Winning Your First Pro Fight

April 29, 2015 April 29, 2015 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Fight Tips 52 Comments

Winning Your First Pro Fight

Crucial tips for getting your first win.

After spending last Saturday supporting some friends at their pro fight, I’ve come to the realization of some important details when it comes to winning your very first professional boxing match. I saw several debuts and took notice of the way they prepared themselves, carried themselves, acted in the ring before the fight, and of course…their techniques and strategy during the fight. I could see very easily what worked and what didn’t work.

It goes without saying that preparation is key. Your natural ability, skill, and training have a large part to do with winning. But there are also other factors that you may not have considered that can make a huge impact on your success.

 

 

Tips for Winning Your Pro Fight

Careful Matchmaking

While matchmaking doesn’t guarantee who actually wins the fight, it certainly guarantees who the matchmaker WANTS to win the fight. This is the truth and dirty side of boxing. Many fights are put on in order to develop fighters rather than to give fans a fair and even-sided fight. I noticed in the match-ups that all the guys on the A-side (the red corner) were heavily favored to win. They had more experience, heavier, better records, and just seemed like they were the better fighter.

The match-ups looked like this:

RED CORNER                                                               BLUE CORNER

  • Leon “Left Hook” Jackson   DEBUT     – vs –      Billy “Stumblefoot” Magee  3-17   (0 KO)
  • Travis “The Deathbringer” Rockjaw  21-0 (19 KO)    – vs –    Joe Schmoe  5-9  (1 KO)
  • David “The Demon” Jackson  DEBUT    (144lbs)   –  vs –    Shane “Dynamite” Redison DEBUT   (135lbs)

Some of you may think I’m exaggerating but the records really were that one-sided. It was like watching a live rat being let into the snake tank. But the unfairness was really much deeper than on the surface. For example…all the guys on the A-side of the match-up were given 2 months notice before the fight. They had ample time to prepare and the event was made on the names of the A-side fighters alone. Everybody on the B-side of the equation was handpicked to lose (make the A-side look good) and given much less notice.

My friend, who I came to support, was unfortunately on the unfair end (the B-side). He was given 4 days notice and lied to about the weight. They told him he had to make the lightweight limit which was 136lbs. But on the day of the fight, the weight limit turned out to be 4 pounds more (140lb) and not only that but his opponent was easily 10 pounds bigger (in terms of natural body weight). How much of a difference is 10lbs? If you’ve ever fought before, then you know a 10-lb FUNCTIONAL weight advantage is a huge difference. But more importantly, I think the real problem was that he wasn’t aware of that. He could have prepared differently. But no…they simply told him last minute, made him squeezed all the way down in weight, to fight a bigger guy. Of course…he could have also not taken the fight, but that’s a lesson learned one fight too late.

 

Why the need for careful matchmaking?

I never thought I would be the one to say this but I totally understand the reason for padding fighter’s records. For those who aren’t familiar with the pro game, it’s common for promoters and matchmakers to “protect” their investments by giving their star fighter easy fights to help him build up an undefeated record with many sizzling highlight-reel knockouts. This helps the fighter to build up a fanbase and sell tickets, because the average fan lacks true boxing knowledge and can’t appreciate a fighter’s boxing skills as they can his punching power. With all these easy fights, the protected fighter easily racks up a nice record and gets to pick and choose his opponent because he sells more tickets. Eventually, he finally challenges for the title and the fight makes more money for everyone involved because there’s more appeal in a title fight when one guy is undefeated and supposedly has a lot of knockout power.

It’s hard to make money in boxing when you have a bunch of guys taking turns beating each other and they all come out with records like 15wins-9losses. That might work for the UFC/MMA, but in boxing it’s different. In boxing, a respectable record looks more like 30wins-2 losses. And so that’s exactly how the businessmen operate in boxing…they build fighters to get exactly that record. And then when you finally have a few strong prospects with pristine records, that’s when you finally put them together and sell it on Pay-Per-View.

*NOTE: I have nothing against the UFC style of matchmaking. I think it’s beautiful that they can afford to have marquee names with many losses on their records and still sell fights. I wish boxing was like that. It used to be in the old days when having losses didn’t hurt the fighter’s marketability but time has really changed and the game has changed a lot as well.

