The latest boxing questions on boxing equipment, punching technique, safety issues, and boxing training.
1. What headgear do you recommend for better vision?
Thank you for your excellent website. I am a grappler (wrestling & BJJ) who is focusing on boxing right now to grow as a mixed martial artist. I am new to boxing. I take punches well (I still have yet to have my bell rung or even be stunned despite getting bloody bruised and cut) but I feel maligned with most headgear since my peripheral vision is compromised. One of my trainers told me to take off my head gear recently and when I did I was un-hittable. I even threw my hands down and slipped everything. With the headgear on I took about 50 shots in a 3 minute round. Big difference. I read your list of headgear and tried them to no avail. I get the claustrophobia going and get blindsided as soon as the Hannibal Lecter mask comes on. I feel like a swarm of bees are coming at me. Any new headgear you recommend? – Ali
- Try the competition headgear like Adidas/Everlast/Title…and get the ones with the open face and no cheek protectors. There’s also a chance that you’re wearing the wrong size which could make your face feel buried in there.
2. Is it possible for smaller fighters to beat bigger fighters?
I’m from Italy and i joined boxing a few mounts ago…Boxing is really difficult O_o!!!! First of all I want to thank you for your site. Very interesting, I learnt a lot!!!!
Secondly I wish to ask you something about boxing…You said that the force of a fist is proportional to the weight of the boxer. Is for this reason that weight categories exists? I mean can a smaller boxer beat an heavier one? Or it is just impossible? I guess smaller one are faster than the heavier ones.
I thank you, and I hope that you’ll never get tired to write articles! I’m sorry for my bad english -_-‘…
Goodbye and arrivederci a presto!
- Hi Alessio. It’s definitely possible to beat a bigger fighter. Assuming all attributes are the same, a fighter with an advantage in one area can win. Having an advantage in size is a whole other story. Being bigger allows you to punch harder, absorb shots better, be able to push your opponent while not being easily pushed back. The bigger fighter might also have advantages in height and reach.
- So it’s possible but fighting someone bigger, you may give up many advantages and just because you’re smaller doesn’t guarantee you’ll be faster.
3. Do you have any strength exercises using free weights?
alriight johnny,been reading your website for a while now and i have started boxing training 4 months ago.I really enjoy going the gym and currently go 3 times a week for maybe 1 1\2 hours per session.my workout consists of 15 mins interval running ,30 secs slow jog 1min faster pace,3x3mins d/e bag,3x3mins hook and uppercut bag,3x3mins heavy bag and 3x3mins speedball, to finish off i do some weights not heavy just enough to do 20 reps 3sets(back,shoulders,arms),what i’m asking for is some strength exercises using free weights ,i do a few sets of clap pushups and medicine ball throws against a wall ,just want some new exercises to keep my workouts from getting too repetitive,by the way i’m 44 ,6ft 5 and weigh 110kg.Great website mate, really enjoy reading it! Thanks, robby
- I really like the exercises using a medicine ball. They’re all over the internet.
4. Are Title heavy bag gloves any good or Everlast better?
- I prefer the bag gloves by Title. They’re good.
5. What how many sets/reps/recovery time should I have during my workouts?
A few last things – I am interested in trying to increase speed as well and have been hearing about plyometric exercises. Is there an exercise routine with detailed information like number of sets/reps/frequency you would recommend? I am also wondering if there is any recovery time recommended between workouts (like with weight lifting)? Right now I’m doing 4-5 days a week 60-90 minutes per day since I have more free time. When work gets busy I can usually only fit in 3 days or so. – Mike
- There’s a workout I released on this website. A good break time is 1 minute as most.
6. Can you tell me if my workout is good?
When I am unable to work in an actual training class here is the workout I do. Check it out and tell me if this an effective way to train or what I can do to improve on it.
30 min run 3.5-4.0 miles
10 min jump rope
10 min shadow boxing
20 min heavy bag
10 min pushups
10 min ab work
10 min pull ups
Any input you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
How long before you get t-shirts?
- I would take time off the heavy bag and put it into the speed bag and double-end bag. The t-shirts are on their way! (Thanks for asking.)
