The first step from gym rat (not a negative) to fighter is more than simply saying “I want to fight”. In any boxing gym, a gym owner is more that willing to teach the skill of the sweet science to students and provide training for any and all participants.
A gym rat has equipment. If you look inside their equipment bag, you will find a number of pieces of boxing equipment that marks them as a gym rat or boxer:
1) a manufacturer gym bag – gotta show your colors
2) standard workout clothes.
3) a jump rope
4) boxing shoes
5) hand wraps (120″)
6) boxing gloves (for the heavy bag)
This list covers 90% of the activities covered in the gym workout. There are, of course variations between parts of the country and the gym, but stripped down this will get you in any boxing gym to learn the sweet science. This is the stopping point for some, but if they have some interest in boxing there are a few more pieces that they need to move to be a boxer:
7) mouthpiece (price is in ratio to protection): Don’t skimp on quality. Dental and oral surgery is expensive and worth protecting. ShockDoctor makes a great array of mouth guards: https://www.shockdoctor.com/nano-3d-mouthguard
For the beginning boxer, most gyms have a collection of headgear that can be used for occasional sparring. This is typically rugged use gear that get a lot of use on a weekly bases by the gym rats that want a little more to become boxers. With this small amount of gear, anyone can learn the art of science of boxing and utilize the aerobic and anaerobic workout that is world famous for building a better body, better character and a person that has the ability to defend themselves. Boxer don’t necessarily attend tournaments, fight in competitions or have e a fighting record. Many boxer will go many years simply in the gym work on mitts, pounding heavy bags, attending classes and occasionally participating in gym sparring.
A fighter has different equipment that marks them as a fighter. Every fighter knows the signs when someone get serious about the sport and want to learn the sweet science from inside the squared circle.
A fighter begins by investing in their own equipment. I personally seldom loan my fighting equipment to others and then only to trusted fighters. As a fighter, you trust your health and safety to the equipment that you wear in the ring and your longevity as a fighter depends on this equipment.
1) Sparring Headgear – quality sparring headgear is between $100 – $150 and provide large protection to your head. EVERY fighter has a different opinion of headgear, but here’s a few good examples:
Each fighter has their preferences, and may absolutely hate the face saver style. However, they have a great advantage of giving you more rounds in the ring while lessening the possibility of injury. We can argue the advantages and disadvantages of full-face vs cheek protector vs open face for vision – protection ability favors full-face.
2) Sparring Gloves (16oz/18oz/20oz) – quality in your dedicated sparring gloves (separate from bag gloves) is important for both your hands and for the welfare of your sparring partner. Glove technology is changing at a rapid pace and there are many manufacturers that provide excellent gloves. Ask yourself is your willing to have your partner use your old worn out gloves while sparring you. Knots in laces, hanging string, worn covers and flattened protective filling are dangerous and distracting in a the learning environment of a sparring ring.
3) Groin Protector – YES!
4) Shoes – Quality boxing shoes must be acquired. Wear sliders or street shoes from the car to the gym and use boxing shoes exclusively within the gym.
5) Competition Uniform – Quality shorts, and jersey for amateurs, that are professional and meet competition guidelines. The night of a fight is no the time to be opening packages and popping tags.
6) Competition Headgear – Competition headgear is inherently lighter and not for everyday use. I few sparring sessions to check fit – absolutely
And finally, use deodorant….
Hand up * Head down * Keep Moving!