Tips for Your First Fight

February 4, 2012 February 4, 2012 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Fight Tips 139 Comments

tips for your first fight

Last Sunday, I cornered for 2 fighters for their first fights. My friends, Van and Richard were training hard for the past couple months. I was proud to see both of them win their first fight. (Video included.)

I figured you’d want to know how I coached Van and Richard. To all the guys that trained hard, you deserve to win–this guide is for YOU. To everyone else that only trained 99% and/or like to make excuses, this guide will keep you from getting KO’ed in front of your friends.

Here are some strategies and tips for your first fight…


The Truth

You’re either ready or you’re not. If you’re only one week away from the fight, there isn’t much that I (or anybody) can say that will make you a better fighter overnight. You either have the capacity to win or you don’t.

THE GOOD NEWS, is that I can help you fight to the BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. And that right there is all you really need. If you go out there and fight to the best of your ability, I promise you will be happy with the result no matter what happens. Nobody likes to tire out early and get outpunched. Nobody likes to lose a fight where they didn’t perform their best.

So again, I can’t make you any better than you are but I can help you perform at 100% capacity.


What If You’re Nervous?

I can only think of a few reasons why people get nervous before fights. One is you didn’t train hard enough. If you slacked off in training, don’t ask for a victory. Other reasons for being nervous is that you don’t actually enjoy fighting or maybe the crowd atmosphere gets to you. If you don’t genuinely enjoy THE RISK of getting hurt, you shouldn’t be competing.

Everybody gets emotional before a fight. Fear, anxiety, stress, excitement…it’s all part of the reason you fight. Never forget that the emotions are the reason why you love fighting (or why you love anything). The risk of losing, the glory of winning–it’s why you enjoy competing! So go out there and take that risk.


The fight is your reward.

When you train hard, the fight becomes your reward. You get to show everyone how hard you trained and how amazing you are. You’re excited come fight day and you’re anxious to get in the ring. You WANT to fight, you WANT to have your fun.

I want to share a story about my fighter, Van, who trained 100% everyday for his first fight in December. Unfortunately the event got cancelled on the day of the fight, but what happened next was really inspiring. When I broke the news to Van that the fight got cancelled, he got sad as if his birthday was cancelled. I tried to cheer him up and let him know it was only more time for him to get better but he didn’t care.

Luckily, we were able to enter him into a smoker fight in January. When the day finally arrived, I had never seen a happier fighter. He was smiling and giggling like he had already won. He worked hard for it and couldn’t wait for the moment. I hope that when your first fight arrives, that you want it as bad as Van. And if you don’t want it as bad, then I pray that you’re not fighting Van. 😉



Round 1 – BOX

  • establish: control, skills, respect

Come out with some feeler jabs but watch out for HIS right hand. Trust me, he’s itching to throw it as much as you are. Block his jabs but watch out for that right hand. You’re free to land your own right hands and maybe a quick combo here and there but don’t go tearing after him and trying to finish him off. SAVE YOUR ENERGY! Try to hold center ring and keep circling your opponent instead of backing away from him. Establish dominance, confidence, and ring generalship. The first round should look even.


Touch Him

This is the most important part of the first round. You have to establish your reach and boxing ability. Make sure you can touch him before you commit to power punches later. You’re also letting him know that you’re able to reach his vulnerable spots; let him know you can hurt him. This keeps him cautious instead of trying to run you over. Throw fast jabs, fast right hands. Hook him when he drops his hands. Touch him to the head and body, up and down. Move around and keep finding new angles. Sneak some counters around him to see where he’s open when he throws.


Box Him

Unless he’s wide open for your right hands, don’t go in there trying to knock him out. Let him create his own vulnerabilities. If he wants to waste energy brawling, pick your shots and knock him out. Otherwise, stick to your game plan and learn as much as you can about his vulnerabilities while you box him.



I thought this was obvious but it isn’t. The hardest thing for most beginners is to maintain their breathing while they fight. Everything seems to distract them from breathing. Think of it this way. Your breathing is your pace. If you can fight to your own breathing, you are fighting at your pace. Your opponent might move all crazy and throw lots of punches, but if you can maintain YOUR BREATHING, you will be in control of yourself, not him. Breathe when you punch, breathe when you defend, breathe when you move. Most important of all, breathe when YOU want (not when he lets you).


Round 2 – PUNCH

  • establish: power, strength, aggression

Now is the time for you to start pushing him. Start committing more to your punches. Step in more. More power, more push, more aggression. See if you can force him all the way to the ropes. Be ready to take the damage you dish out. The fight will be going back and forth with both fighters trying to hurt each other. Natural common sense applies here.


Sit Down On Your Punches

Don’t lift your hips so much. Let your hips drop and pivot your feet harder against the ground. The more connected you are with the ground, the more power your opponent will feel. Drop that weight to punch harder!


Follow Up With More Punches

This is a huge one! Too many beginners will sit there and admire their work. If you get a good hit in on a guy, try to capitalize on that. Don’t give him a chance to regain his sense. Try to turn 1 connect, into a 3-hit combo. Don’t step away from him, keep hitting until he throws something back. And then when he does, you slip that, and follow it up with more counters. Don’t ever let him fight, don’t let him stand, don’t let him breathe. The real trick is learning how to put pressure without throwing punches (or wasting energy).

Inexperienced fighters don’t start throwing
until their opponents throw first.
Experienced fighters don’t stop throwing
until their opponents throw back.


Move After the Last Shot

Move after you throw your hardest punches. Your opponent is going to come back after you just cracked him with a good one. Throw a combo, take a step. Throw another combo, take 2 steps. You don’t have to jump away from him, that’s a waste of energy. Just the act of you MOVING AWAY is enough to deflect the power from his punch. Don’t be so cautious about not getting touched. The goal is to throw off his rhythm by constantly changing directions. It’s not about BEING in and out, it’s about MOVING in and out. Take small steps, as long as you’re moving in and out, you’re doing fine.


Defend the Mirror Side

A good rule of thumb is to defend from the side you just threw. If you ended your combo with a right hand, expect a counter from his left. If you threw your left hand last, expect a counter to your left side. Don’t sit there and over-think it. Just let your combinations flow but whatever arm punched last should expect a counter on that side.


Round 3 – BRAWL

  • establish: endurance, position, dominance

By now, both fighters have accepted their roles. Maybe one is the aggressor whereas the other is passively waiting along the ropes. Or both are boxers or both are brawlers.

I hope you’re in great shape for what’s about to happen. The 3rd and final round is where you go all-out throwing non-stop punches. The only time you stop punching is to let him miss. Otherwise, stay busy and keep pouring the pressure on him. Leave nothing in the ring. Come after him with non-stop combinations. Stop, catch your breath and adjust your defense if you need, but keep moving forward. He might have a good counter or two, slip them, and keep coming forward. Don’t wait, let your hands go! More punches, more pressure, more aggression!

You want to remind the judges who worked harder. You want to look like the more aggressive fighter. (Running in the last round is a common way to lose decisions! So make sure you have energy to fight at the end and finish strong.)


