Mindset of a Champion

November 30, 2013 November 30, 2013 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Mental Training 57 Comments

Mindset of a Champion

What goes on inside a champion’s head?

What do they worry about? What do they focus on? How do they approach boxing and fighting differently from other fighters?

The most shocking and inspirational revelation of all was when I realized all pro boxers saw themselves as champions. They had all won local amateur tournaments or achieved success in other areas of life. Even the ones without sporting accomplishments saw themselves as champions in life. And all of them trained like they were going to become champions.

After spending several years with these guys everyday in the gym, it was easy for me to pick out all the things that made them different from the average boxer.

I initially wrote this guide to describe pro boxers but it wasn’t long before I realized I was describing the mindset of every champion.



1. Mental Confidence

Lots of self-confidence

What can I say? Pro boxers are very confident about themselves.

No more insecure questions like:

  • “Am I too old to box?”
  • “Am I not genetically gifted enough?”
  • “Are my reflexes too slow?”
  • “Do I have what it takes?”
  • “Am I too weak for boxing?”
  • “Will I ever be successful in boxing?”

None of that crap! Pro boxers have already decided long ago, that they loved boxing and wanted to do it no matter how hard it was. They love the sport and don’t mind tackling challenges along the way because they get to do what they love.

So instead of questions full of self-doubt, pro boxers usually have more utility-type of questions:

  • “How can I improve my punching power?”
  • “How can I deal with taller opponents?”
  • “How do I clinch on the inside?”

No more self doubts. They’re way beyond that point in their life. They’re only focused on doing it and doing it well. They ask positive constructive questions which can only lead to positive constructive answers.

I should make it a point explain HOW they got to be so confident. It has to do with time and experience. Exposure to the sport at the highest levels and skin in the game. After learning so much from your trainer and seeing yourself grow, you get more confident. After sparring with so many guys that nothing surprises you anymore, you get more confident. After training alongside pros and seeing how you’re not so far behind, you get more confident. After spending so many years in the gym that your hard work begins to pay off, you get more confident. That’s all it is. And so that’s why it’s nearly impossible for beginners to feel confident when they have so little time invested in themselves and little experience.

It’s one thing to be confident in your potential and value as a person. It’s another thing to be confident in your skills and fighting ability. One comes from having self-respect, the other comes from hard work and sacrifice.


Great life perception – MOTIVATED & EXCITED

One thing I love about pro boxers, is the way they look at life. They’re excited to live. They can’t wait to wake up everyday and take on a new challenge. You don’t even have to motivate a pro fighter, because he’s already excited. He’s excited to train, excited to fight, excited to push his limits.

He’s not concerned with failure, he just wants to try. And that’s how pro boxers hustle. They take EVERY opportunity. They know time is limited. They know nothing lasts forever. They’ll sign up for fights even when they have no experience. They’ll spar guys at the gym who are far above them. They’ll talk to anybody who might be able to help them. They grind and push and look for open doors in their lives.

Pro boxers take every chance, take every opportunity. When is the next tournament? Who can I spar with in the gym next door? Who is the best trainer in town? Where can I move to right now for a better gym? Who can I talk to about getting fights?

It’s not about money, it’s about giving yourself every chance possible. Looking and learning about every opportunity available to you. It’s your business to know these things.


2. Social Support

Friends and Family

Pro boxers have great support in their lives. They know that nothing great can ever be accomplished alone. Watch a video of when a fighter loses, and see who’s shoulder he cries on. And when a pro boxer wins his first championship belt…you will never see him cheering alone. Watch him and see who he runs up to and hugs. Listen to who he thanks on the microphone.

The people who support you in your life will allow you to do great things. Things far bigger and better than you could have ever done on your own. But first to have these people in your lives, you need to respect them. You don’t get to be a selfish little brat. You don’t say, “I’m the champion, I get to do whatever I want.” NO! You treat THEM like the champion and you respect them, and appreciate your time with them, and you take care of them. YES, you have to take care of other people…even as you’re busy with your own life and your own goals. You take care of others if you want them in your life. And when your time comes…I assure you, they will take care of you.