7. What size boxing gloves should I use?
Let me start by saying I love your newsletter, man. I’m a beginner and I’m looking into buying my first set of boxing gloves. I weigh about 220, do you have any suggestions of what size of glove I should use? Also what are some of the better brands out there? – Juan
- 16oz is the minimum size for you. Check out my Boxing Gloves Buyer’s Review.
8. Do you have any tips or ideas to fight like James Toney?
Hello Johnny, I am Spaniardguy… I enjoy your site and now I am enjoy your boxing intructional video and ebook. Sorry to bother you, but I take a motivation that you can help to resolve partly. Yo are a great fan to James Toney. I too. If you have time, could you tell me some tips or ideas about fighting like him (I wouldn´t go that far, hehehe)?
- Spar at slow speed and try to evade your opponent’s punches without taking a backstep. See if you can become more creative at slipping. Instead of just moving your head, see if you can angle your body so that your opponent misses entirely. I have a guide coming out to teach more advanced body movement.
9. Can you please help me with my reflexes? – Zach
- Spar slower so you can see everything. It’s hard to have fast reflexes when you can’t see what you’re suppose to react to.
10. Do you have any recommendations on the Fighting Sports Tri-Tech gloves?
First, I want to say that this is the most valuable, real and useful information I got over the internet about spurring. My name is Yuval, and I am new to the fighting sport. I am doing Krav Maga, Spurring, Bag, Cross fit, and I love it. I totally hooked.
I bought my gear at Sport Chalet, and after the guy at the fight store that I went yesterday told me how poor quality they are, I decided to return them and do some of my research before I am investing hundreds of dollars in high quality gear. Your website and experience have been very useful and helped educate me about the field.
I am thinking on getting Fighting Sports Tri-Tech brand. Any recommendations? Laces? Loop & Hook?
Also, thank you for the recommendation to put hand wraps on anytime I train.
I could not find any review on grappling gloves or mouth pieces?
Is the Dr. Shock brand worth the price? or is the plain, cheap Everlast mouth piece is good enough?
Is the Hayabusa MMA pro gloves are the way to go with those sort of gloves?
Again, thank you very much. Sharing you knowledge and experience have definitely made a difference for me.
- I like the Fighting Sports Tri-Tech gloves, a couple of the guys here use them. The hook & loop are a much better choice. They secure the wrist well and make it easy for you to strap yourself up. I’m not an MMA expert and never use those MMA gloves so I can’t give you any advice there.
- Doctor Shock mouthguards are definitely worth it. The cheap mouthguards wear down fast and don’t seem to lock my jaw as well.
11. Do you any good body weight exercises to stay in shape?
I’ve got a question. I’m away from home for about a year and that means no boxing either, unfortunately. Do you know any good body weight exercises that will me keep in shape? That means no dumbbells, or any other type of equipment. Thanks in advance!
- Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, dips (use a chair). Search the internet for calisthenics (bodyweight exercises). As long as you have gravity, you can get a full workout using only your body weight.
12. Is 33 too old to start boxing and compete?
First of all, I appreciate the website. Very informative, and positive. Not the brash, tough guy, in-your-face talk that I see on some sites.
I am 33 years old, and I work on computers for a living. I sit a lot because of my job so I workout after the workday. I have always been interested in boxing but never did anything about it. Just over two months ago I found a gym, and I love going there. I am still working on basics, as well as my weight, but I am making pretty good progress on all fronts.
My question for you is, how old is too old to get into the sport? Now I know that I am not too old to train, spar, etc.., but is 33 too old to begin the pursuit of possibly fighting an amateur bout or two?
Thank you very much.
- There are open divisions and masters divisions for older fighters. 33 is not too old at all, there are many people who get into the sport late and still have a great time. You might be too late for the olympics and a pro career but it’s never too late to get in awesome shape and challenge yourself.
13. What I do to increase jab strength?
first of all great site and thanks for taking the time to share this with us.
i just wanted to ask regarding the jab im a cruiserwaight boxer and have a weak jab, thus setting up other shots after the jab can be a little difficult in the ring. my arms are conditioned so im not to sure what to do although my coach think not too much of it however i my self know i realy much on the jab
so what if anthing would you recomend i do to help my jab strenth wise
once again thanks for all the time
- The jab’s strength is its speed and accuracy. The power comes from the snap, not necessarily the strength behind the jab. You can add power to the jab by stepping forward an inch when you throw it.