Automatic Combinations

Now is NOT the time to be thinking. You should have 2 sets of automatic combinations at hand: the ones you practiced in the gym, and the ones you figured out from the first two rounds. For me it’s double-jab, right cross, roll under the left hook, and follow up with a right cross, left uppercut, right cross. Then I’ll step to one side and swing a big left hook. At close range, I throw 1-2-1-2-1-2, and then step back. I’m stepping off to new angles everytime so my opponent doesn’t realize I’m doing the same thing over and over because I’m hitting from new angles every time.

It’s easy, I don’t have to think about it. I can throw a thousand of them if I need. Your automatic combos might be different. The last round is when you are most tired. You save energy by repeating what works.


Punch & Smother vs Punch & Defend

When you don’t have energy, it’s tiring to punch and then defend or punch and then step out of range. Many amateur fighters are very clever in that they will smother and fall INTO their opponents when they finish punching. This way, your opponent is busy holding you up and you don’t have to use energy for defense. By the time your opponent pushes you off him, you’ve gained some wind and just keep punching him again. Instead of spending energy on defense, you save all your energy for punching.

NOTE: I am not saying for you to disregard defense. I’m just saying it’s easier and more energy-efficient to smother instead of trying to use an active defense like slipping or back-stepping during the last round. Learn how to lean cleverly into your opponent after you finish punching.


Forced punches

This is a concept of forcing your opponent to absorb your punches. You’re tired now and don’t have the energy to chase him down with punches. Instead of trying to throw harder and faster, there are some clever things you can do to make him an easier target to hit. He’s tired too so with proper tactics, you can force him to block or take punches. Throw at his chest, throw at his ribs, almost anywhere at the body really. Body punches are a great endgame tactic because your opponent is less mobile. He’ll have no choice but to block your punches or absorb painful body shots. This pins down his arms giving you precious time to go to the head. If he’s stuck in one place, your head shots will do damage even if he blocks them.

Another way to force punches is to get him off balance. Muscle him on the inside, shoulder him when you step around him. Grab the back of his shoulder and spin him as you pivot out. When he blocks your punch, try to push him off balance if you can. When he swings hard, lean back so he can fall off balance. When he lands a punch, grab his glove and pull him towards you. Get him off balance anyway you can so you can land more forced punches on him.

The last tip to create forced punches is common sense. Throw with a margin of error. If he likes to lean back or step out, throw your punches a little long (hook at the back of his head, not the front). If he likes to slip or roll under, aim for his chest or shoulders. If he likes to block a lot, start at the body and move your punches up to the head. Last but not least, THROW SOME FEINTS, this makes him commit to a movement so you can hit him after.


Weaken His Legs

Every fighter’s legs are weak in the last round. Anytime you end up in a clinch, spin him around you. You do this by weighing down your hips as you pivot one leg behind you. This motion creates a hole on one side making him fall into the hole and come off balance (especially if he’s leaning into you). It helps to know some basic wrestling skills.

You can also weaken his legs by walking into him as you throw punches. I especially love to do this against fighters with skinny chicken legs.


Tips for your First Fight

1. Act Aggressive

Make your opponent FEEL that you want to hit him.

This single tip alone is worth like 5 tips in itself. Turn on your aggressive attitude. Don’t worry about confidence or punching power or whatever. Make your opponent think you’re going to hurt him. Twitch that right arm like you’re going to hit him with the biggest right cross in the world. When you chase him down, make him FEEL like you want to throw more punches. When he attacks you, always look like you’re about to counter back with something hard. This aggression makes him cautious, makes him less aggressive.

Stare your opponent down. This alone will stop any opponent from attacking you. Think of an opponent hiding behind his guard. When you don’t see his eyes, he looks vulnerable and easy to attack (like a sleeping person). But when he stares straight back at you with his eyes, you back off cautiously. Do the same to your opponent, if he attacks you stare straight back at him even harder. Make him think, “I’m watching you, I’m gonna hit you!”

How amazing, right? You might not have to BE aggressive, you only have to act the part.


2. Don’t Brawl Too Early

Most guys I see that screw it all up, they brawl first and then try to box the last round when they’re out of energy. Fighting this way makes it easy for you to be at a disadvantage because you’re showing your opponent your cards first. He gets to see how hard you hit, what skills you have, and how conditioned you are. Don’t forget that he has a trainer! If you show all your tricks early, his trainer will have him make the adjustment and figure you out by rounds 2 & 3.

Your opponent’s trainer will probably tell him
to conserve his energy in the first round.


Brawling early means you’ll be tired when you try to box later. If you start boxing late in the fight, he wins the last round easily because it looks like you’re scared and not trying to engage. Unless you’re 100% sure that you can knock him out, save the fighting for the end. When you get better, you can start fighting however you like but for now, try to box > punch > brawl.


3. Box at Center Ring, Brawl Along the Ropes

Try to box and use the space at center ring to move and outbox your opponent. It’s not smart to throw hard punches here because your opponent can escape easily by back-stepping or side-stepping and countering you. When you’re at center, keep boxing and moving on your opponent. Keep turning him and moving so that you hold center ring, let him try to push you around (with punches) as you outmove him.

The closer you get to the ropes the harder you punch. The closer you push your opponent to the ropes, the less room he has to move and the more you can force him back with your power. Likewise if you’re the one on the ropes, you will probably have to use power to get him off you. There’s also nowhere to go so you HAVE to fight if you’re stuck in the corner.


4. Stay Warm

Wear sweats in the 24 hours before the fight so you’re body stays warm and loose. Don’t stretch within 2 hours before the fight, do it all before. When you warm up before the fight, make sure you break a sweat! (Your body performs better at higher temperatures–hence, the phrase “warming up”.) Drink lots of water hours before the fight. As your fight approaches, take only small sips of water. You’ll feel nauseous or bloated if you have too much water in your stomach.


5. Walk

Holding that boxing stance can make you tense during a fight. Any time that you’re not actively punching, relax your body and take a walk. When you’re opponent bounces around from long range, walk a bit to relax your legs. Even when you’re taking punches, there’s no rule saying you have to stand there. You could literally just WALK away (even while you’re blocking). Even if his punches hit you, they carry less power if you’re moving away from them.

Many of the slickest fighters never bounce around the ring, they’re able to fight while walking. You can throw a few punches, then walk, throw a few more, walk again. Watch Miguel Cotto, Joan Guzman, Ivan Calderon, to see how they do it.


6. This Isn’t Sparring

Official competition is very different. You can’t pull the same crap you do in sparring. Laying on the ropes looks bad and will cost you decisions. In sparring you might have felt like a rope-a-dope but to the judges it looks like a passive fighter. Ducking your head down to waist level is also not allowed. It’s ok in sparring but not allowed in the amateurs. No passive fighting allowed in competition, you must ALWAYS show aggression. If you take 15-20 unanswered punches, the ref jumps in and gives you a standing 8-count. If you keep doing this, the fight will get stopped even if you’re perfectly fine.


7. TRY to Punch!

So many fighters will get caught in that standoff where neither guy will punch first because they’re both afraid of each other’s counters. It’s ok to be cautious, I’m proud of you for having a brain and caring about defense.

Now find a way to hit your opponent. Instead of waiting for him all day, figure out how to be intelligently aggressive. Usually the guy that gets knocked out is the one being reckless, not the one being aggressive. Have some faith in your chin. If you’ve taken hard punches in training before, you probably won’t get knocked out in your first fight. It will HURT but you will be ok.

Be aggressive, not reckless.


Go With the Flow!

