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.

Success Stories

  • How to Hear Your Corner

    How to Hear Your Corner

    By Bryanna Fissori - Board of Advisors

    Boxing Corner Advice

    In the midst of a fight, the only person you can physically depend on is yourself. But you're likely not alone. Your cornerman, or cornermen, should be there with you in your ear every step of the way.

    One of the most overlooked aspects of fight training is developing the skills to listen to your corner. It’s your corner’s job to see the things that you don’t and to let you know about them. If your cornerman cannot be heard, he's really nothing more than a glorified water boy. So listen up.

    Speaking the Same Language: Shadowboxing with Instruction

    Shadowboxing with a purpose is important. This is a technique coaches use to familiarize the fighter with their voice and their commands. Many competitors warm up for practice with a round of shadow boxing.

    To maximize this time, coaches should give cues during the round such as “one-two, one-two” or any combination they want to see out of their fighter. Each coach has his or her own language. Whatever terms your coach uses to get you to perform a certain technique is what you need to hear. Shadowboxing with instruction causes you to react to the coach’s voice and perform those commands.

    Can You Hear Me Now? The Noise Factor

    Practicing or sparring with crowd noise creates a realistic setting for the sound of distraction. The best way to get comfortable performing in front of a loud crowd is to do just that.

    Competing in a jiu jitsu or judo tournament (for MMA fighters) can grant this type of setting in a realistic way, without affecting any sort of win-loss record. For boxers, an exhibition round in front of a crowd can be effective. Turning up the music in the gym isn't going to do the trick.

    In a real fight everyone will be yelling advice; coaches, fans, friends, your grandma . . . Not all of that advice is good, nor is it all meant for you. The goal is to be able to filter through the static until you can hear only your corner.

    The Voices in Your Head

    Ideally, the only voice you want in your head is your corner and usually this means one single person. This isn’t always realistic because many fighters have multiple coaches. In this case, there's a little more work to be done.

    If multiple people plan to give instruction from the outside the cage or ring, they need to put some practice time in too. Both cannot just show up on fight day and expect to give you coherent instruction, not knowing what the other one is thinking. Plus, you will only get more confused when mid- round they start giving opposing instructions, causing you to have to pick sides. It happens. Make them put time in together.

    Your coaches are an important resource that you can take with you into your bout. Hearing and responding to them is a tool that has to be trained just like any good technique.

    Bio:

    Bryanna Fissori is a professional boxer and mixed martial artist. She has a law degree and has been writing professional for over a decade. She has spent most of her professional combat sports career training on the Island of Oahu and has competed nationally and internationally. Bryanna currently competes and trains out of Denver, Colorado.

     

    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.

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  • Johnny Tapia: A Happy, Sad and Crazy Life

    Johnny Tapia: A Happy, Sad and Crazy Life

    By Brett Ater, PR/Social Specialist at TITLE Boxing

    Johnny Tapia Documentary

    For the hardcore boxing fans of the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Johnny Tapia, Mi Vida Loca, was a well-known sparkplug at the top of the sport’s lighter divisions. For me, it wasn’t until HBO released Tapia (2013), a documentary on his life, that I learned the name and was captivated by Johnny, both the boxer and the deeply troubled human being.

    In the ring he was a true showman. He moved around the squared circle with slick footwork, boastful facial expressions, relaxed but secure defense, lightning fast hands and the power to end fights quickly. On top of all that, he could take a punch. It seemed like he enjoyed that part. He reveled in the all-out action. After bouts, always a gracious sport, he’d greet his opponents with a hug, bow to the judges and then top off his night with an in-ring backflip. But all that joy he expressed in the ring couldn’t be replicated on the outside, at least not completely. It’s easy to see now that under the lights was where the Albuquerque native felt truly at home. Outside the ring was where life was hard and unforgiving.

    Much has been written about the extreme lows of Tapia’s life. Even his nickname, Mi Vida Loca, doesn’t do it justice. Johnny’s father was murdered while his mother was pregnant with him. At just eight-years-old Johnny witnessed his mother, Virginia, being driven away from their home. She was chained to a truck. She was brutally assaulted and left for dead, but she fought and crawled more than a hundred yards before being found by police and taken to the emergency room. Sadly, she passed away a few days later. The sights and sounds of his mother’s last days forever haunted him. He told Boxing News in 2011, “My mom’s death kills me every day…I just want to say ‘Good night mama.’ I want to hug my mama.”