Having support in your life is absolutely crucial. I’m not talking about the “yes men” who lie to you or only hang around you to leech off of respect others have for you. I’m talking about people who truly care and support you and want to see you do well. You need somebody to talk to when you have self-doubts. You can’t be going 4-5 days thinking you’re not good enough. That kind of thinking will DESTROY you. You need a friend to jump in right away when you lose a sparring match, and say, “Yeah, that wasn’t your best performance. But you’re still improving and we can work on those things tomorrow.”

During times when you’re too hurt to talk to yourself, you need a friend to say, “Keep going. I think you can do it.” You need friends and family to tell you the things when you don’t have the strength to believe in it yourself. Anybody can help you. A coach can share stories of when he used to fight. A wife or girlfriend can listen to your training stories. A father or friend can hold the mitts. A little brother can video-tape your sparring sessions. A little sister watching you hit the bag can make you hit the bag just a litle bit harder.

Pro boxers are always surrounded by people who care. If you don’t have people who care about you in your life, you are already a step behind.


Lots of respect

Pro boxers have lots of respect, for themselves, and for other people. Respect starts with yourself first. You have to care about yourself. You stay in shape, you work hard, you behave right, and you talk to yourself with kindness. And you do this not because somebody told you to, but because you’re worth it, and you mean a lot to yourself, and you want the best for yourself. You show up on time not because your coach will get angry but because you see the benefit that YOU get when you show up 5 minutes early. You can’t expect others to care about you when even you don’t care about yourself. If you respect yourself, others will respect you, too.

Nobody cares about a person
who doesn’t even respect himself/herself.

Next comes respect for others. You can’t expect others to respect you when you don’t respect them. This was actually a hard concept for me when I was growing up. I thought “respect” meant you had to bow down to everyone like they were superior to you. Well…it’s NOT that. It’s not about bending or shrinking your ego and/or doing free things for others.

Respect for others is more about caring about others. When they talk, you listen. When they need help, you step up. When they set a time, you show up early. You don’t do this because you HAVE to, or because you WANT to. You do it because you care about the relationship. Even a seemingly small surface relationship deserves respect. And you never know because this person might open a door for you later in life.

The worst thing you can do is start throwing negativity into relationships before they’ve even been established. Talking behind someone’s back. Arguing with people over nothing. Letting jealousy affect your ability to be professional/courteous/polite. Maintaining or allowing negative relationships and people to stay in your life is another mistake.

Another way to respect others is to respect yourself first. The more you take care of yourself, the less others have to do it for you. You’re a grown-up, not a baby. Get in shape, wrap your hands, train out all your bad habits (like dropped hands, not jabbing enough, etc). This tells your trainer that you respect his time and that he doesn’t have to baby you like everybody else. This tells him you’re serious. And believe me, EVERY TRAINER loves to work with a guy who takes care of himself.

Even a “monster” like Mike Tyson had respect for his trainer. He loved Cus D’amato like he was his own blood. He even picked up his opponents off the floor after he knocked them out. Sometimes it’s their former friend and sparring partner that they’re forced to fight. You have to look beyond the braggadocios macho image that is portrayed on TV. Pro fighters have far more respect for others than you think. They’re grateful for their trainers, their managers, their sponsors, their family/friends/fans. They’re thankful for so much in their lives. Because they know how much the support meant to them.


Excellent learners

Learning quickly is the only way to improve survive in this brutal game. The faster you learn, the less punishment you take. Staying humble and being respectful definitely helps you get far. Other people respect you more and are more willing to help you if they see that you’re humble. Likewise, your ego has to be under control for you to listen well to others.


Love for other boxers

As much as you think YOU might love boxing, wait till you REALLY start talking boxing with a pro. They’ll tell you about all sorts of random stories and things that happened when they hung out with famous boxers. They’ll tell you stories about fighters you’ve never heard of (like their less famous brother with a 3-5 record). They’ll tell you all about the behind-the-scenes stuff.