Don’t try to memorize a million new things before the fight. It hasn’t worked for me or for anybody else. In fact, it’s never worked. The idea of memorizing how you’re going to fight is like trying to trying to plan out how you’re going to dance with a girl at the club. There’s no time to remember, no time to think. I can show you exactly how Floyd Mayweather rolls punches but it won’t work if you have to think about it before doing it. All your skills need to be automatic by now. In moments of extreme stress, everyone resorts to their comfort zone. This is part of our human nature.

Learn how to box, practice it, master it…then forget about it, just go with the flow, and enjoy the fight. Good luck!

Highlights of my fighters, Van and Richard winning their first fights:

Now post your first fight video and tell me how you felt!

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yasin February 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hey Johnny, this is my first fight, unfortunately i just have the first round. . In the first two minutes i was very nervous but after that i started to relax and began to box my usual boxing . After the fight i felt very good ….. cause i won via the last 30 seconds of the 3rd round (he dropped his mothpiece 4 times but i was leading on points.) Can u give me some tips and tell me how i fought for my first time and what i shouldnt/should do the next time.
P.S i am the guy with the red headgear


Laura February 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Head over to the SHOP Yasin. Johnny has all the details there for what is involved with him analyzing a match.


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Yasan, you have a beautiful punching style and great athleticism. Many coaches would be proud to have such a strong and skinny, boxer-style fighter. Keep doing what you’re doing. Your first fight looked amazing. If you leave your head open, make sure that you are able to pull it to one side. Don’t stand there with your head straight up.


yasin February 5, 2012 at 4:47 am

ok i will try it! thanks for your reply johnny


saber khan February 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

hey yasin awesome first bout, you looked very good. your coach should be proud. a few things that may help:

what i felt was you overwhelmed your opponent with superior reach and punches down the middle. he turtled up and wasnt looking to pull the trigger so you were going at his gloves. that 1-2 is a good weapon. the 2-slip u pulled off to avoid a 3-punch combo at 2:16, are u kidding me!

im going to suggest you try and get others to throw at you, rather than always being first. because youre not going to score points on their gloves if you come across a guy with better range you’re going to find they can counter you. to get others to throw, get into their range and keep your hands wide. as they throw, parry the shot as you throw yours. or you could move your head, give them a few open looks at your head. let them throw, slip the punch and land. pretty much what johny said as well. if ure always trying to lead you’ll run across someone who can counter effectively.

also i liked the lead right you throw. learn to loop your right hand around that guard and use that as your lead punch, it’s better than throwing your lead right hand straight. if you are fast enough and have a huge advtantage over the opponent go for the straight right but you’ll find out many opponents will be quick enough to block the right.

about your your right hand, it makes your head swivel to the left. you need to be aware of that and not let opponents catch you with counter left hooks or uppercuts when throwing lead right hands. and if ure throwing a lead as an amateur unless uwant to KO them dont load up on the punch its too obvious whats coming. good luck and post more bouts!


yasin February 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

yeah u are completly right i am a used to counter but he didnt throw much and i was too nervous so i attacked first. My next fight is in 4 weeks then i will try to use your tipps! about hooks and uppercuts ….. i dont know why but when i throw them in sparings i swing too much i have to work on it! and the avoid in 2:16 it was luck haha
thanks for your reply and tipps! i will post my next fight too so u can analyse it again 😀


Johnny N February 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Your hooks are beautiful. Focus on swinging the elbow instead of the fist.


Mac February 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hey Johnny, so far I havn’t had a boxing fight yet, but I’ve had 4 Freestyle Grappling fights and havn’t lost once. I like you idea of feeling the opponent out first, which is nice to do, but sometimes what also works really well, is as soon as I start I just like to go in real aggressive (aggressive, not stupid) and make them fear me. Whats your take on that strategy?


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Mac, if it works for you then keep doing it. 🙂 This guide is specifically for first time fighters.


Alex D February 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Congrats 2 u & ur buddies on their wins man I couldve used this guide for my 1st fight u def hit the emotions dead on…def in the process of training harder & more efficiently so next time I perform better & get the W. Thanks for the advice johnny.


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Good luck, Alex! Post your next fight. I can’t wait to see your victory.


Laura February 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I agree with not thinking too hard about what you are doing, if you are then that means you weren’t prepared enough. Everything should be natural and second nature. The moment you start thinking “Wow what a great punch, I landed that one, lol, my opponent didn’t even see that one coming” or “My opponent is bigger and faster than me, what can I do? I’m screwed” that’s when you will start making mistakes that could cost you the round or the match altogether. Let your coach do the thinking, your priority should be Boxing. Chances are, your coach is better at thinking about Boxing more than you are anyway.

Thinking takes up time, if don’t believe me, then throw a combination on the bag, step back and think about your handy work and count how long it takes, also, count how many times the bag swings back and forth while you’re thinking. Chances are while you were thinking, you weren’t looking for openings, moving around or keeping your guard up. Every time the bag swings towards you that could be your opponent in the ring throwing a combination or even knocking you out. Thinking is fine (its how you learn after all), but do that at home, at the club you attend when you’re practicing an unfamiliar technique, combination or Boxing strategy. Competition is not the time to do that, it would be the same as doing your homework during an exam. If you’re not confident about the answers then you aren’t ready to do the exam, the same goes for Boxing in a competition environment. Your coach (if you have a good coach) will know instinctively when you’re ready to compete.

To test yourself; get in front of the bag and do a few of rounds, if you can do that without too much thinking about what combinations to throw, whether or not you’re moving with the bag, keeping your guard up and breathing, then get in the ring and do the same, once you can do that without too much thinking, then try it out in competition. Be honest with yourself and keep practicing until Boxing becomes instinct (second nature). This could take months (usually months), or even years (if you’re like me, lol), but you will be a better Boxer as a result.

The great news is; if you’re prepared, the pre match butterflies soon go away and so does the crowd once you get into the groove of what it is you’re doing. For some it’s after the first punch for others it might not be until the second round.


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for the help, Laura. You explained it beautifully.


Laura February 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Thanks Johnny, one day I would like to be a coach myself. So I’m learning all I can from others and from personal experience.


Mindy June 16, 2016 at 8:32 am

I want to send you my sparring video but I cant upload on here – do you have facebook mssgner?


saber khan February 5, 2012 at 4:39 am

i think johnny this is the most accurate, brief, clear article of yours ANYWEHERE on this site. man your understanding of the simple things boxers screw up is awesome. just awesome. staying warm, loking to fight, feeling out at the start rather than throwing bombs, moving to keep the nerves at bay, and perhaps the best were to try and punch and to act aggressive. it seems to simple to other people but i personally have seen a ton of kids first time in the ring in a match just peering at each other through gloves and throwing range finders that dont land. i realise it even sounds contradictory acting aggressive but not brawling in the middle of the ring or at the start of the bout but its pure wisdom. probably the single worst thing to do is not getting warm and getting into an exchange before having taken a few shots to calm down the nerves. i wonder if that’s why amateurs always bounce around like bunnies to get rid of some of the nerves ?

i would add biting tight into the mouthpiece, keeping the body loose and always keeping eyes on the opponent. biting the mouthpiece just reminded me im in a fight and i have to be alert. eyes on opponent same thing. body loose is something i feel maybe new guys wont be able to do sometimes in their first bout but as we know most new fighters get tired so fast because they are tensed up. and can even go down from average punches. moving slowly and biting the mouthpiece helped me stay loose. i ised to imagine myself as Rayman the cartoon game: just a pair of head, a pair of gloves and feet. no body. all the tension was in my mouthpiece, i could feel my elbows at all times not tensing them but rather just knowing they were there, and my feet moving. thats all i was, and it helped my body relax and it helped me react faster.


