Building Your Fight Confidence

October 19, 2011 October 19, 2011 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Mental Training 133 Comments

Building Your Fight Confidence

Every fighter who has ever lived has been afraid before.

Why do some fighters go on to become world champions whereas others retire without a single win? If you’ve been training long enough, you might realize there’s no amount of training that will ever give you complete confidence. You can’t train confidence, it’s an attitude.

Let’s break down why you’re scared to death of getting in that ring. More importantly, how to overcome that so you can start winning fights.

I remember being scared as hell before my fight. The whole time, I walked around beating myself up mentally. I wasn’t just scared of losing, I was PREPARING TO LOSE. The whole time, I was thinking…

What am I doing here? Why didn’t I train harder? Oh my god, he [my opponent] looks amazing! I don’t think I can win. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to lose in front of my friends and family. I don’t want to wimp out like a sissy. I’m scared of losing.

I thought I was the only person scared like that but just the other day, I received my millionth comment about somebody wanting tips for their first fight. It went a little something like:

Johnny, can you give me some tips for my first fight? I’m scared.

As we may have already figured out, you don’t really need tips, you just need confidence. You’ve been training all this time and absorbed all the boxing skills you could have possibly learned. The only thing you’re missing is confidence. And I’ve come to realize that most fighters lack the confidence for their first fight for 2 reasons:

1) They’re unprepared.

They know deep down they haven’t been working hard in training. They’re scared now when they realize how much more they could have done and how much harder their opponent could have been training. The only person you have to blame for slacking off, is yourself. It’s up to you to accept that in the fight, or to delay your first fight till a later time. If you didn’t train 100%, don’t ask for a victory. That’s all I’m saying.

2) They have the wrong attitude.

Bad attitude can be unproductive attitude or negative attitude. They come in there wagering the end of the world on their first fight. The usual negative thoughts sound like:

  • “If I don’t win this, I’m nothing.”
  • “If I lose, my friends will think I’m a loser.”
  • “I don’t want to look like crap in front of my friends.”
  • “Mike Tyson, my hero, my trainer, my dad, my world champion older brother never lost a fight, so I’m not allowed to lose either.”

It’s sad, but we’ll work on this. I can’t guarantee that you’ll win your first fight but I can definitely guarantee that you’ll approach the fight differently, give yourself a better chance to win, and look at yourself in a more productive mindset than ever.


Reasons Why You’re Nervous Before Your First Fight

You’re Physically Unprepared

Most people don’t know what it means to train 100%. They THINK they do, but they don’t. Giving something 100% means more than just going until you’re tired. It means wanting something more than anything you’ve ever wanted. That being your best is more important than playing video games or hanging out with your friends. To give something 100% means to give 100% of your heart. But of course, most people will never have the confidence to do this. They’re afraid of failing after they’ve given it their all. They’re afraid of looking like a fool after giving it everything. I promise you it will change your life. Give yourself 100% to training, to ANYTHING, it will change your life.

Want to know what 100% looks like? Go to a fight and watch for the fighter that cries when he loses. It never ceases to amaze me how much people love boxing. If you cry when you lose, that’s when you know you gave it 100%. You didn’t cry because of the pain or because of shame, you cried because you gambled everything and lost. I respect this guy more than anything else, sometimes I’d rather cry with the loser than celebrate with the winner. That’s the greatness that boxing brings out in us. I dare you to try the same.

Preparing for a fight means preparing to give it everything you’ve got. It’s not just getting in shape and being confident. Next time you finish a workout, don’t ask yourself “Did I go 100% today?” Ask yourself, “Did I want it 100% today?” Are you giving your heart every single day?

When you want something bad enough, you won’t be afraid. You’ll be excited come fight day because fighting what was you REALLY wanted. You won’t be scared at all because you couldn’t wait for this day to arrive.Β Now you know what 100% is.

Taking a Blind Fight

It’s like going on a blind date. You don’t know anything about your dance partner so you don’t know what to expect. I’d be scared too if I were you. Don’t let your gym throw you into any fight. Make sure your trainer is looking out for you and not pitting you in above your level. This isn’t chess, you can get seriously hurt if you get put in with someone who has an unfair advantage over you.

Who is the other guy trained by? Is he Mike Tyson’s twin brother? Does he have a record in Cuba/Russia of over 200 fights? Does he cut massive weight and plan to outweigh you by 15 pounds? Is he a soft 140lb 18-year old kid or a ripped140lb 26-year old man? Is he a recreational boxer or a guy sharpening his skills before he goes “pro”? There’s just so much you don’t know about. The nature of competitive fighting will never be perfectly “fair”, so it’s your responsibility to watch out for yourself. People get seriously hurt all the time.

The first smoker I ever had, my trainer spoke to the event coordinator to change up the roster because my opponent had OVER 90 FIGHTS in Mexico. Thank god, Rick was looking out for me. When you take your first fight, you should be comfortable and know that they’re not using you as feeder fish. Your trainer should feel comfortable and trust the other trainers to match fairly.

Not Maximizing the Talent in Your Gym

Some of this is common sense but for many people it’s not. Your gym is full of talent. Even guys that you beat up everyday have a talent you don’t have. Ask everyone for advice. Let everybody know that you have your first fight coming up and that you’re nervous as shit. You might be shocked at how much they want to help you and support your first fight. We’ve all been there before. You will be amazed at how many guys will tell you what you’re good at and what your weaknesses are. There is absolutely no excuse for not having met everybody in your gym. They are all potentially friends and people who will make you a better boxer! Ask everyone you know for advice.

Negative Thinking

The WORST thing I’ve seen fighters do is think negatively. They say negative stuff like, “I’m no good. I’m gonna get beat up.” Holy crap, no wonder you’re going to lose. You beat up yourself before your opponent even gets to you. Look, it’s not your job to make yourself lose, that’s your opponent’s job!

Be a good coach to yourself. Good coaches don’t say, “You suck, you’re no good.” Good coaches don’t let you imagine a thousand ways to fail and focus on all the little mistakes you make that could cost you the fight. Focus on the positive, focus on what you CAN do. The more you focus on what you CAN do, the more you realize you have a better chance of winning. Guess what? Thinking positively actually raises your chance of winning because you’re focused on how to win, instead of how to lose. Coach yourself positively.

Worried About Outcomes

So many boxers are so afraid of the fight. So afraid of hearing the decision. I realized they are more afraid of the fight having an outcome on their record than the actual fighting itself. That’s the appeal of sparring, right? Win or lose, it doesn’t affect your record. Look, the outcome of the fight doesn’t matter. The fighting in between the ring, that’s the fun part. That’s what we’re all here to do. Have fun with it, treat it like a hard sparring match if you must. Losing is not the end of the world. Win or lose, nobody really cares. I know you trained hard and that’s why just making it to your first fight is already a victory in itself. Whether you win or lose is not important. What matters is that you had fun and learned something.

The Right Attitude For Fighting

You’re Special

You came to boxing to be a fighter. You’re here to be a warrior and test yourself against all odds. If you wanted so badly to win, you would have played an easy game of checkers. But instead you’re here pushing your limits, and for that you deserve respect. Climbing through those ropes is something most people would have never done. Never forget that. You’re here to be a fighter, and the one thing fighters do is FIGHT. Fights are won in the gym (training), but the fighting is still more important than training!

As long as you’re climbing in the ring, you matter more than anybody else in the place. Everyone else sitting on the sidelines and training in the gym don’t matter. You’re more important than all of them. They’re watching you fight. Never forget that. Even if you lose, they’re watching you lose…THEY’RE WATCHING YOU!

Whoever’s doing it, is right.

Learn Something

If you really want so badly to win, just fight a tomato can. Fight somebody who has no chance of beating you. Fight an old guy in the back of the alley. If you want to challenge yourself and learn something, then climb through the ropes! Get in the ring, win or lose, LEARN SOMETHING! You do that, and you’re a success.

Focus on yourself

You can’t affect how your opponent performs, you can only affect how YOU perform. So focus on yourself. Warm-up, stretch, go through drills to make yourself the best fighter possible. Stop checking out other fighters, stop looking for your opponent, stop comparing yourself to others. Think about what YOU can be doing to make yourself better. There is nothing else to be thinking about. Worrying about how hard somebody else hits is not going to help you in anyway whatsoever. Focus on yourself!

