At last! You are about to hit an extremely important milestone of a competitive boxer: the first boxing bout of your boxing journey.
It is an exciting moment to be able to show your hard work and skills to the public and display courage when stepping up to the ring. But of course, every boxer before his or her first bout will experience some form of anxiety, which I’ve experienced back when I hit this important milestone. So how do you prepare for your first bout? Here are 6 top tips to practice for the first bout to make sure you are ready for that milestone in your boxing journey.
#1: Be physically and mentally prepared
Before stepping in the ring for the first time, it is crucial that you have your basics sorted out. Everybody who wants to compete must know basic defense and offense as well as be physically and mentally prepared for fighting. It is essential for you to not only have the actual skills, but also confidence in it. This of course can be achieved through training hard consistently and listening to your coach about any weakness you have and correcting them.
If you feel you’re not ready at all, be it your ability to punch or last whatever rounds you have to last—reconsider about your bout or speak to your coach. Boxing takes years of hard work to improve and it’s always better to take it step by step rather than stepping into the ring unprepared and sustain a career-ending injury.
#2: Spar, but with caution!
Main tip is to spar! If you want to be good at running fast, you must run fast; if you want to be good at scoring goals, you must practice scoring goals. The principle is the same with Boxing and fighting: at the end of the day no bag workout will simulate the fight and the best preparation for me was always doing as many rounds as I could! When you go out there you need to know what you are doing and be comfortable. To be comfortable you must do it, so get your boxing gear and hit the sparring session.
Sparring is the best way to prepare for your bout, but a word of caution: do NOT overdue it and absolutely NO heavy sparring, especially a week before your bout!
Heavy sparring is not only tiring and demanding for the fighter’s body, but also an activity during which one is prone to injury. Cuts, bruises, or broken noses are at the end of the day quite a common reality of tough rounds. Remember about it during fight week, as too many or too heavy rounds might prevent you from competing.
Many young boxers try to get as much rounds in the ring as possible to feel more confident during their bout and that is the correct thing to do, but keep in mind that it does not always end in success. Take my personal experience as an example: twice I had a situation when sparring in the fight week resulted in the fact that I wasn’t able to compete. Breaking your nose three days before the scheduled show is not pleasant! Train both hard and smart, but not just hard.
#3: Keep a healthy diet
The old sayings says you are what you eat. This can never be more true. So keep a consistent, healthy diet while training for your bout. This will make sure you have the energy and motivation to give it all out during your training.
Healthy and regular meals during the last few days before your bout is especially important. It will not make Mike Tyson out of you, but good nutrition will increase your chances for a good performance. Particularly important is not overeating on fight day, as that as you can correctly imagine, might not end well.
#4: Cut weight wisely
The rookie mistake that I most often see is extreme weight cutting.
Weight cutting should be a two, three, or four-week process. Cutting several kilograms during your fighting week is not a good idea. It will leave you exhausted, dehydrated, and prone to injury. Remember to plan cutting weight several weeks before the day of your fight, so you are not left with additional weight in your fight week.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that one should train in the weight he/she wants to compete. If you cut too much weight and you are not used to it, it might come to your surprise that your punches are not as powerful as they use to be and you might feel ‘weird’ in the ring.
If you need additional tips on this specific topic, check out our article on this here.
#5: Stop overtraining
This is a common mistake, especially among young fighters.
Stress, insecurity, and fear of competition often contribute to fighters training until the very last moment. This is not the best idea. Remember that one of the key aspects of a good performance is being fresh and rested on the day of the fight. If you enter your first bout with sore muscles due to overtraining, you decrease the chance of performing well. Remember that one more training won’t make you a better fighter, but will bring the opposite effect: it might exhaust you and contribute to your inability to give your best.
Physical tiredness might also weaken you mentally. When you know and feel that your body cannot make it, you will easily lose confidence in your ability and that will cause unnecessary stress.
#6: Rest and relax
This aspect of fighting is highly underestimated by beginners! It has important implications both physically and mentally.
Many young fighters stress so much before their first competition that they end up overtraining and being exhausted on the day of the fight. Doing a 10-kilometer run the night before your fight is really not a good idea, as this will result in overtraining. Instead, you should remember to be well rested and in your best shape.
By resting, I also emphasize the mental aspect as well. When your first bout is right around the corner, do not spend the last week sitting and thinking about your fight.
Constantly watching boxing tips on YouTube, endlessly browsing for boxing tips on Google, or calling your boxing friends for advice—these actions during fight week will not help you win your first bout. All of those things will contribute to the situation that 6-minute bout will last a week, instead of 6 minutes. At the end of the day, a boxing bout is a boxing bout. You are either better or worse and as a result, you either win or lose.
Remember about it!
Spending the week on thinking about your competition is a week wasted and so instead, rest up and relax! Sometimes, the more you think, the more you stress and will result in you performing worse.
Enjoyed our tips on preparing for your first bout?
Did our tips for preparing for your first bout help you? If you competed or about to compete in your first bout, tell us more about it! Leave a comment below, or contact us via email on [email protected]!