Johnny N February 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

Many amateurs bounce around to keep a steady rhythm of constant motion. If they’re slightly bouncing, they can move elsewhere. The moment they plant and stand still, they kind of lose that feeling of perpetual motion. If they do it right, it doesn’t waste all that much energy. But of course, I would never recommend this for a beginner boxer.


saber khan February 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

not wasting energy? wow i dont really understand how. could u elaborate coach? i never had any amateur experience the way u guys get to in countries with developed boxing programs, i assumed it was because they dont have to land hard so theyre looking for feinting and angles but i find sometimes theyre standing right in front and yet moving about…

so how is it done so it doesnt waste motion cuz that looks like that much bouncing around must take some energy out ? or is it a `practice to perfect’ sort of thing ? great article


Johnny N February 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

Saber, I use “waste” as a relative term. If your opponent pushes the pace, you will have to spend more energy to counter him. If YOU are pushing the pace, it’s not a waste of energy if you are successful in making your opponent spend more energy. With that said, many amateur boxing fights stress a fast pace because of the rules and natural tendency of amateur fights. You’re not allowed to stand there passively, you have to show aggression. With that in mind, it requires less energy to bounce around than to throw aggressive punches and risk getting countered.

Now on to the technique of bouncing, if you do it in a manner similar to how you would skip rope, it really doesn’t take that much energy. (Your feet should shuffle with the heels lifting and dropping, instead of a 2-legged bounce on the balls of your feet.) The energy required should be no more than a light jog, which is something you should be accustomed to by competition time.


javier February 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm

is there any videos that you would suggest on watching for amaeuter bouts ? and what style would u say would be good for ameatuer bouts? i got a fight coming up on march 17 and i want to get a idea how its going to be you know. thanks alot and great website man


Johnny N February 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Use the style you learned in training, javier. I definitely won’t be giving tips on boxing style for an article on first fight.


don February 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm

another superb guide Mr. Johnny, I should have seen this guide in my first fight, because all I had done is the opposite. Also im trying to save money so I can purchase your boxing e-book. 🙂 nice article as always


Johnny N February 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thanks, don. The e-book will be waiting for you.


Jeronimo February 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

This is my second fight, the first one was too short and no one recorded properly.
Hope you like it, and please someone give me some tips.
Im in black and yellow.

(By the way, I drop my training for a month, and I could only train for one week before the match, thats why I couldnt move freely).


Johnny N February 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

Good fight, Jeronimo!

You have good stalking footwork and excellent range control. Try aiming for the body when your opponent ducks under — he can slip with his head but not his body. Careful when you stand too wide, it makes your right hand so short that you can only reach with jabs.

I think you should check out my guide on the “Drowning Style”. It would be perfect for your type of movement. Nice work and thanks for posting the video. I enjoyed it.


Jeronimo February 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Thanks!!! Very good tips, and I didnt knew if the fight showed what I intended to do, but you got it perfectly.

I will be cautious about my right hand, and about the body shots, I didnt want to use them because he seemed to have done a lot of work there, and it seemed that the jabs where making the job.

About the drowning style, its brilliant, I read it the same day you upload it, and it fits perfectly to my style, I have read it a lot of times and watched all the videos, specially the Kostya Tsiu ones.
But my trainer ask me to keep my range in this fight because I wasnt in shape, the next time I will put it in practice, and if someone records the fight, I will send it to you for some more tips, if you dont mind.

Thanks a lot, your page is amazing!


Jeronimo May 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

My 3rd fight, trying to accomplish the Drowning style.
I know it seems a bit unfair, but I weight 80kg and my rival 76kg, I did drop a lot of weight in that fight.

Criticize me please!


Johnny N May 25, 2012 at 3:08 am

Ahhh yes, such a big weight difference. Doesn’t matter, you won exactly the way you should so very good job, Jeronimo. The drowning style worked very well for you. Great fighting from long-range. Nice slipping and back-stepping. Very good power punching at times, too.

The biggest critique from me is that you lift your feet too much while punching. There were so many right hands that you threw where the right foot came off the ground. This takes away a lot of balance and power. Lucky for you, your opponent wasn’t good enough to take advantage of this.

Here’s an advanced move: IF you must lift your right foot off the ground (maybe to move closer for a moving right hand), then make sure you drop the right hip so that you have power from that right side of you body.

Gonzo February 9, 2012 at 12:46 am

Hello Johnny,

If you need a sparing partner for your pugilist, you have a rooster right here. Please email me at your earliest convenience. Orthodox 5’9ft 140lbs. Training at Eddie Herredia Boxing Club in East Los Angeles, California.


Johnny N February 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Hey Gonzo, we can use all the quality sparring we can get. East Los Angeles is far for the guys to drive but maybe we’ll meet you one day. Thanks for the offer.


Matty E February 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

I usually like most of articles Johnny and this one is pretty good also but this part here-

‘I can only think of 2 real reasons why people get nervous before fights. One is you didn’t train hard enough. If you slacked off in training, don’t ask for a victory. The other reason for being nervous is that you don’t actually enjoy fighting. Maybe you just like winning, or you just like performing on stage. If you don’t genuinely enjoy THE RISK of getting hurt, you shouldn’t be competing.’

…is bullshit. Its human nature to get nervous. It doesn’t mean you have slacked off or don’t enjoy fighting, its more likely to be because you are about to fight someone who has trained in boxing and chances are you’ll be doing in front of an audience…


Johnny N February 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot about the crowd factor. I’m gonna add that in right now. Thanks.


Tay February 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I’ve been boxing for since I was 11 and now I’m 16 but still haven’t had a fight, only sparring with ranked amateurs. This year will be my first and I’m more confident than 99% of the others. My experience, natural talent, and raw determination are gonna carry me a long way. Hardwork in the gym is easy work in the ring. Give it 5 years, you’ll see me in the bright lights.


Johnny N February 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What’s your full name, Tay? I’ll keep an eye out for you.


Sae March 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Hey, I’m having my first match next weekend, I’m wondering when I have my opponent cornered what punches do I throw? Thanks!


Johnny N March 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

Throw everywhere and don’t head hunt so much that your opponent gets to escape.


saif youssef March 19, 2012 at 5:32 am

hey sup yall
hey johnny,i wont you to take a look at my first fight
just pin out my mistakes and what i shouldnt do and what i should work on next time,sorry for the quality of the video.


saif youssef March 19, 2012 at 5:35 am

yeah one more thing,your tips have been really helpfull,i always had trouble when im getting in the ring i always say what the hell am i going to do,one more thing i want your advice on is how do i get rid of the nervousness before the fight ??


Johnny N March 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

Being nervous is part of the fun, Saif. In the beginning of the article I talk about dealing with nervousness.


