Sparring sessions

I will copy/paste/shorten my entries on sparring, mostly to see my own progression. I've given names to those who I see regularly and you can see their description if you scroll to the bottom. I've only listed the names of people I see regularly and named them after famous boxers based on style.

#28: Thur 11/21  Middle aged guy
I was a bit taller so I just jabbed and jabbed. It had been a while since I actually sparred, more than a month, so I felt rusty just chasing him around the ring. He had a really good overhand right, where he would throw his right hand over my jab and ended up hitting me really hard in the head several times. Once I figured this out, I started double jabbing him, feinting, and then jabbing and stepping back so his shots mostly got me on my chest and shoulders from that point. Still, it was really hard. He had a decent body shot, but I was still able to tag him with my jab whenever he came in. I wish my uppercuts were fast enough to get him when he came in, but they're too slow so I have to end up using my jab. I'm not sure how the point system will work. My plan is to be be a bit slower in the 1st round and then come out aggressively with the jabs in rounds 2 and 3, in particular the jab-right-jab combo. I have to still work more on cardio and stepping back after my jab. All this happened on a Thursday, and then immediately after the match I felt this immediate pain in my shoulder. It's as if someone pulled one of my muscles really hard. It hurt so much I could barely raise my left arm over my head. I just stopped. It hurt enough that I wondered if I could recover in time for the tournament. It was even hard to sleep since the shoulder hurt so much.

#27: Thur 10/21  Slightly older guy
He's a guy I've seen around, roughly my age and in really good shape from what I could tell. He goes hard every time he's in the gym, including on the heavy bag and the like. After warming up a little bit, we went three rounds.

  • I was a bit taller so I just jabbed and jabbed. It had been a while since I actually sparred, more than a month, so I felt rusty just chasing him around the ring. 
  • He had a really good overhand right, where he would throw his right hand over my jab and ended up hitting me really hard in the head several times. 
  • Once I figured this out, I started double jabbing him, feinting, and then jabbing and stepping back so his shots mostly got me on my chest and shoulders from that point. Still, it was really hard. 
  • He had a decent body shot, but I was still able to tag him with my jab whenever he came in. I wish my uppercuts were fast enough to get him when he came in, but they're too slow so I have to end up using my jab. 
  • I'm not sure how the point system will work. My plan is to be be a bit slower in the 1st round and then come out aggressively with the jabs in rounds 2 and 3, in particular the jab-right-jab combo. 
  • I have to still work more on cardio and stepping back after my jab. 
  • This will be my last sparring session before my match. 

#26: Fri 10/25  New guy

I sparred a new guy today. About 5'8 and maybe my age. We didn't hit really, just kind of did really light sparring. I was taller so I was able to tag him fairly easily with my jab. He had no uppercut, so he started coming in a bit to hit me with bodyshots but once I got him with a jab or even once with an uppercut he was more hesitant. I think if I spar like this I won't get a whole lot of damage, but if I go any harder I will. It's still helpful sparring even at only 10% or even shadow sparring with no hitting at all. Today's session was good, really light tapping. It gives us a good basic foundation to learn.

#25: Tue 10/22  RockyM

I sparred RockyM a quick, thick, and powerful little guy. He's 41 years old but has been boxing a while, and is incredible quick for someone who is 41. He realized that he could get inside on me at will so he threw a lot of body shots. I was timid for a while, but then realized he was going to hit me many times unless I started doing something. I moved my head so it was hard for him to hit unless he came inside. But then, I got him once pretty hard with an uppercut so he was hesitant. After that, he started just going to the body. He got me everytime to my left ribs and it really hurt/it's bruised, but when he did come in I started hitting him with a left jab and a quick short hook to his head. I didn't hit him very hard, but he knew that if he did come in he was going to get hit twice b/c of my range. Overall it's good b/c I can work on certain strategies, but not sure how beneficial it is for me to spar someone so much smaller. However, it is better to spar than not spar.

#24: Sun 10/20  MikeT + VitalyK
  • I was kind of dreading sparring MikeT. He's so much better than me, and he's also big which means I have no advantage over him whatsoever. On top of that he's a southpaw, which means he's used to fighting orthodox fighters like me while I'm not used to fighting guys like him. 
  • The first round, he came in pretty hard. He had already sparred another guy for 2 rounds, so he was going on his 3rd and 4th rounds with me. He came in to the head, body, basically got me at will. I didn't want to spar so hard, so when he came in I retaliated and got him a number of times with jabs and straight rights and a few uppercuts, so he hit even harder. I just couldn't stop his combo. It usually consisted of a fast jab, twisting uppercut, and then a straight left. Or he'd go uppercut, body shot, hook, straight right. Or he'd go jab, then right hook. B/c his jabs came with the right hand, I just couldn't block very well. I wasn't fast enough or basically good enough. 
  • The previous trainer told me to make sure my foot is on the inside of his foot when I jab to close the gap, even though I did that he was so skilled at counterpunching. My head is still ringing. The 2nd round he came at me even harder, and I was tired so I tried to dance and move around a bit in the ring. He was very gracious afterwards, and though I did get him a bunch of times, if we went 3 rounds he may have knocked me out. 
  • I sparred with a new guy today VitalyK who said it was his first week back after not boxing for over a year. He was only about 180 lbs but really tall, about 6'2. He wasn't very fast with his punches, but he was able to move his head back really fast so I couldn't get him a whole lot with my jabs. I noticed he preferred to move his head to his left/my right, so I faked or just pumped my jabs and then hit him a bunch of times with my right hand. 
  • We didn't go too hard, maybe 30%. I was going 3 rounds straight, so I was dead tired. I said I couldn't do it, but the head trainer said I could and threw this guy in there. I also had to close the gap on my jab since he was taller than me, so had to jab up. Now I know how hard it is to fight someone taller than you. He tried going into the body, but didn't have nearly the skill or speed that MikeT had so I was able to tag him in the face with my jab. 

