Every fighter faces total exhaustion in the ring someday. Instead of panicking and getting beat up, you can learn how to fight tired and box your way through exhaustion.
Fighting tired is one of the toughest challenges boxers ever have to deal with. The challenge is more mental than anything. You can train your hardest everyday of the week and somehow still manage to get tired in the ring. It’s discouraging and psychologically damaging to get tired in the ring and know that you might not have enough energy to keep your opponent from beating you.
So what does it take to keep your mind mentally strong and carry you through the body when your body has failed? Read on for some training and fighting tips to help you fight tired.
Stare Your Opponent Down
I see beginner boxers looking away all the time when they get tired. I’ve seen it happen in the ring and also on the heavy bag. The boxer gets tired and starts to become disengaged. His body language tells you he’s discouraged. The first sign of the boxer becoming disengaged in fighting is when he starts to take his eyes off his opponent. He starts to look away from his opponent and maybe towards his corner, spectators, or the clock. For whatever reason, the boxer looks away from his opponent and shows a lack of focus or interest in fighting.
So what should you do when you’re the one getting tired? Stare down your opponent. Look at him with focus. If you get tired while hitting the punching bag and you’re just moving around it to kill time, don’t look away from it. Focus hard and stare down the bag just like you would with a live opponent in the ring. Stare him down with the intent of hitting him! Let him know that you may be tired but you’re still definitely willing to fight. It’s ok to tired physically, just don’t get tired mentally!
Walk Don’t Run
This tip should be obvious but for some reason many fighters haven’t caught on to yet. Whenever you’re tired, don’t run or jump around the ring looking for an escape. If you run from your opponent, he’s definitely going to chase you and tire you out faster because now you have to run even faster. It’s ironic but many inexperienced fighters actually speed up the pace when they panic and waste even more energy trying not to exchange punches. Instead, you should just calmly walk around the ring. It slows down the pace, relaxes your legs and allows you to catch your breath.
If you’re real clever about it, you can walk slowly around the ring while staring at your opponent and act as if you’re trying to bait him into a big counter-punch. If you’re lucky, he’ll fall for it and back off of you to see what you’re going to do. It’s an awesome tactic that has saved me from time to time.
Throw Some Feints
If you don’t have the energy to throw punches but you want put your opponent on the defensive, just throw some feints. You can use a hand fake by quickly shooting your jab arm forward a few inches or pulling back the right hand as if you were going throw a big right cross. You can use a foot fake by quickly stepping towards his ground and making him jerk backwards in surprise. You can also exhale quickly as though you were throwing a hard punch. The best times to feint are when both of you are standing toe to toe in the middle of the ring each waiting for the other to strike first, or when your opponent is punching you. A clever feint can scare him and make him jump back in fear of being countered. The top level professionals are masters at using their body language to fake out their opponents. If you don’t have energy to commit to real movements, throwing feints are a good way to get your opponent off you.
Final Thoughts On Fighting Tired
The sport of boxing is forever characterized by endurance and exhaustion. To ever be a good boxer, you will have to eventually face the challenge of fighting beyond your limits. Your body will be pushed beyond a point of exhaustion you never thought was possible. Spiritually, you must have the heart to dig deep inside yourself and find energy you no longer have. Technically, you must find ways to fight without exerting energy. If you can do this, you will have successfully learn how to fight when you are tired.