You have to figure that the managers are typically always carefully matchmaking. You’re either the star prospect (because of your ethnic background, Olympic name recognition, amateur success, fan-friendly style) and you get protected, or you’re not the star prospect (too old, little power, low skill) and you get fed to the wolves. Or maybe you’re none of the above, and they’re just using you to fill in the undercards. No promoter is going to throw his star fighter into a dangerous fight and hurt his chances to make bigger money later down the line.

 

But don’t the fans want good fights?!

Yeah…I used to think that, too——that the fans love seeing even fights. But I don’t buy that crap anymore. When you go to a big professional boxing event, one that goes on PPV, sure…the undercards can sometimes be very exciting. Often times they feature future stars, sometimes it’s 2 undefeated contenders battling it out, or a prospect brought in to showcase his talent (albeit against lesser competition), or even 2 random guys who are spurred on by the large crowd to deliver excitement.

But it’s not like that at the smaller professional boxing events. Most of the time, you’ve never heard of ANY of the guys. Typically, you’ve MAYBE heard of the A-side guy in the main event because he’s supposedly really good and will soon challenge for the title against someone you HAVE heard of before. And then you might have also heard of a few other guys on the event because they have a reputation in the local gyms. And of course, the only reason why you’re at one of these smaller pro boxing events is because you’re there to support your friend, like I was.

From what I saw…the crowd breakdown in the smaller pro boxing event was something like this: 25% of the people were there to support the A-side guy in the main event. There’s a good chance the promoter for the A-side main event guy also has several other fighters showcased in the event as well, each one with his own personal friends/family as well as the mutual gym support. So you figure there’s maybe 40% of the crowd there to watch maybe the same 3 or 4 guys (that all come from the same gym/manager/promoter). And then the rest of the audience are personal supporters distributed out to all the B-side opponents. When you go to a bigger pro boxing event, the crowd numbers are further skewed in favor of the main event guys, and especially A-side guy in the main event.

So where am I going with all this?

My point is…the audience in general, does not care to watch anybody other than the guy they came to support. If most of the audience is there only to watch the main event, they will not pray that all the undercards last a full 12 rounds. They don’t care to see 2 no-names scratch out an even decision. They have no emotional investment in either fighter. They just want the undercards to hurry up, knock each other out, so they can see the main event already.

If I had to guess, when audiences see a pro fight, here is their preference in terms of what they want to watch:

  • KNOWN names, even fight, with a knockout
  • KNOWN names, long fight, with lots of power shots thrown
  • KNOWN names, long boring fight
  • UNKNOWN names, fast knockout
  • UNKNOWN names, long fight, with lots of power shots thrown
  • UNKNOWN names, long boring fight

 

My advice to upcoming pro fighters?

Put your ego aside. If you want to make it as a pro, tell your matchmaker to start you off with easy fights. Take your time to develop yourself, get those knockouts, please the fans, and don’t let yourself lose early on.

There’s no point in coming in as the B-side in an unfair fight only to take a loss for a few hundred dollars. Be patient, keep racking up the wins, increasing those paychecks. And don’t you worry, because the day will come when you get to really challenge yourself in the ring…and at least THEN, you will not only be respected for the fight but also rewarded financially for all your work.

I felt really bad for my friend because he was disrespected by everyone (the businessmen, the opponent, the fans). They threw him to the wolves early on. They didn’t care for him or his career. They used him up to help some other guy’s career. And I could see that it wasn’t because the other guy was better. Maybe the other guy had more experience, or more preparation. But my friend could have easily been in that guy’s position against a different opponent. It would have set his career up differently.

The way I see it. It’s your life. You put your hard work into this thing. Things need to be in your favor as much as possible. You train hard, you deserve respect. The opponent has to give you fair notice in advance. They can’t just call you 48 hours prior and tell you to drop 15 pounds for a fight. Your manager needs to respect you and your dreams. Likewise, you fight for yourself and for the fans. You respect your skills and the fans need to respect your skills, too. It’s not fair if you’re taking boxing seriously, training to be world champion, and here you are getting knocked out in front of the fans. And they look at you like a bum.

