What Do Boxers Do At Training Camp?
Boxing has held the title of the world’s greatest sport for more than a hundred years. Ballers of all different kinds can try as hard as they like, but nothing beats the athleticism and spectacle you find in a boxing ring.
This spectacle takes a lot of preparation. Boxers will spend months training before a bout, getting themselves physically and psychologically ready to meet their opponents in the ring and fight. Many people wonder what boxers do at a training camp before a big fight, so let us find out.
The In-between Times
Truth is, most of the time spent at the training camp is about rest and relaxation. The calm before the storm. Cardio sessions mean recovery days, and sparring sessions are punctuated by bouts of boredom.
From a trainer’s perspective, fitness training is one of the keys that unlock the door to victory. The other is their fighter’s psychological state. Fights are won or lost inside a boxer’s head. Keeping their prize fighter relaxed, confident and ready for anything is as important as working them into a lean, mean, boxing machine.
Fighters will have a select group of friends with them at camp to help keep them entertained. Expect a little golf, a lot of Xbox and large group meals with all the fighter’s favourites.
Free time is the same no matter who you are or where you are, social media scrolling and watching videos online will take up a bit of time between the fitness and fighting sessions. For a better idea of what a lot of boxers do online read here for a list of websites they use to entertain themselves and kill a bit of downtime. Having fun is a big part of training camp, all work and no play make a dull boxer.
Cardio and Fitness
Boxers need to get their weight right for all kinds of reasons. Staying in your weight class, or moving between them, takes a lot of work and dedication. It is not just about how much you weigh, but where the weight is on your body and what it is made from.
Muscle is much denser than body fat. The muscles provide strength for attacks and shielding for defence and give a boxer more mass per pound than soft and spongy fatty tissue. Bringing down a boxer’s body fat percentage and replacing the lost weight with muscle helps win fights.
There are still opportunities for the bigger guys to win fights, but there has been a noticeable upswing in the level of athleticism it takes to be a modern boxer.
Training camps have had to respond. Now cardio sessions and fat-burning fitness routines fill up much more of the schedule.
There are many different characteristics that make a good boxer, and low-level body fat is one of them. Watch any big bout from the last decade and you will see incredibly lean and muscular fighters dominating every class of boxing.
Strength and Conditioning
The infamous montage scenes in the Rocky movies should give you a good idea of the amount of strength and conditioning work a boxer will go through in their training camp.
There is lots of weightlifting, rope skipping, pull-ups and chin-ups, and if you are Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV you will pull a sledge filled with rocks through the snowy tundra of Siberia. Most boxers choose warmer places to base their training camps though.
High-intensity cardio sessions will burn away their body fat and keep them lean. The strength and conditioning work they do will add muscle mass, as well as speed and power. Low fat, light on their feet, with the reaction speed needed to dodge dangerous blows balanced by the power to knock an opponent down, a boxer has everything they need to succeed.
It takes a team of people to put together the perfect strength and conditioning program for a fighter, and the athlete must trust their judgement. Reducing a boxer’s weight in the first week or two of camp and then building up their muscle must be carefully coordinated and balanced by nutrition.
Modern boxers have a dozen people behind them designing training routines and diets to get the fighter in the best possible condition. A lot of work goes into winning a belt and claiming a world title. The prize money will get split up between them after the fight, though the boxer will always get the lion’s share.
Practice makes perfect. There are lots of gains that come from intense fat-burning cardio and strength training, but nothing beats sparring. Lifting weights, working the bag, and all the other fitness training contributes a lot to a boxer’s pre-fight preparation, but sparring sessions get them ready for the ring.
The rules for each specific sparring fight can vary a little, often because of the relationship that a boxer has with their sparring partners. Some guys are not afraid to go a little hard and land some strong hits as part of the prep work. The boxer’s opponent is not going to hold back so why should they? Injuries from sparring matches, especially in fights between friends, are more common than trainers would like but fighters like to fight. There is not much you can do but get between them, and no one wants to get in the middle of two heavyweights going at it.
Boxers will often invite other boxers they know to help at their training camp. Sometimes it is for words of wisdom and encouragement, and sometimes it is for sparring. There have been some incredible matchups at training camps through the years that would be worth millions in a pay-per-view broadcast. Sadly, we will never get to see them.
There is a massive amount of preparation before a big fight. It takes a whole team to get a boxer in the best shape they can be, both in their body and in their mind. When all has been said and done it is up to the fighter to convert all that effort into a victory. Though the boxer is the one who gets the hand lifted high and declared a champion, a whole team of people and months of prep work win the match.