#23: Wed 10/16  RockyM
  • I sparred a new guy. He's 41 and has been boxing for 7 yrs but took a 2 yr break and is coming back.He was small but thick and quick, maybe 5'7 and 155 lbs. Really strong punches for a guy his size. 
  • In round 1, I went really light but he started hitting hard to the body so I hit a bit harder w/my jabs. He got me a number of times to the body, I got him w my jabs when he came in but unlike previous partners he was able to get in and out quickly. Still my height, length, and jab speed gave me a significant advantage. I got him multiple times w/my jab and my backsteppping worked. I was able to avoid most of his hits. 
  • In the 2nd round, he was much more aggressive. He came in a lot but after a while I kept on double jabbing so he was a bit more tentative. Still out of the smaller guys he had great aim and timing and was able to get me a number of times. I was surprised at how hard he hit for a smaller guy, but overall my size was too much for him even though he was much more skilled than I was. Once I got him in the corner, just putting my body next to his allowed me to push him so it was kind of unfair. 
  • I really enjoy sparring, if I could just avoid getting hit in the head! Even w/my headgear, I can still feel the blows and that's just from sparring. Smaller guys like this guy are OK of course, but if anyone is near my weight their punching power is quite strong even if we spar at only 50%. Of course I spar a lot more than the avg person there since the head trainer wants to prepare me for my match. 

#22: Sat 10/12  GerryC
  • This is my 2nd time sparring GerryC. He has no interest in entering any matches or even sparring much. 
  • He has a really strong right and a powerful left hook. I remember last time when he got me with a straight right pretty hard, so this time I tried to reign jabs on him. I tried varying single, double, feints, side, moving around, etc. Of course my conditioning still prevented me from doing all that I wanted to do. 
  • The first round was kind of light, but as I was able to get him with my jab he started coming inside more. He's very quick to the body, but again like most of us beginners he keeps his head down too long so I pretty much simultaneously hit his head with my jab or uppercut when he went to the body. That's probably a good trade-off for a short 3 round fight vs. a 15 round fight when the body will eventually wear you down. 
  • The 2nd round, I was really tired. GerryC is in great shape, and so he kept on coming. The last minute or so, he swung really hard a few times and I was able to surprisingly move away from most of them. I've been practicing the jab, lean back, jab move and so once I started incorporating it I just ended up leaning back even though I didn't see his right. This rhythm is important. 
  • Right before the bell, he came inside and hit me at least 5 times with the body a few times to the head, and I probably hit him 8-10 times in the head. I did jabs, uppercuts, hooks, and just went left-right-left-right-left-right, and after a while he felt his head bouncing around a lot so he kind of backed off a bit. Of course we were only going about 50% with full face headgear, but he felt it more than I did mostly b/c I had leverage. The more I hit him in the head his body shots were getting weaker so I couldn't feel them much. Still, it's the most I've ever hit anyone and the most I've ever been hit. 
  • The head trainer says although it's a good tradeoff, after I hit him a bunch of times I may want to get out of there by back stepping or spinning around since he could always get me with a wild strike if I stay inside too long since my back was to the corner ropes. 

#21: Tue 10/8  SugarRayL

The trainer told me to spar before I do mitts so he can see again what I need to work on. He told me only do jabs or jan-rights, and told me not to do any uppercuts until I can learn how to slip better.
  • Mostly it's my conditioning. SugarRayL is in fantastic shape. We only touched so didn't hit very hard, and he tapped me multiple times to the body, to the head, even though I was taller than him. I did get him a few times with my jabs and rights, but overall he got me multiple times and would have one for sure if we were in a real match. 
  • He's so fast and moves so quickly, that by the 2nd round I was so darn tired and it showed. I quit moving my feet and I quit keeping my guard up. 
  • The reason the tough trainer is telling me not to use uppercuts is that he said that for uppercuts one has to slip so one's head is to the side, not only to generate power but it's much easier to block and harder to hit. He said my uppercuts are such that my head doesn't move at all. He said I could get hit very easily. I then asked him what I should do in terms of the uppercut, and he said forget it I'm not at that stage. He said if I want to do well in the match, just focus on my jabs which are my strength, and then when I get the opportunity really hammer hard with my right. 
  • He said the variety of doing 1-2, or 1-1-2, can easily win me my match in my beginner division. I'm not sure I agree with him. He's making it seem as if I'll be boxing a really advanced guy. I still feel like my uppercuts, especially my long range ones can keep someone at bay. If someone comes inside, he's telling me to back up and use my conditioning to go outside. 
  • Of course my conditioning is poor so that's hard to do. I have to really think about this. I've had good success with my uppercuts since I'm mostly boxing beginners. I may wait until the 3rd round to use the uppercut since my guy will be tired and his counters won't be as strong. 

#20: Wed 10/2  Fast mongoose

  • I was about to leave around 12:15, and another person showed up. He was only about 5'6 and 135 pounds or so. The trainer said he's really skilled, so told me to watch out. 
  • He was a very nice guy with a smile on his face the whole time. I have never seen a guy move that fast thus far, the fastest guy I've sparred with so far. His hands were like a blaze. He was like a little gnat in the ring, I couldn't do anything the 1st round really as I was trying to jab him. 
  • The 2nd round however, I changed up my style and worked hard to cut off the ring so he had nowhere to go. He also came in a bit more inside, got me a few times in the head (not easy since I'm so much taller) and several times in the body. B/c of my height however, I was able to get him in the face/head the same time. My nearly 90 pound weight advantage showed, one hit from me and his whole body rocked back. I guess size does matter, if you do get hit. 
  • He still came in to hit me, but once I got in a rhythm I was able to block or counter with a jab. Normally, I've hit almost everyone I've sparred with my jab - even MikeT who is an excellent boxer and even SugarRayL who is also an excellent boxer with great conditioning - but this guy was on another level. I didn't hit him once with my jab, and had to be counter puncher. He was so fast, he got me with a straight right, went for a hook which I blocked, and I saw it coming (rare for me) and so I blocked and fired off what I thought was a really fast jab and he slipped it so quickly. 
  • It was a good experience for me, and probably for him too. He never really got cornered or tried anything inside, he'd get hit pretty hard by me if he was trapped. Just one time I got him trapped in the corner, and he blocked a few times and I was about to him him with a right hook, and he slipped and just stepped away. It was kind like trying to fight a mongoose. 
  • Afterwards, he thanked me with a big smile. I bet I could have learned a lot from him, totally different styles and the size difference was too big, but wow it was great sparring with someone so skilled. 
  • Not many take-aways, b/c our sizes were so different and he didn't come inside at all/I was too slow to hit him and his punches didn't hurt even when they hit b/c he was too light. Cutting off the ring would be something I could work on. I doubt even Mike Tyson at his fastest wasn't as fast as this guy, how could he be when he only weighed 135 lbs. 