Moving Forward

Think of the fight as feedback. It doesn’t tell you if you’re good or bad. The fight doesn’t tell you if you’re a real man or not. The fight tells you how much you’ve improved along the way. It tells you what you need to work on and what you’re doing well. Nothing less, nothing more. Getting into the ring is simply a step forward in your boxing career. This first fight won’t matter much if you’re going to be boxing for much longer and continuing to have more fights. Whether you win this fight is irrelevant. It is simply one step out of a long successful boxing career.

Looking back, I remember trainers that trained their fighters for a REALLY LONG TIME and moved them slowly so that they would have perfect victories. If I had it my way, I would have much rather exposed the fighters to their beatings early so that they learned right away what was needed. The sooner you are exposed, the sooner you will adapt. Don’t train all year to become the perfect undefeated fighter. GET OUT THERE!


When you want to be great,
there’s no time to be afraid.


My friend told me a story of how his coach use to pick her fighters during the tournaments. She would take the team to tournaments and ask them one-by-one, “Do you want to fight?” If the fighter hesitated or said anything other than “yes” within 2 seconds, she would immediately say, “Nope, you’re not ready.” The fighter would spend the rest of the day sitting on the bench, watching his teammates and feeling stupid for having trained the whole week without anything to show for it. It wasn’t long before everyone said “YES” immediately so they could have fun and tell their fight story with the team.

  • Enough of this motivational crap. Watch out for the next guide where I release some solid tips and advice for your first fight.

Now I’m curious to know: for the guys that have already had fights. How did you guys build your fight confidence? How did YOU get over the fear of losing? Share your experience.

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DKL October 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm



Jerome October 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Thanks, I have my first fight on 11/11, so this was very helpfull, more than anything, I dont want to disapoint anyone, but as you say, they are watching a match, not only a victory, and if I loose, I just have to train harder for the next time.
If I tape it, can I send you the link for any tips you may have on my performance? I want to get better and better, so any help is welcome.
(sory for my english, im from south america)


Johnny N October 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Definitely, please share your footage with us. I understood you perfectly, no worries, Jerome. Good luck on your fight by the way.


mr spongecake November 27, 2012 at 7:02 am

Sound advice. I can remember my first fight and i get just as nervous now but thats the beauty of it training hard and showing no matter what your willing to get into the ring and perform to the audiance and have a laugh about it afterwords win or lose. Your confodence and skills grow each time you gEt into the ring you will also find that as soon as the bell goes so do all those prefight buterflies and the technical and enjoyable skill comes into play win or lose your training will be worh it


Jonathan October 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I must say that every time I’ve ever fought I’ve been freakin terrified. Isn’t that part of the fun though? The strange is. The first time I fought, I actually lost and felt like such an ass but looking back now years later, the only one person who cared about that was me. I agree with you about fighting a tomato can if you need to win above all. We all want to win (I must admit winning feels better than losing) but at the end of the day, I think the majority of fighters actually do it for fun and personal growth but we forget that when we have a fight coming up. Maybe I’m just getting old but I think when I look back one day I’d rather say I won some and lost some than I never tried because I was scared. In any case I’ve seen plenty of guys lose who would actually beat the snot out of most people. For me it’s about fun at the end of the day. Nice post.
P.s. Love the new look of the site.


Johnny N October 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Thanks, Jonathan. I think a lot of people would agree with your experience. If only we could convince all the beginners out there that EVERYONE feels fear at some point. It’s a normal process of being human.


jedri koekemoer October 21, 2011 at 6:20 am

Hay Johnny.
I actually do mma right now and before that i did kickboxing. It took me 2 years of training before my coach said to me “boy if you dont do this now you never will” the rest of it was a bluer he told me to replay the fight in my mind over and over with different combos and counters to my opponents moves. So two weeks later when i had my first fight it was a total of 30sec i dont even remember it. the guy stepped forward was off balance and seeing he was a sitting duck i just let my right rip dropped him like a bad habbit.

So ultimately i think it was because my coach said it is now or never he had total confidence in me, i new physically i was ready and for two weeks all i saw in my minds eye was me knocking him out there was nothing ells i saw or spoke about.

I did enjoy the article as i for some unknown reason have recently developed a great amount of stress before a fight and reading this i realised it was because i cared to much about my records and looking good, while all i should be caring about is testing the skills i have worked on

thank you for a great website and your passion for the sweet science is an inspiration. To use the old war horse and prove its relevance in any fighting art.


Johnny N October 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Jedri, to hear of boxing helping mma would be an honor. Thanks for coming here and sharing your experience. I wish you many more stress-free fights in the future.


Tristan October 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

hey i have been fighting for years now and i am scared before everyone but i find that its what drives me to try harder, because i know what can happen


Johnny N October 27, 2011 at 1:39 am

Tristan, you’ve mastered the art of using fear to your advantage! Congratulations!


TB October 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

This article was perfect for me for right now. I haven’t fought yet. I have been training for about six months and I often “light” spar a girl who is a pro boxer, she’s amazingly fast and it can be overwhelming. I am always an emotional basket case with an immense amount of anxiety but I’ve finally gotten over the fear of getting hit, the panic of pain when hit and the worry of other people watching me.

Saturday morning, I felt like I did great at controlling my mind and emotions. A big part was remaining relaxed and not wasting energy on worrying about everything. I was hit a few times that typically would make me panic but I didn’t blink a thought to it this time around. By the time we were done with a round, I stepped out of the ring feeling great and looked in the mirror to notice I had been crying, involuntarily. SO embarrassing. Now, I’m a woman which comes with the emotional estrogen crap, but it seemed like I was having an emotional reaction with out feeling an emotion behind it. I didn’t feel fear, pain, etc. I always get an adrenaline rush as if I avoided a car accident but that should not drive me to tears. I guess I’m curious if you have noticed this before? Do you think it will just go away over time?

An emotional wreck


Johnny N October 27, 2011 at 1:36 am

TB, don’t worry about the tears. Tearing can be for any reason: deep joy, deep sadness, deep feeling. It sounds to me like you’re doing something you truly love. Stick with it.


Macken September 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Don’t even worry about tears! I know plenty of happy-sparring partners who get tears in there eyes after a fight. Its like when you cry a little from yawning, its not emotional, just a physical reaction to being hit.


Ron October 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

Johnny N.,

Wow, you hit it on the money. I just had my first kickboxing fight, and many of the emotions and thoughts you mentioned absolutely ran marathons through my head. At work so can’t jump into detail yet but that was a great read (I pulled out a draw) as I didn’t get the W. It’s funny, all that pressure, but afterwards, I was still alive and doing fine. Thanks again,



Johnny N October 27, 2011 at 1:38 am

I’m proud of you, Ron. Do come back and tell your story! Good luck to your next fight.


Ron October 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks Johnny, that means a lot!

As for the first fight, it was amateur muay thai rules. I was supposed to be in the class of 148-154 (+1 lb limit), and weighed in at 148 (metabolism burnt whatever I ate like a crisp during camp), I’m 5’6”.

There was a mixup, my opponent came in at 164 and had to cut to 161 to make the 155-161 lb class (He was 6’1” or 2”), and I ended up having to gain 7 lbs within about an hour (pasta/sauce/chicken/bread/chocolate..everything I pretty much gave up for the fight lol), which I was able to do but man did I feel like a bloated bubble.

My fight was first, and I was nervous as hell. It’s so funny because I KNEW I wanted to be there, I trained damn hard, sacrificed so much, and I just love the sport (all combat sports), but I couldn’t shake the nerves one bit (my first time competing in combat sports on any level). Like you wrote, walking down the isle, getting checked by the doc’s, the ref asking if I’m ready to fight (I remember thinking “Man, what am I doing?!?” once I had the opponent across the ring).

I’m a hands guy, I love boxing but started way too late to do anything with it at a competitive pro level (though I train to have the best boxing I could possibly have, I LOVE boxing). My instinct is to throw hands, defend them etc. Right out of the gate I got hit flush with a round head kick and a front kick straight to my face. I remember that woke me up, reminding me where I was and what I had to go.

My legs felt like tree stumps, my arms felt like they were sagging off of my body. Regardless, without the technique of training and the gym, I threw with my will, and threw hard, rocked him well, several times in fact, but never went in for the kill. The next 2 rounds were similiar, except he never really connected clean with any kicks (he didn’t have hands). It is a Muay Thai competition where kicks are scored highest and punches lowest, thus the bout ended in a draw. I was extremely disappointed, and still am, but in life we’re here to learn, right?