14. Should I adopt the outside boxing style?
Johnny, I am 12 years old and I have just begun boxing. I am medium-height and am pretty fast, but I don’t have much power. Would a outboxer be a good style to adopt? – Ty
- Everybody who wants to learn how to box must learn how to box from the inside, outside, everything. Boxing from the outside is not a style, it’s a part of boxing. You have to be ready for whatever situation presents itself.
15. Can you help me with ______?
first off, great website, I’m a big fan.
I am a newbie to boxing and have been training for about the last 6 months. I am looking at signing up for a locally hosted charity fight night between us and our sister boxing club. I have several questions in regards to my training over the next few months:
1. Roadwork – I do none at present. I am EXTREMELY flat footed and use customised orthotics. Being on the heavier side, I avoid running as it tends to hurt my knees. Is there any effect from replacing running with an elliptical cross trainer or other low impact cardio machinery in the gym? How much and how often should I be doing? – do you have any guide on this?
2. Do you have any tips or aids to ensure your wrist/forearm is aligned the right way when punches impact. I tend to use a fairly powerful cross and recently my outer wrist has been hurting after every session. I have tried taking some time away from training and the usual icing of the affected spot. I also try and wrap my wrists tighter. This has all helped but not reduced the problem. I am trying to change my punching style from a “great big powerful cross” to a “snapping punch”. Do you have any other recommendations?
3. The common sense boxing diet is logical, but can you provide some advise around quantities? I am unable to keep up with 6x meals a day due to work/study/training commitments. I can only manage 4 meals a day. I am currently 110kgs at 6’0 tall. My objective is to get down to 95kgs over the next 6 months. What macro break down shall I aim for with the proteins/carbs/fats split in terms of weight (g) per day. eg: 180g protein, 250g carb, 50g fats, etc.
4. I know this is subjective, but how many training sessions do you recommend?
At present I attend:
2x squad sessions a week – these cover technique/drills/sparring
1x technique session a week
2x conditioning sessions a week
I am looking to add one bag session with several rounds on the heavy bag followed by the speed ball.
Is that a suitable target?
5. Lastly, I like to add in 1x session a week of heavy compound lifting – military presses, bench presses, squats, deadlifts, etc – I know you aren’t a big fan of weight training, but I definitely feel like these help my “power shots”. What are your thoughts?
ps: Is mailbag a fortnightly/monthly feature – just so I know when to expect an answer and don’t get fired from work for refreshing your webpage every minute waiting for a reply 😉
- Hey VV, I update the mailbag whenever I have time which isn’t much nowadays. For you, I will make this one special exception and answer it now because the next one might not be for a month. I don’t have a guide on running alternatives but will certainly make one.
- The reason why your wrist hurts is usually because of punching form and/or technique. My suggestion is that you stretch the INSIDE LENGTH of your arm when you throw those crosses. That’s the distance from the index knuckle to the inside of your shoulder (where it meets the chest).
- The Common Sense Boxing Diet already answers the recommended number of calories to consumer per day. How much should you eat? This is what your body needs, according to the American Dietary Guidelines 2010 (from the US Department of Health): 2400-3000 calories for active men (reference size 5’10″ 154lbs), 2000-2400 calories for active women (reference size 5’4″ 126lbs)
- Everyone’s body is different. You will have to experiment with different amounts to know what is right. There’s a section in that guide called “Meal Portions”. Other than that, I recommend you follow what is recommended by the American Dietary Guidelines. If you are unable to keep up with the 6x meals schedule, you will have to find a way…otherwise, your diet will be less than perfect. That’s simply the way the body works. I use to pack food in a plastic container everywhere I went. It was a hassle but I made health my priority and always found a way.
- Your current training session is pretty intense so I wouldn’t recommend any more training than that. I would say it’s perfect for competing amateur boxers.
- Lifting weights to punch harder is like trying to build muscle so you can jump higher. Can it work? It depends on how you do it. Is that how the old school greats did it? NOPE. Are there far better exercises than weightlifting for building power? OH YEAH!
- I’m not a big fan of heavy weightlifting for boxing because I use to be a powerlifter and it turned out to be a huge waste of time for boxing purposes. But since you asked… I beg you to try 2 months of weight training…and then 2 months without weight training. And see for yourself which period allowed you punch harder, with greater punching range, with higher punch output, using less energy. I’m not asking you to believe me…I’m asking you to see for yourself how big the difference is.
