Sports enthusiasts enjoy debating what the toughest sport out there is. To determine this, we must consider more than just the difficulty of the athletic requirements. We must also consider how difficult it is in technical terms.
Focusing on factors like skill level, endurance, and physical and mental strength, we would have to say that boxing is actually one of the most difficult sports. This might be quite surprising to a lot of you.
Next, we will take a look at what makes mixing so difficult, as well as discuss the advantages of getting into boxing. Let’s begin!
Ancient History of Boxing
Although boxing dates all the way back to 3,000BC in Ancient Egypt, it was the Ancient Greeks who took on this sport and made it so popular.
It became part of the Olympic Games back in the 7th century and was mandatory for all young men who were to become soldiers. According to numerous sources, the first piece of equipment used was leather thongs to protect the forearm and knuckles.
The Ancient Romans Stepped In
A couple of centuries later, the Ancient Romans decided to adopt this sport, introducing leather gloves with metal studs to the equipment used when boxing.
What Happened After the Roman Empire Fell?
Although it was popular for several centuries, boxing faded away with the Western Roman Empire. It wasn’t until the 17th century that this fighting sport was reintroduced to the public in England. However, it was still another 150 years before the first amateur boxing competitions were held.
Five different weight categories were founded, including Bantam (up to 54kg), Feather (up to 57kg), Light (up to 63.5kg), Middle (up to 73kg), and Heavy (anything above the aforementioned weights). This sport was first introduced to the modern Olympic Games in St. Louis (1904).
Throughout the 20th century, boxing became one of the most-watched sports, with Americans and Russians winning most competitions. Stars such as Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson, and Joe Frazier were heavily responsible for its massive popularity.
Why Is Boxing Considered to Be Difficult?
The main reason why boxing is considered to be the toughest sport is because of its physical and mental demands. According to ESPN, on a scale of 1 to 10, boxing requires an 8.63 in endurance, 8.13 in strength, and 8.63 in power.
Anyone who has entered the ring can attest to these high requirements. Not only that, but boxing asks for agility, durability, hand-eye coordination, and most importantly, strength. Entering fighting sports takes a lot of guts and psychological strength.
The Stamina Demands
It is safe to say that professional boxers are probably the best physically prepared athletes out there. Punching for three minutes straight can be incredibly exhausting – now, imagine doing that while trying to avoid punches thrown by your opponent.
The Mental Variable of Boxing
From a technical perspective, there are a lot of other sports with similarly high levels of difficulty, such as golf and other fighting sports. Still, the mental power of accepting that you will probably be punched multiple times during multiple rounds is where boxing stands out from the other sports.
The main goal in this sport is to hurt your opponent! Some may think that boxing is barbaric, but that is part of what makes it so popular. With that in mind, overcoming fear is something that anyone who is into boxing has to do.
The Idea of Fighting Back
Boxing can teach a lot of great life lessons. You will most certainly get hit, but to succeed, you will have to cope with it and hit back even harder. Only by standing in front of fear will you be able to go forward.
No Shortcuts in Boxing
In boxing, you simply can’t take any shortcuts. A lot of amateurs and professional boxers will tell you that solitude is an essential part of training. Frankly, no one can push through the difficulties apart from you, and staying disciplined with workouts and diet is essential for success.
It is a high-intensity sport in which your mental alertness and physical strength need to be at their peak. It all comes down to training for a very long time. Additionally, eating food that does not taste great but gives you much-needed energy and clarity is part of the process.
Quick Reaction and Great Power
Further discussing how boxing is tough in technical terms, if you are not able to react in a millisecond, you are sure to get punched in the face. Also, the idea integrated into all boxing techniques is the ability to perform a counterattack with loads of power.
Golden Boxing Stance
Believe it or not, one of the most understated points in boxing is a strong stance. Without it, you will simply not have enough balance, and your opponent will have a much easier time finding your weak spot. It is essential both for defense and offense.
The most basic stance is keeping your feet shoulder-width apart (at an angle of 45 degrees), with the left foot heel being lined up with the right foot toes (if you are a right-handed boxer).
Bent Knees/Straight Back
While you should maintain a mild bend in the knees, it is essential to have your spine completely straight. This is both to have more balance and to avoid injuries. Additionally, your left hand should be at shoulder height, and your right hand should be just below the chin.
The Essentials of Boxing Footwork
While most sports require you to be active on your feet, in boxing, you will probably pay the highest price if you stay idle. Keeping your feet apart and never crossing them can help you be as effective as you possible in terms of footwork.
It is important to move in small steps with your weight evenly balanced on both feet. As with all other footwork, to become better at it, you need speed and agility. For that, training in the gym and doing cardio workouts on a regular basis will go a long way.
Key to Floyd Mayweather’s Success
Floyd Mayweather is one of the best boxers of all time, especially when talking about Welterweight and Light Featherweight. If you have ever watched his matches, then you know that he is a master of footwork and uses it to exhaust his opponents before landing the deciding punches.
Jabs and Cross Punches
While there are many advanced techniques that you can master as you get better at boxing, learning how to throw a jab should be your first step. Although it is considered to be the easiest punch, it still requires proper hand positioning and good aim.
Your chin should be dropped for protection, and as soon as you land a jab, return your hand to the original stance. While suitable for defense and offense, it is a short punch, so to create real damage, you will need to master a cross punch.
Mastering a “Straight Right/Left”
If you have ever watched boxing, then you have seen a cross punch. It requires a lot of weight transitioning from the back to the front foot and punching with your arm completely straight. The best time to go for it is when your opponent’s defense has been broken.
The Art of Hooks and Uppercuts
Hooks and uppercuts require more practice than the aforementioned two punches. For a proper hook, you need to rotate your hips, toes, and hand in the direction that you want to hit. Your palm should be facing down and not forward.
The best thing about a hook is that it is completely unexpected in most cases, and it is out of your opponent’s vision. It is similar to an uppercut to the chin, which is sure to be a deciding punch if you land it solidly.
How to Punch with an Uppercut
An uppercut can be done with either hand. Weight transition is the key, as most of your weight should be on the side of the arm you are punching with. Your toes and hips should be pointed in the opposite direction to maintain balance.
Why Should You Get Into Boxing?
First and foremost, even if you aren’t thinking about becoming a professional boxer, practicing this sport is sure to improve your cardio. With the full-body exercise that you are getting, it is safe to say that along with swimming, boxing is one of the most exhausting sports.
Additionally, boxing can help you gain much-needed confidence not only for your practice but other life challenges, as well. As we have mentioned above, the idea of facing fear and the inevitability of certain situations (such as getting punched) are all great lessons.
Given the fast-paced lifestyle that we are all living in, punching out all of that stress and negative energy can go a long way towards both physical and mental health.
Although tough and incredibly demanding, boxing is fun and offers much more than just physical exercise.
With that in mind, we suggest that anyone who enjoys fighting sports and pushing their own limits gives this sport a try!