While clinching in boxing is an illegal move under the traditional Marquess of Queensberry Rules, it has become an essential part of pugilism in the modern era. Boxers are taught the proper way to clinch, when and how to use it, as well as why it is an important part of their skill set.
The clinch is a defensive tactic which basically sees a boxer tie his opponent’s arms up so that they become entangled and any attack is rendered ineffective. Most referees allow boxers to fight their way out of a clinch but could intervene if the duration of the clinch becomes too long.
Often, however, the clinch is where fighters take the chance to land some punches on the inside with dirty boxing, which doesn’t score points with the judges but does considerable amounts of damage regardless.
After learning the basics in boxing, it is important to also learn and understand the clinch and how it can help your overall game, despite it being a prohibited technique.
Want to understand the clinch and how you can add it to your repertoire? Today, Evolve Daily shares three ways you can use the clinch effectively in boxing.
1) As a Strategic Maneuver
The clinch first and foremost is used as a strategic maneuver. Most boxers use the clinch to tie up an aggressive opponent, making it more difficult for their foes to go on the offensive. This has proven to be a sound defensive tactic for some.
It can be frustrating for an offense-oriented opponent to get shots off if he is constantly being entangled in a clinch situation. Some boxers absolutely hate it, and they have a hard time dealing with the clinch both physically and mentally.
Some of the most well-known tacticians in the sport have used the clinch to great effect, including boxers such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Lennox Lewis.
Practice using the clinch in sparring, and in various positions and situations. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of the best time to execute clinches.
2) To Disrupt an Opponent’s Rhythm
Some opponents love to set themselves up and need to be in rhythm in order to execute their offense and combinations. By clinching, you can disrupt your opponent’s rhythm and momentum, forcing them to have to constantly reset.
When opponents have to reset, it brings them back to a state of inactivity. By constantly doing this, their offense is rendered greatly ineffective. This is the reason why the clinch can be used as a strategic element.
To properly execute a disruptive clinch, try clinching in different situations — along the ropes, in the corner, at the center of the ring, whether your opponent is on the attack or on defense. Mix it up and try not to develop a pattern or habit that can be read and anticipated.
Knowing when best to execute a clinch to derail your opponent’s mental process is essential to having a good clinch game.
3) Neutralize an Opponent’s Attack Before It Begins
The clinch is also a great defense against fast and powerful punchers. Some opponents love to throw punches in bunches, operating both from range and in close quarters. By performing a clinch just before your opponent begins his combination, or in the midst of an attack, you can diffuse a situation and neutralize your opponent’s offense.
This is particularly useful against aggressive fighters who like to punch within rhythm. By constantly clinching whenever opponents go into their offensive, you are able to derail them by taking them off track. If you clinch correctly, it will stop the attack altogether.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Lennox Lewis were masters of this strategy, and it’s worth taking note of how they executed and used the clinch to their advantage, both in offensive and defensive situations.
The trick to clinching really is to move in with conviction and a sense of purpose, tie your opponent’s arms up quickly and authoritatively, and then not let go until the referee forcefully separates you.
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