile in the U.S. Lomachenko, like Crawford, is promoted by Top Rank and will have to go outside for big fights. After Jorge Linares won this past weekend, there are talks that Golden Boy and Top Rank could make this showdown happen.
    6. David Benavidez – Once known as the younger brother to Jose, David Benavidez has become one of the top young fighters in boxing. At 20 years old, Benavidez is the youngest super middleweight champion in history as holds the WBC title. Both brothers are trained by their dad Jose Benavidez Sr. who spent a long time learning under legendary trainer Freddie Roach. Benavidez survived the tough Ronald Gavril to claim the title and fights him in an immediate rematch on February 17th. If he wins impressively, Benavidez could have a breakout year in 2018 and continue his rise as one of the best young stars in boxing.
    7. Badou Jack – Jack has quietly become one of the best fighters in the sport. Jack is already a two weight world champion at super middleweight and light heavyweight. Although Jack is not one to talk trash, he has the best voice piece in the business in his promoter Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions. He will take on Adonis Stevenson for the WBC light heavyweight title this May. A big win over Stevenson should broaden Jack’s appeal and launch him to the next level of stardom in 2018.

     

    Other fighters to watch:

    Gennady Golovkin aka GGG – GGG became one of the most feared fighters in boxing with his devastating knockouts, but has seemed to slow down recently and although he appeared to beat Canelo last September in many people’s eyes, he is in his mid-thirties and it is likely his best boxing is behind him. A big win against Canelo could keep him going for some big paydays in the future or maybe he calls it a career. Time will tell.

    Deontay Wilder – Wilder is a specimen at 6’7” with a chiseld frame, and as the WBC heavyweight champion of the world should be a definite superstar right now. But with many fights in his hometown of Alabama and subpar opponents it is still hard to know how great Wilder is. If and/or when the showdown with Joshua happens, the winner will certainly rule the sport.

    Charlo Bros. – They just go together. Jermell and Jermall continue to prove all skeptics wrong as they continue to win and do so in dramatic fashion. Jermell, since hooking up with Spence’s trainer Derrick James, had two KO of the Year candidates with his knockout of Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin. Jermall still trained by Ronnie Shields has moved up to 160 and is looking for a signature win. Known for their Lions Only moniker, if the Charlo Bros. continue to roar in 2018, many will no longer underestimate these charming twins who fight with an unmistakable chip on their shoulder.

    Mikey Garcia – Garcia just turned 30 but has been fighting for 12 years. Garcia was well on his way to becoming the face of boxing when he didn’t fight for over two years due to contract issues with his promoter. After a devastating knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin and a dominant performance against Adrien Broner, Garcia is looking to fast track his way back to the top of the pound for pound list. He fights relatively unknown Sergey Lipinets in March and then hopefully will have a big-name opponent later in the year.

    jeff zimmerman bio imageBio:

    Jeff has been in the fight game, both boxing and mixed martial arts, for well over a decade. He has learned the ropes from Hall-of-Fame Referee Richard Steele promoting shows in Nevada and Texas where he has covered all aspects of an event from PR, sponsorships, site coordination to negotiations with venues and appearances with stars such as UFC legend Chuck Liddell. Jeff has also been a writer for several years for one of boxing's most popular sites, Fightnews.com, where he continues to cover the Texas fight scene. Jeff has interviewed and covered fights for some of the biggest names in the sport including Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford. He also has covered and interviewed rising superstar Errol Spence Jr. on multiple occasions. Jeff gives many hours of his time to support two outstanding non-profits, Richard Steele Foundation & Boxing Club and Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, serving as a special advisor and leading their social media efforts.

    TITLE Board of Advisors:

    A running series of blog posts collected by TITLE Boxing through our relationships with individuals inside the sport. Fighters, trainers, managers, dieticians, referees and more have offered their words, and we bring them to you here.

    Shop TITLE Boxing.

  • Nothing to Fear, but Fear Itself - Understanding the Emotion

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

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    Fear is something every fighter has had to deal with in his or her career.  Whether or not they will admit it, even the most intimidating, ferocious competitor has had to fight, forget, flee from or face their fear in the ring.  Its impact on performance and the role it plays in the sport is something that can’t be denied.  It has kept contenders from winning championships and has prevented bright prospects from realizing their potential.  Fear can’t be suppressed or wished away, but has to be embraced in order to harness the power it has and what its real purpose is.  Part of harnessing that power is understanding it.