  • _____ was really sick when he lost his fight.
  • _____’s brother had died in a gunfight the week before his fight.
  • _____ told the funniest jokes in fight camp.
  • _____ had the ugliest but most annoying uppercut in the gym.
  • _____ got drunk and ran around naked in the forest at ____’s fight camp.
  • _____ just had a kid.
  • I watch football with ______ every weekend.

It’s not so much about who knocked out who, or who would win in a fantasy match-up. Boxing and boxers were their lives and family. You heard about EVERYTHING…not only the fights, but what happened throughout the years and what happened in and out of the gym. Boxers weren’t only superheroes that you saw on TV but real people with life stories and memories. And it was touching to see that they cared for each other as people, not as celebrities.


3. Work Ethic

Pro boxers are motivated

We all know pro boxers are among the hardest-working athletes in the world. There are very few people who work harder and sacrifice more in their lives than what pro boxers do on a daily basis.

  • hours of training
  • punishment in sparring
  • foregoing fun social lifestyle and sex
  • isolated from friends/family to live in remote training camps for months at a time
  • being forced to perform when their bodies or minds are tired from over-training
  • subject to strict diets and training routines

We’re talking years of sacrifice. Years of sacrifice SIMPLY FOR AN OPPORTUNITY. They work that hard when there’s no guarantee of success. That takes extreme amounts of motivation.


Pro boxers don’t ask questions like, “How long should I train everyday?”

That’s something a lazy person asks. That sounds like someone looking to do only the bare minimum.


A even better question would be more like, “How long can I train everyday?”

This here sounds more like a person who wants to push his limits. This here is a person who wants to see how much harder he could be working.

But typically, pro boxers are pretty much in the gym 24/7. That’s their life. That’s what they do. They know of a million ways to entertain themselves in the gym. Being too tired to train is quite hard to do given that they’re in such great shape. And even if they ARE too tired, they find ways to train their mind. They ask questions, they watch others spar, they watch videos. They’re basically training 24/7. They don’t let any opportunity go by.

I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion. – Muhammad Ali


Pro boxers are very professional

Pro boxers live boxing. That’s what they do. Boxing is the priority. And so they handle it like a real business. They train and train before thinking about anything else. There are days when they don’t feel like training but they do it anyway. Hard training is routine. They’re not looking for a pat on the back. They’re not looking for any reward. They just want to get the job done. They appreciate the responsibility, and they’re proud and honored of having a job that demands hard work.

Pro boxers are proud to be boxers. And this goes far deeper than being able to look cool and say to your friends, “I’m a fighter.”. It’s about having a purpose in their lives that means something to them. They’re glad to have something so meaningful to live for. At any given time of day, they can ask themselves, “What should I be doing today?” and the clear answer would be, “BOXING”. That’s it, end of story. Boxing is their meaning of life.


Pro boxers are serious

The sport of professional boxing is dangerous. And they all treat it with respect. It’s not so much a fun game the way spectators might see it. Or not so much a cool sport the way we watch it on TV. Pros walk around with that attitude of seriousness like anybody could get hurt. Like a tight-rope walker getting ready to perform. For the crowd, it’s entertainment. For the athlete, it’s life or death.



Pro boxers more than anyone know how long it takes to be good. They’ve seen how hard champions work and they’re grateful to be in the same company. They understand how many years it takes to develop a good jab. They understand how many years it takes to build a bulletproof defense. They don’t keep asking, “When? When? When?” They simply get to work and appreciate the success as it comes. Success can’t be rushed.


4. Training Routine

Now for the fun part! How do pro boxers train?! What do they do?


Lots of sweat

First off…pro boxers are sweaty as hell. I can ALWAYS tell who the pro boxers are when I step into the gym because their entire shirts are drenched. That’s the easiest giveaway. Look for a guy who looks like he went swimming with his clothes on. The sweat comes from hours of constant movement. No cool-offs during the workout. No more than one minute break for anything. They are always moving, always warm…from the moment they enter the gym till the moment they leave.


Long warm-ups and cool-down routines.

They have suuuuuper long warm-up and cool-down routines. An hour warm-up and an hour warm-down, EASILY. Their “warm-up” is what many of you consider a workout (skipping rope, shadowboxing, bag work, calisthenics). Warming down is hundreds of push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, some light weights, more shadowboxing, lots of stretching to keep the body from being sore or stiff the next day.

