Preparing for your first fight can be the most stressful moment of your life.
This might be the scariest thing you’ve ever done so it’s natural to worry about everything.
You keep checking your workout bag to make sure you didn’t leave your mouthpiece at home. People are texting you for the time and directions and parking information. You feel like some kind of wedding planner. And deep inside, you keep wondering if you’re ready.
Here is my list of final fight preparation tips so you can focus on your fight!
Fight Preparation Tips
If it’s your first fight, you’ll probably get almost no sleep. Some people will be on Youtube looking for last-minute tips. Some people are hanging out with friends to relax. Some people are at home in front of the TV. Others are shadowboxing all night.
I would recommend just shadowboxing and stretching in front of the TV. Put on a movie or TV show you like to watch and just relax. Then get to bed. There’s nothing else to do. All the hard work and training is behind you. Put all your gear in one place so you can grab it the next morning and go.
Important stuff you should have:
- boxing shoes, socks, shorts, shirts, sweats (so you don’t cool off after warming up)
- gloves, headgear, groin protector, handwraps, gauze, knuckle padding, 1″ white tape (sometimes called sports tape)
- bucket, Vaseline, band-aids, scissors, Q-tips, rag or towel (to wipe off blood, sweat, excess Vaseline)
- mouthpiece (DO NOT LEAVE THIS AT HOME)
- bottle of water (poke a hole on the top of the cap so you can use it as a squirt bottle)
- fruits (to eat after your weigh-in)
Friends & Family
Who’s gonna record? Who’s got your cellphone? Who needs a ride? Where are your family and friends sitting? Etc, etc, etc. Have somebody in charge of your family & friends so that you can warm-up without being interrupted. It’s stressful to warm-up when you keep getting texted by people who can’t find the place, can’t find parking, don’t have the address, etc.
Get warm and STAY WARM.
It’s time to warm-up, so you need to be hot. Wear sweats so your body can heat up quicker. Stay in your sweats after you finish warming up so your body doesn’t get to cool down. And keep drinking water if you find yourself sweating a lot. If you feel uncomfortably hot, GOOD!
It could be hours before your fight so it’s important not to warm-up too early that you end up cooling off and feel like your body is in rest mode before your fight. This can be more of a psychological thing than physical but it does make a difference especially for beginners. Start warming up when you have about 1-2 hours before your fight. After you’re warmed up, you can relax but make sure you move around a bit every 20-30 minutes.
Look up dynamic stretching on Google and do it. Move your limbs around, stretch everything. Start throwing punches. Shadowbox, hit the mitts, hit the bag, whatever you want. Skipping rope or taking a quick jog around the block is not a bad idea.
Drink all the water you need hours before the fight and keep urinating. Once your fight is coming up within the next hour, only sip water. Try not to have any water in your stomach during the fight, this can make you tired or nauseous (especially if you get hit in the stomach).
Same goes with eating. Don’t eat anything within the 2 hours before the fight.
Last Minute Fight Preparations
Ok, this is the final moment right before your fight! Your fight is coming up within the next hour and you’re basically ready to walk out.
If you’re not already wrapped up from hitting the mitts or hitting the bags, now is a good time. You can use the regular hand wrap method or use the pro method with all the extra padding and tape, etc. The pro method will give you extra protection and support for your hands and wrist which can be beneficial since you’ll be using small gloves. It’ll also give you more power for your punches.
Extra tip: put one layer of the 1″ tape around the wrist of your back hand to give you a little extra power for that cross. (A pro taught me this.)
Check your equipment. Make sure everything works. Don’t wait until the last moment to find out a strap broke on your groin protector and now you have to borrow someone else’s. Or that you brought the wrong headgear, etc. Find out who has your mouth guard, or better yet, keep it in your pocket.
Start putting on the Vaseline so your opponent’s punches can slip off y ou. The usual places are on the outside of your headgear, a thin layer over your forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, and chin. Have your coach put it on you. (Don’t be an idiot and get Vaseline in your eyes.) If you’re going to be fighting shirtless, you can also put some on your chest and shoulders.
Shadowbox with a partner
Have your trainer or a friend shadowbox with you. He should be throwing slow punches and let you slip and duck or counter in whatever way you like. If you know your opponent is going to be southpaw, then have your partner stand southpaw as well. If you know your opponent is going to be tall, have your partner stick his jab arm out and keep it in front of your face so you can get used to moving around it.
Keep your eyes on your “opponent” and prepare yourself to punch at a live opponent. This is not warm-up shadowboxing. You are conditioning yourself to fight.
Avoid talking about new strategy before the fight. This will only confuse you and keep you from doing what you’re good at, which is the stuff you’ve been doing all this time in the gym. Stick to what you’re comfortable with!
NO Pre-fight Mental Talk
STOP THIS SHIT! The more you talk to yourself, the more you psyche yourself out. It’s not a big deal. This is just another session in the ring, you might win and you might lose. All you can do is try your best and enjoy the replay footage later. Treat it the same way you would before a sparring session or before you hit the heavy bag.
You’ve been training for this moment!
Be excited to fight. Be ready to have fun.
Have any of your own great fight preparation tips to share? Share them below in the comments!