Johnny N March 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

Good movement and power. Be careful of the way you swing your head when you throw the right cross. I see it leaves you highly vulnerable to counter rights. You can also try throwing left hooks without leaning away….although the one where you lean back works too. Try to keep yourself on balance.You need more jabs and more shots to the body. I didn’t see everything but these were the most obvious things I noticed. Good work, keep it up Saif.


saif youssef March 23, 2012 at 5:40 am

thanks appreciate the advice 🙂


Christopher March 23, 2012 at 7:28 am

Being nervous and being afraid is part of boxing. If you are not then you are over-confident. The only wrong kind of nervousness is if you know you didnt train 100% before the fight and if you are not confident about your skills because you didnt practice enough. That is the price you have to pay bro. Practice mental training as much as you do physical training. Say to yourself “I will win.” Remember boxing is 90% mental.


saif youssef March 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

thanks chris that was helpfull,id like to say something about the video,as you can see the referee is an idiot cause i knocked down the guy twice and he didnt give him a standing 8 count,he should of stopped the fight.


Ian March 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

Well, I finally had my first fight 2 days ago, and won by unanimous decision!
The biggest contributors were: staying more calm/relaxed, better cardio and a good jab. And definitely need to give credit to a lot of tips from this site. A sincere thank you.
I was not nervous at all. The best piece of advice I can give is, to tell yourself to “have fun”. I know it sounds counter-intuitive at first, but it totally gave me the confidence boost I needed mere minutes before the fight.
My opponent was pretty tough, he came out swinging for the fences and nearly broke my composure. But in the end I kept it together. I think we were the 2 oldest competitors too, so i’m just glad we put together an exciting fight for all 3 rounds without gassing halfway, lol.


Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Congratulations Ian! I’m really glad you came into the fight with confidence. If you have a video, please post it.


mazhar March 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

hi mr johnny i want to ask just one question i’m 23 yrs old and started boxing 15 months back, i luv boxing very much, my question is that can i be a best fighter(pro) pls do answer.


Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

You will have to answer that question yourself. Work hard and see how far you go. Don’t worry about the age, there have been several champions in the past that started late.


Andrew March 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Hey Johnny, had my first fight a few days ago and lost unfortunately, but was hoping to get some advice for things to improve on. I was pretty nervous and that led to bad breathing and then I got winded so I know I need to work more on conditioning. Started boxing about 5 months ago and have another fight in 2 months. Love this site, lots of great advice and tips on how to get better, keep posting. Hope to hear from you soon!


joaquin frausto March 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Andrew what you have to do when fighting is relax smooth, nice movements will be just find in the first round. Run more, and spar 2-3 times a week to see how good in shape you are but use different sparring parthners. but the main focus here is running


Johnny N April 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Hi Andrew, I saw the fight. Good effort but you need more training. Your stance, footwork, punching, endurance. Everything needs work. You’ll start winning fights when the time is right. Keep it up man.


--- April 9, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hey, I go boxing 3 times a week, but I don’t think thats enough..
I want to start training at home..
I have some weights, a punching bag, and other boxing gear at home..
I dont have any brothers, which i can spar with.. What do you think is the best way to train at home?


Ian April 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

Do you have any sisters? ….

Just kidding. There’s plenty you can do at home, i’m sure others will have some good ideas.
Nothing beats the training you get at the actual gym, so in my opinion, just work with what you learn at the gym and try to perfect it. Shadow boxing, plyometrics, cardio. So start out slow, listen to what trainers or other fighters tell you, practice and repeat. Your home training should mostly support what you learn at the gym – people who try to teach themselves on their own, or rely on youtube often end up with many bad habits.


Johnny N April 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

“…don’t think that’s enough.”

Enough for what? If you’re trying to compete, I’d say it’s nearly impossible to train on your own. Training at a gym gives you that instant feedback to know right away if what you’re doing is effective. Sparring with others tells you if your defense is good enough to avoid punches, if your punches are strong and fast enough to make a difference, if your conditioning is well enough to compete with others.

The best way is to bring training partners home.


jason tran May 25, 2012 at 4:58 am

I just wanted to say thankyou so much for your website johnny 🙂 I been boxing for awhile now and been checking out your website for a long time…Im going to have my first fight in August and im pretty confident, Make sure you keep an eye out cause im going too be a future champ!


Johnny N May 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

You’re welcome Jason. Keep working man and keep posting your fights for all of us to cheer you on. Best of luck to you.


B May 25, 2012 at 5:38 am

This is my first bout, Johnny. My opponent is a 6ft tall female. She’s a lot younger than me. She was flailing and hitting me with elbows and I kind of lost my composure. I stopped moving my head. Im used to sparring with men in the gym and being hit a lot harder. I really need more experience being in the ring with other women. Body punches saved the day! Round 1 Round 2


Johnny N May 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

BRUTAL BODY SHOT! It may have looked like brawling at times but that right hand came straight in. Well done, B!

PS: I posted your videos on the ExpertBoxing facebook. I’m sure you have new fans now. 🙂


Mindy June 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

Damn girl! Awesome fight! I wanted to watch a girl fight to see what I should improve on and I learned so much just watching you, thank you! My first fight is in 5 weeks, I am only 5’2 and 39 years old. Keep up the good work girl!


B June 16, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Thank you! 🙂 Good luck on your upcoming bout!


MMartinez June 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

I’ve read your articles for the past year and have found them extremely helpful. I’ve been training for 1-1/2 years and this was my second amateur fight. I lost a close dec. with the ref taking a point in the 3rd for pushing. if you have any comments or suggestions I would be grateful (I’m in all black w/ black headgear).

I know i need to throw more combos but I am more or a counter-puncher. Do you have any specific tips to help counter-punchers lead more?


Johnny N June 5, 2012 at 10:22 am


I thought you did really well. You got some great punching angles and nice clean punches. My biggest tip for you is to develop more speedy punches. It’s great to lead with quick snappy punches and don’t throw anything hard until it’s time to counter. Keep pushing him man, but do it with your chest or your hip instead of your hands and you’ll be ok. Try walking into him so that your chest forces his head off the center, and then throw hooks and uppercuts all over the place. All in all, it was a sharp performance. All your opponent did was wait for you, flurry a bit, and then duck out of the way. It might help for you to aim at the chest every now and then to establish some contact.

You should read my previous guides on baiting and countering.


MMartinez June 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

Yeah, the baiting and forcing counters article is one of my favorites. I used those strategies pretty effectively during sparring. Thanks for the tips.


Akane August 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Hi Johnny!

I love your site, it explains things to the point, and is also motivating.

This is the video link to my first win. I have another coming up this weekend. Any feedback is appreciated, thanks! (I’m the one in the gold shorts)



Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm


Awesome fight! You did really well. You have a good jab, good right hand, and I like your range awareness. You did a great job leaning back and letting your opponent miss her right hand. My biggest tip for you is to stand confidently when you throw that right hand. You were falling to your left side on many of your right hands. I’m guessing it’s because you stand a little wide that you have to twist over your front leg to land the right.

Anyway, I loved the video and hope to see more of your fights. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this on the ExpertBoxing Facebook. KEEP TRAINING!


Akane August 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

Hey Johnny!

Thanks for the feedback, and I don’t mind you posting on facebook. My coach and I are going back to square one and being more solid on the punches and focusing on throwing more multiple ones at a time. Next bout is in mid September, so will let you know how that goes!