#19: Tue 10/1  DavidT

  • DavidT and I have no sparred a few times, so we know what the other is like. I can jab him, and he can hit me with a lot of hooks and counter easily. 
  • So today, I decided to do maybe 90% jabs. Just to try and learn. 
  • The tough trainer told me during the fight I need to jab even more, and that just when he gets used to the jab/blocking it, I need to come in with a 1-2-3, or a 1-2-1 since that's even faster. I've never done a 1-2-1 in sparring, so I'll have to work on that. 
  • He said, that I need to use my height more. (He told DavidT, he needs to go inside more and hit me with more bodyshots rather than going for my head.) 
  • DavidT is a much more skilled fighter than I am. However, I'm 3-4 inches taller and 40 lbs heavier, so he's got a real disadvantage against me. His shots are still a lot more powerful than mine. Just like last time, we started off light but then he came in, I hit him hard, he hit me hard, and we were probably going 80% or so by the time the sparring session was over. 
  • DavidT seems to like going either 5% or 90% it seems like, either really light barely touching one another or going really hard. I noticed he's more accurate, can bait me, moves quickly, and has a wicked counter hook and the like. 
  • The tough trainer told me to quit my uppercuts, and use jabs and an overhead right from up top since I'm taller. So when he comes in, he said to block and come with an overhand right since DavidT will most likely be fighting on the inside. 
  • My neck hurts, he got me with a left hook real hard. He almost does no jabs, but just waits to set up his other punches. This is probably another reason I can jab him to death. He's quick, but not super quick and so once I start coming in I can tag him with my jab, but that still leaves me open to his counter shots. The tough trainer said again, I need more stamina to be able to last 3 rounds! 
  • We do two 3 minute rounds in sparring sessions, but the match will be 3 two minute rounds. Plus I won't have a full faceguard, which means I have to be even more careful about counters. 

#18: Fri 9/27  SugarRayL

  • Today was a really light sparring day. The head trainer asked me if I wanted to and I said OK. SugarRayL sparred really lightly with me. He tapped me a few times, but didn't really do much but touch my gloves and body. 
  • He came in to give me a bunch of body shots, but I started throwing uppercuts so he was a bit more hesitant. I couldn't hit him with my jab much, he's quite fast and agile. He's a really effective counter puncher. He'll just sit patient, and then slip very easily and then throw the jab. 
  • I had to stay fighting him outside, though probably in a real match I'd have gone inside since he was so fast. I'd have to corner him and then go inside to trade blows a bit. 
  • It's hard to believe he has only been boxing 4 years, but he said he's had many years doing martial arts and is unbelievable shape. He told me that even though he's not that fast, though he seemed really fast to me, he has excellent stamina and conditioning. Thus, he said he doesn't really get tired very easily, and so then it's easy to counter against someone who is tired and will be slower. 
  • Again, this is so true how conditioning is the precursor to anything in boxing. If you're huffing and puffing, your punches aren't going to be very effective for the most part. He did tell me that I have excellent uppercuts. He suggested I vary them up more, throw both short and long uppercuts to throw my opponent off. I got him a few times with uppercuts when he came in, or he blocked it but if I threw it hard it could have still gotten under his chin. 
  • I notice uppercuts are really neglected by beginners. I think the biggest reason is that most people spend too much time on the heavy bag, and so you can't really practice uppercuts. The uppercut is clearly an intermediate level punch and takes a while to get. I'm trying to practice, at least in shadow boxing, one round per day of just uppercuts both short and longer uppercuts. 
  • This was the lightest sparring I've done since my first session. It's interesting, even though I was a few inches taller his reach was longer than mine so it was an interesting challenge. I think it's still an advantage to be taller with leverage for the most part, especially if one is a more defensive minded boxer. 
  • I did a lot of feints and double jabs, I'll use a variety next time as well. Still didn't move my head much, that's my next goal. 

#17: Thur 9/26  MarvinH
  • MarvinH was more aggressive today. Usually he's a light sparrer, but I know he's getting ready for his first match too so he came in more aggressively. He's got really quick feet, so he can step in and out and got me a few times. Overall, I was able to hit him with my jab many times. Either he'd have to get away from my jab, which he could do since he's quick, but whenever he came in to get me - even if he got me with a bodyshot or hook, I'd still be able to get him with my jab. 
  • I tried working on double jabbing, and feints, and just changing it up. It wasn't easy to change up my jab b/c I wasn't used to it, but now I see the wisdom of it. I was able to keep a quick guy like him at bay b/c I jabbed constantly. 
  • I was so focused on the jab, that when he did slip I didn't counter as quickly with an uppercut so he got me a few times. In the 2nd round, even tough I was tired I tried doing the same and then countered with an uppercut a few times. I always get hit in the 2nd round b/c I'm so tired. My guard goes down and just I'm not aggressively firing the jabs which is also defensive/acts as a block. 
  • For next time: 1) double jab, feint-jab, 2) move my head

