5 Unwritten Rules of the Sport


Boxing has its official rules (forthcoming), but it also has some unwritten rules that almost all seasoned boxers know, and that rookies should know. These rules are truths or principles of the sport, and they pull together or simplify all or most of the crucial knowledge of the sport into one header. In this article, I will lay out and explain five of the most general rules of boxing as a sport. If the sport does not make more sense after reading, then ask your coach or another boxer what it means or should mean.

Widely Known Rules of the Sport

  1. Hit and don’t get hit.
  2. Protect yourself at all times.
  3. Styles make fights.
  4. Never show that you’re hurt.
  5. You don’t play boxing.

Hit and don’t get hit is the key to winning any match. It’s not as simple as it seems as it involves ideas like: offense is a form of defense, defense sets up offense, always have a backup plan for any attack, take advantage of combos and openings, etc.

Protect yourself at all times just means you should never assume you’re safe in the ring. It applies to not paying attention, when the bell rings, or on the break.

Styles make fights usually refers to the fact that a great, action-packed match depends on how both boxers fight. It also means that any style (out-boxer, counter-puncher, puncher, etc.) has its own weaknesses and strengths, and adapting your own style is the key to neutralizing the opponent’s strengths while exploiting their weaknesses.

Never show that you’re hurt relates to that moment when you get hit with something hard, like a body shot, or when you start gassing out. If their smart, the opponent will turn up the heat, so you never want to show your fear, pain, or fatigue.

You don’t play boxing represents the mentality you need to succeed in boxing and also the fact that boxing is a massively dangerous sport. In the ring, and whenever you train, its either you or your opponent: unless you want to get hurt, you must be willing to hurt. (Of course, it is not this dramatic most of the time, but anything can happen, including losing your ability to think or life. So you must prepare accordingly.)

Author: Le Ho

I am currently a law student at the University of North Carolina Law School. As an undergraduate, I boxed for Carolina and earned its first men's national championship title.

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