    Fear, and the way that it manifests itself, is born out of self-preservation.  It was the way our ancestors were able to adapt to their surroundings, chasing down their prey for food or running from their food, their prey to keep from being “dinner.”  It was all about survival.  Out of this instinctual breeding ground, it became the human body’s fight-or-flight response.  It is a natural way of coping with stressful surroundings or a dangerous environment….your body’s way of preparing to do battle.  What is happening to the body, in essence, is the frontal cortex sends a message that releases a wave of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.  These hormones elevate blood sugar levels and release a quick burst of energy in preparation to fight. This release also causes the heart to pump up to four times the amount of blood, from 5 to nearly 20 quarts per minute, to increase oxygen and energy flow.  The blood also takes a different route, away from the skin, stomach and kidneys, because they are not necessary for survival at that point.  The blood instead is re-routed to the muscles and vital organs to prepare to mount or defend against a physical attack.  Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rates increase to prepare the body for combat. The body’s nervous system kicks into high gear and every bit of glucose is converted into fuel, creating the perfect environment for a fighting machine. To call the process “amazing” would be an understatement.

    Now, as a fighter, how could you look at that process and not be in awe of how perfectly it fits your profession?  It is an entirely natural instinct, passed down to you from generation to generation, that specifically prepares you to fight.  Most people don’t have an outlet suited to let this play out in day-to-day life.  They don’t have a need or way to release this physiological reaction so they usually create undue stress, hate their boss, get irritated with their neighbor,  yell at other commuters on the way to work and create heightened anxiety/stress in their lives.  Now, that’s unnatural!  Yet, many fighters, struggle with this fear.  The physical reaction, alert nervous system, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, etc. all feel “foreign” because they are not an everyday emotions, but they actually couldn’t be more natural.  Properly-channeled fear is one of the most powerful tools a fighter has when he’s entering the ring.

    Fighters all deal with these feelings of fear in different ways.  Some listen to music to take their mind off the anxiety, others surround themselves with friends or peers to serve as a distraction, some fighters even talk themselves up in an attempt to project confidence instead of feeling stress, while others might quarantine themselves off in seclusion where they can quietly deal with their fear on their own. None of these methods or tricks is particularly right or wrong, they are just methods to cope.  The important thing is to fully recognize fear for what it is, embrace it and feed it.  When it comes down to fight time, don’t try to suppress it and bottle it up.  Use it. Let your mind fire on all cylinders.  Feed the adrenaline monster.  Enjoy the fact that your body is fully preparing you.  You can even let the fact that these feelings make you uncomfortable, make you mad.

    Legendary trainer, Cus D’Amato once said that “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It's the same thing, fear, but it's what you do with it that matters.”  So the important thing is what you do with your fear.  Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist because then you’re lying to yourself.  Don’t ignore it because then you’re not embracing it and able to use it to its fullest.  But, most importantly, don’t let it consume you.  Everyone has it.  You’re not alone and any fighter who says he doesn’t get scared is lying.  Maybe he has learned how live with it, maybe he enjoys the adrenaline rush and even fully understands the mental and physical benefits of the fight-or-flight mechanism, but everyone feels fear.  The key is how you deal with it.  Cus D’Amato’s protégé, Mike Tyson struggled with fear throughout his career.  He was very open about his own feelings of anxiety from his amateur days all the way through the pros.  His trainers spent hours consoling him and helping him come to terms with his fear.  Tyson even said himself, “I'm scared every time I go into the ring, but it's how you handle it. What you have to do is plant your feet, bite down on your mouthpiece and say, 'Let's go.'”  Without question Tyson learned how to harness his fear and it ultimately became one of his most powerful weapons.  He entered nearly every bout being the one doing the intimidating and allowed his opponents’ fear to do most of the damage before he even threw the first punch.

    We may have evolved as people, but those same basic instincts that kept man alive, before technology and sophistication took over, still dominate human physiology.  They are innate in us.  Whether we are swinging clubs or throwing punches, survival is still at the core of our existence.  This especially applies to fighters, who seek out the experience to go toe-to-toe, expose themselves or their opponent and square off in front of hundreds, even thousands of spectators.  Those that succeed, discover that the greatest challenge wasn’t an opponent at all, but their own emotions…headlined by fear.  That’s what makes winning that much more powerful, because once you’ve conquered your own, unbridled emotions, everything else is child’s play and fear…just another toy.