I realized I fought like I had a child strapped to my back or something. Anytime he was in my range I threw, follow, threw more but EVERYTIME I rocked him (I also realized my instinct took over because I really don’t remember hitting him much until I saw the video, so I was pretty much blacked out in a sense when throwing and connecting I think), I let him go. I just let him go. Experience is everything. Like you said, we’re the ones in there battling, we’re the ones watched. Undefeated, perfect record, forget all that. We’re here to fight right?

The experience was incredible, and I really can’t wait to get back in there. To me there’s nothing telling me alive I am like that.

I will keep you posted with my fights, and thank you so much again for your devotion to us trainees!!


Johnny N November 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Ron, your story reminded me so much of mine. It’s awesome man. I’m proud of you for making it out of there excited. It sounds like you were winning anyway. Keep me posted and share your tips with the rest of us!


Ron November 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hey Johnny,

Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words, they really do mean a lot.

To anyone reading this article (site in general, really), he hits the experience on the BUTTON!!!

Rewatching it, I felt like I may have won but I make no excuses, and I am only training harder and better because of it. I found this site out of wanting to better myself and look everywhere, and honestly I’ve learned so much here.

Also, maybe it’s calling the grapes sour, but a part of me is happy I didn’t just go out there, knock him out in 1 minute and go home. I’m not going to lie, I will take that any day and we train to KO, but the experience I gained through the fight itself is priceless and has made me shift gears for the better!

Hopefully I fight in about 2 months (working on my grappling now). One fight at a time, right?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and everyone visiting the site, we’re all in the same great boat!

All the best,



Johnny N November 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for updating us, Ron. One fight at a time is the way to go. Happy Thanksgiving and take care!


Les October 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Hi jonny,
Great website and this article has come at a perfect time as i have my 1st fight in a month. Done all the fitness and lots of sparring but would appreciate some tips on what to do / not do in the last week, days and hours before the fight. I am thinking especially about when to stop sparring and training and food intake.
Keep up the good work


Johnny N November 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Solid idea, Les. Thanks for adding another article to my queue, hahaha. If I could give you one big tip for now, it would be to talk to everybody you know that has had a fight before. As for your training, hold back your intensity just a bit until about 3-4 days before the fight. For the 2-3 days before the fight, keep your body warm! I’m talking wear sweaters, sweatpants. Keep your body temperature nice and high. This keeps your muscles warm, body sweating fluids healthily. There’s more to it that I will explain later.


MCM November 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Hello, I loved your post!

I have my first fight under kickboxing rules this Sunday. I enjoy my training very much but now that I have this fight coming I’m nervous! And I wanted this as hell, I promise. This may sound so stupid but I want to be a champ. I have been telling my trainer to train me to fight since I began training (6 months ago). Hell it’s been difficult, it’s been so hard, I didn’t think it was going to be like this, 2 hard hours per day(plus running plus diet!), getting so tired while sparring that I couldn’t feel a single drop of energy in my body, but at the same time my trainer there putting pressure on me and shouting “COME ON!!”, feeling so ashamed when I wished the round was over… but the more difficult it is the more I want to train and get better but it also makes me wonder if I will be able to reach my goal.

So now I’m scared, and I can’t believe it! I feel somewhat dumb because of this, but i hope the real myself materializes in the ring, which is the myself that enjoys every hard kick and every hard punch. I realized that if I’m nervous I’m unable to punch or kick hard. I must master this. I must kick and punch so hard when I’m draining out of energy. Thanks for the article, it helped me a lot. Now I can’t wait until tomorrow’s training session.


Johnny N November 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Sounds like over-training. Don’t train so hard that you come out with a little less passion for fighting. Keep up the good work, though. And GOOD LUCK THIS SUNDAY. Let me know how you do, MCM.


CHI BULL November 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Ive started boxing 1 year ago, now getting ready to compete. Everything on this site makes perfect 100% amazing sense & is a tribute to serious boxers eveywhere. I only regret i didnt find this site sooner! Serious guys, Read evry1 of these articles because just by relating what Im reading and incorporating it into what I do in the gym creates a relationship in reiterating the way things happen that will help you understand yourself better / This site is making me a better boxer.. AWESOME SITE Thanks from CHI Town boxing club Johnny


Johnny N November 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thank you CHI BULL. Come back and share footage of your fight with us on the Facebook. Best of luck to you.


Ben Robinson November 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Great website first of all. You have given me many tips which have definately made a real improvement in my boxing. As I write I’m preparing to fight my 9th fight (semi pro) tomorrow night.(6-2-0) It seemed appropriate to comment! I’m facing a good kid tomorrow and its a step up for me. Like you say in the article, we came to boxing to test ourselves…what really matters to me is that I give my all, 100% effort and apply everything I’ve learnt in the gym. If I do that and still lose, well, I’ve lost to the better man! No problem. Of my 8 fights so far I lost the first two. The first clearly and the second I was robbed by the ref! But I’ll never forget the feeling I had before going into that 3rd fight thinking,”Now, if I lose this one….I’m never gonna hear the end of it!!” I was scared of losing. I’m always scared of losing..yet always quietly confident because I know what I can do….Anyway, haven’t lost since! Thanks again.


Johnny N November 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thank you so much, Ben. I’m really proud and honored to hear how much of a difference it’s made. Everyday I write, I sit there for an hour figuring out the best way to write not just so that readers understand but so that they actually go out and fight better.

I’m actually going to watch 3 of my friends fight today…I’ll keep yours in mind. Good luck!


Ron November 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Good for you Ben! That’s awesome, I’m glad you stuck with it and you see how you handle yourself now!

Johnny, how did the fights go??


Johnny N November 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

1 of them won, 1 got robbed (in my opinion), and the 3rd guy lost a close decision. I also had another friend who was supposed to fight but his opponent backed out. Oh well, I’m proud of them all. I cheered like I was fighting in there.


IRON BOY December 3, 2011 at 4:54 am

Johnny!! you be glad to know that i won my first amateur fight on dec 1..on points unanimous soon as the dvd comes through i will post a youtube link..keep up good work


Johnny N December 3, 2011 at 4:55 am

Damn…I’m proud of you! Please, share that video. I really want to see it.


lady boxer December 5, 2011 at 3:27 am

I had 3 fights already one of them was last Nov. 26, 2011. I always read your articles here and I must say that it really helped me a lot. I learned so many things that I dont get from my training. My trainer let me spar with the guys on our gym for me to enhance my skills and reflex. I had my first 2 fights was great! Esp. on my 2nd fight on my 3rd fight last week well she smack me in the eye pretty good! But its ok. Now, I’m about to start my training again tomorrow for my next year fight. Every time I enter the ring I feel nervous and excited but I make sure that im ready, focus and never ever underestimate my opponent. Thank you and keep up the good work!


Johnny N December 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

You’ve got great courage, lady boxer. Your enthusiasm will take you far. Everyone should be excited as you to get into the ring.


james December 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I fought in a kickoboxing smoker and I was super nervous I froze at first. I Felt so down on myself for a while. I am getting ready to compete again but this time I am doing alot more sparring and feel great . My confidencee is up but when I think of losing, or just freezing again I get nervous. What else can I do to help with this? Thank you for all your help I just found this website. You are doing a great service for all of us trainees.


Johnny N December 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Stop thinking about losing or winning. Focus on making improvements. Come into the fight or sparring with some things to work on and see how well you do it. Some good ideas are: throw more jabs, move around more, stay off the ropes, moving your head after throwing a combo, etc.


Ron January 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Happy New Year Johnny, and all others who visit here!

Just wanted to say I have a fight (amateur kickboxing) lined up in about 7 weeks. It’ll be my second (first was a draw), so I’m extremely excited. I came back to this page because you make all the sense in the world man.

My coach after one of his fighters stayed super tight in a much higher level profight pretty much told us, he’s happy if we go out there, not about winning or losing, but just letting it all go, and what happens happens. I will keep you posted!

P.S. Good luck James! (watch out for those headkicks …first thing I ate in my fight as I’m rooted in boxing..)

All the best everyone!

– Ron


Johnny N January 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

Happy New Year, Ron! And good luck on your fight. Come back and update us with the results and video!


Ron January 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Thanks Johnny, absolutely will do!

Let’s hope for some great proboxing this year!!


daniel January 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

what helped me most for my first fight, was this article about fear control:
a bit long, but definitely worth reading!


