Training and repetition are key when learning to box and obviously if you’re not training it, you can’t perfect it. Corney has drilled into me the importance of learning the basics. One of these basics that is so often overlooked is footwork.
Footwork is what makes great boxers stand out from good boxers and the winners stand out from the runners-up. Next time you are watching a fight on tv or enjoying a fight night out, ignore the boxers hands for a second and watch their feet, you will find, more often than not that in most cases the winner is the one with the better footwork.
Boxing footwork isn’t just about moving around the ring to avoid your opponents punches, it is about getting yourself to be in the right position, in the right stance, to set your own punches up.
The picture above is an illustration of just 3 basic footwork patterns that all beginner boxers should be training.
Boxing Footwork – Lateral movement
Okay, so everyone moves backwards and forwards, it’s hard not to, even when you’re starting out, but make sure you’re moving side to side too. Especially when you’re shadow boxing, on the pads and on the punch bag. Once you feel comfortable with the movement in training, start introducing it to your sparring. Side to side movement is ideal when you’re backing towards the ropes and need to escape.
Boxing Footwork – 45 degree stepping
Moving backwards at 45 degree angles is a must. If you get stuck in the ring with a feisty “come forward” boxer, he will love nothing more than a one dimensional mover. If all you do is back-off in a straight line, you will be on the ropes in no time at all defending a flurry a leather (on the ropes is exactly where he wants you). However, if you start using your angles, you will become a much harder target to pin down, whilst creating your own angles for you own attacks.
Moving forwards – a much more gutsier approach, but with practise you’ll get it. Feinting and slipping then moving in close with a 45 degree step is hard to master, but it is fantastic when you can pull it off. e.g.(Orthodox) Your opponent throws in a 1-2, you slip to you left whilst stepping 45 degree forwards and you’ve set yourself up in the perfect position to fire in a body hook (or 3 whilst you’re there;-).
Again make sure you’re adding these you your training. After smashing a combination into the bag, move of using your angles instead of moving straight back.
Boxing Footwork – Pivoting
Pivoting on the ball of your front foot is great for creating angles of attack on your opponent. It is ideal to use if you have you opponent covering up on the ropes. If you’re finding hard to get the punches to land, spin 90 degrees to you right (Orthodox) and start punching from there.