    Johnny was raised by his grandparents following his mother’s death and they steered him toward boxing. He was an extremely successful amateur fighter, winning the Golden Gloves National Tournament in ’83 and ’85. His professional career started off hot as well. He went 21-0-1 in his first 22 bouts, but at age 21 he tested positive for cocaine and had his boxing license suspended for nearly four years.

    He returned from his suspension without missing a beat and rattled off four straight victories before getting his first shot at a world title. On October 12, 1994, Johnny Tapia, who’d already overcome so much, defeated Henry Martinez by technical knockout in the 11th round to be named the WBO Super Flyweight Champion of the World. He’d go on to become a five-time world champion and a member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

    Johnny Tapia made his pro debut in 1988 and fought for the last time in 2011. He fought 64 professional fights and had his hand raised 59 times (30 KOs). His fan-friendly fighting style took him from a gym in Albuquerque to the bright lights of Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden.

    Heartbreakingly, all the in-ring success, a loving wife (Teresa), happy children (three sons) and adoration from friends and fans were no match for the overbearing pain of loss and drug addiction. Tapia was hospitalized after a cocaine overdose in early March of 2007, and he was arrested for a parole violation (due to cocaine use) in February of 2009.

    On May 27, 2012, Johnny Tapia passed away due to heart failure. He was found in his home and no drugs were found in his system. His story is a happy one, with a terribly sad beginning and end. To watch the documentary and to read the articles on his life, there’s no way to pass judgement on how Johnny lived; to not feel gutted when he tried and tried to overcome disturbing emotional trauma and drug addiction; just as there’s no way to not feel giddy when the music plays and he makes his way to the ring; or to not feel emotional when you hear fellow fighters and Albuquerque natives talk about all he meant to them. All you can say is that he was loved and that he loved with all his heart. Sometimes, for whatever reason, life is crazy.

    Honor Johnny Tapia's Legacy with officially licensed apparel here.

  • Fight Like a Girl

    Fight Like a Girl

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    The Rise of Women Boxers

    Although the phrase fight like a girl has been used in a derogatory way in the past, there's value to doing just that.

    Just as they're the ferocious protectors of their young in the animal kingdom, women are just as as emotionally and physically wired for fighting as men. Men and women are both naturally-gifted with the fight or flight response mechanism. When confronted or put in a potentially dangerous situation, this complex hormonal response. triggered in our bodies, secretes over thirty different stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol; all having a collective, widespread effect on the body. This adrenaline rush can increase your awareness, physical strength, mental acuity and speed/response time, all in order to quickly and adequately handle the perceived threat. This chemical reaction in the human body is not gender-specific. In fact, women may even be quicker to sense, react and respond to her body's natural inclination to protect itself at all costs.

    In terms of basic physical structure, women also contain some natural physiological benefits for success in boxing. First, the female pelvis is larger and broader than it is in men, so women tend to have an advantage in where their natural center of gravity is. They also tend to carry extra weight/place their balance in their hips, unlike men, who tend to carry their weight in their abdominal area. This type of weight distribution allows some women to naturally sit down on their punches more thoroughly and maintain a more balanced center of gravity.  Dropping your center of gravity and sitting down on your punches adds leverage to its delivery.

    Another benefit that women may have is a lack of societal pressure that they should be fighters by nature. In some cases this may make women more "coachable". They're more open-minded when they enter the gym or a teaching/coaching environment, because there aren't preconceived notions as there are with men. The male ego and pressure from society that they should be natural-born killers prevent some men from grasping the basic principles of boxing. It stems from men believing they're too macho to start from scratch and be told how to fight. Some men are so focused on showing how tough they are that they skip over the technique and fundamentals needed to be an effective boxer.

    It may even be safe to say that most women who walk into the gym may feel a greater need to prove themselves. This creates a sense of willingness to go that extra mile and show everyone they can hang with anyone and everyone. That they are just as tough and just as deserving to train, box or compete as anyone else in the gym. There's a certain resolve or inner strength that comes from needing to earn respect from your peers, so they work harder, learn faster and don't give up near as quickly.

    Even though men and women are competing on different physical levels their abilities and capabilities are not that different. In terms of some slight anatomical differences, numerous intangibles and the desire/ability to learn, women may experience some small advantages when it comes to boxing.

    Of course, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to all men or all women. These facts are blanket generalities in some cases. There's still no denying there are a lot of women who can just plain fight, and they're making a distinct place for themselves in the sweet science…a place where fighting like a girl has a whole new meaning.

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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

    Faces of Boxing in 2018

    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

    Overcome Your Fear in Boxing

    LeadImage-NothingToFear-Blog

    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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