The gloves are off; it’s time to fight back against everything that has been thrown our way this year.
Female boxing has seen a surge in popularity since it became an official Olympic sport in 2012 and has been thrust into the public eye by supermodel workouts and films like Million Dollar Baby. As an amateur fighter of ten years, I have never found a sport so empowering as boxing. It gives you both internal and external confidence in yourself, working every part of your body, and providing great self-defence skills.
Firstly, let’s not belittle the achievement that is women finally being accepted into the ring of one of the most heavily male-dominated sports of all time. We have muscled our way past the stereotype of men being the fighters and women the fairer sex, driving equality into a place where both genders can now reap the benefits of the sport. A huge part of its appeal to novices is its accessibility; shadow boxing, skipping for footwork, and core exercises from the comfort of your own home with neither an intimidating gym setting, nor any equipment can be a great workout on their own.
Even once you progress to punching the bags however, boxing is not just a fist workout; it helps to shape your entire body. It is what supermodels like Karlie Kloss, the Hadids, and Jennifer Garner swear by to maintain their cat-walk-ready physiques. The aerobics involved in footwork (orthodox or southpaw) and circuits is really effective at burning calories, your abs will get stronger through core training, bouncing on your toes will tone your legs, and finally the obvious shoulder and arm workout will improve your strength and posture. A boxer’s choice to protect or pounce in the ring also changes the body-parts that are being trained. Speed is integral to your defence, bobbing and weaving to parry your opponent’s blows, whereas power dictates a successful attack, throwing well-placed punches in order to break-through their guard. The increased confidence that you earn from this physically demanding sport will both boost your self-esteem and train your body to perform under pressure.
Hopefully you will never be in a dangerous situation where you should use your boxing skills, but it is important that women feel capable of protecting themselves. Boxing does not make you a violent person, but rather someone in control and able to both attack and defend effectively. Becoming a better boxer simply depends on practicing the basics; you will learn the four basic punches: jab, hook, uppercut, and cross/straight, which can be combined in a myriad of ways to catch your opponent off-guard and always be a step ahead.
It is a great way to manage stress, taking anger out on punching bags and releasing endorphins instead of being grumpy towards people who you love. Furthermore, the hand-eye-coordination and sharp reactions required for sparring are a great tool to improve your focus. After a boxing workout, you will leave with a clear mind and a surge of adrenaline, happy that you’ve pushed yourself to a new limit. Over the past decade, boxing has empowered so many women, helping them discover and tame the strength they had inside them all along. I cannot recommend the sport enough; it is time for women to be seen as more than ‘Bombshell Ring-Girls’ and instead be ‘Knock-out Boxers’ themselves.