Anna September 27, 2012 at 3:42 am

Great site and great tips. This is my first fight (about 2 months ago) and unfortunately I lost. I got too crazy in the first round and wasted too much energy even though I knew I should avoid this before the fight… I was also expecting a more skilled opponent so I got a bit carried away. She also had a weight advantage, she was 69,7kg whereas I was 65kg (we had agreed to fight at 69kg, it’s very hard for me to get fights so i accepted). I am going to have a return fight in 1,5 weeks with her and I would really appreciate any prefight-tips from you. I know I stayed put too much after punching (that was mainly for exhaustion) and I wasn’t relaxed and confident in a way that I can save my energy better. So, if you have any good tips, please, all welcome! And even though I’m not doing it much in the fight on the video I love counterpunching, when I do it I always gain more confidence. Here is also a fight that my opponent had about 2 weeks after our bout against another fighter and this time she lost.


Johnny N September 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

You did a good job, Anna. I saw some great boxing skills from you (even in the losing rounds). Keep doing what you’re doing but don’t blow your energy in the first round again. It helps to walk around a bit more instead of jumping to conserve energy.


gerardo November 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm
I found this online, I thought it was a good explanation of fear. 🙂


Josh Crealy November 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Hey johny, had my first fight 2 days ago was great experience. I started boxing 10 weeks before the fight so I obviously have a longgg way to go in terms of technique in every single aspect. Reason I started to clinch more during the fight was I was getting really tired think the nerves got to me as it was a big crowd.

If you get the chance to look at it and give me some pointers I would appreciate it as I am keen to improve. Thanks mate! ps i ended up getting the ko in round 3 and im in the BLUE.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3


Johnny N December 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Hi Josh, I no longer do free fight reviews because I get way too many requests for them. Being that you got the KO VICTORY, it looks to me like you’re doing everything right. Keep training!


Kim Ngo February 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Hi Josh, I love your strategy. I am not an expert of boxing but I go by instinct that the red guy is more aggressive. But if you only had 10 weeks of boxing before the ring , then that was a really awesome fight. But I would guess overtime you will have better techniques. Then you probably will have good combinations for attacking. I also notice that he pushed you in the corner too much and that must get annoying to you does it? But yeah If I say anything wrong I apologize because I am only going by instinct not by experience.


matt December 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

hey ive been to three boxing lessons so far im 19 years old i love boxing and feel it was what i was born to do oready i am the coaches star pupil and i really impress him i feel like im up and coming and i oredy feel ready to fight but he thinks i require three months of training whats youre take on this is he leading me on or does he believe in me


Johnny N December 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

As long as you’re fighting an opponent at your level, then you have a chance. If you’re fighting a guy with 3 years when you only have 3 months, then you’re probably not ready for that. As for your coach telling you the truth or not, I don’t know.


Ran January 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

This post gave me some excellent insights. Things like expecting a punch on the mirror side is pure common sense, but something which I have never thought of.
Brawling near the ropes and brawling not from the start. Good tips. Thanks man.


Brent January 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

Hello everyone, I really enjoy this site and the info, advice and tips provided. I’m 37 years old and having my first amateur fight in June this year (I only started boxing/training last November). This section of the site has really inspired and helped me – at least from the information angle…Thanks alot!


Kim February 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I wish I don’t have eyeglasses so I can have my first fight like you is so unfortunate that i do.=((


Mr. K February 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

Doesn’t stop you fighting Kim, My partner is becoming a brake out star in Northern Ireland and shes been wearing glasses her whole life and without them she finds it hard to see at all.

The above link is Sujet Salee he is a blind boxer. I think he can be an inspiration to yourself.


Kim Ngo February 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

maybe i should practice sparring without my glasses in 3 months then? Or what do you suggest? I really just want to have the skills of a boxer although i don’t plan on competing.


Johnny N February 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

Wear contacts (soft lens); they’re great for boxing.


Glenn May 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm


My first fight will happen on June 27th. I’m training hard and of course i am excited but I’m kinda a lil worried with something. I have never been hit , like hard. Even in sparring , my partners haven’t hit me clean. They do punch hard but I block or slip them or get partially hit bcoz i block and i really dont know how a good powerful hit feels like.. Coach says my defence is good but what if I do get hit in competition?? I mean, will I be able to absorb it?:)


Johnny N May 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

If you don’t want to fight, don’t do it. For sure, it’s expected that the competition will be tougher than anything you’ve ever done and push you further than you’ve ever been pushed. Will you be able to absorb it…I don’t know.


Newton August 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

Update us on what happened Glenn


Hadez June 16, 2013 at 7:11 am

Hey man i love your articles i always read them to get a few tips ive only been training for about 3 weeks and missed heaps of training sessions because im lazy but I really love boxing and I really think I can go somewhere i haven’t sparred but i have heaps of fistfights which is why I think I can go somewhere with boxing im really fast strong, I can’t wait to start my amateur career i no it’s gonna take a while but im going to try training everyday i quit weed and smoking so i can get fit thats how determined I am to be the best i wanted a tip on best ways to get fit and how long does it take to get fit ?


Johnny N June 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Best way to get fit is to train hard. Work that cardio and do all the boxing workouts. It can take a good year to reach competition-level fitness if you’re not already an athletic person.


Kevin February 28, 2014 at 8:04 am

Yeah, I hear you on that point . . . “Best way to get fit is to train hard . . . can take a good year to reach competition-level fitness . . .”


Brent August 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I had my first fight a couple of weeks back – wow, what an experience. Everything I’d been warned about including getting gassed, forgetting what you know, being drawn into a style of fight you’re not comfortable with and all that was true! My opponent (also a first timer) held onto me alot and it was frustrating as hell. Normally I’m a mover but for whatever reason I just wound up trying to get him the hell off me (very tiring!). My 2nd fight is next week and I hope to be more calm and controlled…

Herte’s my first fight, warts and all!


Brent August 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

by the way, i’m in BLUE!


Brent August 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Here’s my 2nd fight – although I lost it was a much better fight!


Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

Great videos and great experience. I’m happy for you, Brent. I’m sure you learned so much from those fights.


niko August 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

Hey johnny, I just fought my first fight and was looking for some tips and tricks on what I could of done better as I know I could of raised my performance to a more higher level …If you can let me know where I can improve that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, niko .
Here are the three rounds: I am the smaller guy with red gloves. Round 1 Round 2 Round 3


Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

Hi Niko, I don’t do free fight reviews anymore as I get too many requests for that and my free time has almost all but disappeared nowadays. Regardless, you looked good to me!


niko August 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

I won by spilt decision by the way ! ^^^


niko z August 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

hey johnny, i posted once but don’t know why the comment didn’t show up…. anyways i had my first fight five days ago and just wanted some tips, tricks and advice on what i can improve on. It was a great experience and had a ton of fun from the event.. ! I cant wait to fight again and love your website by the way as it made me feel really comfortable knowing what to expect from my first fight….I just went out their and had a blast !!! If you can let me know on what i could do better that would be greatly appreciated as i know i could’ve raised my performance to a much higher level.. Thanks , Niko!!

Here are the videos.. I only have them on Facebook so hopefully you don’t mind.

Round 1 :
Round 2:
Round 3:

I won by split decision and am the small guy with a nice tan in the red gloves 🙂


Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

I replied to your original comment. Thanks for sharing your fight videos.


Dillon September 12, 2013 at 2:11 am

Hi Johnny!