The pro boxer’s warm-up is probably harder than most guys’ entire workout. I really mean this. Most guys have a half-assed warm-up because they’re afraid of getting tired before the sparring. And then they half-ass their bag work and mitt work or skip it until after sparring to save energy. So they don’t even break a sweat until sparring and by then, the sparring has taken everything out of them that their workout was practically done right as they began to warm up. And then they’ll throw lazy punches on the bag, do 50 push-ups and call it a day.


Relaxed bagwork

Watching a pro hit the heavy bag, you never get the sense that he thinks he’s fighting a live opponent. He’s calm, just chilling, just working his punches. Throwing his combinations, putting a little pop here and there…but mostly just being calm. It might still look very intense to an amateur but for the pro, he’s only going about 50%.

On the flip side, it’s the casual boxers that are typically over-excited to be hitting the bag. They’re the ones who actually look like they’re fighting a real opponent. You see them bringing their hands all the way up to their face, slipping and dodging, and jumping all over the place. It makes sense to me because beginners usually don’t spar much and get the chance to do all the “cool moves” they want to do in the ring. And so they do it on the bag.

Pros on the other hand are more focused on punching technique and punching rhythm. Just trying to maintain a steady flow on the bag. They throw many small punches and make less exaggerated movements in general. Their hands are usually more at chest level. And overall, their bagwork is pretty chill.

This attitude crosses over their mittwork and sparring as well. That isn’t to say they don’t hit hard, it’s that they’re RELATIVELY relaxed when they do it.


Meditative training state

Pro boxers often look like they’re meditating in training. You can hear the calm silence in their minds when they’re working the bag, or shadowboxing, or just doing crunches. It doesn’t feel noisy and over-energetic the way it feels with a beginner.

Pro boxers seem to be in their own world and just breathing their way through all the routines. The interesting thing though is that they’re ALWAYS listening to their trainer. The trainer will yell something out and you know the fighter hears it but he doesn’t respond or look over. Pro fighters don’t need eye contact to communicate. They hear you and you know they hear you.



Pros are notorious for long periods of shadow boxing. It’s their warm-up, warm-down, pre-fight drill, and meditative relaxation. Anybody can look impressive hitting a bag. But it takes a pro to look impressive shadow boxing. I wish I could explain this but it’s better for you to see it in person. They look so graceful and relaxed and yet so powerful at the same time. The arms keep pumping and pumping and they seem to have endless energy. You can always tell when it’s an a beginner shadow boxing because 1) he has no variance to his movements, and 2) he’s done in 3 rounds.


Core work

Pro boxers do so many core exercises everyday that it easily takes them about 30 minutes to an hour to get through all of them. I’ve seen it all from crunches, sit-ups, ab rollers, medecine ball twists, to plenty of other painful exercises. They’ve been doing them for years so their core is so strong that it doesn’t leave any soreness on their body.


Round Robin Sparring

It’s a lot of fun to see pros preparing for their fights because their sparring is way intense. There’s usually the main guy who will stay in the ring for 8-12 rounds while a new guy switches in every 3-4 rounds. You’ll typically see him warm-up with a guy his size, then maybe take on a guy slightly bigger or a southpaw or a tricky slickster, and then warm-down with a guy who’s smaller/faster. While they all show him respect, they’re also there to make him work and prepare him for his fight. I don’t know how else to describe the camaderie in a team beat down, but that’s what it is.


5. Fighting Technique

Alert eyes

It is ALL in the eyes. They have cool calm vicious eyes. Deadly serious. There’s a difference between the eyes of a kid who just wants to fight and a pro setting a HUGE counter.

Alert doesn’t mean nervous and scared or fidgety. It means calm and ready. Alive and calculated. They see everything. They really do. From the moment you twitch your shoulder, they’ve already prepared their slipping pattern for your next 3 punches. They always seem to know where to look. They always know what’s coming next and from what angle. They see your movements almost even before you’ve decided on them.