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

Wow, Daniel. Very detailed link. Thanks for sharing.


daniel February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

no problem…some of your tips definitely helped improve my performance in the ring, thanks Johnny! got some good ideas


Patrik Rybka January 16, 2012 at 4:08 am

Hi my first fight whos my best yet. i hade to do my best. And after that i dident do my best and i lose.
for i intend i whos so good i dident have to do my best. And fuck i regret that dont do easy on no body
its not honestly. So now i train on my weknes and i am really good. Thanks for all your help i appreciate it. Have i nice day! Patrik R from Sweden


Joaquin April 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

You can catch some of my fights from 2007 if you type Joaquin Zamora Boxing on Youtube. I think being a little nervous is good but the trick is to not let your opponent know what you are feeling. I really look at the body language of fighters, especially the ones that I will be fighting. I study their body language from before, during, and after the fight. Positive self-talk really calms the nerves down, deep breaths, focusing on what you can do (I can keep my hands up and move my head, etc.), Once the work is done in the gym, by the time you get in the ring my mentality is this guy thinks he’s better than me but I’m gonna show him he’s not on my level and things like that


Johnny N April 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Hey Joaquin. I saw your videos! Nice work man. I like the left uppercut and left cross! You’re a calm killer.


MO April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I fight this Sunday in a championship fight and I have took a real intrest in your articales they have some great points


Chase April 29, 2012 at 7:52 am

Hey great advice i just had my first fight last night which resulted in a lose. When i got to the event my nerves were all over the place and i wasnt sure what i was doing. I have trained in muay thai for around 18 months now and my whole camp did an amazing job getting me physically ready although when i got in the ring and the bell was hit i froze. I did not know what to do as if i had just shut down taking multiple hits from my oppenent thinking what do i do until i said no im not ready for this and signaling a stop only 1min in. I wasnt beat up i just wasnt mentally saying i can do this which makes me.feel like i have let myeelf down and feeling i had let everyone else down because of this. Any advice on taking the hits and not freezing?


Johnny N May 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Sparring would definitely help in getting you accustomed to getting hit. It happens all the time when someone shows up and realize they’re not ready at all. If you want to fight, train harder and next time you will at least be better prepared for what you KNOW will happen. Good luck man and let me know how you do on your second fight.


Chase May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Thanks man i will let u know how it goes. Your sites great for advice so im sure the result will be better and the one i deserve


jason tran April 30, 2012 at 12:11 am

Hey is it normal to be afraid to spar…cause from reading this article it reminded me of the time i had to spar another guy and i admit i was afraid…is it normal?


Johnny N May 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm

It’s definitely normal because you risk getting hurt. But if you really like fighting and really want to do it, then you will find a way to enjoy it.


Christopher April 30, 2012 at 8:17 am

Jason it is normal to be afraid. Its natural to be afraid. It depends on what you do with that fear. Do you project it towards your opponent or do you feed your mind with negative thoughts like your going to get beat up? Find your comfort zone. Being afraid is a good thing because its a sign that your not over-confident. Being afraid is better than being over-confident. You have to have trust in your skills. Recall all the training you did in the gym and how hard you have worked. You can be afraid because you know you havent been working 100%. Witht hat being said. noone can help you only yourself. If you do get beat up, thats a lesson learned that boxing is a sport for those who want to work hard! I encourage you to listen to some slow jams on the days you know your going to sparr, read the biographies of champions you know well of, and most importantly tell yourself positive things. Fear is just a cloud of fog. Fog covers your sight from the real appearance of things. Thats how fear is. Fear is all in the mind cus its actually made up in your mind. Its made up by “what ifs, what is that, what if this?” BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!! Hope I helped.


hamza June 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I need advice. I trained for ages and lost my first fight. I didn’t loose by k.o or anything but lost on points. From that loss I gone 110 % better. I fight at 50kg…

My 2nd fight is next week and I’m scared of looking man. All my friends have amateur records of 10 wins and 1 loss. My record is already 0-1. From that day I’ve been training intense. Ive been sparring people 60 – 70 kg , but still have that feeling of messing up my record even more. I could hardly pick my self up from 1 loss never mind 2. What shall i do.

Also should a 15 year old boxer take protein shakes?


Johnny N June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

– If you don’t want to risk ruining your record, don’t take official fights.
– If you don’t like losing, you better train harder and smarter than all your opponents.
– If you don’t like the feeling of losing, don’t put yourself in competitive situations.
– Protein shakes are useful if you don’t get enough protein from your regular diet, AND/OR if you need fast protein like after a workout.


Akhil July 14, 2012 at 4:37 am

Tomorrow is my First fight . and this article helped me a lot… Thanks Johnny.


NZ Lady September 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Is it wrong to be mentally strong over everything else? Physically I am average in terms of fitness…Mentally, well thats a diffrnt story…not a moment goes by when Im not visuallising my fight and what I want too achieve.
My first fist is this weekend.
This website has helped me heaps


Johnny N September 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Good luck! I hope you win.


Meh October 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I had my first fight recently. It didn’t go too well. I wasn’t prepared mentally for it. Before the fight I warmed up hitting some pads, but I didn’t warm up my calves. I probably should have done some jump roping for that. The fights before mine went by so quickly, I was having trouble getting my handwraps signed off on. They signed off on them right as I needed to walk out. Then I’m in the ring and I have trouble getting my headgear on and the ref is in my ear trying to hurry me and my corner up. That all distracted me. Then I’m facing this guy I don’t know and I have to fight him. I was thinking man I don’t want to be here in front of all these people. I’m not angry or pumped up like I thought I’d be. I don’t hate this guy or want to hurt him. We fight and I’m too hesitant. The guy is moving around really well and my legs feel heavy so I’m flat footed for the most part. I don’t think I adrenaline dumped. I was kind of relaxed but heavy and slow all at once. The guy’s punches weren’t hurting me. He was running around and scoring a lot. I didn’t feel any kind of sense of urgency. I was just kind of on a mental autopilot. I just kind of went through the motions. This was a Muay Thai fight so we clinched a bit. The guy was hitting me with knees, but they just felt like taps. They weren’t good knees. However, the crowd is cheering “Oh” every time one lands. It was actually pretty demoralizing and distracting having people cheer for the other guy when he was doing no damage to me. I never understood that before then. I kind of loosened up in the third round a bit and attacked a bit more but it wasn’t enough. I lost all 3 rounds. I wasn’t even tired at the end of the fight. It was like I was scared to put it all on the line or maybe it was the mental thing that caused me to shut down and not put it all on the line.

I still want to try again though and I’m scared to death I’m just one of those people that doesn’t have what it takes. That I’m mentally screwed up and that can’t be fixed. That I don’t believe in myself. That I hate myself so much that I’d rather let someone beat me up, make me look bad, and hurt me instead succeed and hurt them. That maybe I just can’t go out there and hurt a complete stranger. Man I’m so fucked in the head.


Johnny N November 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Sounds like you got paralyzed from fear. Give it some time to find your passion and don’t put yourself into anymore dangerous situations until you know for sure this is what you want to do. Boxing is a hurting game and you have no business in competition if you’re not 100% sure you want to be there.


Antonio November 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

hey man, everything is going very normal in your boxing career:)… You just have to remember, first of all boxing in a ring isn’t about winning against your opponent, boxing in a ring is about winning against yourself… when you win against yourself, you will start performing what you have trained for and what you are really capable of… If you were born a healthy person you do have all what boxing takes, you just have to work on that ability to open up…


Sam German November 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have my first fight this friday, I am feeling fairly confident but i am quite nervous when i think about it, all that is running through my head is, when he kicks what shall i do, how should i play “calm or aggressive” etc etc, I have been doing kickboxing for 2 weeks in total but i have been on and off boxing and martial arts for several years, I will let you know how it goes. πŸ™‚


Brad November 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hey Johnny! I had my first amateur fight yesterday, it was a close fight but I lost it. I felt almost everything that you wrote in this article. I feel like I could’ve beaten this guy if I had a better “killer instinct”, I wouldn’t jump on him even though he seemed tired. Do you have any tips for my next fight how to be less nervous and also how to develop a killer instinct to finish my opponent? Thanks.


Johnny N December 2, 2012 at 8:31 am
Chris November 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

These tips are always amazing. Johnny is truly a professor of the sweet science.