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    Shop at TITLE Boxing here.

  • TITLE Boxing Joins the Fight Against Heart Disease with American Heart Association's Life is Why We Give Campaign

    TITLE Boxing Joins the Fight Against Heart Disease with American Heart Association's Life is Why We Give Campaign

    Participating Retailer of American Heart Association's Life is Why We Give

    The American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, has enlisted the support of corporations in raising funds for the cause. When consumers purchase TITLE fitness gear from TITLE Boxing, they will have the opportunity to give to the American Heart Associations via the Life Is Why We Give™ fundraising campaign.

    TITLE Boxing is one of the businesses helping the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke - the number one and number five causes of death in America. While TITLE is headquartered in Kansas City, the fundraising campaign will span the nation.

    Avid gym goer and two-time heart transplant recipient, Chris Williams, is one of the many excited about this partnership.

    "I survived two heart transplants because of research funded by the American Heart Association. It's amazing how much smoother my second transplant was, even though they only happened three years apart. I'm living proof of the advancements made and I'm thrilled to see TITLE Boxing's commitment to the health of all Americans," said Williams.

    TITLE Boxing's Life Is Why We Give™ campaign includes a 10% donation from the following at different phases throughout the year:

    1. TITLE Fitness Gear purchases
    2. limited edition "Got Heart" tee
    3. TITLE Fitness Bundle purchases
    4. limited edition AHA-branded hand wraps
    5. limited edition AHA-branded boxing gloves

     

    TITLE Boxing joins a number of national companies, including: Barrett Jackson, Bourbon & Boweties, Brahmin, Brighton, Brita, Citi, eBay, Everything ORGO, FabFitFun, Fifth Third Bank, Ford, Healthy Human, HP Papers, Kroger, Land's End, OfficeMart.com, Pilot Flying J, Spirit Fitness, Stein Mart, The Knot, Wheels Up and White + Warren.

    "Together we are fighting heart disease & stroke to create healthier communities for all. This partnership will help to create a culture of health while laying a foundation that will help the American Heart Association reach our goal of improving health and reducing death & disability," said Laura Lopez, Executive Director for the American Heart Association.

    As the leading source of non-government funded cardiovascular science, the Association has invested more than $3.7 billion in scientific research and discovery since 1949. The organization trains approximately 2 million high school graduates in CPR every year and has reduced cardiovascular disease mortality by 70 percent since 1968.

  • Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Heavy Bag Workout Tips & Techniques

    For as long as the modern day sport of boxing has existed, the heavy bag has been at the core of nearly every prizefighter’s workout routine. In the beginning, they were constructed of everything from canvas bags to gunny sacks filled with sand or grain. Although construction methods have advanced, the purpose that the heavy bag serves has remained the same. It provides a substantial target for a fighter to practice the art of power punching, movement and crafting a full arsenal of punches. Everything in the book, from the jab to the body shot, can be perfected on the heavy bag. The key to this integral piece of equipment and getting the most out of it is to be sure that you work it and don’t let it work you. What that means is that you don’t let it become a force that you only react to.  Instead, control its’ movement, dictate the pace of the round, the direction of the bag and every aspect of what you do with it.

    Too many fighters stand in front of the bag, hit it a few times (or once) and allow the bag to swing back and forth while they wait to hit it again. There’s really much more you can get out of the heavy bag than that, by not allowing yourself to follow, but lead the charge. If it were a dance, you would want to be the man, not the woman.  Lead, don’t follow.

    One of your goals on the heavy bag is to keep it moving, don’t let it settle into place. When you strike the bag, either pursue it and throw an additional combination or step to the side and throw. It is best not to hit the bag when it is coming straight back at you. Instead, step off and counter the direction the bag is going to interrupt its natural movement or hit it so that it continues its motion. The idea is to control the bag, where it goes, how fast it moves and when you stop its motion. If you have just hit the bag and it is swinging back at you, step off to your right and let a right cross go or plant a solid right hand to the body. Or as it swings back, step off to your left and rip a left hook to the body or head. By stepping to the side in this manner, you are accomplishing three main objectives.

