Speedy boxers and defensive fighters are frustrating if not impossible to chase down.
The faster you run, the faster they run away! They never sit still for you to hit and they always seem to squeeze out of the corners. Worst of all, some opponents are even landing punches on you as they’re running away!
The answer is to cut off the ring. Your opponent won’t have anywhere to run to if you know how to cut off his space.
*** Watch my video for a live demonstration of me cornering an imaginary opponent.
1. DON’T CHASE (common mistake)
Running directly into your opponent is the worst thing you can do. It’s tempting to be aggressive when you see your opponent is running away but you’ll never catch him by following him around the ring.
The closer you get, the easier it is for him to run away from you. Going forward into your opponent allows him to escape around the sides. Instead of following him around the ring, it’s better to cut off his space so he has nowhere to run. This is why you hear boxing coaches yell, “Don’t follow your opponent, cut off the ring.”
You cannot trap your opponent by taking his space,
you trap him by not giving him anywhere to go.
2. MOVE SIDEWAYS (to cut off the ring)
The easiest way to cut off the ring is to move sideways. This keeps your opponent in front of you. He can’t run around you so he can only go backwards. By cutting off the ring, you will eventually be able to trap him along the ropes.
If he goes left, you go left. If he goes right, you go right. Every time you follow him sideways, he will feel the pressure because he can’t get around you. Your presence is there and he feels like he’s always in front of you, always in your spotlight. Eventually, he’ll try to get farther away and end up going backwards where you can easily cut off more of the ring.
It’s best to trap your opponent towards a corner. Once you’ve have his back facing a corner, keep cutting off the sides as you pressure him into the corner.
You cannot trap an opponent by following him,
you need to take away his space.
3. BACK UP (to keep him in front of you)
Once you’ve got him in the corner, keep him in front of you! This means maintaining the space, don’t get too close and don’t pivot with him. If he tries to escape, take a step back to keep him in front of you, and then push him back into the corner again. The slick guys will try pivot out and slip to bait you into throwing punches (so they can escape) but all you have to do is step back and they won’t be able to get past you.
The common mistake is to get over-aggressive and to jump on top of him. The closer you get to him, the easier it is for him to squeeze around you OR grab you and spin you into the corner.
Don’t jump into the corner with your opponent,
maintain some space to keep him in the corner.
Extra Tips to CUT OFF the Ring
1. Use the Drowning Style
The Drowning Style is perfect for wearing down a guy and making it hard for him to touch you. This style is useful for cutting off the ring because it makes it easy for you to push him back and take his ground but at the same time, he has a hard time pushing you back because he can’t even touch you.
2. Bounce In-&-Out WITHOUT Giving Up Your Ground
This can be a tricky balance to find. You want to go in and out in order to threaten your opponent and push him back, while at the same time keeping yourself out of harm’s way, while at the same time not letting him reclaim the open ground that you momentarily gave up. There are several ways you can go about this…you could take smaller bounce steps, you could also take bigger bounce steps but maintaining such an aggressive presence that he doesn’t take to take back the ground, you could also use clever timing so that he’s leaning back and off balance when you bounce back and so he’s unable to reclaim the ground. Use some creativity and come up with your own ways of establishing this fine balance of moving in and out while still claiming the ground.
3. Lean back
One of the best ways to go in and out without giving up ground is to lean back. It’s a great way to make some distance and evade his punches while at the same time holding your ground. It’s best if you have enough range awareness to only have to do this a little so that you don’t come off balance.
4. Cut around the front foot
It’s usually when the front foot escapes that the whole body can escape. When you trap an opponent, try to trap his front foot from stepping out or around you and you’ll have an easier time trapping him.
5. Push with Light Punches, Hit with Hard Punches
Use light punches or light touches to push him back. And then once he’s pushed back or placed in a position where you want, THEN hurt him with the hard punches. The problem with throwing hard punches at first is that you make it easy for him to defend, evade, and escape around you. You also make it easier for him to grab you when you commit to hard punches early. It’s better that you use the light punches to set him up into position first. Another thing about the light punches: even though they’re light, make sure you maintain an aggressive presence. This helps to maintain that psychological pressure that makes it more likely for him to remain passive and give up his ground.
How to AVOID Getting Trapped Along the Ropes
1. Never take a back-step
Go forward, sideways, or circle around him. Try to build a habit of never going backwards. You can practice this rule on the heavy bag. Always go forwards, sideways, or around. Going backwards takes away your space and isn’t necessary if you have the defensive skills to protect yourself while in range.
2. Get close and pivot
The more aggressive he is and the closer he gets to you, the easier it is for you to pivot around him on the inside. If he’s keeping a distance, you can make a quick duck into him and then pivot yourself. Even if you can’t pivot, you can clinch your opponent and spin him around you (great for putting HIM in the corner).
3. Escape around the big shots
The big punches give you the biggest opportunity to escape. Duck under and slip through those wide swinging shots or slip out the sides and jump away. If he doesn’t throw anything, you can use that opportunity to clinch.