There’s no need to prove yourself early on. Nobody is going to give you much credit for winning tough (but unknown) fights in your first 10 fights. You’ll still be unknown to most fans, your paydays still won’t reflect the work you put in. You’d get way more credit beating an extremely faded veteran than you would beating a unknown up-and-coming fighter. You have an entire future full of big challenges for big paydays to look forward to. Without already having name recognition, you won’t prove anything by taking dangerous fights early on.

If you wanna be tough, be tough in the gym, be tough in the way you respect yourself. If you want to fight tough guys to build experience and learn on the job, do that in the gym. When you fight professionally, you are a business. You need to respect yourself as a business entity. Put your ego aside, take the easy fights to develop your skills and practice things against different kinds of opponents. Rack up those wins, and build your paydays. And then finally, when you are ready…you accept the big challenges on YOUR TERMS. What would you rather do? Take the fight of your life while you’re a “bum” with 3wins-2losses and only getting paid $500? Or take the fight of your life when the people call you “champion” with 30wins-0losses and getting paid $2,000,000?

 

Eye Contact (between fighter and corner)

I’ve noticed that there were widely varying levels of emotional awareness and emotional control among the fighters. Some fighters were totally lost within their emotions and literally fought the fight one-step at a time, or rather “one punch at a time”. The stresses of their fight wore clearly on their faces, whether it be a match full of stress or one full of ease. It was clear that they were completely engaged and perhaps even imprisoned within their fight.

And then there were other fighters who had the ability to step back (figuratively), step out from within their emotions and connect with not only themselves but the people around them. These fighters were more able to control their emotions and to look beyond their stress. They were able to notice the screams of the audience, the placement of the referee, the instructions of their coach.

I found that the fighters who made the most eye contact with their corner seemed to be the most at ease. This isn’t to say that fighters should be staring at their trainer for answers during the round as much as possible. No. The difference is subtle. The fighters with the least emotional control probably never even looked once at their coach, and sometimes never even in between rounds as well. The fighters who did look at their coach only did it a few times and only when and if needed. They were able to glance over and notice their coach making counter-punching gestures or yelling out instructions.

These fighters were able to take themselves out of the zone, reset their emotions, take a quick check at the instructions, and then head back into battle again. I don’t think it’s so much about being able to multi-task but more so being able to control your emotions. More so being able to break away and dis-engage from an emotional environment during a time of stress, to reset your mind, and come back in. It shows a heightened awareness…an ability to be aware and sensitive of more things.

 

Don’t block for too long

This one should be obvious especially since it’s something that you learn as an amateur but for some reason, many pros still have this problem. Even the ones with tons of experience. What you’ll usually see in the midst of some fights is that one guy will all of the sudden decide to stop moving and to just stand there and put his hands up to block his face.

It often doesn’t work out very well. The smaller pro gloves don’t do a good job of covering you and your opponent will be able to hurt you even through your guard. It’s not only that but you have a crowd that’s chanting every time you throw and so the puncher throws even more punches, and the guy on defense ends up being more defensive because he’s now trying to wait for the perfect countering opportunity before he comes out of his shell. But the thing is he never gets to come out of his shell because the puncher is pushing him back onto the ropes and overwhelming him with more aggression. The punches do more damage and the guy on defense ultimately loses his balance along the ropes and has to run out of the way.

All this tells an incredibly biased story in the judges eyes. What they see is one guy throwing punches. And then because the other guy is putting up his guard, they figure the first one is probably doing damage. And then they see the first guy pushing back the other guy along the ropes with good aggression and workrate. And then they see the second guy unable to counter back and so he just runs out of the way…which looks like he’s giving up ground.
It might be that the defender was never hurt and that he was just “boxing” but still, the crowd doesn’t cheer for defense (unless it’s really obvious flashy defense) and the judges can’t score slipping and blocking, they score for punches.

QUICK NOTE: If you’re going to block, please avoid covering your eyes. It looks very passive to both the judges and the opponent. And I’ve noticed that almost all opponents will jump on you if you cover your eyes for even a split second. Think of it as an aggressive lion jumping on its prey the moment it turns it’s back.