16. What can I do to improve my ability to see punches better?
I just love all the advise u give us!!!!it helps allot. I just wane know(if u can help) what can I do to basically make myself to see the punches coming my way? – storm
- Spar at a slower speed so that you can learn to SEE the punches. Once you can see it, you can slowly pick up the pace. If you spar too fast in the beginning, you’ll never be able to see it and you’ll flinch for ever. Of course, I don’t want you to watch every punch being thrown at you. The goal is to build your sensitivity to punches so that you can feel them coming.
17. When are you considered a boxer?
I had a question, when are you considered a boxer? Is it when you are training and full on sparring with other ametuer fighters? Or when you are actually competing? – Vinnie
- In a literal sense, you’re a boxer if you train and participate in the sport of boxing. But if you want to be serious boxer, then it will take a least a couple months of hard training before you will be respected as a fighter.
18. Do you have any advice for sparring body shots?
hi was just wondering if you could do an artical or give me some advice on body sparring. We do it alot at my gym in england and i know it can give you bad habbits because you always block your body rather than your head. Can you tell me how you should block and where you should hit your opponent and how to look good. thank you rob
- Block wherever your opponent tries to attack you. Aim anywhere you can reach your opponent (chest, stomach, solar plexus, heart, liver, kidney, ribs). A good idea is to intercept with an uppercut straight up the middle when your opponent throws a wide hook to the body.
19. How can I box professionally if my country doesn’t have professional boxing?
first of all i want to convey me greetings to u and your team. i am ahmad sadeed and i live in afghanistan. i am really a boxing fanatic and i have been following ur site for a long time. i have a bachelor degree in law and i am working with an american company in afghanistan right now. previously i was going to a kickboxing gym but it was not what i wanted. after graduating from law school, i started going to boxing gym. i exercised a lot and tried to be a smart and sharp boxer. no exaggeration, i am good at it. coming to the point, in my country there are no pro boxers who participates in any kind of competitions. all of them are amatuer and our boxing national team has never taken part in olympics or any major championship. maybe the reason is our poor boxing quality and less interst of our officials. i don’t know. i am really suffering and frustrated cause i am getting older. now i am 22 but until i reach the level i have to, considering these conditions, it might take so long. i am looking forward to ur comments. every day inside the gym i discuss ur topics and my trainer likes them a lot and he encourages me to continue my hard work. i want to sacrifice every thing of my life for boxing. even i refused my promotion at work cause it will prevent me from concentrating on boxing. but i am scared that after losing every thing i may not reach anywhere. is there any other way to become a pro? i will try my best to get to our national team and maybe through that i reach other competitions.
- Ahmad, I suggest for you to enter the amateur boxing competitions in your country and do really well. Record videos of yourself doing well in competition and send them to promotion companies and boxing managers around the world. Somebody may be willing to sponsor you and handle the paperwork for you to fight in another country. Your best bet is to talk to an experienced amateur boxing coach, maybe he has connections.
20. Can you recommend a couple of quick snacks to eat before training?
I train twice a week at a local club for fitness and weight loss. I have lost over 30lb in 3 months and really enjoy the training. I leave work and go straight to training and then have my evening meal when I get home ~ I’m usually ravenous by the time I get home.
Please could you recommend a couple of quick snacks I could eat a couple of hours prior to training as I have tried bananas or sandwiches but I can’t find the right balance. I either run out of energy or get a stitch.
Brilliant site especially from a beginners point of view.
- I’ll eat a large meal about 2 hours before training, and then a small meal like protein bar and a fruit right before training. You can also eat something small (even a candy bar) during training.
21. What can you tell me about hand problems and safety issues in boxing training?
My name is Santos, and I currently attending the Science Academy of South Texas. I am enrolled in a course named Engineering Development and Design in which I am required to identify and create a solution for a problem using engineering. I am interested reducing felt force in the hands during boxing training sessions in order to help prevent hand and wrist injuries.
I found your website, and I was wondering, as an expert, what you could tell me about common current hand protection during boxing training (i.e. using a punching bag).
You help would be greatly appreciated.