#16: Wed 9/25  ThomasH

  • I've always wanted to spar ThomasH b/c he's fast and tall. He's quite skilled and I know I could learn from sparring a guy like him. Out of the guys I've sparred so far, he has the best and fastest jab. His long arms and speed posed a few problems for me in the beginning. 
  • The first round, we were mostly going lighter. Feeling one another out. He was coming in fairly aggressively, so finally I got him a few times in the face with my jabs. So then, I could hear his breathing getting heavier and he started to get more and more aggressive. He knows I have no foot speed compared to him, so he started coming in with body shots. However, every time he came in - just like all the other beginners - he ended looking down, and I was able to get him in the face with my jab almost every time. He came in harder and got me in my ribs, so I ended up hitting him harder with my jab since his face was totally open. 
  • I know it'll hurt to get hit in the ribs in a real match and maybe I wouldn't be able to breathe if he hit me, but every time he got me in the body I also got him with a jab pretty hard in the face. It's very hard to hit the body + keep one's guard up + have the speed to get away from a jab unless one is already inside fighting and both of you are hitting one another. 
  • If this were a real match, I could have broken his nose easily since he was close to me and low so it wasn't too hard to point my jab down and hit him pretty hard in the face. We ended the round with a flurry of shots. He has an incredibly fast left hook, and got me a bunch of times but I was also able to get him with a left uppercut at almost the same time. I'd say the round was pretty close. I got in more jabs, and he got a lot of body shots so probably scored a lot of points. 
  • The second round, we were both pretty tired. I could feel his presence/breathing, and that he wanted to get me pretty hard. He started coming in more aggressively, and so I hit him with uppercuts, hooks, straight rights, but he stayed inside to my surprise. One time, it felt like a minute but it probably wasn't that long, we both hit one another almost 10 times. I actually got him more than he got me since I had him against the corner and he almost never threw an uppercut while I was hitting him with uppercuts, jabs, and straight rights. He also came at me a few more times in the body, but again I got him in the head pretty hard so he started to hesitate. I would say I won that round for sure. 
  • It's interesting b/c I had at least 75 lbs on him, but he was quick I was slow. We were about the same height, but he had a longer reach/was more skilled than I was. I could tell he just doesn't spar as much, since I was much calmer in there than he was. When he hit me I didn't panic, but he kind of panicked when I hit him on the inside and then started to come in even more aggressively, I could feel he was mad and wanted to get me back. 
  • If he had a corner man, and we were actually in a match, his trainer would probably tell him to just hit me with the jab and run back since he had great footwork. He tried to do that initially, but I cut off the ring so he had nowhere to go. It was really no fair, I was much much heavier than him. Even though I'm overweight and am a 185 lb guy in a 230 lb body, my punches have a lot more weight behind them. 
  • Also, I could tell he was upset/wanted to get more aggressive after I hit him but I think that threw him off his game. He wasn't backing up but wanted to just come in and hit me. I have no idea what a real match would have been like, he's much faster and would probably have hit me in the face a few times. However, it's harder for him to spar against a bigger guy like me since once I get in I just have too much weight behind my punches and can hurt him more than he can hurt me, especially on the inside. I'm not an inside fighter, or I don't want to be, so I stayed on the outside too and tried to be quick about jabbing/stepping and stepping out. 
  • My left jaw hurts pretty bad, even though I was wearing a full face guard, since he got me with an uppercut. I must have hit him several times with an uppercut, and of course if it were real I would have really hurt him. Again, we would never box in a match since I'm so much heavier than him. Still, he got me pretty hard with that left hook/uppercut since my jaw really hurts. Right under the right side of my ribs, I can feel a slight bruise as well. It didn't start to hurt until a few hours later, but now it feels sore. I wonder if it hurts more or less when there is a layer of fat, probably less since the fat may protect the bones. 
  • Afterwards, he said my punches are really strong compared to his. When he found out my weight he kind of let out this noise, like why are we sparring when you outweigh me by 75+ lbs? He calmed down afterwards, and of course everything went back to normal. He's a nice guy, but I could tell he was worked up b/c of our sparring match. 
  • Even if I'm not sparring guys my own weight or height, every match is a great learning experience b/c it just gets me used to the ring. I was able to be calm during the entire sparring session even though I was pretty winded by round 2. I tried working on a number of things. I think I only threw like 3 right hand punches. I mostly stayed defensive, waited for him, and when I was able to get in I jabbed and then blocked/got out of the way. He after a while started to come in more, but I threw a bunch of defensive uppercuts so he didn't come in as much. I also did a lot more feint jabs, it was really effective in the 2nd round since he knew I could hit him with my jab. A few times I went in and doing a 1-2-3 combination I felt out of balance, but he was backstepping so I had time to adjust and back step. 
  • If he had come in and hit me while I was out of balance, it would have been easy to knock me to the side. I need to get faster with my uppercuts, but I noticed they're decent defensive punches even if I don't hit him. He comes in and just me throwing one or two makes him more hesitant. I don't have a long reach, but if I'm smart about timing I can definitely box someone with a longer reach/someone who is faster. 
  • My style is basically jab accurately, use defensive jabs/uppercuts, and when he comes in either inside or for the body really hammer his head with a hard left jab or uppercut so he won't come in again. If I can add better footwork so I can go in-and-out I would be much better, and also more combinations. I still have a hard time doing a 3 hit combination unless I get him trapped and go inside, which is still dangerous since I could get hit too.  
  • I've enjoyed every sparring match I've been in, and I learn something different every time. Today, I learned to be patient and not throw my right very much knowing how fast he was. I also learned to be patient to counterpunch with a jab or jab-hook or jab-uppercut, and if I slip quickly I can also counter with a jab. For next time I want to: 1) move my head more, I totally forgot if I did this match, 2) back up after I hit him with the jab and not just stay there like I normally do, 3) finish with my left hand/do combos rather than just single punch, 4) do more double jabs/jab feints. I think if I wait until the 2nd round, especially if my jabs are hitting, the feints become even more effective. 
  • I'm not sure what I would do without sparring. Boxing is so repetitive. I wonder if I I can continue sparring until my 50's? Either way, I hope I can be as dedicated as ThomasH when I'm 50. He's in great shape and is really skilled. 
  • Sparring brings out a different side focused side of me. It feels more like chess than a fight, I absolutely love the strategy involved. Today I had a tough day emotionally, but I was itching to go to the boxing gym. It's not just getting exercise which helps with stress, but during my 2 hours there, I couldn't think about my day or anything else at all. I was completely focused on the task at hand, in particular when I spar I'm not even really thinking but reacting since it happens so quickly. 
  • It's amazing that I could be there 2 hours and not have a single thought about what happened during my day - whether good or bad - since all I could do is focus on boxing since it's so intense. So far, I've been holding my own and feel myself improving. I didn't enter the gym feeling great, but I left feeling great. (My jaw still hurts and my ribs are still sore.) 