 

Timing your defense, countering, and footwork

Now it’s easy for me to sit here and tell fighters “NEVER TO BLOCK”, but being a fighter, I have a feeling of what goes on in there. Basically, it happens when one fighter decides he doesn’t want to exchange punches and would rather defend for a bit, and then land a clean counter. It’s worked in sparring…why not here?

It has something to do with the atmosphere. Pro boxing at the lower levels isn’t as clean. It’s messy, more aggression, and again…the gloves are much smaller…making the punches faster, harder, and more penetrating. Combine all that with the fact that your opponents are better trained, more skilled and conditioned, and you’re going to find yourself in a bit of a pickle when you decide to go on the defensive.

The pros are so accurate that if you even stand still for 2 seconds, that can be all it takes for him to land one punch to stun you, another to knock you off balance, and one more to put you down. It really happens that quickly. And you don’t really have the bigger gloves or headgear to act as a secondary shield in case you’re caught slipping. You go down rather quickly.

I think your defense, footwork, and counter-punching really have to be done on YOUR terms. So often, I see a guy defend because he’s forced to defend, he moves away because he’s forced to give up his ground, or he throws back counters because he’s forced to counter. These things don’t look good to the judges. They see a guy that is uncomfortable and forced to do things because the opponent is pushing him around. If you’re going to do anything defensive, it has to look like you’re doing it on purpose. You defend because it frustrates him, you move away because you’re in control of the ring, you counter because you set him up for it.

 

Stay aggressive

This is the easier option. Stay aggressive. Don’t go on defense. Stay offensive and offensive-minded. And you’ll find that you won’t fall into the defensive end and have to fight your way into the fight.

 

Stay off the ropes

Here’s an obvious one: stay the hell off the ropes! Why? Because good opponents are going to chase you down, cut the ring off, throw punches at you and force you on the defensive when you’ve giving yourself nowhere else to go. Sure, maybe you do have great footwork and a solid jab. But you also don’t need to make it easy for your opponent to put the pressure on you.

From what I saw, many guys were just trying to make a little space and next thing they know, they were on the ropes. The thing is the ropes are only 2 steps away. Take one back-step to give yourself some room, the opponent comes in on you, you take another back step and BOOM…you’re stuck on the ropes again. And from here, you’ve got nowhere to go back to run out the sides or you can try and stand there and take shots from your guard.

I think this problem can be avoided if you stay aggressive in the first place, not try to give up ground. And if you do give up ground, give up only a little at a time. Even when you back up, you still have to put the pressure on your opponent. Otherwise if you keep giving up your ground without offering any counter-offensive presence, he’s just going to walk you down until you stop moving and fight back…which is usually along the ropes.

 

Head Butt Awareness

There’s always somebody who wins this game. There is always somebody with the stronger, harder skull. I saw a cut in almost all the fights if not all. The reason is because it’s common for fighters to dip their heads when they get wild. You figure 2 guys who are fighting at a faster and more adrenaline-loaded pace than they are accustomed to, against a faster stronger opponent than they are accustomed to. It’s only a matter of time before someone starts to dip their heads.

Some guys dip their head when they go forward with punches. Of part of a crude brawling style. It’s not as technical but I’ve seen it work. Other guys dip their heads for defensive reasons. They’re simply not comfortable, they can’t see all the punches coming, and so they dip their heads to get out of the way. It’s an instinctive reaction to move your head in some random flinching maneuver when you can’t see or don’t like what’s going on.

You have to be careful of your own head movement habits in training. In sparring, it’s hard to notice because you wear headgear and so headbutts aren’t felt as often. But in pro fighting, it’s your bare head and boy does it hurt when it collides with someone else’s hard skull. As for dealing with your opponent’s headbutting, this is something you have to learn to deal with. When I watched pro fighting, many times the guy trying to avoid the head butt would lean back or give up ground because he didn’t know how else to deal with a headbutter. I wish I had some knowledge to share on this but all I have is observations. I hope you watch out for it and learn how to deal with it in training.