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    First you are training yourself to remain in perpetual motion and making each minute of each round on the bag a real workout. Time spent standing flat-footed, waiting for the bag to come back it pointless. That means you are conditioning yourself to wait for your opponent to lead and take control. That’s a bad habit to get into and a dangerous position to put yourself in.

    Secondly, as you step of to the side, you should be shifting your weight to the lead foot that you stepped with. When you do this it is re-establishing a firm foundation and is putting you in the proper position to throw another punch or combination.

    Although it may sound basic, by working around the bag or pursuing it, you are hitting a moving target, as opposed to an “opponent” that is just coming straight at you or running away from you all of the time. That is both unrealistic and too simple. When the bag moves and you move to counter it…that’s more like a real fight. It requires you to respond and place your shots more precisely.  When you’re attacking a moving target, it requires better timing, judging range and adjusting your distance. You have to think more and work the bag more deliberately.

    It is also good to sometimes follow the bag. This form of attack may play into your already aggressive fighting style or is just good to work on in case you ever find yourself in the type of situation where you need to apply pressure and force the attack. By keeping your head planted on the bag while you bury punches into it, pressing the action and firing off powerful combinations, this will get you accustomed to moving forward. Even if this is not your typical fighting style, it will get you in the type of shape that you will need to be able to constantly apply effective pressure and will make you a more adaptable fighter.

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    What you do on the heavy bag, the types of drills you incorporate and the various routines you work on are virtually endless. But, more important than what you do, is how you do it, because ultimately, the heavy bag will never make you work harder than you want to. It’s not going to push you or punch back or make the rounds any more difficult than you dictate. Let the seconds tick by while you watch the bag swing lazily on its chain or take charge and put it to work for you and you’ll quickly find that the heavy bag can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.

    Get your heavy bags here and your bag gloves here.

  • Rock Your Workout with OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    Rock Your Workout with OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    By OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    Balls To The Wall Workout Playlist

    Ditch that old, overplayed playlist you’ve been training to all year because Las Vegas-based hard rock band Otherwise curated the most “balls to the wall” workout playlist we’ve ever heard. Including warm ups like “Indian Summer” by Jai Wolf, Metallica’s sweat-inducing “Enter Sandman” and their very own adrenaline-pumping “Angry Heart”, this playlist is the only playlist you’ll need at the gym.

    Otherwise stopped by TITLE Boxing HQ before their headlining show in Kansas City last month. Vocalist Adrian Patrick and guitarist Ryan Patrick threw some punches and told us why these are their go-to jams:

    “Typical” by Mute Math: "This song reminds me of our higher calling. It keeps the fire inside burning brightly. When I listen to it, I remember why we do what we do… why we fight so hard to cut through the clamor and be heard... why we sacrifice so much in our attempt to transcend."

    “Touched” by VAST: "This tune just makes me feel like a superhero. They tapped into something timeless and otherworldly, something that resides deep down in my psyche somewhere, perhaps passed down by my ancestors across the ages from some ancient battlefield."

    “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine: "I could simply listen to every Rage album on repeat when we train or lift because if any band speaks to the rebel-poet-warrior in me, it's THIS band. When I wrestled and played football in high school, we would hype ourselves up into a frenzy listening to Rage. We'd even blast it when we knew we were heading into some foolish brawl. To this day, I still feel that same youthful, unbridled fury when I listen to Rage."

    “Bury Me a G” by Thug Life: "I'd like to believe that Bruce Wayne would somehow appreciate the die-hard conviction of this jam… that somehow the darkness in his soul would connect with Tupac's savage prose, like mine does."

    “Steppin' Razor” by Peter Tosh: "If I were a professional fighter, I'd probably walk out to this one. It makes me think of our Dad, who is one of the fiercest fighters we know. We may not always fight the right battles or fight them in a way that's acceptable by society at large, but if there is one thing our father has taught us, it's to NEVER stop fighting the good fight, no matter what."

    “Rose of Sharyn” by Killswitch Engage: "This is an anthem that simultaneously fills me with anger and hope, for all the loved ones we've lost. It makes believe that there is light out there in the darkness. It keeps my fighting spirit alive in our pursuit to make all of our better angels proud of the path we've chosen."

    Follow and stream the full playlist here and be sure to grab a copy of Otherwise’s latest album, Sleeping Lions, for even more workout jams.

    To enter for your chance to win a gear package from TITLE Boxing + signed merchandise from OTHERWISE, click here.

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