- The biggest problem with hand injuries is that boxers are punching an irregular shaped object. The human body is shaped differently and hard and soft in different places. You can use proper form to keep the wrist from bending but often, you attack and whatever angle is available. An opponent could easily move or parry which may bend your wrist. Hundreds of punches can be thrown in a round at high speeds making it highly likely for the wrist to be at slightly angled upon impact.
- All safety equipment can only cushion the impact, it doesn’t keep the wrist from bending. I guess the solution would be to find a way to secure the boxer’s wrists during punches. Maybe better handwraps or gloves would be the solution.
22. How much should I train?
Hello, thanks for the website, it has helped me a lot in my boxing goals. But I have some questions.
My name is Kurt, and I’m currently 18 and I’ve been interested in boxing since I was 17. I just turned 18 in July and I want to one day go pro. I just had a few questions on some things. Now the first is concerning my age. At 18, is it too late for me to want to turn pro if I’m just starting out? And if not, How long do you suppose it will take me to do it?
Also, I’m 5’11 1/2 – 6′ and I currently weigh 218. Now I can cut some body fat off to be a good fighting weight and I’ll probably get down to 200 or 205. Now I’ve been weight training for about a year before I got into boxing and my current trainer said I should stop lifting and I did stop and now I just do a lot of calisthenics. My trainer also told me that for my height I should be fighting at cruiser-weight because heavyweight is mainly has taller guys. But here’s the problem, I gained A LOT of muscle mass in just a year to the point where many thought I was on steroids. And 90% of my family has a long history of having big people. So genetically I’m prone to gaining weight. Which means that even if I do calisthenics, I’m still probably gunna gain muscle from it. I’m a good example of a mesomorph. So is this a problem? And if I do become a heavyweight, what are some of the pros and cons of the situation.
And one last question. I like to train a lot and I want to be the best conditioned boxer I can be. Now I looked up some boxers routines online and the only boxer that has any resemblance to my body type that I can think of is Mike Tyson (and by no means am I saying I’ll be anything like Tyson). But I looked up his training program and I watched some videos of him talking about it, and I found out that he jogs 3-5 miles everyday, he does a ton of calisthenics every day, and he does a lot of other boxing training (like ring work, mitts, heavy bag, speed bag, slip bag, jump rope, etc.) and he did this at least 6 days a week. If I wanted to be well conditioned could I follow this routine, or would I risk over-training?
- You’ll only get injured if you try to train like Mike Tyson, or any other professional boxer. It takes years to develop the body to handle that amount of punishment. You’ll have to trust your coach to guide you at the right pace. I would match the workout of other boxers in your gym before you increase the workload. Don’t forget that rest is an important part of strengthening the body.
23. How do I shadowbox properly?
Hey Johnny – I really dig your site and put lot of your ideas to use.
Just seeing if you’ve already done a write up on how to properly shadowbox..I can’t seem to find anything. In particular, how many rounds, pacing, things to concentrate on etc
- Shadowbox by throwing punches using proper form. Once you can throw single punches with proper form, you can start throwing combinations and increasing the speed. There’s no set rules, you throw punches and work on your defensive movements like slipping and rolling while you do it. It helps to do it in front of a mirror for you to check your form. You can shadowbox to warm up, work out, or warm down.
24. What’s the footwork when coming forward with the 1-2?
I love your site, it’s awesome! I’ve got a quick question for you please.
Can you explain the footwork for coming forward with a 1-2? Usually, my weight is 40-60, front foot back foot. If I come forward with a 1-2. I’ll step forward with my left foot AS I throw the jab and then I twist into the right hand, with the right foot twisting with it and slightly pushing so my weight comes forward to my front foot. I get a lot of power with this.
This is all fine, but if I want to throw the jab, 1-2-1, I literally have to jump into it because my weight is now more on the front foot after throwing the right.
I asked a guy at the gym and he said that the right foot moves forward after the jab and just before the right hand, so the stance is shortened back to normal. This allows me to throw the second jab as normal, but I don’t get any power on the right hand at all? :S
I’d really appreciate if you could explain this please, thanks man!
- Hehehe…great question, many boxers will fight for years before learning this. If you’re moving forward, you have to bring your feet with you in order to reach with both hands. If you have a strong weight transfer, you can fire the right hand while sliding up the right foot. If you take a smaller step, you can plant the right foot before firing the right hand. If you’re really clever, you’ll get into range without letting your opponent know.