 

 

Problems in your FIRST pro fight

Being that I got to see how much work it takes to getting to your first pro fight, I commend all fighters for getting there. You have these dreams of racking up an undefeated record and becoming world champion and all that. You train hard, you spar with champions and you give 100% and it’s easily to believe in yourself because up until this point, you’ve been nothing but awesome. Most guys I see that turn pro truly believe that they have what it takes to be a world champion. There not here to rack up a 15win-8loss record. They want to be 30 wins and 0 losses with 25 knockouts. They want to be the undisputed pound-for-pound champion. They want to be the second coming of Roy Jones Jr.

But the reality is not many will ever become a champion. Many of them will lose. Of course, we already know this. Maybe instead of 30 and 0, you could become 25 and 4. That’s still respectable, right? Well I have to tell this: your failure might come much sooner than that.

For many of you, your first loss is going to come in your very first fight. Think about it. Imagine 100 guys fighting on their debut. Guess what, 50 of you are going to take a loss on your very first outing. You may have had all these dreams of being undefeated world champion but you know what…you’re going to be 0 wins and 1 loss.

And it’s going to hurt real REAL bad. You’re going to have a painful reality check. Maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were. Maybe you’re not as good as the champions you sparred with. Maybe things were unfair. The opponent was too big. The floor was too slippery. The judging was biased. You had a sprained ankle. The excuses start to pile up. Nothing will ever give you the closure for losing your first fight. It’s like a painful experience that never goes away.

I think the reality is…pro fighting is simply that much harder than amateur fighting. Opponents are better, the conditions are less forgiving (smaller gloves, no headgear), and the atmosphere is more stressful. And it’s up to you to realize this is the reality of pro fighting. You either overcome obstacles or you don’t.

Whether or not you beat your first opponent, just know that you have the utmost respect from me. And from your family and friends. Never forget that you are an inspiration to all those around you. Those who achieved the greatest success are usually those who have also achieved the greatest failure. Dare to be great. Be honest with yourself and think about what you can do better. Raise your consciousness to a higher level, and then make better conscious decisions that impact your life, then live the better life. Rinse and repeat.

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52 Comments

DM April 29, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Hi Johnny,

This is an article for every person who wants to go pro in Western Boxing!

I love and train in Muay Thai, but I enjoy watching Western Boxing too. My Muay Thai teacher competed in Muay Thai and Western Boxing (Saohin Srithai Condo).

This is the best Western Boxing website!

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Johnny N April 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Thank you, DM. 🙂

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DM May 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

Hi Johnny,

i believe one thing many people miss are the number of Muay Thai fighters that go into Western Boxing and do quite well (certainly more Muay Thai fighters have gone into Western Boxing and won championship belts than mma fighters). I have to admit that Muay Thai and Western Boxing are different, but I believe they do share common ground.

If you have any knowledge of Muay Thai do you think you could write an article on the similarities and differences of Muay Thai and Western Boxing? I actually believe many articles you have written could be used as good guidance for Muay Thai fighters (training, tactics, mental). However, some articles you have written probably wouldn’t be relevant.

Thank you for reading this statement.

DM

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Johnny N May 18, 2015 at 11:38 am

I actually know very little about Muay Thai, sorry. :/

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Alex April 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Incredible insight and advice John! I’ve seen this too with some of my pro friends, and unfortunately they ended up on the B side all of their careers earning at most on HBO like 15k to lose fights. It’s such a tough sport to maneuver in! Your advice is great man. Patience is the best in developing a career. John what age do you think a guy can be to be a competitive fighter today? What age range or what specially do you think about it? Much love to you brother!!

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Johnny N April 30, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Sorry for your friends. :/

I don’t understand your age question. It has to do with your age as well as your training. The ideal age range is like 24 to 28…but if you’re starting boxing 26, you’re not gonna be very good at least until you’re 30.

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Alex May 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Oh sorry man I meant what age would you think is to old to compete for a boxer with 6 yrs amateur experience, is 40 pushing it? Is there such an age where someone should say its a wrap.

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Dave Maswary May 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm

AI’m an MMA fighter, so my perspective is different. I can tell you how things are working for me in the MMA world and how I see it for other people.

In Boxing, the heavier you are the better your chancves are if you over 28. Boxing is a sport that takes less time to develop than MMA (You can be an Olympic gold medalist and lose to an average MMA fighter for lack of experience). Boxing is a lot harder to get very good at than MMA however, and more difficult business-wise in most respects. The money comes from different sources.