But in reference to this thread, I had my own fearful experience. I train at an MMA gym in Savannah, Georgia but my coaches have so much extensive boxing experience. I trained for boxing for only 2 months and last week was my first ever sparring session. I remember having an hour and a half before sparring time and coach told me to chill out. I couldn’t, instead I starred at the ceiling pondering about the upcoming sparring matches. My coach was sparring as well and he has quite the reputation. I was nervous as hell, we had to shadow box for 3 minutes and I threw one jab and dragged my foot over everytime because my legs felt like bricks. I had to remind myself to move. Everyone I sparred was a pro, either MMA or boxing. All we did was boxing that night and I remember my first match up I kept getting tagged. I saw all of his punches but I just couldn’t move. The next guy I went against didn’t really have power but he was tall so he picked me off. I then went against my coach. I decided to man up and fight him. He always pummeled all of the other fighters, and they always ran and I could see the fear in their eyes. I went toe-to-toe, I started loosening up and I was dodging his headshots until I he kicked it up and put me in the suicide corner of the ring. I got rocked a lot but I never gave up nor did anyone tell him to calm down. I don’t know if he wanted to punch my brains out or find my heart, regardless, it happened. I can look back and give you my symptoms to failing before it even began.

– I asked “am I ready?”
– feared everyone
– I felt like an ant amongst kings
– I never stopped thinking about it
– I thought nothing I could do would scratch anyone’s surface.
– I felt as though my attacks were pillow like punches
– before I sparred I said “time to get my ass kicked”
* granted I joked when I said that last quote but it turned into acceptance, and so before I sparred, I let my negativity kick my own ass.

I said all that to speak to those with the same problem and hopefully get help on return, we all have to learn at some point, better late than never.


adrian November 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I find this article very helpful, i’ve fought three times, one boxing and two muay thai; my third muay thai match will be this saturday and honestly i still feel a bit scared for some reason.. i have been training hard and everyone in the gym tells me i have great skills, even my trainer but for some reason im still a bit scared..maybe im just over thinking it.


Johnny N December 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

Forget about winning. Your goal is to go in there and do your best. As long as you do that, you’re a success. No need to worry about anything else. I hope you did well!


PrinceRudyNasim November 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Hey Johnny huge fan here. I have an 82 inch reach and was wondering if theyre any drills you would recommend that would help he use my entire reach both offensively and defensively? Also Ive seen wladimir Klitchko use almost what looks like a stiff arm as a defensive tactic, is this legal in the amatuers? I would love to know your thoughts and advice…..thanks


Johnny N December 2, 2012 at 8:34 am

Shadowbox like hell. Get used to swinging at the air. Long arm guys need a lot of shoulder endurance to throw and pull back their fists over long distances. The stiff is one of many tactics, you’ll need more than that to be successful in the amateurs. Start with effective snappy punches.


Zoie G January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Hello, just wanted to comment on this statement: ” I don’t want to wimp out like a sissy”

I’ma women training to compete in my first Muay Thai fight in a couple months. I appreciate what this post is trying to say, but I’d like ya’ll to knowledge that there are a lot of awesome, strong, confident women out there training their asses off everyday, often going harder and faster than the men in training.

I’m trying to get stoked for my first fight and looking for inspiration out here in cyber space but its difficult when these spaces are so male dominated. The fighter is always “he” and if you talk shit on your confidence, you’re degrading yourself down to the status of being a “sissy, girly, wimp” whatever, or by association, a weak and incapable women.

Well, breaking news: women are here and very capable, we deserve an equal space in the ring, and in training. We deserve to be taken seriously in our training and sparring. I’m not a “feisty chick,” I’m a fellow fighter and comrade at my school, and would like to be treated as such. Women are going 100% in the gym all the while learning how to defend themselves against the violence we face at the hands of men everyday on the street, some of us, in our homes.

Changing this culture in the fighting world starts with men not using language that associates their perceived weakness as inherently female.

The other thing that I wanted to say was: When I’m sparring, I sometimes go into the ring thinking “I’m gonna get my ass handed to me.” Especially with the other women who are a lot heavier than me. I just try and remember that I’m a lot faster than them and work that to my advantage. Stick and move, that’s been my motto. I think acknowledging when you’re getting better or doing things right can also act as a confidence booster.

Thanks for reading!


Johnny N January 23, 2013 at 11:17 am

Awesome post, Zoie! Thank you for sharing.


MuayThai February 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Hello, I have currently had 11 fights, and just recently after my 1st lost I have been lacking self confidence, and I was just wondering if you can give me some tips, for my upcoming fight in March?

Thank you


Johnny N February 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

Cry for a bit, and then when you’re ready, come back and train harder. Think hard so you can be a smarter fighter and never lose again.


kory March 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

hey, well here’s my deal. when i fight, i get raged if im getting beat. when this happens, i throw stupid punches. i was wonderin if you have any effective way for me to control this.


Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:59 am

Tell yourself to stop being stupid. Tell yourself to calm down. And if you can’t tell yourself that, then let a coach yell at you to remind you to do that. And then make sure you listen to him.


mohammed ali March 29, 2013 at 5:42 am

man i am amateur boxer and i fight first fight and lost the same time seco9nd fight i lost again and i don’t know why,in training grounds i do my best but when i get in the rings i don’t perform like i used to in the training camp,tell me what do i lack of being losing all these time,i have a match today and am wondering how bold i should be when i face my opponent in the ring,well for one thing in my training cam we dont have ring,am thinking maybe that is why when i get in the ring i feel different,so please tell me something please ok.thank u


Johnny N April 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

It’s natural that you never perform as well during a fight as you do in training. There are so many other variables that you can’t control that can easily throw you off your game. You have to get used to performing well and this comes with time and experience. Keep doing it and you’ll be comfortable enough that you don’t even have to worry. It takes time.


mohammed April 9, 2013 at 7:40 am

ok thank u very much,well i will like to be friend to u and see how u can help me become a good boxer in my career,please can i have ur website or yahoo id,or ur face book id, so i can add u on there please ok,and if u have any video for me to learn from it,now am about to join the Ghana Army and i will be fighting for them so i need ur experience advice to become great like Mohammed Ali,please my friend hope to here from u,am only 24 years of age and i think i have future in the game,hope to here from u,thanks


Johnny N April 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

Hi Mohammed,

Keep reading the website and watch my Facebook videos. When you have questions or comments, post them and I’ll answer you the best I can. Keep training hard!


Andy April 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

Hey everyone,

I had my first fight about a month ago. I enjoyed it a lot, but i let myself succumb to nerves when i was fighting. I hardly threw my right hand, wasn’t that aggressive, basically a noob all over again. i was pretty pissed at myself and felt bloody embarrassed. i trained bloody hard for that fight too, 6 days a week! I was back in the gym The week after and just have made MAJOR improvements since and am currently preparing myself for my next fight


Johnny N April 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

You have the right spirit, Andy. Keep it up!


John June 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Today I had my first sparring match, I did okay but, I didn’t feel like I landed a clear shot because I was too afraid to get inside because so I fought from the mostly from the outside. Do you have any advice on how to train out that fear?


Johnny N June 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Go slower until you build up the confidence.


Marvin Mercier June 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Hey my name is Marvin Mercier and I am a beast! Thats how you have to think for all you beginners, be confident and if you work your butt off theirs no way you cant succeed in the ring and in your life! Hard work dedication!!! Find me on


Marvin Mercier June 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Hey johnny, just use head movement and slip in underneath and stay on him! you will get used to taking shots and it wont hurt as bad and you might actually start to like it! haha


Marvin Mercier June 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Kory just relax in there man you always have to remember its boxing and your bound to get hit!


mashinggun June 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm

hey Johnny. have to first say thanks so much for this website, it really is the best and most informative website out there on the subject and i must admit i spend many of my work hours here trying to think of ways i can improve in the gym before my next fight. i have done 4 amateur fights and won the first three and lost a close split decision in the last one. the nerves of everything seem to really get to me even tho im not a very emotional person and i find that a negative attitude can really wear you out. my last fight i kept thinking in my head, hes too big and i cant hurt him and as a result i lost all my energy and didnt have it in me to give it my all. does anyone have simlar experiences? my next fight i am determined to go after my opponent and really believe that i can hurt him. to anyone out there having their first fight, i think the best advice that can be given to you is to remember to breathe. you can be in the best shape of your life but if you dont breathe whilst you punch you are going to get tired very very quick


Johnny N June 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm

It’s common to hold back because you felt a bit outmatched or you lost your confidence but that’s what these moments are for…to help you reflect and come back stronger. Good luck on your fight!


J August 5, 2013 at 12:27 am

I remeber when i had my first fight i was way ahead on points it was clear i was winning and outboxing my opponent easy but i ended up losing by tko by a punch that didnt even land on me but when the ref did the standing 8 count i was trying to get around the ref cause i could here the judges yelling and i was trying to see why. Since i was trying to move around the ref to see what all the yelling was about the ref thought i was wobbled and stopped the fight. As soon as it ended the judges/the crowd and even some coaches there from other boxing gyms were yelling to the ref that the punch didnt land and the fight shouldnt have bene stopped but it was to late to undo what the the ref had did so even though i know i won and i have video to prove i was still sad that “technically” on my record i lost my first fight.


