8 tips for your first time in the boxing ring

Boxing packs quite a punch at number 73 on the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. It's a great way to get active, build your confidence and manage stress. Before you step into the ring, check out these beginner tips from Boxing Canada. 


Wear comfortable athletic apparel and cross-training shoes. The boxing club may be able to loan you specific equipment such as hand wraps, boxing gloves, head gear and skipping ropes. Check with the gym in advance to find out what you should bring. A water bottle is a good idea because this kind of training is sure to make you sweat!


Classified as a combat sport, boxing should always be supervised by a certified coach to make sure you practice the sport safely. Wear properly-adjusted protective equipment and follow directives at all times. You should be properly warmed up before throwing punches to avoid injury.


There are two stances in boxing: orthodox or southpaw. To have an orthodox stance means to stand with your left foot in front, while a southpaw stance means to stand with your right foot in front. Generally, you want your strongest hand in the back, because it will have more room and distance to throw harder punches.


Balance is one of the most critical aspects in boxing and you should be able to produce a wide variety of punches without disturbing it. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your rear heel should be raised slightly. Bend your knees and keep your weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet.


No matter what stance you adopt in boxing, here are some key points about the positions of the hands and the arms:

  • Your front hand must be at shoulder height and your knuckles should be loosely clenched and turned slightly inwards.
  • The palm of your rear hand should be slightly open for catching an opponent’s blow, yet constantly ready for punching.
  • Both elbows should be comfortably tucked in to protect the ribs.


Protect your own target area by making it as small as possible for your opponent. Your upper body should be slightly bent forward and your head should be still. Watch your opponent “through your eyebrows” to avoid lifting your chin and exposing it to a blow. Your front shoulder should also offer comfortable protection for your chin.


Proper footwork puts you in a position to attack or defend effectively during a bout. At no time should your feet cross during your movements. Both feet must be planted when you perform a punch. Here are some elementary footwork skills to practice:

  • Advancing (moving forward): Make short and dynamic feet movements by pushing off the ball of your rear foot. One foot should always be in contact with the floor. Focus on sliding rather than hopping.
  • Retreating (moving backward): Push off the ball of your front foot, and then move the rear foot backward. The front foot then slides back into the boxing stance position to maintain balance.
  • Moving side to side: The left foot leads off first with a short shuffle step if moving to the left side, and vice versa when moving to the right side.


When you step into the ring, your punches become your arsenal. There are four basic punches that you can master and use in various combinations to become a formidable boxer:

  • The straight punch is performed with your front hand, which is carried nearest to the opposing target in the normal orthodox stance.

  • The straight power punch is a hard punch thrown by your dominant (rear) hand, which should be used sparingly in a competition. It is essentially a counter punch or follow-up punch when the target has been opened with the leading hand.
  • The hook with the lead hand is perhaps the most effective punch in the boxing repertoire if it is delivered correctly. As the name “hook” suggests, it is a bent arm blow that is used mainly as a counter punch or as part of a combination of punches.
  • The uppercut is a power punch aimed at the opponent’s chin. The uppercut starts low around the opponent’s midsection, with the punch coming up from below and usually making contact with the opponent’s chin or other parts of the head.

On September 9th, boxing clubs from coast to coast will open their doors to people who want to try the sport and check it off the 150 Play List. To find a participating club near you, visit the Boxing Canada website.