Your articles are great! Especially the southpaw ones which i find quite useful (being a southpaw myself). I’m an amateur fighter in Australia and currently weigh 80/81 kilograms at about 6″1′. My trainer wants me to drop down to 75 kilograms to fight at middleweight for my first fight (which is the state titles, consisting of a 3 day knockout tournament, weigh ins each morning). I want to know if its possible to lose that weight to make weigh ins in a week, or will i feel too weak and to depleted to be fighting? And should i just stay at light-heavy weigt? Mind you, i’ve never ever been below 79 kilograms, and this is the lightest i’ve ever been.


Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Your body can only go to a certain limit. I don’t know how close you are to that limit but that’s for you to find out. Check your body fat % and see. The lowest you should be going at weigh-in is perhaps 7 or 8%, no lower than that.


Jef October 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Hello Johnny,

Your site and especially helped me very much in preparation for my first fight. My first fight was last saturday. I won it with 3-0, unanimous decission.

Last saturday was my big day: my first fight. Here is the video of my first fight.
(skip to 6:30)

I’d really like your opinion about the fight. What do you think about my skills for a first timer?

I noticed that I was pretty nervous and tensed during the fight. I need to ‘snap’ my punches more instead of throwing them wit full power. And I need to go to the body more often.

What do you think about my way of boxing? Was it ok for a first fight?

Thanks Jason, I appreciate all the help.



Johnny N October 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I don’t know which one was you but you both looked good. Keep training, everyone has to start somewhere!


anonymous November 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

I’m fighting this Friday against an opponent who is more experienced than me and has more stamina and strength than him.
The only thing I have over him is speed.
And I mean manny pacquiao type of speed.
However, my stamina isn’t that good enough to use my speed constantly for 3 rounds.

How should I fight this guy?


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

Fight him the best way that you can and the best way that you know how. Save energy if you have stamina problems.


anonymous December 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I underestimated my stamina. It was pretty good!

I ended up getting robbed and unfortunately lost.
Anyone can lose once, anyway.
We’re re matching him soon


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Congrats on getting in there. Keep training, man.


NPW December 18, 2013 at 4:18 am

Would you change your approach if you were coaching a masters fighter? I am hoping for my first boxing fight in Jan/Feb. I’m anticipating an all out brawl. We only get three one minute rounds. I don’t think I’ll have much time for feeling out.
I train three minute rounds with a few 6 and 15 min rounds thrown in to build stamina, so I’m not worried about that. I practice all my punches individually for a minute straight, and then do combos flurries. I’m figuring I need to be able to do sprints with my hands so I try to keep shorter high intensity work in my training.
My best movements are all body punches so I’m planning on throwing just enough head shots to keep him honest and then going for the body.
I’m trying to get the guy who beat me in sparring, ’cause I think I can take him in a fight. He comes hard and fast but in a straight line. If I pivot and let my hands go, I don’t think he can take the power or the angles.


Johnny N January 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Well first off…for a fight with 1-minute rounds, I would train using 1.5-min rounds. Doing 3 minute rounds might force you to slow down the fight and get used to a slower intensity. But either way, first fights will never go as you trained for. Train hard, make sure you get comfortable exchanging punches and use some subtle defense. Learn how to walk around without getting tired and use the simple blocking guard to take a break when you need.


Kevin February 28, 2014 at 7:50 am

Great advice on approaching a first fight, thank you 🙂

You left a recent comment about approaching a 1 minute round fight . . . I’d love for there to be a post on about preparing for a white collar boxing match or masters (over 35/41 years of age) fight which typically lasts 3 x 2 minute rounds or 3 x 1 minute rounds.

So the question is . . . Johnny, if you were 41+ years old and wanted to take part in a masters tournament but had taken a 10, 20 or even a 30+ year break from boxing, or it was a first attempt at boxing at an advanced age . . . how would you approach this?

This is a tricky one, as there are many variables influencing a boxer’s skill level at an advanced age.

Maybe there is a post already addressing this point? Or maybe not and could be a challenging project . . .

Thanks again.


Johnny N March 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Kevin, I would treat every fighter based on ability, not age. If you’re a beginner, you’ll have to train like a beginner. If you’re lacking skill, work on the skill part. If you’re lacking fitness, work on the strength & conditioning part. Even the world’s most skilled and athletic fighters are doing both….which means you should also be doing both.

Did that help? Or was there something in specific that concerns you about being older?


Kevin March 9, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Thank you for replying Johnny, and yes this helps a lot. I’m training for a masters fight in the near future, so I appreciate you taking the time to reply and your comment makes perfect sense to me. I’ll continue to work on both. I boxed when I was younger just at club level, but I want to approach boxing again at an advanced age now with a beginner’s open mind. Learning boxing techniques I find is so much fun. Your ongoing advice and reply are much appreciated Johnny 🙂


BenTheFlashFurber March 8, 2014 at 1:55 am

Hi Johnny, I have my first fight tomorrow morning, very very nervous but my coach keeps telling me I have nothing to worry about. I’ll post a video after and if you can comment that would be brilliant thank you 🙂


Johnny N March 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Yes, share the video and your story, Ben! Let me know how it went.


Jose March 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hey jonnhy , my first fight was yesterday & unfortunately I lost .
Im really dissapointed . I dont think I lost bad , but im dissapointed because I starded to outside box .
Since we do 1 – min rounds we have to give it all out and go crazy but ive never liked to go crazy , I dont like how I look . But in this case im mad because I was trying to counter to much & I was using my footwork a lot while he just kept coming forward . My footwork was good I believe and I was boxing really good too , I never got in the ropes despite him being really aggresive . He would just come in with 1-2’s non stop going forward and the judges are in favor of that . In the 3rd round I realized I might not be winning so I went all out and got him in the ropes like half of the round . What I wanted to ask you is why ? Why do I always want to wait & counter ? Its like an instinct . Is this a good thing ?


cody March 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Jose, Hey man, I know you were talking to johnny but thought i mite be able to help a little. Dont let a loss get to you too much. Way easier said then done but all great fighters have lost. And most of them have lost alot. You have to lose to learn. When you lose you really look at what you did wrong and it helps so you know where you need improvement . But dont forget to look at what you did right as well. As for the counter punching it is definetly not a bad thing. Counters can change the whole fight. It just sounds like maybe you were depending on them a little too much. Just try and work on being more agressive at times as well as counter punching. Mike Tyson is a great example of this. He would through combos and be agressive while at the same time he was just as likely to finish his with a counter. I hope this was at least somewhat helpful. And dont let that loss get you down. Dont beat yourself mentally before you even get in the ring. If you believe you can do it, then you can. Good luck to you man.


Jose March 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Hey Cody , thank you I appreciate your help .
Yeah your right about all these great fighters having looses & stuff & I did learn from my mistakes now I know to be more aggresive .And about beating myself mentally I think I already am beating myself before I get in the ring . Like today I was thinking twice about joining the golden gloves because now im afraid to loose when before I had this fight I wasnt worried about it. I hate this , I hate how I lost . I dont ever want to leave that ring again knowing that I lost . Im worried about loosing again , the gym was counting so much on me . They tought I was gonna win because i spar with guys thar are open already . But I lost and it sucks . Tommorow ima do some sparring & ima go all out no matter what . Later on when I do 3 min rounds ill focus more on my boxing skills and countering because I think im naturally an outside fighter . I have long arms , im skinny . Im pretty fast & I admire boxers like Floyd Mayweather , Andre Ward , Guillermo Rigondeaux . These guys are the best . I admire defense & counter punching . I want to become a master at bobbing and weaving and countering . Its so beautiful . And this sport Is so amazing & I think sometimes very underated too . I want to be at the top of this sport no matter what it takes , I hope to obe day be the best . Hopefully I got what it takes.I really want this so bad .