#15: Tue 9/24  DavidT
  • I found out DavidT is 45 and has been boxing on and off for 20 years. (He looks 10 years younger, boxers all look so young.) I could tell he's got good form. He's one of the thickest guys I've seen in the gym, roughly 5'8 and 180 lbs or so. His legs are like tree trunks, and he's got a wicked hook. 
  • The 1st round we sparred lightly, DavidT doesn't usually spar very hard. He almost never jabs, and just waits to counterpunch. He usually just backs up when I do combos. I worked on mostly my jab, and occasionally did a 1-2 combo. He's fast enough that I can't hit him unless I step forward or he steps forward, my jabs are too slow/he's too quick for the most part but once I switched up angles, and then changed it up I was able to get him a few times with my jab.  
  • The 2nd round however, thing changed. He started coming in more aggressively. He's fairly quick so I couldn't get him much with my jab, but I kept the pressure on. The head trainer yelled at me to throw even more jabs, double jab, etc. I started to but just couldn't do it very quickly, so I ended up jabbing and then feint jab, etc. As DavidT kept on coming in and got me with a few hooks and a few straight rights, he's quick for a thick shorter guy. I got him several times with a solid jab at the same time he got me with a hook, and one time I hit him pretty hard while dodging his hook. I said sorry, and he said no problem. He was quick so he was able to get inside, and he was able to counter my right hands pretty well. I should have done a 1-2-3, but in the heat of the moment I ended up just stopping with my right hand instead of finishing with my left. Bad mistake, since he got me a few times with a bunch of left and right hooks. 
  • After a while, he trapped me on the ropes and started to come inside and tried to hit me with a bunch of hooks. Since I was much taller, I could tell he was looking down, and so I started hitting him with a bunch of uppercuts and hooks, and then he hit back on my body and swung at my head but missed mostly b/c he had his head down/blocking since it was easy for me to swing up on my uppercuts since my eyes were open the whole time. 
  • If we had continued I know I could have hurt him pretty bad, I just had too much leverage. He may have hit me in my body, but b/c of my height and his head being down/he couldn't see my head was missing it with his hooks, my uppercuts were hitting him and if I hit hard enough he would have been hurt for sure. After I got him a few uppercuts and a hook, and I kept on going/he kept on going - the trainer yelled out to stop several times. 
  • [I've only seen one other time where the trainer had to yell to get the guys to stop. Last week two guys were getting it on and the older guy who was losing, trapped the younger guy (MannyP) on the ropes and kept on hitting him hard and MannyP couldn't do much. It's interesting, unlike other sports it's pretty easy to lose one's cool in boxing. I think in a real boxing match, it's much more important to keep one's cool and be calm.]
  • We then went back, and just fought on the outside. Afterwards I said thank you very nicely, so he was nice about it. 
  • He was really surprised that I had never sparred before I joined this gym, and then asked if I did martial arts or practiced on my own b/c it looked like I was much more skilled than someone who had been boxing for less than 2 months. I said about 10 years ago, I did some boxercise for a year but never sparred - just hit the heavy bag, shadow boxing in group classes. He said I have really strong punches, and complimented me. That was nice of him. I told him I was a wrestler in high school, so I am used to combative type environments even if I've never really boxed. 
  • What he doesn't know is that in 1.5 months I've already had 26 workouts and 15 sparring sessions (including today). That's a lot of sparring for a short period of time. The good part about doing so much sparring in such a short period is that I get to work on things right away/try new things/fix my mistakes, since most white collar boxers like myself (esp. those of us over 40) come in 2-3x/week and maybe spar 1x per week. In that sense, coming in 5x/week and having sparred as much as I have in a short time I'm much more calm in the ring, and know what works for me.
  • Anyways, I won those two rounds I believe even though he hit me. After my match, the tough trainer told DavidT that he's not moving his head and so he's a sitting duck for my jabs. He was working with him just to move his lead slightly, which will alter the trajectory of the punch so it will hit you on the side of your headgear vs. in your nose/face/lip where I was hitting. That's good advice for me too, move my head more. 
  • Things to work on for the next sparring match: 1) double jabs, feint-jab, jab-feint-right, 2) counterpunch rather than looking for the 1-2 combo, and 3) move my head more! 
  • Even though we got into a heated tussle, that's totally OK. I can't believe how much I look forward to sparring. I wish I could spar every day, though that's probably counterproductive. As of today, I've sparred 15x in 26 workouts. That's 58% of the time, which is an amazing rate. Even 25% of the time would be great, so I have to say I'm pretty happy even if it's going light to be able to spar. I just don't want to build bad habits, but I really enjoy the chess aspects of sparring and boxing so much. I can't wait until I get in really great shape so I can focus on my sparring skills. 