Brad September 17, 2013 at 1:30 am

Pro-tip, don’t ignore the ref or their commands… it will cost you.


Mark November 27, 2013 at 7:19 am

Brilliant article, I am 34 been training as a kick boxer for 5 months and potentially have my first fight in February. This article has really helped my focus…cheers


Jo December 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

With your record being 0-1 yet still being so successful I’m curious, would you recommend competition for a recreational boxer? I never intend to go pro or to the Olympics, I just want to learn great self defense.


Johnny N January 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I recommend you to box at whatever level you feel comfortable. Spar, compete, do whatever you’re comfortable with. If your ability allows it, do more.


Nathan March 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

The way I got over my fear , even when facing a bigger opponent with a much longer reach is to just ask yourself “what there is to be afraid of ? ” if you get knocked out or dropped with a solid body shot than you know to keep your hands up and work defence more. If you gas out have another look at your cardio training.


Johnny N March 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

That’s a great way to look at it, Nathan. It’s like…what’s the worst that could happen? The answer is “not much”!


Harry Glass V March 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

Hey Johnny ca I have some advice on the first round. Im doing a park fight in a few weeks, which are 3-one minute rounds. N I am a little scared to get hit (honestly) n it is my 3rd fight(I am 0-2) n IDK why Im a little scared to get hit still, i get hit during sparring n it doesnt bother me.


Johnny N March 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Well…fear is natural when you’re doing something that could harm you. Everything sounds normal to me. You’d have to be a seriously crazy person to not be worried about injuring yourself. I don’t think human survival traits are supposed to work that way.


Harry Glass V March 22, 2014 at 12:22 am

N im not being a punk or anything or a B***h im just somewhat nervous.


Thiviya April 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I just had my first sparring fight (muay thai) last week.

I have always been a negative Nancy, so I was swinging from slight confidence to utter despair from the fear of losing and looking stupid in front of my gym mates. This was despite me knowing that my opponent had not trained as much as I had. No matter who I talked to, be it gym mates or other friends who had sparred before, I kept feeling afraid of losing. I trained religiously after work every day, so I was not physically unprepared, just mentally. I also realised that prior to the fight, I had the disproportionate belief in my head that my opponent was much bigger than myself, when in fact, she was not (I was not matched by weight, but by rough sizing and skill level).

I thought I would automatically get over it when I stepped into the ring, but it didn’t! I felt tired from the time the fight began, and I felt more sapped of energy than I ever had during my training. I believe the fear drained me of energy, and held me back from performing at my best. My mind was a complete blank and I felt like all the training I had done and strategy I learnt had vacated my head.

Mental training is just as important as physical training, especially for those who have low self-esteem issues. You can perfect your sprint circuits, punch and kick your bags and do weeks of hardcore mitt training – but if you do not conquer your inner demons, you will lose half the battle.

I won the bout in the end, but I do not remember how. That is one thing beginner sparrers will experience – a slight case of amnesia.


Johnny N April 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for sharing, Thiviya. Your experience is pretty much the case for nearly all beginners as it certainly was for me. Everything just falls apart the moment you get in the for the first time. It’s frightening and becomes more of a battle of nerves than skills.


Karl H April 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

Johnny N – your articles are awesome! They are very well written, and relevant. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’m a new fighter with my first fight coming in June. I will have been training for around 4 months. I have training this evening and I’m just starting to think about moving my head and watching for the counter opportunities. I’m sure the beginners can relate the this early phase πŸ™‚

Keep up the great work man! You give people like me a place to indulge in my new found passion, and a place to find inspiration between training sessions.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

Yeaup…you’re going through the boxing rite of passage. Keep working at it, Karl! πŸ™‚


Alex June 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Hi johnny. Have enjoyed reading your experiences so will share mine. I’m 35, work in an office job and did my first fight two months ago after getting into boxing by accident when I started doing a training program by Ross Enamit to get fit again. When I was at school I was a national representative in endurance sport. I was hoping to get a corporate fight just to get into the ring but when that didn’t happen I registered as an amateur. Was set to do my first fight in my home town but my coach said you don’t often win your first fight so how about doing the first one out of town then you can take that experience in front of a home town crowd and hopefully perform at my best. While I was very fit I probably lacked a bit of sparring experience and most of my fitness and punching work was by myself at home. On the day of the fight and watching kids laying into each other I felt pretty nervous. Then I thought that I had spotted who must be my opponent, this mean looking dude who looked heaps bigger than me even though I knew from the weigh sheet that I had half a kilo on my opponent. It wasn’t until half an hour before my fight that I realised I was actually fighting someone else. I was still pretty nervous but was resigned to the fact that this was going to happen and when I looked across the ring at the guy before the fight his eyes dropped immediately and I knew he was crapping himself more than me. I started tentatively and lost the first round by being less active but long story short I pulled back the next two to win even though he was technically probably better than me and was almost knocked down in the second. I started the fight with a black eye and a cut from sparring and got out with the other eye black too. I think it was really my fitness that pulled me through. The feeling of finishing was awesome and to win was even better. But you know what despite winning I have resolved not to fight again, it was just too much for me and it took me about a week to unwind. I didn’t do the fight in my home town and have since declined to do a corporate fight but while I’m keeping up the fitness I’d rather go hunting and fishing!
It might seem strange to win your first fight and still be put off.
Why was I scared? Sure the threat of the physical nature of the sport is hard, I even get nervous before sparring and unfortunately had some bad sparring experiences but I think my main fear was losing after all the effort and energy I had put in, I have high expectations of myself. Others are quick to question your abilities and I wanted so much to prove them wrong but that’s probably the wrong reason to then fight. I love boxing and the training but I’ve never really found a gym I was comfortable with or found a training partner I enjoyed working with and trying to fit proper training around family, work and other interest is hard.
Not sure this will help other readers but I suppose we all have different reasons and attitudes to getting in the ring. As Johnny mentioned focus on what you can control. Fitness is one thing you can control and I proved that a less technical fighter can win by being able to outlast the other guy. I also would say though that you are a long time dead and you don’t want to regret not having done something, feel the fear and do it anyway and if you lose well at least know that I and anyone else who has boxed respect your for having the balls to get in there and do it. Good luck.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

Great story, Alex. I’m proud of you for having gone through the experience. There’s really nothing else like it.


chetan June 30, 2014 at 1:21 am

hiii my name is chetan nd today I found myself in a fight…. it was nt ny boxing fight…. just street fight… nd when I grabbed his collar… I feel like shivering nd I ws like dat I will burst out crying. .. I never had a fight in my whole life… though I go to gym and my body structure will make smeone think twice to fight… bt deep inside I am scared of fighting. ..


rantu July 5, 2016 at 9:29 am

u r an indian fudu


mhm August 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

hello johnny i have a question.
Inside the ring i feel strong im anxious at the beginning but i never think i will lose even if i play with better opponents.I remember one time i have taken so many hits to my body that i was ready to give up i couldn’t move my legs that easy but i stayed there and tried my best till the fight was over. give up was not an option for me i prefer to go down than surrender.
however outside the ring its totally different im not that confident, i dont have that tough attitude and i dont believe in my self the same way i do in ring.
why is that happening?its posible to change that attitude and be the same strong guy outside the ring ?


Johnny N October 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Sometimes life outside is harder than life inside the ring. In the ring all you have to do is fight. Outside, sometimes it requires much more than that. There’s a lot of mental involved in this.


Juan miguel de la torre December 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Yep attitude is the best mixed with a conditioned body. I havent lost a brawl. because of my mindset ” i can not lose, i would not let a person up-rank me”. There is a difference underestimating your opponent with, overestimating yourself.


Juan miguel de la torre December 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

And then i saw the website is about boxing haha. Im talking about illegal/drunk hulk fights lol. But anyway fighting is fighting =)


Gripz January 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

My first fight is today, im going 2 give it my best shot!


Johnny N January 28, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Good luck, GRIPZ! Let us know how you do. What techniques worked, didn’t work. How it felt.