In Boxing , if you have a little age on you, than you’re best bet is to be heavier. The heavier the division, the less speed is a factor. Most guys who fight into their 40’s and even 50’s are either heavier, very powerful hitters or incredibly durable.

If you’re able to handle extra weight, then that will help a lot. It also depends on how much gym time to ring time you have. There is a big difference from walking into a gym to start learning to box at age 35 or so, than even havin your first fight at age 39, 40 or thereabouts with years of time working with tough pro’s in the gym, but lacking headline fights.

It’s a hard advantage to overcome, but its doable. The beauty of combat sports is that people overcome huge obstacles all the time, that’s why you actually watch the fights and don’t play tale-of-the-tape. George Foreman went from age 40-45 rebuilding his career, then onto 49 as champ. Sure, hes George Foreman, a guy who was good enough to threaten Muahammad Ali – but he was out of Boxing as a pro for a long time and his comeback was a lot like starting from scratch in terms of physicality. Physically speaking, I don’t think late 30’s – 40 os too old if you’re a seasoned fighter in the gym.

The hard part is building your name in the market as Johhny mentioned.

In the MMA world fighters come in from other backgrounds all the time and start late. usually its someone who is either a stand out ina aprticular martial art or who has something marketable in some way, shape or form. Cung Le started out in his late 30’s after a legendary SanShou career.

Cesar Gracie had no real record as a BJJ fighter, but held a long-standing grudge against Frank Shamrock. he went into his first pro-fight at age 40 in a UFC-affiliated promotion. It was a very dumb move, he lost in 30 seconds, he chose a fight against one of the best fighters of his era in his debut fight. The point is he was a BJJ teacher wo’d made his name by teaching a lot of UFC fighters and if he’d chosen to start at 40 and work his way up, he could have been a name fighter.

It’s harder in the UFC now as they are adopting the Boxing model – IMO it doesn’t work at all for MMA. Their are a lot of compettive welll-paying events in MMA that aren’t UFC affiliated but pay far better though, so I don’t really see it as ever being too late. I’ve seen too many guys in their late 30’s or even up to 40 and change have careers. That’s MMA though. The skill set is broader and if you have it, promoters will want you.

In boxing I think tarting age is tougher, but if you have the time in the gym with tough pro’s; say you’re a boxer who’s competed in small events and you have been sparring with top-level pro’s for a long time so you have the chops – go for it. It’s your life, as long as you have some way of paying the bills don’t go to your grave regretting a thing.

It will be hard. People will buzz in your ear that you can’t do it, people will tell you to quit. If you beleive you ahve it in you – do it. I’ve seen too many fighters pull it off when no one thought they could and too may talented fighters waste their potential because they’re not smart. I’ve been in the gym and I’ve trained against names you wouldn’t believe. Here’s what always struck me. When me or some other guy sparred with the super star making crazy cash, I was always shocked that I was drawing even, holding the advantage of or outright beating the star in one area or another. The super star had just as hard a time in sparring as anyone else, though you could obviously see the skilll and talent.

The difference was alwasy in who knew how to market themselves and beleived in themselves. The guys who make it are the guys who beleive in themselves. Thats the hardest part of the game. Don’t go to your grave wondering if youu could have done it. There is no shame in havig made a run and not succeeding than goig for it and going somewhere bit not making it. You’ll have the pride of having wlaked among the giants as an equal and say9ig you were a peer.

I’ve seena lot of guys who were going toe to toe with the super star, had 3 fights with guys who were world class and quit because they had mediocre records, even though they had world class talent. Use your head and treat yourself like a business and believe in yourself. No one will believe in yourself for you.

BTW – watch how people will start to buzz once you are making it, or doing something significant. Opinions will change fast. Everyone will tell you you can’t. Only you can convince yourself that you can, and if you can do that then you will

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Mad mike February 1, 2016 at 5:49 am

I can totally agree with you th e big words here are discipline and honor with dedication and it makes a fighter

Mike April 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

How good are the nike mid machomai shoes?

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Johnny N April 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I’ve never used them but I think people like them.

