Becoming a boxing champion does not come about without hard work, and just like the pros you will need to quickly learn about the sport as well as practise and train at every opportunity if you want to get the most out of it.
Regardless of whether you are turning to boxing as a way to build up your physical strength, as a means of controlling your emotions, in a bid to release stress, or even to become a pro boxer, you will also need to respect the sport. For instance, you should be aware of the various weight categories involved in British boxing, and which of those you fall into.
The principal categories are know as, from lightest to heaviest: Flyweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light heavyweight and Heavyweight.
Mayweather, as his weight has changed, has competed for titles in the super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight categories. Photo credit: SportsAngle.com on VisualHunt
Combat sports is a term that is used widely to encompass all branches of contact sports, including boxing. Also belonging to the same family are martial arts like kung fu, taekwondo, karate, jujitsu, krav maga, aikido and viet vo dao.
All of the above, without exception, are body to body sports involving two opponents and are only legally carried out in registered sports clubs.
Birmingham and its surrounding areas are quite familiar with boxing, offering a wide range of options throughout the inner and outer city.
No matter which type of boxing you decide on, you’ll no doubt need to think about what kind of equipment you are looking at paying out for.
Most disciplines will require gloves, bandages, all sorts of body pads, mouth guards, specific training shoes and some suitable clothing too.
Another factor to consider when looking at the finances is how much a lesson at your chosen centre costs or if you must pay an annual fee to become a member.
With violence still haunting the streets of many big cities, some believe that offenders might benefit from putting their energy to better to use by being taught some respect and limiting their fighting to inside a ring, rather than causing havoc outside popular venues like PRYZM or The Old Joint Stock.
If they were to put their mind to the sport and learn about its true underlying disciplines, they would learn that boxing isn’t just about two people punching one another to prove something.
Dont be fooled into thinking, however, that boxing is a violent sport for people with an aggressive nature. Far from it, boxing is a very noble and athletic sport which demands a great deal of patience, stamina, respect and a strong mind.
Another preconception is that boxing is only for men. Did you know that women’s boxing was included for the very first time as a competitive sport in the London 2012 Olympics? If you are a female boxer who has what it takes to reach the top, you could well be representing your country at the next Olympic Games.
We have consulted the Internet on your behalf and put together a list of just some of the places you might be able to find a class adapted to your needs. But first, here’s some more information about the various training options for both men and women.
While boxing has, in the past, been seen as a sport for men, the world of combat sports is welcoming more and more women with open arms. And how refreshing it is to be a part of this time of change!
Just take a look at Lauren Johnson, known by her competitors as ‘The Black Widow’, who is the first professional female boxer to emerge from Birmingham. Johnson doesn’t beat around the bush, stating that she can “put it on someone” when she needs to, but will she ever get the opportunity to ‘put it on’ a male competitor inside the ring?
Sports like football, although they require physical strength, are non-contact so they are predominantly centred around speed, footwork and ball skills.
Boxing, meanwhile, as a combat sport, is much more focused on physical strength and the force of blows. As such, officials are against the idea of boxing being a gender-neutral, mixed sport because men and women do not generally share the same body types or levels of strength. Also, many men are put off the idea of fighting women.
Luckily for them, any group sessions will encourage all boxers, whether male or female, to practice together using punch bags and other equipment rather than facing one another in a ring (that’s right, you could be training in a mixed class of men and women).
If we do reach a stage whereby men and women are able to fight one another as equals, we are certain that his will be governed by a professional body that will only allow individuals to be put up against someone within their weight category.
After all, if an experienced female boxer matches up to a male boxer in regards to weight and build and is happy to fight, then why shouldn’t she be allowed to? What do you think – should gender be irrelevant in boxing?
Are you one if the women who has what it takes to become a champion? Photo credit: keith ellwood on VisualHunt.com
Just as we might have suspected, the jury is out on the above gender question and many are quite happy with the way in which boxing is currently governed and how it now offers a wealth of opportunities for both men and women.
When it comes to men’s boxing, there are several weight categories that separate fighters one from another:
In British boxing, meanwhile, Super heavyweight is a category for men weighing more than 91kg.
French boxing consists of using both hands and feet as weapons. While it might sound a bit heavy on the action, it is actually a very graceful form of combat sport which combines elements of martial arts with western boxing.
While there aren’t any Birmingham-based clubs that specify solely in French Savate boxing, there are numerous gyms offering a combination of British boxing and mixed martial arts.
British boxing has been around for centuries but was only distinguished as a type of boxing in European countries such as France in the 19th century, when boxers discovered the benefits of using nothing else but punches to defeat their opponent.
In Birmingham, there are numerous British boxing classes available, including:
Henrietta Street Gym, Henrietta Street: Inclusive as part of membership but with a pay as you go option available too, this gym offers premium boxing classes for all levels delivered by two coaches. Classes focus on both technical and fitness development and involve skipping, partner work, pad work and shadow boxing. The timetable is as follows:
Are you looking for more than just a fist fight? Then look no further than Thailand for inspiration. Their Thai boxing, also known by many as kickboxing, is one of the most violent yet precise types of boxing, and is similar to martial arts.
Thai boxing was invented by military specialists way back in the 16th century and has remained popular on multiple continents ever since.
Here’s one club that specialises in Thai boxing within the Birmingham area:
K-Star Thai Boxing Academy, Bromsgrove Street: This centre focuses on developing and maintaining a sound body and mind with centuries old techniques. Their training room is available whenever the centre is open and they have a 4-week beginners’ course available too.
Boxercise is usually associated with women’s keep fit classes, yet some classes are open to both men and women. Below are four examples of classes available in Birmingham:
Boxercise is a craze that has swept the nation, and many others! Photo credit: infomatique on Visual Hunt
Boxercise classes offer all of the benefits of boxing but without the contact.
Classes may consist of skipping, circuit training, pad work and the teaching of techniques, but what they all share is a friendly and energetic atmosphere. With music playing in the background, it is a fun alternative to strict training regimes and helps to improve rhythm and coordination as well as burn calories and build up muscle.
Are you leaving Birmingham to live elsewhere in the UK? Never fear, Superprof is here. See Boxing Classes in London, locate Boxing Classes in Manchester, find Boxing Classes in Liverpool, discover Boxing Classes in Leeds or check out Boxing Classes in Glasgow.