Johnny N April 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

It’s totally normal, Jose. As an outside fighter, it’s easy to look like you’re being defensive, passive, getting pushed back, and losing your balance. And that doesn’t look as favorably in the judges eye. But I’ve also seen it where they’ve heavily favored the outside boxer when indeed he was getting beat up. My point is….don’t worry….I’m sure you did fine. You know how well you did and regardless of your record today, you will get better tomorrow anyway. Keep doing what you’re doing!


Jose April 11, 2014 at 6:16 am

Thank you Johnny , that is so true . I also fight way better going back then going forward , when I go forward I tend to fall of balance & trow from weird angles but when I go back I see everything coming , I can block almost everyting and come back and land most of the punches I trow . Im also able to fight really really good of the ropes , im not sure if this is a bad thing .. but thank you for your reply (:


Yusuf June 17, 2014 at 2:39 am

I’ve been boxing since last summer so just under a year now and that’s my sparring two weeks ago ^ I’m in the red shirt. Any chance I can get some feedback on what I do right and wrong?

Thanks Johnny! (Dope article btw).


Johnny N July 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

You look fine, Yusuf. Keep doing what you’re doing.


Southpawuk November 3, 2014 at 2:16 am

You look good great footwork, nice snappy punches, head moment good but your sparring partner wasn’t anywhere near you, a southpaw should look to step outside your lead foot he’s always inside, walking into range with a guard up and not really throwing any punches


Yusuf November 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Thanks alot man, this was a while back. Long time ago, things have improved for me since then and yeah he was just kinda walking into me xD


Danny July 22, 2014 at 4:08 am

Hi Johnny i have my amateur boxing debut this september but have a few questions:
When i am sparring sometimes i quickly look at the ground when i hit the ropes, do you have any tips on how to stop this?
And it sounds a little disgusting but when i breathe with my mouthguard a little spit may come out, is there a way to stop this?
Thank you Johnny, keep up the great videos you inspire loads of people to box!


Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 12:50 am

1. More training and experience will solve this.
2. Try a different mouthguard that doesn’t make you salivate as much.


Dan August 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

Hi Johnny,

I have just signed up for 12 weeks training for a white collar boxing event and it has been great to read your tips!!! so thank!!

I will post a video of my fight once I have it!

out of interest I am 29 years old and described as a rugby player build coming in at 100kgs at the moment but I am sure that will go down with some training, am I stupid to commit to this?? I will be traning monday, wednesday and friday !

Thanks in advance


Johnny N October 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I don’t know about ‘stupid’ but it’s certainly ‘ambitious’. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a lot of fun. As long as you train seriously, I don’t see why not.


Nikola August 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Hi Johnny this is my first fight i lose because of nose injuries but not my fault my trainer don’t teach me how defense how block punches and head movement… im in red corner what you say about this


Nikola August 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Hi Johnny this is my first fight i lose because of nose injuries but not my fault my trainer don’t teach me how defense how block punches and head movement… im in red corner what you say about this


Tigen November 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I’m having my first fight this Saturday and am so keen! Reading this has made a few things that my coach has told me make more sense, and I feel like I can try this out. I’m a little worried about the fact that I’m quite flat footed and she is about 6kg heavier than me? What kind of problems do you think I’d be encountering with this?


tigen November 8, 2014 at 7:23 am

Well had my fight and won!! I felt pretty slick in the first round but couldn’t control my breathing and asthma made me soo tired for round 2-3 but i did it!! Apparently i hit fast and in random flurry movements which got her. I tried to do everything my coach told me. Down than back up, in and out like she is a tree. He said I outboxed her and went above everyone’s expectations. Im reallly proud of my self and some strangers came up to me and told me my fight was the best of the night and i have a beautiful left jab. Haha I don’t know about that. But I’m feeling so good. The feeling was better than i had anticipated.


Daniel February 12, 2015 at 9:42 pm

Hey Johnny this is me sparring im in the black any advice? im training for a fight


Johnny N February 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Very fun fight to watch, despite the size difference. Both of you look very well trained. I would tell you to aim for his chest more, you do well when you aim there. Leave your left forearm out to control his head at times after you miss a jab. Let him burn out his back energy trying to do all that head movement. Try using some lead left hooks and uppercuts to set up your right hand.


Oliver smith August 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Hi johnny,

I had my first fight in march, heres the video of it. (Im red corner)

I was so nervous and was hesitant to throw punches which is probably why i lost, dont want to lose again because it felt horrible to dissapoint all my supporters after training for so long…

Ive got my second fight in 3 weeks, ive been working on fighting inside more, getting in on the body, hopefully can utilise it in the ring.

I prefer to move around on my toes as my legs can last much longer than my arms.

If you have any comments or advice itd be awesome to hear!




Oliver smith August 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Ps. Great guide, was a good read!


ganesh December 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

sir!I am ganesh Sawant and gonna preparing for for Indian amateur boxing school games that is at natniol level.I am of age13 and this will be my first fight.!!I i am in training since 8months and a want to win anyway. jhonny sir please tell me how to knockout opponent who is 13years old or to defeat him by scoring.please sir I want to make my city proud and you are awesome boxer and I like your style and early life as well.please reply,
yours obediently.


ganesh December 10, 2015 at 10:12 am

I am a orthodox boxer.I forgot to mention!


Paul September 26, 2016 at 1:19 am

Hey Johnny,

I am from London, England, I had my first fight on Friday night and I want to say that your website played a part in preparing me for that win, particularly the mental preparation tips!

I started training only a year ago at the grand old age of 33, and I have fell in love with the sport.

I never comment on websites, but I am still buzzing days after the fight so I had to write something.

Keep up the great inspirational work.



Stuey Bell September 30, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Really like this advice. Ive got 7 weeks to train for a 3×2 min white collar fight for charity, just had a quick session about the basics, then into sparring with a trainer and you’re right, didnt have time to think. im a total novice but there are excellent coaches to learn from at the gym and i should be evenly matched. I’ll pick it up…this advice will help a lot on the night and in sparring actually! Cheers


Johnny N October 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Good luck to you, Stuey! White collar fights are pretty exciting.


Rkeng October 15, 2016 at 4:48 am

Van and Richard doing very good job.. well done you’re the championship


LL October 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Hey Johnny! I had my first real fight today and I was really exited about it. I’ve trained hard for this and felt ready in all ways. But I lost… And what bothers me is that I know I could have won. I have longer arms and my technique was better than hers. But I did all the things I wasn’t supposed to do. I felt like I didn’t show my best. I’m so dissapointed. How can I get over this?


Adrian Bolima October 23, 2016 at 9:05 am

Good day Johnny, Please do check my first fight highlight . Here’s the link: i your guides are very helpful for my first amateur bout 🙂 thanks alot .


Johnny N October 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

Which one are you?


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