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Southpaw uk April 30, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Hey johnny great read as always, could I ask you a quick question. Here in the uk we now don’t wear head guards in amateur fights, I’m currently training for my first fight I’v not been matched yet but expect to fight in the next 3 weeks. Do you think I should be sparring with no head gear? So I know what to expect on the night? My coach is against it but wouldn’t it be a disadvantage to me? Thanks man respect.

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Johnny N April 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I’m with your coach. Tons of pros spar with headgear on. All of the ones I know do.

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Stephen April 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Another incredible read Johnny thank you!!

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Richard April 30, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Thank you for a good read. My first pro fight is around the corner will use these instructions.

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bgZ May 1, 2015 at 12:31 am

Hei johnny, great article , and i like your last paragraph. At leastif we lose, we still being inspiration for those around us. Thanks so much for sharing to us.

Regards,
bgZ

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falken May 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm

great article with good insight. This is why I really enjoy amateur boxing and watching amateur boxing. It really becomes more about the competition and honour. As soon as money is involved (as with most sports) things change in the sport and in the person. Sure, it brings some gains but also some losses. I think there is a real lack of “trust” in pro boxing and a cynicism from boxers and the general spectators. I tip my hat to pro boxers as it is a tough gig, but I think amateur boxing has a lot to offer and shouldn’t be seen as boxing’s poor or weaker cousin.

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iso May 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Hey johny think you was the result true in mayweather vs pacquia i think the winner from the fight is pacman what think you ??

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Johnny N May 18, 2015 at 11:39 am

I have a Youtube video talking about that. You can discuss it there.

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Dimitri May 6, 2015 at 2:35 am

Just one fact to motivate people with 0 wins – 1 loss, Lennox Lewis was in your shoes 😉

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dodoc May 20, 2015 at 12:30 am

Yes but not in professional ^^
But I think Juan Manuel Marquez had a 0-1 pro record and he’s a great fighter

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tk May 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm

if I fight like mike Tyson would I have a successful amateur boxing career?

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OG May 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for another informative article.

There’s a boxing coach in my town that has the nickname “Bodybag” because he always corners the B side guys who look like they went from basic introductory lessons to the ring in a month – and they always get absolutely destroyed. On his Facebook page, he’s always listing come-ons, like “Want to earn some extra money for a new pair of shoes? Come try boxing, I’ll set up up with a pro fight!”

Now I understand the motivation and the market behind this lambs-to-slaughter practice. He’s a reliable feeder for the wolves and probably gets a good cut by guaranteeing he’ll never throw in a wildcard opponent with skill.

It all makes sense now!

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OG May 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm
Andrew May 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

This is a really good article. Very good advice for the aspiring pugilist. i wish I had this article when I started boxing as an amateur! But, would you agree that boxing would be much better if they did things as they do in MMA? Better fights!

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Johnny N May 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

It’d be great if the best fought the best, yes.

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iso May 14, 2015 at 5:35 am

Johnny what is ring iq can you telli me please ?

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Ryan May 15, 2015 at 10:29 am

Personally with headbuts i’ve found the best way to deal with it is don’t flinch or back away. Most of the time the other person will give up ground or if you grit your teeth & prepare for the pain it won’t hurt as much. It’s a savage way to deal with it but it works for me

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Johnny N May 18, 2015 at 11:44 am

I would say this isn’t a good plan if you bruise or cut easily.

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Steven Shelton June 23, 2015 at 3:54 pm

I agree with this method. Plus, its what Evander Holyfield would do.

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kim May 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

hello, Mr.Johnny.

may i ask you something please? few weeks ago, i saw your boxing article page is very enjoyfull.
at that time, some article with youtube video is i have interesting.

that was about intens with boxing sparring.

if you know about them too? that youtube sparring is very intens with two boxer.
i want to see again that video and i have find on the your this page.

but i can not find that video.

if you know about that too, would you show me about that boxing intens with sparring video for me?

thank you. i hope so your answer.
best regard.

kim.

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Johnny N May 30, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Hi Kim,

It’s hard for me to figure out which article you’re referring to. Maybe you can look in your browser history and find out which one it was?

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Houston June 12, 2015 at 2:18 am

Question, so after my amateur fights and my attempt to go pro, where would I go to look for a promoter or a matchmaker? I know some guys are approached, but like how do i get started professionally?

