Clinching is one of the most divisive techniques in boxing. Some people believe it ruins the sport, while others feel it’s a necessary skill. The fact of the matter is, however, that clinching is used by some of the best boxers in history, and for a good reason.
A clinch can be described as a defensive technique used to disrupt the intensity of a fight. It involves moving in close to an opponent, and then using the arms to tie up on the inside. This effectively prevents an opponent from being able to mount any form of offense.
Usually, the referee will step in and separate the two fighters engaged in a clinch after just a few seconds of inactivity.
Whether or not you’re a fan of clinching, there’s no denying it’s a very important part of boxing and that you should study how to clinch properly.
As a fighter, understanding the clinch in both offensive scenarios (as part of strategy), and in defensive situations, is crucial to your success, even if you don’t plan on using the clinch at all. Training the clinch will help you make key decisions in fights on how to evade the clinch, or to use it to your advantage.
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios where the clinch can come in handy. Today, Evolve Daily shares 3 situations you should use the clinch in a boxing match.
1) Clinch for Strategy
Lots of fighters use the clinch as part of their overall strategy. Clinching is an important skill to learn in boxing. If used properly, it can have a major impact on the result of a match.
Using the clinch for strategic purposes is a common tactic against aggressive opponents. Let’s say, for example, an opponent is quick to close the distance and get on the inside. If your game plan is to maintain distance, the clinch can be used as a deterrent. As soon as an opponent closes the gap, the clinch can be executed to prevent any effective activity in close quarters.
This neutralizes an assault, and renders an attack invalid. It also helps to break an aggressive opponent’s rhythm.
American boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr. loved using the clinch as a strategic deterrent against aggressive and powerful punchers. Oftentimes it would frustrate his opponents, who are then unable to connect on any decent shots. When the clinch is strategically used in this manner, some opponents are rattled both physically and mentally.
2) Clinch for Recovery
Clinching is also used as a recovery tool mid-fight.
Some fighters get tired in between rounds, or in the heat of battle. This happens when lactic acid buildup in the muscles exceeds a certain threshold, caused by a lack of oxygen in the muscles, which is required to process glucose and glycogen. To put it plainly, it’s that feeling you get when your arms suddenly become very heavy, and you punch yourself out.
In this situation is where the clinch comes in very handy. It can be used as a last-ditch effort to halt the intensity of a fight, in order to spark a quick recovery and bring oxygen back into the muscles. By clinching, you tie up your opponent momentarily to stop yourself from getting continuously hit. These precious few seconds will allow you to catch your breath and regroup.
Practicing clinch situations in sparring is best. Have a sparring partner attack aggressively, with your goal being to tie him up. It becomes an exercise in both executing the clinch successfully, or in evading the clinch.
3) Clinch to Reset the Action
Some boxers fight with a certain flow and rhythm, usually come-forward punchers who want to initiate the action. The clinch then becomes an effective tool to disrupt an opponent’s rhythm and stop his momentum from building up.
Whenever you successfully execute the clinch, referees will usually step in after a few seconds of inactivity, or when he deems it necessary to break the clinch in order to facilitate more action. This will cause a reset at the center of the ring.
Furthermore, you may find yourself in some sticky situations, such as getting caught along the ropes or trapped in a corner. Clinching can give you an opportunity to escape safely from a situation where you’re at a disadvantage.
Of course, the clinch also carries with it certain risks, especially when the clinch fails. It will allow your opponent to get on the inside and land power shots. It then becomes extremely important to clinch with the correct technique, move with purpose and capture both of an opponent’s arms.
The clinch is a great way to reset the action, give you a little bit of rest, and make your opponent work harder.
4) Clinching Tips
Here are a few tips for a better clinch:
Don’t forget your glove guard, and keep your elbows in tight for defense
Move explosively towards an opponent with conviction and a sense of purpose, don’t hesitate
The goal is to tie up the arms, to prevent an opponent from punching
Think of the clinch as a very heavy bear hug
Put the weight of your body onto an opponent’s arms, leaning in as necessary
Keep an opponent’s lead leg in between your legs
If your opponent tries to break away, follow his hips with your hips
Keep it tight, and take a few deep breaths, remain calm
Be mindful of dirty boxing on the inside, this is where tying up the arms is crucial
Use the clinch as a “counter” to a punch, so you don’t telegraph your intent
Don’t excessively use the clinch, as you may get penalized or deducted a point
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: