An exhaustive study by ESPN analysts to determine which is the most demanding sport in the world, resulted in boxing taking first place.
The methodology to analyze the difficulty of 60 sports activities was to assign a rating to 10 different virtues or abilities, such as endurance, strength, speed, analytical aptitude, etc. The sum of all of them gave the final result of each sport.
Boxing had in that exercise the ESPN site (the most powerful sports media company in the world) a final score of 72,375, having received some of the highest marks in the categories of endurance, durability, power and nerve.
It is not, of course, the first time that boxing is mentioned as the toughest or most demanding sport in the world. And while not all people will agree with such consideration, perhaps no one would disagree that the preparation of a boxer is the one that implies the greatest sacrifices in any sport.
There are three components that make the preparation of a boxer a very arduous, brutal, almost inhuman task: a supreme physical-athletic conditioning, a rigorous technical training and an inflexible weight limit, which varies according to the division to which The fighter belongs. Next, a brief review of a boxer’s training routines.
As in many sports, running is the beginning of everything. A boxer with hunger and desires has to accumulate miles on his legs to make use of them the night of combat, although he actually needs them to complete his daily training routine in the gym. The fighters usually run every morning, some longer, some higher above sea level and some others in more hostile conditions. In a sport that increasingly requires greater leg mobility, running is the traditional aerobic formula to gain energy and cardiovascular endurance.
Abdomen and weights
The muscles of the abdomen, high and low, are the most worked in the preparation of a boxer, subjected to hundreds of daily repetitions. It is not free for boxers to be athletes with the most defined abdomens. Going up to fight with the abdomen in an unbeatable way gives the fighter a much needed agility and mobility; but more importantly, resistance to absorb the punishment to the body. Weight training is not the most common in boxing and is relatively new, especially for fighters of large weights that require more muscle and power in arms, shoulders, hips and legs. Specialists recommend that weight work not be done at the expense of the speed and agility of the athlete.
One of the exclusive routines of a boxer’s training is to jump the rope, which gives him speed, mobility, endurance, rhythm and ‘cardio’. It is also a coordination exercise that improves the balance of small and big fighters. It is customary to make sequences in intervals of three minutes or some more extensive sometimes with background music.
Big, heavy and hard, the sack is never missing in a boxing gym. Hitting the huge lump that hangs from the ceiling gives the fighter a very good notion of distance with respect to his power shots, in addition to allowing him to make combinations of blows on a fixed target that are later taken to a moving target when he arrives to the mitten and sparring sessions.
The beating of the small pear-shaped rebounding lump serves for the boxer to gain in rhythm and refine his movements with his arms and hands. The pear, which hangs from the ceiling and strikes against it all the time, is light and moves quickly to the contact, to demand speed and precision. There is another pear that is fastened with springs to the ceiling and floor. Its use is to improve the reaction and coordination of the boxer, as the package presents movements in all directions. It is a difficult exercise that the fighters practice spinning clockwise or counterclockwise.