One guy told me, “To be fast, you have to be slow.” It’s confusing, but what he meant was to be fast and to surprise an opponent with your speed, you must first move slowly. It’s not so much your speed but rather your CHANGE OF SPEED that surprises opponents. If you watch the fastest fighters, you see them walking around and using a lot of slow lulling movements to calm their opponents before suddenly striking with a lightning quickness.

It’s the beginners if anything that try to be fast all the time. Too much jumping and jerking around all over the place. When you watch the pros spar, there are many moments of calm stillness in their sparring sessions. Like two statues meditating before springing to life against with combinations. And then back into their restful meditative staring contests. This doesn’t mean that they stop moving. They’re actually always moving, but you see calmness and relaxed state-of-mind even as they’re moving.


Probing shots

Pros throw many punches that are really fast touching shots. It’s not a loaded power jab, it’s like a quick reach. And they know when and where and how and they do it from so many different angles. You feel like pros can always touch you from many different angles.


Consecutive combinations

It’s very common to see pros throw a combination–QUICK PAUSE–then another combination. Many rapid bursts of combinations and lots of combination exchanges. This contrasts amateurs because amateurs are more often trading and engaged in longer combinations. Pros move a bit more and so combinations tend to cut out.


Spin-outs on the inside

It’s common to see amateurs and casual boxers play the distance game where both fighters constantly jump in and out. Pros are especially skilled at coming right up to your face at precisely the right time (when you’re not punching) and then pivoting around you and/or spinning you as well to reverse positions along the ropes.


Lots of walking

Pros are typically fighting for so many rounds, they prepare not to waste energy jumping around like the way amateur boxers do. They rely on clever use of angles and slick movements to avoid punches up close. Not having to move around so much allows them to sit down and stay grounded for more powerful punches.


Nasty body shots

Pros throw amazing hooks to the body. They know the perfect spots and have slick enough head movement and precise timing to dig to the body. They’re definitely not afraid of counter right hands when they throw left hooks to the body.


Slick head movement

Incredible head movement. It’s not particularly fast or jerky. Sometimes it doesn’t even seem like they’re moving their head. And sometimes it looks like they’re slipping in slow motion and yet all the punches miss. You have to witness this in person to appreciate.



What does it mean to be a champion?

It’s more than a status or a title to be held.

It’s the simple dedication of your life to a goal.

The moment you dedicate every part of your body and life to the sport of boxing, and you commit your future to it, you are on track to be a champion.You don’t have to wait for a contract. You can start today. You can start training, pushing, making contacts, asking good questions, and challenging yourself every day. If you know deep down inside that you train harder and smarter than everyone else…you won’t have any fears when it comes time to facing the world.

Being a pro boxer is more about having the attitude than the title itself. If you live with the right attitude MENTALLY, it doesn’t take too long before you become that PHYSICALLY.

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Hassan November 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Pro boxers are also such cool calm people..all have different personalities but alot of similarities overall. I’m lucky enough to train with unbeaten world champ Chris John in Perth where he defends his title in December..and during training the guy compared to us amateurs takes little breaks and is soo motivated even after all he has accomplished puts me to shame and i thought i trained hard guy never took breaks..my trainer is also a pro former ibo featherweight champ Asiku Jackson got stopped by Jhonny Gonzalez in his first defence sadly..and even though hes my trainer that doesn’t mean he knows it all..i was with him last week when he was sparring for a comeback fight and his trainer kept pausing him to fix up his mistakes etc, just shows that boxing is a sport where you learn something EVERYDAY unlike any other sport when it comes to learning


CHOW KNOWS November 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Inspirational read, I bookmarked this entry for future reference. Johnny, I was wondering if you could write an entry for what new boxers should know before going into their first group training session, assuming they’ve never done any before. I have a couple months to kill before I start and I’ve already been practicing footwork, wrapping my hands and jumping rope through your tutorials. Tips on etiquette and expectations, I think, would be a huge help. Thanks, Chow.