#14: Sat 9/21  MarvinH + thin lanky young guy
  • I didn't mean to but I ended up sparring twice. 
  • First, I sparred with MarvinH again. We talked this time and turns out he's 39 years old, been boxing for about 7 years, and this November will be his first fight. He said the year before 40 he wanted to try a match. He only weighs about 150 lbs he said, and is about 5'8. He's quite thick however, and in really great shape with a lot of muscular build. 
  • It wasn't a real fair match since I was just way taller and bigger than him. He said I was so wide it was hard for him to spin around, since I would tag him with my jab when he did spin. I did notice he was fast. 
  • The first round I did mostly jab, and 1-2 combos. However, I notice I'm really slow getting back to my guard after throwing a right hand so I'm vulnerable to a left hook or jab. He's fast so he dodged a lot of my shots. I got him with my jab a half dozen times however, so he didn't advance much. 
  • The 2nd round, I decided not to throw any rights at all just focusing on my jab. He asked me later why I didn't use my right, and I said I noticed him stepping around quickly and then countering, so I started baiting him with my jab and then stepping in for a right uppercut. I got him in the corner once, and feigned a few 1-2 combos but not throwing my right just the jab, and when he relaxed and came in I got him with a bunch of uppercuts and hooks. 
  • Basically, my hooks and straight rights are really slow. I have to work on them more. I have to be really patient with my right, and focus on jabs and then uppercuts if the person does advance. 
  • Things to work on: Instead of doing 1-2, do a 3 hit combo next time and finish with the left hand even if it's another jab. I think I should start working on a 3 hit combo where the last is a long reach uppercut/underhand jab. It's not doing damage so much as keeping the person away after I use my right hand. 
  • My 2nd match was against a lanky fella. He was about 5'10 but really thin. He said he's 31 and been boxing for about 2 years, but has never been in a match and doesn't really want to enter but likes to spar. He weighs only 140lbs so he was shocked to find out (after our match) that I weighed 230. I had 90 lbs on him even though I'm only two inches or so taller. 
  • He asked me to spar, but I said I was tired, so he said let's go lightly. Turns out we didn't go that light, though neither of us hit very hard just tapped our face guards. (He was wearing a full guard as well.) 
  • His style was like Ali's with his hands down and daring me to get him with the jab. I think he underestimated my jab, b/c I did get him a few times and so he put his guard up. He was fast in moving around, but once I cornered him he had nowhere to go. So I ended up jabbing and getting him with a bunch of inside hooks and uppercuts. 
  • I used a bunch of defensive styles, so jab, jab, jab and when he advanced I would use an uppercut or jab uppercut. One time he came in and I got him pretty hard with a hook but he blocked my arm with his arm. Even though I ended up hitting him, the inside of my left elbow where the two bones meet is really in pain now. I can't even massage it b/c it hurts so much. This was probably my most serious boxing injury since I never got hit too hard in the face and just had that slightly bloody lip from before. 
  • It doesn't help me too much sparring guys who are so light and especially shorter. If they're tall it's not so bad since I get to at least work on my outside fighting, but I'm just too big. I need to lose weight only so I can get closer to my sparring partners. 
  • This is like a dream session if I can get 4 rounds of sparring. It's also fun to spar with different people since they have different styles, respond differently. I'm just concerned I'm building bad habits since I'm sparring guys that are almost always shorter and much much lighter than me, even if they are more skilled. 
  • This is why I like sparring MikeT and RoyJMikeT is so much much better than I am, but we're similar in build so I can at least feel what it would be like to box someone my size. RoyJ is much lighter than I am, but he's really lean and strong. I would be his weight if I were as lean as he was, well maybe not but he looks like he's about 6ft, maybe 6'1, weighs 175 or so with no fat at all, maybe 5-7% bodyfat. He's much more fit than I am, but he's also a beginner so we're fairly evenly matched. +he's a southpaw so I get a different kind lesson with him. 
  • I really enjoy sparring days, the whole fun of boxing is in the sparring. I think even if I never am part of a match, if I spar regularly it'll be fun just doing this for a long long time. It's kind of like a match, but no prep, no making weight, and of course only going at about 50% so it's fairly light but one can still try new things. 

#13: Fri 9/20  DavidT
  • Today was my first time sparring DavidT. He's about 5'8 and 180 lbs. Really thick fella, about mid 30's and seems kind of cocky like he knows it all even though he doesn't talk much. It's funny how one can pick that up. He's obviously skilled, I've seen him shadowboxing and go on the speed bags and he's quite good. 
  • As I suspected, he's got really powerful countershots. Everytime I came in with a right hand, he was able to counter me with a hook or a bodyshot. When I went in, he just kind of let me go in as if he could take my punches. 
  • I changed my strategy and ended up mostly jabbing b/c I was taller, and he didn't do much after that. When he came in for the body shots I was able to get him a few times with upper cuts or jabs. Overall, if we were in a real match I probably would have gotten hit really hard by him and been wobbled. However, once I focused mostly on jabs and moved around he didn't do much. 
  • He's a powerful hitter, though he didn't hit me too hard he was going light, but the height difference made it so he couldn't do much unless he countered. He was pretty quick, however, so I wasn't able to get him much with my jabs. He also didn't advance much, so again it was harder to get him with my jab. My jab is quicker than I thought however, and he had to slip and duck a lot of jabs. 
  • During our 3rd round, I could tell he was tired (so was I) so didn't move much but just stood there and slowly advanced on me. He kind of gave up and just let me come in, and then countered. He was surprised I was able to get him with my jab. He would put his guard down at first, but my longer reach allowed me to get him a few times with my jab. He backed up, but I didn't have the timing right to try and hit him with a combo after the jab. In hindsight, advancing jabs/back step or double jabs would have been effective with him b/c of my reach. 
  • I think if we were in a real match, unlikely since I'd be a heavyweight and he'd be a light heavyweight, I'd have to mostly focus on jabs and counters. My reach is longer and he'd have to come inside to do some damage, but overall I was able to get him with my jab. He didn't advance and waited to counter me. He did have an awesome counter for my right hand, either a quick bodyshot or uppercut. I'd have to jab and move more so as to not let him counter me. 
  • I could tell he was an experienced boxer, but his thick bodytype (mostly muscle with tree trunk legs) along with some fat made him slower and he didn't move around much. If I'm well conditioned, I could beat and outlast a guy like him if I'm disciplined with my jab and pick him off using the jab. He would try to advance and knock my head off with a left hook or upper cut, but if I jab away quickly it'd be harder for him to advance since he'd get hit or be blocking and it's hard to attack. Also, using hard uppercuts when he gets in closer is a good way to get shorter stocky guys like him. 
  • Overall I don't like sparring guys like him b/c instead of going at an even pace so I get used to it, he either just sits there and blocks and then goes really aggressively in countering. It doesn't help my skill as much b/c I prefer someone to go at an even pace so I could try new things/he could try new things. Oh well, I may spar him again since he's usually there at the same time as I am.
  • I look forward to sparring anyone, even females, at my level since I get to try new things. Overall he's not my favorite sparring partner, but I did learn a lot from his counter. I learned a valuable lesson in terms of using jabs/longer uppercuts to keep him away/away from his really powerful counters/lefthooks, etc. He would have hurt my face for sure, but if I wised up with the counters I'd be able to keep him at bay. He was surprised when I tagged him once he did start advancing, my longer reach was able to do that. Height gives such an advance, especially in a defensive drowning style focused on jabs - much like Lennox Lewis did even though he was a heavyweight. 

