What is it?
Boxing or Western Boxing as it is known to some, is the martial art of only using punches to defeat your opponent. Its a martial art style that has been around for as long as humankind has been around, with a whole swath of different names across the years such as pugilism or prize-fighting, the modern sport as we understand it has been around since the late 1800s with the introduction of the Marquess of Queensbury rules, which is the basis for the rules of boxing we still use today. it is often seen as THE way to settle disputes amongst men throughout the past. After all, im sure the problems you once had with each other are gone as you both try to beat the brakes off of each other with your hands, or at the very least, a form of grudging respect.
How does it work?
Boxing itself is more than throwing mindless punches, when its performed at its highest level its known as the art of hitting without getting hit, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is the best example of this, his ability to absolutely sha-TING his opponents with out also getting sha-tingged is the stuff of legend. So while we have punches in boxing, avoiding the punches is also a part of this, slips, parries, head movement and ring craft are all part of the sport of boxing. Seeing a boxer who has mastered a certain aspect like this is like watching a duck take to water, there is something majestic about it, like your watching the duck do something it was born to do, so too is it the same with watching a boxer avoid his opponents blows effortlessly.
Styles of Boxing
While the idea of just using your hands seems limiting, especially with there only being 4 main punches in the arsenal, the jab, the cross, the hook and the uppercut. but the simplicity is also a strength, and once learned to throw effectively, a fighter can really focus on honing them to the point of mastery. There are also quite a few styles of boxing, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, the four main styles that almost all boxers fall into are: Out Boxers, Swarmers, Brawlers and Boxer Punchers.
- Out Boxer- an out boxer is a fighter who uses distance and quick strikes to wear down an opponent while avoiding returning strikes by being evasive and quick on their feet. notable out fighters include Floyd Mayweather Jr, Gene Tunney and Muhammad Ali.
- Swarmer- A Swarmer style boxer overwhelms their opponents with flurries of punches from a close distance, while avoiding counter blows by using slips, bobbing and weaving, another term for this style would be a pressure fighter due to the pressure the fighter puts their opponent under, due to the constant barrage of punches being thrown from close distance or ‘the pocket’. Notable swarmer style boxers include Jack Dempsey, Manny Pacquiao, Ricky Hatton, Rocky Marciano and Mike Tyson.
- Brawler- A brawler is essential a boxer who relies mainly on sheer power and toughness to win their fights, due to the nature of this style, these fighters are often the most exciting to watch, however most sluggers are one dimensional and often times are slower on their feet and their punches, while powerful are often slower as well. Notable brawlers include George Foreman, Butterbean, Arturo Gatti, Sonny Liston And Vitali Klitschko.
- Boxer-Puncher- a boxer-puncher is a mix of both the brawler and the out boxer and is considered by many to be the superior boxing style, to have some of the agility and quick footwork of an out boxer and the punching power of a brawler. Notable boxer-punchers include Vladimir Klitschko, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr, Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Strengths of Boxing
Boxing has quite a few strengths going for it, its simplicity. its also a very common martial art, most towns will have at least one boxing club. There’s also its effectiveness, in a self defence situation, boxing is very useful, as it teaches you how to evade punches, maintain distance and if necessary, the ability to knock someone out.
Weaknesses of Boxing
Boxing does have weaknesses too, its intense training takes a toll on your body and the blows you inevitably take in training can affect you later in life, concussions are no joke after all. It also features no grappling, which in a self defence situation can be dangerous if you have no idea how to break out of a hold, there’s also the problem of the punchers chance, that no matter how well trained you are, one punch can still knock you out.
Boxing is vast, there is a deep history within it, with hundreds of thousands of practitioners, it would be impossible or me to cover all of it with a single blog post. If this post has piqued your interest at all i encourage you to go down to your local boxing gym and see whats going on, watch some of the bigger fights from the past 40 years, and if you do want to train, don’t train without a coach. .