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Johnny N June 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Go to a gym with other pro boxers. Ask them who they’re managed by and if they like their managers and if their managers are getting them lots of fight opportunities.

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ngullie June 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

i want to be a boxer.
my height is 5ft 4in and weight about 46 kg. My life is filled with plagues and i am one of the most unsuccessful person alive. Everything i love or work for does not get paid. I recently got drooped from college knowing that no one in my class can compete with me in any subjects. In some subjects teachers have hard time countering my questions and insights but still i am unsuccessful. I am an angry man but punching my pillows, door and walls help me become a better person. This might sound crazy but punching stuff around me makes me a better me. I have learned control and patience and have not involve or had arguments with anyone for three months.
I wanted to join a gym but my parents didn’t took it serious. on repeating they laughed and said, “have you ever look into the mirror?” and things like, “boxing are for strong people, if you go you will die.” I told my girl friend and she blast into laughter. But some how the dream never dies and the more I try to forget the more it comes back. I don’t know why this dream lingers on me like its gonna happen.
my question is will some one like me who run his life on pills and barely able to run half a kilometer be able to live his dreams? plus my eye sight are also not good most of the time I need lens. I want to fight for the glory of my family, for my people, for my country and for my creator. I even made up my mind to go for day labor to buy gloves and other kits since my parents won’t agree.

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Steven Shelton June 23, 2015 at 4:21 pm

I recommend training for at least 6 months and then if you’re still into it you can start sparring. then after 2 years of training you can take your first amateur fight. do not continue to box just to prove a point. and do not continue if you are getting beat up profusely every time (after 2 years).

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Hiyar June 18, 2015 at 8:45 am

Hey Johnny,

Is the pro boxing world the same with all the federations out there? Forgive me if my question isn’t rellevant.

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Johnny N June 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

The same in what sense?

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D.J June 29, 2015 at 11:30 am

What if your’e a very natural gifted boxer and you’ve sparred well with top national amateurs but you have no or little amateur experience but turning pro would be the best option for you because of difficult circumstances would it be a wise choice? even though you don’t mind starting small like from the bottom even if the purse is like £20 just to build up your record and experience, how can someone go about this?

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Johnny N June 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Go to a gym with other pro boxers. Ask them who they’re managed by and if they like their managers and if their managers are getting them lots of fight opportunities.

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D.J July 1, 2015 at 10:42 am

I know at the end of the day it’s down to me because I’m going to dedicate a whole year to perfect myself as much as possible before doing so and like I said I don’t care how low the purse is because during that period I would improve overtime by training hard and sparring good fighters as if I were an amateur anyway, but do you still think it would still be wise to turn pro in this case?

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Alexander Mena July 26, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Is that V__ ____ _____???! Do you know him, Johnny?

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Johnny N July 27, 2015 at 12:51 am

Yes, he’s a close friend and longtime sparring partner. We used to be old roommates and that’s how he got into boxing.

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Gabriel July 31, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Hi Johnny, I love your site. It helps me staying motivated.
I got my first fight in about a week against a much better opponent and he has more experience. My trainer says its going to be easy for me but i dont think so. I feel like i am on the b-side. What can i do?

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Johnny N July 31, 2015 at 4:35 pm

If you don’t want to fight, don’t fight.

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Martin March 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

That guy looks like Gennady Golovkin.

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Johnny Reitmann March 31, 2016 at 7:41 am

Hi Johnny – just to let you know I’m turning pro when I return to The States. I’m a heavyweight and 35 years old but I still feel I have something to offer. I’ll let you know how I get on

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Mark April 7, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Whoa Gennady Golovkin

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Mark April 7, 2016 at 11:33 pm

The knockout artist

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Martin April 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

IS that Gennady Golovkin?

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Johnny N April 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Haha…and the other guy?!!

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JJ May 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Johnny, I am 14 but I train pretty heavily and plan to go pro when I am older. Should I be very concerned about diet right now. I eat pretty well all around, I never eat fast food, I never drink soda, and I rarely eat anything processed. I am also planning to purchase your fighters diet. I am wondering how seriously I should be taking my diet since I’m only a teenager? (should it be very strict, can I have multiple cheat meals, etc.)

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