How to Box a Pressure Fighter

So the game plan you put together with your trainer is falling apart because your opponent constantly moves forward. His aggressive approach makes it difficult for you to land clean, fluid combinations. If you don’t know how to overcome this offensive technique, then you’ll likely have your back against the ropes for the entire fight. Moreover, your opponent might walk away with a unanimous victory. The rest of this guide provides a step-by-step breakdown on how to trounce a pressure-fighting boxer.

Use the Jab

The jab is your greatest weapon against an aggressive rival for many different reasons. First and foremost, the jab creates space. Your opponent will struggle to move forward successfully if you throw constant jabs. You also force your opponent to exert more effort, since he has to constantly move his head to close any distance.

Be careful, though: A skilled opponent can easily counter a single jab. Double- and triple-jabs, on the other hand, force him to think twice before countering. This simple combination works well no matter the opponent.

Also, vary the rhythm of your jabs. For example, a sequence consisting of two quick jabs, a pause, and another jab is more unpredictable than two or three jabs in a row. And keep him guessing by working both his body and head.

Effective Movement

An aggressive opponent wants you to move backwards, so don’t give into his strategy. The judges often favor the fighter who constantly puts his opponent on his heels. Instead of retreating, constantly circle the ring and stay away from the ropes.

Move in and out and side to side, and make your opponent adjust to your movement. In-and-out movement is paramount because it makes it more difficult for your opponent to measure your range and land clean punches. Come forward with a quick jab, and then bounce back out. In many cases, your opponent will try to time your outward movement with an attack. Plant your feet and fire. This is the easiest way to punish your opponent for his own aggression. A straight-right (orthodox) often works best to stop him in his tracks.

Hot Tip: Your Foundation

Your legs play a crucial role when boxing against a pressure fighter. In fact, your legs may very well give out if you haven’t conditioned them through sparring, roadwork, and strength training. Be sure to train hard so that you can move effectively and sustain your opponent’s barrage.


Feinting forces an aggressive opponent to pause momentarily. Failing to pause indicates that he’s susceptible to that punch and — had you actually thrown the blow — he’d likely walk into it.

Feint by moving your head, feet, or hands. The goal is to fake out your opponent, no matter the type of feint you choose. Forcing him to think puts you in the driver’s seat and allows you to dictate the pace of the fight.

Throw then Smother

If footwork isn’t your forte, then you can implement the throw-then-smother strategy. You’ll have to pivot quickly, but this technique doesn’t involve as much circling around the ring. Also, this strategy is ideal for boxers that are comfortable with inside fighting.

Simply hold your ground as your opponent moves forward. Keep a solid base with your legs bent and your hands/arms tight to your body. By refusing to give up ground, his aggressive strategy becomes much less effective. In addition, he can’t land clean punches if they’re smothered. Stay in close until you’re ready to attack, and use your legs to bump off. Once you’ve created some space, even if it’s minimal, land a combination. After the combination, be sure to close the distance once again so that your opponent can’t respond. Also, utilize your pivoting skills to put yourself at various angles. For example, bump off, jab, pivot to the side, land a combo, and then smother once again.

Hot Tip: On the Ropes

Use your opponent’s aggression to put him on the ropes. With sufficient ring awareness, you can trick your opponent into thinking that his strategy’s working. Get close to the ropes, and quickly spin him around when he aggressively moves forward.

Don’t Panic

Fighting an aggressive opponent can be frustrating and exhausting. Never lose your cool, though. Panicking actually forces your body to use up additional, much-needed energy. Control your breath, and integrate all of the skills you’ve worked on in the gym to give yourself the best shot at a victory.

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