On the surface, boxing is an incredibly easy sport to pick up. The basics are simple enough to learn, and people of all ages can practice boxing.
As practitioners progress through training, however, they soon realize that boxing is tremendously layered. There are levels associated with skill, and it takes consistency and dedication to go from beginner to advanced. In addition, it takes a seasoned professional showing students the way to unlock its many techniques.
Filipino Boxing World Champion Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco is an instructor at Evolve MMA in Singapore. He is a WBA Boxing World Champion, WBO Asia Pacific Champion, WBA International Champion, IBF Pan Pacific Champion, and more.
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Known for his aggressive yet technical style, Francisco has fought boxing legends such as Guillermo Rigondeaux and Roberto Vasquez, amongst others, and has trained alongside fellow World Champions Manny Pacquiao and Jerwin Ancajas.
At Evolve MMA, Francisco uses his knowledge and experience to guide Evolve students and the Evolve Fight Team to enhance their boxing repertoire.
If you’re looking to go from good to great in boxing, Francisco has come up with a few tips to take your boxing game to the next level. Today, Evolve Daily shares Drian Francisco’s top five tips to improve your boxing.
1) Work on improving your conditioning
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Most people take up boxing to get in shape. It is no doubt a fast and effective way to lose weight. But professional fighters are on a completely different level. Their conditioning is above and beyond what casual practitioners achieve.
Francisco stresses the importance of conditioning and stamina, in order to become a better boxer.
“Techniques are important, but the prerequisite to becoming a better boxer will always be conditioning,” says Francisco.
“It’s not always just about who is more skilled. Some fights are determined by the better-conditioned boxer. If you want to take your game to the next level, then you have to take your physical fitness to the next level too.”
According to Francisco, this means being smart with your preparations and training, which includes eating clean, keeping to a consistent routine, and putting in your full effort.
2) Beat your opponents with great footwork
For Francisco, good, fluid footwork is the next component to becoming a better boxer. With good footwork, boxers are able to move effortlessly around the ring.
They can flow in and out of range with ease, pepper their opponents with their most powerful combinations, and then smoothly move out of harm’s way.
“The first thing you learn in boxing is how to move your feet, but very few people ever spend time taking their footwork into another gear,” says Francisco.
“Footwork will allow you to get to where you need to be to deliver your combinations. It can also save you when you’re in trouble. As a fighter, you’ll also begin to understand how to control distance and how to pick your battles.”
Aside from improved mobility, Francisco says better footwork also equates to better balance. The punches you take will have less of an impact.
3) Spend time working on your defense every day
A lot of beginner training focuses on the offensive aspect of boxing, which is no doubt a huge and important part of fighting. But excellent defense, Francisco explains, is what makes a boxer great.
This means working to improve your head movement, blocking and parrying, bobbing and weaving, and the like.
“The name of the game is to hit and not get hit. You can work on your defense during focus mitt sessions, and in sparring,” says Francisco.
“Have your training partners try to hit you with a variety of punches, and then practice how to defend against them. In boxing, there is no better teacher than experience, so get in that ring and put in the work.”
Good defense then leads to good offense, says Francisco. Whenever you successfully slip or block a punch, follow up with your counters. Defense mixed seamlessly with offense is optimal.
4) Focus on delivering proper technique
Technique is important in boxing, no doubt. Francisco has faced his fair share of technical boxers and has come out on top. Everything in boxing is nuanced with technical details down to the inch.
The better a boxer is with technique, the more effective he or she becomes as a fighter.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) October 17, 2019
According to Francisco, however, technique isn’t just about executing properly. It’s also about developing a technical mind.
“Along with improving your technique daily and making sure your execution is crisp, you must also train your mind to utilize your techniques better,” says Francisco.
“You could be throwing punches the correct way, but also make sure that you train yourself to hit specific targets. Understand how your punches affect your opponents and then train to improve your accuracy.”
For example, punching an opponent’s chin, can for sure cause a knockdown or a knockout. But connecting on an opponent’s forehead can snap their head backward and impair their vision.
“There are so many weapons in boxing. Make sure you are equipped with the tools for victory,” says Francisco.
5) Improve your fight strategy
Last but not least, Francisco stresses the importance of strategy and tactics. You have to enter the ring with a sound game plan. You can’t just go in there guns blazing.
“Boxing is a pugilistic game of chess. It’s as much mental as it is physical. At the highest level, strategy and tactics are a huge factor in the outcome of bouts,” says Francisco.
“This is where coaches come into play. Having the right support team and coach can make a massive difference, not just in the fight itself but also during training camp and preparations.”
Reading opponents mid-fight is important, as is knowing which adjustments to make between rounds. Learn different strategies by studying boxing’s most important fights. Understand how to counter certain styles, what works, and what doesn’t.
“It’s all about knowing how to use your tools to the best of your abilities in the ring. You can be the most skilled boxer in the world, but if you go into a fight with the wrong game plan, you can lose. Listen to your cornermen,” Francisco concluded.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) October 5, 2019
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