#12: Tue 9/17  RoyJ
  • I was finished with my workout and about to leave and the head trainer asks me to spar. He's a young southpaw. He looked about 25 or so, and was about 6'1 and weighed about 170 lbs. He totally looked like a boxer. He was lean, and I could see muscular definition on his arms and legs - not the bodybuilding kind but the kind a boxer would have, not ripped but definitely lean muscle from lots of exercise and activity. He jump roped effortlessly and so I thought I he was really skilled. 
  • Turns out he's more a beginner like me. 
  • In the first round, I wasn't used to fighting a southpaw. He was much more comfortable with me as a right hander. I couldn't hit him very well with my jab from afar, but most of the times he came in I was able to tag him fairly hard with my jab. I don't have a long range, but I can advance fairly quickly and using the drowning style he was able to block a lot of my jabs or get out of the way, but whenever he tried to advance I was able to just sit and tag him with the jab. 
  • He got me a few times in the body, but I was able to get him with an uppercut or jab almost everytime he came in which made him more hesitant. He had a really powerful left hand, and got me really hard once. I remembered my last sparring match, and even though he got my hard I tagged him with an uppercut. Since I had my faceguard, if we had the open face headgear he would have damaged my face for sure. Of course, if we had open face headgear then my jabs would be getting him in the nose as well so it works both ways. This is why sparring is great to learn, but it's not a real match. It's much more controlled and lighter. Once I got him with my jab, I think we were going pretty hard about 70%. 
  • I would say I won the 1st round for sure. He probably got me with a few body shots, one overhand left, and whiffed on a bunch of uppercuts/hooks b/c I was getting him with my jab. I got him at least 5-6 times w/my jab and one right hand + a few uppercuts when he came in. Once he came in, he tended to look down a bit so if I just moved a bit I was able to get him with my jab. The more I jabbed, the more hesitant he was about getting in. 
  • During the 2nd round, he figured out how slow footed I was and started to use footwork to get around me. He got me with at least 2 or maybe 3 straight lefts. Once of them was hard enough that my lips were bruised (and still hurts a bit) even with my mouthpiece and even with my full faceguard. If I didn't have the full headgear I would be hurting for sure, definitely my lips would be real bloody. Of course he'd be bleeding too with my jabs. 
  • Once he figured out I was having a hard time breathing, he was able to use his superior speed/athleticism/footwork to get me a number of times in the body. He still has a habit of looking down, so I was able to get him almost at the same time he hit me with the bodyshots with either an uppercut or jab. I would say he won round 2, but not by much. I did remember to consistently fire my jab even if I was so tired since I knew he got hit a number of times/was hesitant. 
  • If there was a 3rd round he would have won that for sure, probably won the match. He was in really good shape, and I had already done mitts by the time he came in. I really really need to get in better conditioning. My trainer said I was doing really well and was winning when I got tired b/c I had no stamina. I think he was kind of surprised, since this guy was much younger than me/a bit taller/and a southpaw - which means he's much more used to boxing righties. 
  • I think compared to my opponent, I was much more relaxed in the ring. I'm not sure if it's b/c I'm used to sparring, but my heart rate didn't spike and I didn't get anxious. Maybe it's b/c I know it's just sparring, but I was calm in there. I also know that I have an accurate jab/was able to throw a variety of jabs both strong/weak/fast and I know I have a decently strong right. An advanced boxer could easily beat me with footwork mostly b/c I can't move well, but a beginner can't move very well either and so it's a) conditioning, and b) accuracy. My opponent and I were roughly the same heigh, similar body frame, but he was a lean 170 while I'm an overweight 230. Those 60 lbs wouldn't help me one bit against someone like him since it's all fat. It's not like I'm a really thick and powerful 230, but rather an overweight one who is slowed down by my fat. 
  • My lips hurt as I'm typing this. I think if my boxing skills stayed the same but I was in great condition, I think I have a good chance in my match. Once I lose weight, that should only increase my speed (in theory.) 
  • Things to work on for next time: 1) keep on working on the jab-L hook quick combo and the jab-L uppercut combo, 2) drowning style go in and out, 3) be patient and wait to use my right hand. I'm not sure I can do any of the moves my trainer taught me today, I think I'm just too slow. Also my opponents get a bit weary b/c of my jab and so think a bit more carefully about coming in since I get them. I have a feeling some of them will just want to rush and brawl with me since I could tag them with my jab, so I have to be prepared to shoulder roll and the like. 

#11: Fri 9/13 OscarD
  • I knew he was experienced, but found out he's 36 and has been boxing since he's 21. He looks like he's 25 and in fantastic shape. It seems like most boxers look 10 years younger than they really are. 
  • It was not easy sparring after doing the Mitts and the other things. 
  • The first round I won for sure. He tried coming in and got me a few times, but overall my jabs were able to keep him at bay. Once I got him with my jab a few times, he started blocking higher and higher. That meant I was able to get him with my right and then hit him with a few combos. Overall I did a decent job of getting him with combos after he started putting up his guard more. I was able to do a quick advancing jab which made him a bit more tentative. 
  • The 2nd round was a different story. I was getting so tired that I couldn't hit him at all. He came in at will to hit me with a number of body shots esp. on my right open side. I'm usually able to get a number of jabs and hits in, but he came in quickly and I couldn't get him. He also hit me with a number of combos and I opened up my right to get him but stepped back and he hit me at the same time so I stumbled backwards and almost fell. Of course him apologizing made it worse since there were a lot of people watching me. With better conditioning I could have beat him since I'm much taller and bigger, but the conditioning really got me. I'm so mad I'm not in better shape. I wish my knees were good so I could run 5 miles per day to get in good shape. I was more embarrassed than anything. I vow to work on my footwork and conditioning so I won't be in that shape anymore to get hit back by a guy who is 50lbs lighter than me. 
  • Afterwards we talked a bit and I introduced myself. He's a really nice man. He told me that he's been in a number of amateur matches in the last 15 years. I told him this is my first month and he said I was really skilled. Of course he might have been just saying that, but he said everytime he came in I was able to get him with a jab or counter. That's nice even if he was being polite.
  • I think I was able to avoid most of his shots, mostly b/c I was taller and just leaned back. However, when I was tired and even with my guard up I was eating punches for a while. He also got my on my right side pretty hard and it made it hard to throw punches. I think bodyshots are useful but I don't have the speed to slide into a body shot, so I have to figure out how to hit the body while I'm inside. Not easy since then I'd have to keep my guard up to. 
  • Things to work on: 1) never just block for too long, throw punches any punches. I think uppercuts would be good to keep a guy away for a little bit since my hands can still be close to my body. 2) Keep on attacking, even light jabs. I think if I hit with my jab early, then the other person will be more tentative in attacking. 3) Above all keep on firing. 
  • Sparring is amazing. I think if I could just spar once/week I'd be in much better shape and just get excited for boxing for many many years. 

