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All A BOUT Boxing, Part 1
Safety In Boxing
First of all, I would like to cover something that may turn off a lot of people. Some may ask, "How safe is this sport?"
Well, first of all let me tell you this. Would this sport be allowed in civilized communities if it was not safe? There are risks of course, just like with any contact sport. However, people involved know the risks and are specially trained to help prevent serious injury. Not to mention the safety gear. I just invested almost $300 in new safety gear. I will touch on the required gear later. One more thing I would like to mention, one of the objects of boxing is to not get hit. If you are getting hit so much that it is causing a lot of injury, maybe boxing is not your sport.
Boxers' training is very intense to also avoid muscle injury as well. There is so much physical activity in such a short time, you need to be in top physical condition. There is a reason why boxers are in such amazing shape.
Statistics show that boxing is one of the safest of all of the contact sports.
Finding A Gym
Once you are ready to start, you will of course need to find a boxing gym. This is more difficult than you think. I am one of those people who seems to have bad luck with gyms, so I have tried most of the ones in my area.
Looking for a boxing gym is just like anything else. Shop around. I suggest that if you want to enter competitive boxing, interview different coaches. That's right. You are going to be paying the coach, and he will be working for you. Talk to the coaches. Tell them what you want to achieve, and ask them what they can do to help you get there. Also ask their expectations of you. Remember, training for a sport is a two-way street. The coach can only help you if you are willing to help yourself.
I highly suggest avoiding gyms that are just in it for the profit. Yes, these do exist. These coaches are usually only interested in money. You can tell, because their fees are generally higher. I have found that the quality of coaching is also lower. These "coaches" try to mass-produce their boxers, as they do not offer much one-on-one coaching. If you find a non-profit gym, you will pay less and get better coaching, because these people enjoy teaching boxing. Depending on where you are located, but in most areas, a good coach should not charge more than $55 a month. A lot are less than that.
In conclusion, I will advise one more time to shop around, and talk to the coaches in person. Take your time, because an athlete--coach relationship is very important for your success in the sport.
Once you have found a gym, you will need to purchase equipment required to participate in the sport. Here is a look at what you will need and about how much you can expect to pay.
Gloves are required for training, sparring and competition. It is the most expensive part of the equipment. I suggest getting two pairs of gloves. One for training and one for sparring. You do not need to supply gloves for competition. The host club will do that. You should use 16 oz. gloves for sparring, and a lighter set for bag training. Expect to pay at least $100 for a decent pair of gloves. To get decent gloves, I recommend going to a store the specializes in martial arts gear.
Mouth Guard is a required safety gear for all competition boxers. These are generally not very expensive, usually around $10, and can be purchased from most sporting goods stores.
Wraps, not the kind you eat. These are cotton straps that you wrap around your hands and wrists to protect against damage. These are required in most areas for training and competition. However, some areas don't allow the use of wraps. Such as the state of Florida, you are required to use gause and tape. However, in the province of Ontario for example, you use wraps for competition, but they must be wrapped in a certain way. There have been cases where a boxer has been disqualified after his bout for having his wraps on incorrectly. Your coach will tell you the proper way to use your wraps. Wraps usually cost about $10 a pair, and are available at martial arts stores.
Headgear is required in some jurisdictions for competition, and almost always for sparring. Gyms will usually supply these, but I prefer to have my own. A decent headgear will run you about $75, and are available from martial arts stores.
Groin Protector, I don't think I need to say too much about this. You know the "boys" need to be protected. Although, hitting the groin area is illegal in boxing, accidents happen. When shopping for a protector, get the full protection type. The one with padding all around to the kidneys. These are better for boxing. A good protector costs about $85 from martial arts stores, and the "boys" are worth it.
Shoes, you are usually not allowed to wear "street shoes" in a boxing ring. Besides, boxing shoes are specifically designed for the sport. When shopping for shoes, it is just like buying any shoe. You have to go in and try them. You can get boxing shoes in low-cut or high-cut types. I prefer the high-cuts, because I feel that they give better ankle support. It is a matter of opinion. Go to your local martial arts dealer and try the different shoes until you find ones you like. Remember, they have to fit comfortably and provide support. Don't go by your street shoe size, as boxing shoes are sometimes different. Shoes will cost you around the $100 range. However, you can sometimes find them on sale for less.
Uniform, a uniform usually consists of cotton shorts and a sleeveless top. However, in some areas, such as Ontario, you are required to wear a proper boxing uniform. These have specific markings on them to indicate the target area, which makes it easier for the referee to detect fouls. Your coach will tell you what kind of uniform you will need. You can get uniforms from martial arts retailers from about $100 to $200.
Part 1 Conclusion
That is all for this section. In Part 2, I will discuss some of the rules of boxing, and what to expect while training for the sport.