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

If I tell you what to do, it wouldn’t be your “first” session anymore. Take it as it comes. Day one means you are just starting and don’t know anything. Start in the gym and see what they tell you to do and pay attention. If you want to start learning now, you can check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Boxing”.


ben July 21, 2014 at 1:37 am

Could you elaborate on this because it’s a loaded topic that i think we’re all dieting to achieve before we’re ready. how do we put in work at the gym that will cultivate this pro like awareness.

Alert eyes

It is ALL in the eyes. They have cool calm vicious eyes. Deadly serious. There’s a difference between the eyes of a kid who just wants to fight and a pro setting a HUGE counter.

Alert doesn’t mean nervous and scared or fidgety. It means calm and ready. Alive and calculated. They see everything. They really do. From the moment you twitch your shoulder, they’ve already prepared their slipping pattern for your next 3 punches. They always seem to know where to look. They always know what’s coming next and from what angle. They see your movements almost even before you’ve decided on them.


Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Time, experience, and confidence. There’s no technique or method that will give you that overnight. Spend your time in the gym!


Mehdi December 1, 2013 at 12:02 am

Cool. This article is great


KC December 1, 2013 at 2:02 am

Great article johnny.


dm1911 December 1, 2013 at 3:46 am

Great Article

thank you for all the time you spent on research & putting it together!


mike December 1, 2013 at 3:47 am

yeah man very good article me i wans born to be a boxer and i will be the next mike tyson i work hard every single day and the work hard pay off


floyd December 1, 2013 at 3:50 am

coach jhoney why did you say they work hard with no guarante of succes?


g-unit December 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm

True this, Floyd.


Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

Because there are no guarantees in life. What if you get hurt, what if this happens or that happens, what if everything you ever worked for was taken away from you?


Dianne December 1, 2013 at 4:19 am

Again so captervating, u give such inner strength n mindset in all your words, Thankyou


Oscar December 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

What a great write-up! The way you explain boxing in general is amazing to me.


Ken December 2, 2013 at 7:59 am



Jonathan Cousins December 11, 2013 at 8:48 am

I agree totally.


AGUSMACHINE December 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

Este articulo es muy bueno! -no es cuantas horas entrenas todos los dias, es cual largo es tu entrenamiento .


Ana December 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

You have no idea how much you’ve helped an insecure one here. I am definitely reading this a few more times, my mindset is definitely upside-down!
Your articles belong to a great boxing magazine. Your ideas have to be inmortalized in paper 🙂


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I’m glad for you, Ana. Push through it and get stronger!


Lawrence December 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Hey Johnny,

Do you have any good pro fighter stories?


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Definitely, all kinds.


Cristian Sanchez December 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Johnny, I have been a soccer player my whole life at a competitive level ( college, semi- pro, and reserve teams) but since I was a little kid I admire the sport of boxing. I respect the hard work and determination that is invested by these athletes. I’m now 25 and have decided to invest all my time, effort, determination and dedication to becoming the best I can be as a boxer hopefully a pro one day! All i know is that I’m not going to give up and will face any challenges coming my way with a positive mentality. Your tips and feedback on the articles are amazing. You have opened my eyes to areas of boxing that I never imagined. I’m currently attending a small gym and the trainer gives priority to the more advance fighters, but thanks to your hard work on this article I’m advancing and I can feel the improvement day by day even when the trainer doesn’t have time to work with me just by practicing each area you covered. Please keep more content comment, you are def making a big difference in my life. Thank you brother!
Cristian Sanchez


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm

GREAT COMMENT! Good luck to you, Cristian.