Gripz January 31, 2015 at 1:45 am

Hi, Johnny and everyone

It was my first fight and I had lost by TKO in the second round. The first round I used up all of my energy trying to knock the guy out, in which I almost succeeded in doing. But, by the second round I was pretty damn tired, so the person capitalized on my tiredness, literally the last 20 seconds of the fight (he was tired himself). I think he threw 10 punches but landed with 6, then after that I was wrestling and holding the guy. The ref saw I was tired as hell, so started counting. In all honesty, I could of continued but I decided to rest of the ropes and fight another day because I knew I was too tired to really offer anything.

I out boxed the guy and he rarely touched me the first round, I wasn’t planning on going for the knockout but as each time I hit him, he was retreating back, I just thought, why not?.

Going into the fight I went boxing twice a week and ran once a week (3 miles). But, the training I did wasn’t enough to help me get through 3 rounds, it barely got me through the 2nd round.

I’m 6ft 2 and weigh 63kg, so I often fight people around 5’7-5’10.

My advice to anyone, don’t have your first fight unless you know your 100% fit to fight, and if you do lose your fight, at least it wasn’t down to running out of stamina/energy.

I’m a tall person, so I’m used to people being very aggressive, when I ran out of energy I was stuck on the ropes, and that was really the only time my opponent could get me. So, for short people always come forward as that’s your only chance to hit, for tall people keep the fight center of the ring and don’t fight off the ropes.

Hope I helped, Gripz.


Johnny N February 27, 2015 at 11:39 am

Spoken like a true fighter. πŸ™‚


Rory April 3, 2015 at 9:49 am

Hi Johnny, I started up boxing again recently. I Sparred with the guy who I’m likely to be getting matched up again on the 25th. I did so well since It was only the second time I’ve sparred since starting up again.
I felt myself Dominate his ass. I kept getting told to let him off the ropes. Up until the point where I got tired (bcus I still have alot of fitness to work on. I felt awfully sick to the point where I thought I was going to puke in my mouth.
IM kinda hoping it wasn’t thru nerves tho. I’m thinking it could have been because my gumshield was abit big for me and it Was to far back to my through especially if I bit it it could make me gag.
Also I’m hoping it was because I drank some of those orange energy tablets that you devolve in water before I got in the ring.
Maybe could Have been that right?
I just hope it wasn’t bcus I was nervous bcus I’m thinking I could feel like that on the night…
And it’s the most awful feeling ever.
Just to let you know I’ve sparred again since with somone alot more experienced Than me, I changed my gumshield. And I didn’t touch the energy juice, I just sipped water every now and then whilst warming up…and I didn’t feel sick…
So…. I’m hoping With the same methods I’m not going to feel like that on the night.
But do you have any advice on preventing sickness during a fight. Ie what would you recommend fluid-wise before the fight? And how much? Cheers man πŸ™‚


Rory April 3, 2015 at 9:57 am

I meant to put “matched up ‘Against’ on the 25th…
And “the gumshield may have been too far to the back of my ‘throat’ ” πŸ™‚


Brad May 19, 2015 at 9:03 pm

I was nervous before my first fight, like everyone else, even though I thought i had trained 100%…of course I hadn’t. It takes a few fight to realise just how much sacrifice, dedication and hard work fighting requires. Everyone kept telling me to just ‘go out there and enjoy it’, but that is easier said than done for a competitive athlete. One thing my coach said that stuck in my head was
“What’s done in the dark, will be seen in the light. This is your chance to go out there and show everyone how hard you have trained.”
It took me at least 4 fights to put his advice into action and the results were immediate!


Courageismight June 1, 2015 at 9:30 pm

I know that I’ve never been a boxer EVER but I can tell you this is among the best advice I have ever seen for my current endeavors including my most important endeavors that make money want to know why.
Because when entering any competition especially one with plenty of contestants the competition can be OFF THE CHARTS.
Here I’ll give the first example one which has the most gravity to me
Novel writing
You may laugh at first and say how could that be a problem what battle could that possibly be
I’ll tell you there are many novel writers out there MANY of them enough to fill the whole library but only some of them get published only some become champions.
Some my friends and family expect my novel to be the next champion but I am going to need a mindset to get there.
The mindset is required because when you see those phenomenal champions like Rowling and Brandon Mull who seem to entrance readers endlessly it gets intimidating it seems like an impossible mental feat to take them down but I KNOW it can be done and I am determined to take them on.
My second endeavor a less honorable but no less intimidating task is taking on competitive video gaming particularly fighting games want to know why that’s so challenging I’ll tell you.
My competition especially in the fighting game world is confident and powerful to the core they have an unshakable confidence and a determination like steel when I look at Mewtwo King and all of the champions I face in For Glory they seem completely untouchable you cannot seem to compare yet you have to try.
These are just some of the times where I’ve had passion for a subject I wanted to give it my all and I am willing to change to find out how to truly give it my all even if no one else cares.
That is my reason for reading this to be able to give my all where it counts with consistency and confidence.
I am not letting this down without a fight I assure you!!


butterflie tummy before fight July 5, 2015 at 12:11 am

hey jonny ive got my fight in like half hour and im so nervous what should I do


Confused July 6, 2015 at 1:24 am

Why does my mind go blank ever time I spar will this happen in my fight


Johnny N July 6, 2015 at 12:03 pm

The blank mind is best. You shouldn’t even be using your mind. Fight using the finely trained instincts you have developed. I’m pretty sure when you’re driving quickly, you think to yourself…”Ok, time to turn left, let’s spin the wheel to the left and aim for the left side of the road.”…you just do it. Don’t be so stuck in your and also don’t look within your head for the answers. They are not there. Live, react!


carl hughes July 26, 2015 at 6:49 am

Hi, I have always loved boxing from a young age went off it for a while after the Tyson era. I have decided I haven’t done enough in life and want to push myself more. So I signed up to do a charity boxing event through the Ultra White Collar Boxing were you get training for 8 weeks and have a match and raise as much money for Cancer Research UK. I truly respect it takes a vast amount of training 15 years etc and 8 weeks is nothing. I totally respect the training camp and they only have a short time with us that being said its a thai boxing club and all we are getting shown is a lot of push punching and I couldn’t understand how I wasn’t developing the snap in my punch until today when I found some of your videos all I want to say is thanks your teaching skills are excellent and will you really have changed my perspective in my approach I have been going at 90% through my training and its true if I haven’t been giving 100% I might as well go play “checkers” and deep in my heart I know I can do a lot more so going to go 100 every session and train at home a lot more. if you get a chance to reply plz could you provided me with some good basic’s Footwork, defence and punching.


Mysterious Man December 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

H, I wish to start Boxing and I’m 16 is it to late to start?


Tammy November 7, 2016 at 5:54 am

No its not too late to begin. I’m 34 and been training in muay Thai kickboxing for six months, even studied boxing, cage, Hapkido and begun in taekwondo after 14 years. The starting age is 14 years. I teach my children kickboxing to help with their technique and form in Hapkido and taekwondo until they reach the age for muay Thai kickboxing and they’re 11 and 9. It’s never too late to begin anything and never ever let anyone or any nay sayers tell you different. You know where you want to go, follow your heart and the path your journey waits for you. Only you know the answer if you are ready or not but make sure you respect what is taught to you and don’t misuse it. Good luck.


ANUPAM TIWARI January 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

Though I come from a different career altogether but i also want to share my experience from a classroom which taught me a lesson in this favourite sport. A boy whose name was “AASTIK DHINGRA” was checking my patience all the time since my first class by trying to humiliate me in front of others. I tolerated and ignored many times his comments.Sometimes later a sudden blow of thoughts changed my attitude about others.I lost all shyness and fear, gathered some courage and patiently awaited for his next comment. But I wake up in the present and when he uttered a word against me I knocked him down by punching his nose.Others got scared and screamed for help, his friends gathered around and it made a good fight to watch on.who won or who lost thats a different question but sometimes i feel you don’t do yourself justice if you don’t knock out your opponent.when asked why did you beat up that boy I said “HIT FIRST AND HIT HARD”.
I reside in DELHI..Hope this sport attracts some spectators here too(INDIA).


Dutch February 19, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Hi Johnny.

Many thanks to you and your site. I recently completed in my first fight. A charity event in front of 2000 people. It was insane. A huge home crowd as I live on a small island. Your wisdom during my preparation was just so important and I would really like to thank you for all you do for this great sport.

