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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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  • 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.

    Shop TITLE Boxing.

  • How to Jump Rope for Boxing

    How to Jump Rope for Boxing

    By Bryanna Fissori - Board of Advisors

    Jump Rope Boxing Benefits

    Walk in to virtually any boxing gym and watch the athletes warming up. You are bound to see people, from small children to adult professionals jumping rope.

    There are a number of benefits to jumping rope. If the skill of jumping rope was not applicable for boxing, it probably wouldn’t be so widely used. Time to put skepticism aside and pick up a rope. There is more to boxing than just throwing punches.

    Jump Rope Training is Used to Enhance:

    Coordination

    Agility

    Quickness

    Endurance

    Footwork

    Jump Rope for Boxing 101:

    Choosing a Jump Rope

    Many gyms will have a supply of ropes available for use, but it's also nice to get comfortable with one of your very own. There are various types of jump ropes. A light-weight plastic speed rope is a good place to start. Heavy leather or weighted ropes will turn slower and may be more difficult to use, especially in the beginning. Each type of rope has its own purpose.

    Fitting a Jump Rope for Boxing

    Common rope lengths range from eight to ten feet. A nine-foot rope is the right size for most people under six feet tall. One way to determine how long your rope should be is to step both feet in the middle of the rope. The handles should reach up to approximately armpit height.

    If you need to adjust the height you can often snip 2 or 3 inches off a rope. A shorter rope will also increase your jump speed, but be careful not to go too short or you won't be able to jump without crouching. If your rope really is too short, please just get a new one and try again. Jumping with the wrong length is inherently frustrating, difficult and subtracts from the overall enjoyment of the activity.

    Jump Rope Care

    It's a good idea to store your jump rope hanging up with the center of the jump rope on the hook. Leaving your jump rope wadded up in a ball or spiraled is likely to create kinks, which are difficult to straighten out and will result in a lot of stubbed toes. This also depends on the type of rope you are using. There are some, such as beaded or leather ropes that don't kink as easily as plastic ones, though they may serve a slightly different conditioning purpose.

    Start Slow

    If you haven’t jumped rope since you were a kid, don’t expect to be a rockstar your first day. Take the first week or so of jumping just to focus on skill. If you try to jump into a cardio workout with the rope your first day, you're likely to be very disappointed.

    Starting with short jump sessions (20 -30 seconds at a time), will enable you to experience a degree of success as you work to lengthen the time you can jump without failure. Another tip is to jump when you're fresh and not fatigued. Your legs may start to feel heavy fairly quickly when you're forced to stay on the balls of your feet. Jump rope for boxing will strengthen muscles throughout the legs, but this does take time.

    It Gets Better

    Once you and your jump rope become well acquainted, you'll eventually be able to jump for entire rounds. You may even pick up some of the fancy stuff such as single leg jumps, doubles and skipping backwards. Watch the people around you. If they have tricks, you may begin to mimic them.

    Jump rope for boxing is as challenging as you make it. Have fun and don’t forget that it's okay to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. Everyone started somewhere. Keep pushing yourself and you'll see it begin to make a difference in multiple areas of your boxing training.

    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.

    Shop TITLE Boxing.

  • 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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  • 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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