Mohamud December 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hi Johnny. I started boxing in November, i looked up the nearest boxing club and i joined. On my first day i sparred, i thought i could handle it since i had practiced a lot of things i read on your web site. And i could execute the basics pretty well, even though it was totally different being in with a live opponent. My sparring partners were 2 amatuers, one of them being a 3 time national champion, and a pro boxer. I made some mistakes in my first spar, i caught the fast guy habit and i kept dropping my hands without knowing it, so when the trainning sesion was over i was convinced my speed was to much for anyone in the gym to handle….Boy was i wrong! Sure enough they were going easy on my and in the next 3 days i was taking some beatings. And since the gym really was just 2 groups which were the people that came for the exercise and the fighting group i didn’t get any instruction in that period. I was dreading going to sparring…I didn’t know what was going on! I was clearly faster but they always beat me to the punch, position, and i would constantly get countered and i wouldn’t see the punches coming at all. I would get some tips from the other fighters but i didn’t know how to implement them in the ring and they were to busy to help me out, since they train at competitions and other gyms they came there for the some extra workouts closer to home. I was getting dishearted, i was so sure i had it, i started to question myself, i thought maybe i don’t the talent i believed i had , maybe i just don’t have the guts and so on….But never the less i forced myself to go every day, shocked that i would drag myself to participate in the sport i loved. But a glimmer of light broke through in the form of C.I.K boxing gym. It’s same place most of the national amateur champions came out of. And the same place Mikkel Kessler trained.
i was paired up with a trainer and i started actually learning in sparring instead of being the guinea pig for more experienced fighers and i got excited about boxing again! I had a good hang on all the fundamentals(Thanks for that!)and i picked up rather quickly. I was amazed at how the simplest corrections improved on me, suddenly i didn’t fall off balance when throwing a right hand with power, i didn’t get countered with every powershot i threw it was astounding. And the best thing is i’ve got so much to learn! Well, that’s my. Thanks for reading and keep up the great work, i wouldn’t have the guts to step into a gym if it wasn’t for you. Again thanks Johnny!


Johnny N December 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Great story. So much growth through your humbling experiences.


mohamud jama December 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

You have no idea!


Gonzo January 1, 2014 at 9:35 pm

That’s right,

Yes, the Art of the Fist is our religion. Watch ‘Knuckle’ and ‘Born to Bread’ documentaries on NetFlix. And, read ‘Bare Fist: The History of Bare Knuckle Price Fighting’ by Bob Mee.

Thank you Teacher,



Amateur January 8, 2014 at 7:40 am

Whats some major tips you would tell an Amateur who’s had 7 matches to reach this level with calmness and motivation?


Johnny N January 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I would repeat what’s in this guide.


Daniel January 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

This question is off topIc of the article. I’m going to box in the golden gloves pretty soon and I was wondering if You have any advice for me?I’m 6 foot 3, boxing in 201 lbs. Division.. Great article btw


Johnny N January 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I’ve got tons of advice. Errr…maybe you can check out the articles on my site and videos on my Youtube channel.


Pete Berwick February 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

Hey Johnny, thanks for all you do. I’m 56 and have been boxing amateur for around two years. I work my ass off every day, am at the gym 4-5 days a week and train at home when not there. Training now for my first exhibition bout. Am I just a fool to think I could ever go pro, or make money in some way, even if it’s as a tomato can to be used to pad other fighters records?


Johnny N March 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Keep doing what you love, Pete. Have fun and be safe. It’s not my place to tell you to stop doing what you enjoy. I hope you find a good manager to talk to about your dream and I wish you the best of luck.


Frank Dunlap March 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I have been involved in boxing, as a Golden Gloves Champion, coaching in college and Golden Gloves since I was a teenager. I am now 80 and still go to boxing gyms and work with the coaches and the boxers. I coached a Golden Gloves team that won every tournament championship for 3 consecutive years, at one time I had 42 boxers. Even with all this experience I learned some really good boxing techniques concerning the physical and MENTAL aspects of the game from Johnny N of ExpertBoxing. I met him via email about 2 years ago. Want to be really good at the game, get connected with Johnny N.


ali March 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

H .jonny i wanna ask i have very fast hands buy with gloves on.it
becomes little bit slow


Johnny N March 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

That’s normal. Gloves are a form of resistance that make it harder for you to punch quickly.


ali March 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm



Kevin July 4, 2014 at 9:55 am

Great advice and straight up. Realized a few faults that I’m making to, to be corrected. Thanks 🙂


Lilith Keogh September 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for a very clearifying article.
I especially apreciated that you mentioned calisthenics as a part of the campions warm-up.
I’ve made boxing my first priority in life, and I have also made calisthenics a part of my warm-up, after I tried it out and found it effective. Though, scince I can’t work all my muscles through calesthenics I also use 2 kg dumbbells to work the bicep, tricep, upper back, etc. But it’s so light that it should pass as calesthenics. I apreciate that you mention calesthenics as a part of the camphions warm-up recipe because I have met a lot of sceptisism, on my use of, it from rigid, but well respected, trainers in my city (Oslo). I’ve been stubborn about my warm-up, but their cristisism made me look for proof elsewhere then in my own experience. This article is that good proof I was searching for, and I will expose it in the face of those who told me that “nobody warms up like that!”. Now I can say “yes they do.”

