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Are there any tactics in fighting against "inside boxers"? In light sparring, my opponent is always trying to get inside, and deliver small hooks and upper cuts at close range. I decided to do same tactic, and the sparring was getting little messy and crowded.

He is a good opponent, and I asked him why he prefers inside fighting. He is 5'6, not much shorter (me being 5'8). His tactic as amateur boxer "being shorter is go inside against taller opponents".

Does anyone have advice against light sparring against "Inside fighters"? I tried delivering inside blows, and then backing up.

My overall goal is have good sparring etiquette, do inside, and also play both long and short distance.

Good resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxULOHnWbpQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brnMbFcv9s0

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  • As you seem to be very interested in boxing at the moment, you might find this video about how to study fight footage useful. Dec 1 '21 at 10:11
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There are many, many skills which can prove useful when implementing a strategy against any fighter, however, I firmly believe that trying to absorb all these skills at once can be counter-productive.

With this in mind, I'm going to recommend just one skill to work on; one that will prove beneficial against all opponents; a skill which you should practice thoughtfully during every session:

Footwork.

It's not easy. It takes a long time to develop, which is why you should start concentrating on it now, if you haven't already. Learning how to move efficiently, quickly and unpredictably is vital when trying to keep an inside/pressure fighter at bay.

  • It allows you to maintain your reach advantage, largely by enabling you to maximise the efficacy of your longest punch -your jab - thereby preventing an opponent with inferior reach to land their punches,
  • It allows you to better dictate ring movement. An inside fighter will typically work on cutting off the ring, severely restricting your movement, trapping you in corners or against the ropes. Footwork enables you to pivot and dance; to maintain space,
  • Once you get really good, you may even learn to 'pass' your opponent, so that you open up their flanks to relatively unprotected attack.
  • It enables you to maintain balance and poise even when you are under attack and provides a base from which you can execute evasive moves even when your feet are static,
  • If you develop sufficient fitness, it is possible to 'out-dance' an inside fighter, to seduce them into constant but ineffective and therefore energy-wasting attack, removing their greatest asset; the ability to work you from inside. A fighter with elite footwork can often wear down a less accomplished fighter without throwing many punches at all. It's a beautiful thing to watch,
  • It also enables you to mix things up; to surprise your opponent by closing on them, only to move quickly back out again and out of range,
  • Footwork, perhaps more than any other boxing skill, enables a fighter to meet the aspiration of 'hitting without getting hit',

There are almost certainly more reasons, but that should be enough to convince anyone of the importance of footwork. Sadly, it's often underemphasised.

A couple of videos which recognise this fact are:

7 Boxers With the Best Footwork

The Smoothest Movers in Boxing

An interesting example of smart and achievable foot/jab work (and all-round strategy) nullifying a powerful inside fighter is Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson. Tyson was far from at his best, but he was utterly dominated.

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