I spar twice a week and have recently felt like I have hit a plateau. I see you mention to focus on yourself. One thing I do tend to do is (possibly over) analyse the sparring sessions. We usually have a good group and you get to fight anything from 2-10 people in a round robin affair. I do find that I roll the fights over in my head, almost like a meditation or daydream. Working out what they do in order to be effective against their height, jab, inside game, defence etc etc. This has worked well in the past. I will definitely try to think of myself more after reading your advice. It just feels a little like the train of progression has slowed and its a little frustrating. I find I kick myself for not doing something I had already thought of or not being able to do something I thought would work. Everyone has a plan till they get hit in the face as they say. I guess that I am looking for a few things to click. I need to chill the hell out maybe relax. See I know it all but put the gloves on and its kid at Christmas time again and excitement and adrenaline and maybe a point to prove point if view all help to turmoil the waters. Thanks for the chance to vent I feel better already. For every level there’s another devil. please keep up the great work. You are a great great asset to the sport cheers.


Johnny N February 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Happy for you, my friend. Fighting in front 2,000 is an amazing feat and a dream come true in itself. Good luck to you and see you on the next level. Cheers!


Vlad February 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

Today, I had my first MMA fight. First two MMA fights actually (tournament); I had three kickboxing fights leading up to this. And you know what? I lost both bouts. The first was over in seconds, I hit the guy with a few solid low kicks, he shot a double leg, I managed to get on top of him, he got me in a guillotine, I taped. The second fight was better, I was landing lost of low kicks, the guy got me on the ground, he hit me with some punches, and the round was over. The second round he shot a double leg, and I managed to get him into a triangle choke. I held that choke for most of the round but couldn’t get in tight enough; he was strugling to breathe but held strong, I got on top (still holding the choke) and hit with a few punches. By the end of the round he escaped and it was over. The judges called a draw and an extra round was added. I got some good knees in on his legs, but he ended up throwing me and getting some good punches in, the victory went to him. I lost both fights, and then nearly got my self knocked out when I asked a high level kickboxer to do some light, technical sparing so he tell me where I needed improvment. But you know what? I want more. I’m on a three fight losing steak and I want more. I won’t let my dreams be dreams Johnny. Through every loss the crowd cheered me on, after every loss, people came to tell me I did well. I love to fight, I love to train; fighting is my life. One day, I’ll be a champion Johnny. I’m giving my life to fighting; I visualize myself winning that title everyday. The moment I get a chance to train with the best, I’m taking it. And when I’m done being the greatest, I’ll enspire millions. Your articles have helped me much through out my fights, my training and my life. Thank you Johhny.


Jeanne May 30, 2016 at 7:33 am

My boy is 8yr and have been doing kickboxing for about 2 years now. He is orange belt and has really good technique. He won 2 silwer in his very first tournament and after that he won a medal or two at each tournament. Recently he graded to orange and also moved up to a different age category. At the most recent tournament he lost his very first match. He was heartbroken. I think he has some fear but also lacks confidence. After a previous continuous match he also does not want to do that item anymore. I am sure it is because of the fear of getting hurt again (last guy was a really wild one!). How do I keep him motivated!? The next tournament is in September and it is a big one. I really want him to be motivated and encouraged to make a big comeback and do really well because I know he can.


Elio July 1, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for the advice . I was really stressing out and was worried about the outcome , not really scared of getting hit or fitness . I won my first fight in the first 15 seconds by knockout ! Thanks Jonny really enjoy all your videos and you made the journey a lot more comfortable πŸ™‚


Josh July 14, 2016 at 2:46 am

Hi Johnny,
Been using your site for a long time but recently had my first fight and had to comment. I’ve been training kickboxing/Muay Thai on and off for about 3 years and had missed a couple opportunities to fight. I’ve always had quite bad nerves and whenever an interclub came up I’d find myself making excuses. I recently took the plunge and signed up to UWCB. I figured ‘it’s for charity, win or lose I’ve done a great thing.’ This was my mantra all through training and helped me battle the nerves….until fight night. I was last on the bill. I arrived at 1 and didn’t fight till 6. Doing my warm up on the pads I could hardly stop my legs from shaking. I was trying to think of excuses but the donation money was in and people were waiting to watch me. I felt trapped.
Waiting with my opponent before the walk ons i could hardly look at him, my stomach was going insane and i was gagging everytime I tried to put my gum shield in. He walked on first leaving me terrified backstage waiting. My music started, I walked on with my corner man, terrified I’d fall over the ropes climbing into the ring in front of friends and family. I took my corner, legs feeling like they were made of jelly. I walked to the ref in center ring, touched gloves with my opponent, feeling like I might be sick with fear at any point. I’d seen this guy train. I knew it’d be a tough fight. The bell made three dings and I saw a jab coming my way.
As I slipped it, it was literally like all of my nerves had just gone flying over my shoulder rather than my opponents left hand. It felt so natural.
Through the next three rounds I absolutely walked through my opponent. Crippling him with heavy body shots and downing him twice with and hard right and a retreating left hook. Nothing he threw could hurt me. I felt like I was 200ft tall and made out of steel. He put up a fantastic fight but I outboxed him and secured the win. It was one of the best moments of my life feeling my arm get raised.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though mentally, I wasn’t at all prepared and I felt crippled by nerves, physically, my body knew exactly what it needed to do. If you’ve put in work and you really want it, you’ll achieve it. Be nervous. Be scared. But remember that you’re the reason people are there. You could be stood in the crowd, beer in hand, nice and relaxed having a lovely time, but you’ve opted instead to train hard, push yourself, better yourself. Win or lose, you’re a champion on that night and by god you should own that.


Johnny N July 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

One hell of a story, Josh. It’s true. You can be nervous as hell and still perform like a champion. Hard work truly TRULY does pay off. Happy for you.


Tammy November 7, 2016 at 5:43 am

Thankyou for sharing your blog. As I’ve been training in taekwondo, Hapkido, cage and muay Thai kickboxing for six months which only returned back in mma after 14 years. I have a long history abuse. Where I was bullied Til almost killed and had developed a black out problem where my anger got so high I’d black out and go autopilot into whatever defence which made alot of people fear and I’d never remember what happen or understand why. I took up taekwondo in my teens for fitness and confidence and self defence against bullying which had helped as the bullies stopped. Until I married and endured domestic violence from my former husband, and my children were bullied because of thier autism spectrum and once again I got mad. But realised I can’t fight their battles. So I enrolled them self defence not only they improved physically and confidently but mentally. Their bullies left them alone once they’ve shown they can fight back and I’ve found myself again where I can be confident and strong where I train with men as I like the determination of been driven further to become better in myself but many have said they’re petrified of me and suddenly I’ve been too hard on myself, as I’m a pacifist in heart woman. I don’t enjoy violence but I chose to train in mma to be confident strong and safe. I believe in what I preach to others about been true to yourself especially not allowing others hurt you or create a victim in others. I chose not to allow myself be a victim even though I had been but I ain’t allowing those demons to control me when I know I can do so much more to inspire others to become safe and strong too. I admit I am a very persistent pushy goal chaser but tend to punish myself when don’t get my training correct before a big fight. I don’t care if I win or lose as long I am permitted to compete and given the respect that any sportsman sportswoman or fighter deserves. I competed last month, I lost one fight by three points I didn’t care as I saw it a opportunity to learn from what and where I went wrong to be better next time. But when it came to my second, I was told I couldn’t fight as I didn’t have the right gear and I was guttered as I noticed others didn’t have all thier padding but I swallowed my pride and took as a sign I must’ve participated too soon. And my opponents were petrified of me. I dislike others been afraid of me, I treat others how I wish to treated and try my best to keep the training clean as possible as it should be but when I’m informed they fear me. I have a hard time in taking that in concept as I try to assure them not to fear me as I wouldn’t hurt any onpurpose for no reason no matter if I were angry or thirsting for a thrill. When I train I try to be myself make it joyful as possible even safe not frightening. I prefer to take that to the ring and win my fights but still give my respect to my opponents whether either of wins or loses.


Johnny N November 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Thank you for sharing, Tammy. I can see you’ve been through a lot.


Armitera November 12, 2016 at 11:04 pm

So.. I have started kyokushin.. had my first fight 6 months ago with a lady 30kg heavier than me. I did not come out hurt but she kept pushing me out of the ring. I’ve been told they need someone for a lady 10 kg heavier than me to fight in less than 5 days away. My coach pit my name down..and now I’m nervous again haha. Yes it’s natural. I have been sexually assisted, abused my men which is why I started karate. I’m afraid if I lose again I will feel like I’ll never be able to defend myself and maybe give up, which I don’t want. I’ve seen lots of information on this site.. but in less than 5 days to prepare.. what do I do?!?@?!
Tell myself to suck it up as I fought heavier and walked away with a loss, but not dead?!????


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