Thank you! I also enjoy reading on your page in general.


micheal uganda October 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

thank you avide johnny& for open this wapside for trainining boxing” i’m very happy becoused iknow iwill became a champions with you avide and am micheal from uganda


goku November 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

i joined a boxing gym,bt they taught me like shit,they trained me so bad that i ended up getting my index finger damaged,n i just hv two gyms in my city,what shud i do ?
shud i train privately on my own ?n


Johnny N November 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Find another gym if you can.


CLS November 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

hi i’m a kid from a small town in st.rose, LA, and i love boxing with every ounce of me but the nearest gym is in New Orleans and good 20 miles from here and there. im going on 19, my plan is to enlist in the national guards in December so i will have my own transportation to there. i know i have to spend a good few years in the amateur division, but with my heart and determination i will start my career as a boxer from there, any feedback or advice will work.


Johnny N November 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Get started and see where you go.


CLS June 3, 2015 at 7:41 am

So I can’t get into the guard due to test issues, so I’m in the gym now, I’m 5’4 145 (5 percent body fat) and blessed with a 68 inch reach and powerful right hand. I should be having my 1st amateur fight soon this year. My coach told me with the work ethics I’m putting in I could be a pro before the age of 23 (the same age my favorite boxer Rocky graziano went pro) but my question is that can someone with those attributes make a great pro boxer? Because 1 example who comes to mind is barbarous Joe Walcott who was 5’1 with a 65 inch reach but is one of the greatest welterweight champions of all time.


Larry Zhang December 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

You have pretty much summed up exactly what it means to be successful at anything in this game of life. It’s the people that are passionate that are the ones we look up to in this world that we see as geniuses. We tend to think they are just gifted, sure, but we do not see all their hard work that goes into obtaining their success. I am in my own struggle, and it makes me glad that there are people like you who understand truly what it means to be successful in life. You are successful the moment you start living your goal.


John February 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

Johnny i have been worrying a lot lately, I used to think without a doubt i would become a world champion and be an elite fighter even though I don’t have the best health I thought I could overcome it but lately i have been doubtfull. I guess i’m worried i’ll get to a certain level and although i want it my body won’t let me or my chin won’t be good enough or i wont be fast enough. Do you think if somebody wants it bad enough they can make it in boxing?


John July 22, 2016 at 4:27 am

Was going through rough times when I posted this, I might not make it but it’s the trying that counts 😉


Ceasar May 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm



Tommie June 23, 2015 at 12:47 am

Very positive information


sean savage July 13, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Hi jonny i thinking about what to do because in my area there is just one boxing gym which trains teusdays,thursdays and sat. I spar all those days but i am worried 3 days is not enough i run sprints on days off and hit my bag at home. I am 15 years old and have been boxing for a while now and have started to do better in sparing. Is 3 days enough sparing. I want to be a champion more than any thing i will do anything to be a better boxer.


IOMDutch September 3, 2015 at 4:11 am

Such a helpful article. Thanks for this and the effort you put in to this great website.


Phillip February 7, 2016 at 4:49 am

Hey Johnny
Whilst searching for something else I stumbled upon this article.
I have had a passing interest in boxing for as long as I can remember.
When I was a kid I used to get into fights at school but because I didn’t actually know how to throw a punch properly and because I didn’t have the heart to see the fight through, I never won my fights.
These first forays into fighting left me feeling that I could never be a good fighter because I don’t have the heart for it. My question to you is: can a good heart be learned through training?


Muhammed April 3, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Thank you very, very much, as an a new amateur this answered all my questions about the sort of mentality required for boxing!


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