#10: Thur 9/12 MannyP+ Various
  • My first opponent was a southpaw, I'll call him MannyP. He was about 4 inches shorter than I Was so I had a significant height advantage. He was in fantastic shape and extremely fast. 
  • He didn't have his guard up, like Ali, b/c I think he thought he could just get away from my punches. For the most part he did since I was mostly in attack mode, but b/c I was taller I did get him with my jab whenever he tried to get in. He got me with a bunch of body shots, but when I got him in a corner he couldn't do anything b/c I was too big. I'm pretty sure I won't fight someone like him, not at my weight it's not realistic. I probably won this match if it were real, but again I won't ever have an opponent like him that's his size, speed, and height. 
  • I noticed that to keep my jab fast, I jab without clenching my fist. It won't hurt anyone but I do think I'll get points in an amateur match b/c the gloves will be larger. I'm trying now to jab without clenching, and then clenching when I do combos. 
  • My 2nd opponent I only went one round. He was a guy in pretty good shape but was tentative. I was a few inches taller but I was able to tag him with my jab whenever he tried to get in. He did get me with one good body shot, but overall he had to adjust his mask several times b/c I was able to get him with my jab. Again, I had too much of a size advantage. 
  • My 3rd opponent for just one round was a lady about 3 inches smaller than me. She was quite quick, but wasn't so experienced. She was able to move quickly with her body shots, but again I got her in the head and face whenever she came in. She ended up looking down when she came in, and then I was able to get her in the head fairly easily. 
  • Again, I wonder in a real match what would happen? If someone comes in and gets me with a body, would I be able to get them in the head? Would I be too hurt? Would they keep on coming in if I do end up getting them in the head? 
  • Today, I tried working more on my left uppercut as they were trying to get in. I need to work on this more, it's a really good counter even if it doesn't hit b/c it gets people out of the way and ends up naturally blocking their punches. 
#9: Fri 9/6 MikeT
  • The young powerful guy was there today., I'll call him MikeT. He doesn't look very powerful with kind of big hair. He's about 6 ft tall and 200 lbs, and does not have a chiseled body like the other nicer man I box. He's very powerful however. 
  • I notice that he can twist and torque his body very well, so all of his shots are extremely powerful. He uses his entire body to hit and he's fairly quick too. Even on the heavy bag, I can hear him hitting really hard even after he's been there over an hour. He's only 22 years old and has been boxing for 4 years, and has a total baby face. 
  • In the ring I couldn't keep up with him. Just blocking his hits made me so tired in the 1st round that by the 2nd round I couldn't even jab properly. 
  • In the 1st round, I was still able to hit him with my jab, but he was able to come inside and get me with uppercuts and bodyshots. When I went inside he just blocked his face and let me hit him. 
  • I tried using my jab and then countering, but b/c he was so much better than me he just kind of waited for me/let me hit him while he blocked and parried, and then unleashed some combos on me. If he were going 100%, I'm not sure I would have lasted a single round with him. He might as well be Tyson to me since even at 30% my side still hurts from his shots. 
  • The best part of sparring with MikeT is that he's about my height and size, but doesn't allow me to get in much. I have to really think about getting in my jabs and rights.
  • Light sparring with a mask however is still pretty different from a real match. First, I don't get hit in the face since I have the guard. Second, we're not getting too close since we don't want to hit really hard. I wonder if this will actually be a negative in terms of preparing for the fight. In November I'll have to remember to actually get in closer so I can actually hit rather than just tap like I do in light sparring with a mask. 
  • Things to work: 1) still hit with the jab only in the 1st round and wait for the counter, 2) footwork. Try and get out of the way more of the hits, and 3) experiment with keeping my hands down a bit so it's easier to walk/use footwork and then putting it right back up when I get closer. 
  • It's always so exciting when I get to spar, I'm calmer now but it's the rush of adrenaline that can only come from a live match. I can't tell if I'm getting better really, but I know I'm calmer in there and actually can think a bit. 
#8: Thur 9/5 OscarD
  • I sparred with a new guy, probably early 20's. He was at least 3 inches shorter than me. He seemed like an advanced beginner, but was in much better shape than I was. I probably outweighed him by at least 60 lbs. 
  • My jabs were hitting him everytime he came in. He got me with a lot of bodyshots b/c he was fast, and I had a high guard up so he couldn't hit me in the head. However, everytime he came in I hit him with my jab at the same time. I wonder if this were a real match, would my jab be faster or the body shot? Also, if we hit at the same time would it hurt him more or me? I assume him since it's harder to get hit in the head. 
  • I doubt someone my weight could move that fast unless he was really advanced. 
  • We did 2 rounds and I was pretty tired by the 2nd round. This time I did try to hit the jab and get out of the way, so he didn't get me with much. He was shorter so had a harder time trying to hit me with his right hand. He was also more tentative. I'm not very good but since I was so much bigger and taller than him I think he was a bit intimidated. 
  • I tried going in for my right hand but wasn't very successful since he was much faster. One time when he came in for a bodyshot, I got him with a right hand and probably could have hit him pretty hard with an uppercut but he was already hitting my body. Since we were only going like 30-50%, I'm not sure what it would have been like. He got me pretty good in the face with a right hand once and apologized, it didn't hurt b/c I had the faceguard but in the match it may hurt since I won't have a faceguard. I really really need to look out for straight rights. 
  • He also kept his guard down for a while and so I was able to hit with my jab. I guess at some point everyone gets tired. I need to have my guard up at all times, I think that's the key to blocking the right hand. 
  • Things to continue working on for next time: 1) going in and out with the jab, 2) pulling the jab back a lot more quickly to keep my guard up, and 3) keeping my eyes open for defense/counters rather than just going for the hit. For my next sparring match, I'm just going to jab and not use the right hand or anything else unless it's a counter. (Hope I'm disciplined enough to try this, after it's just a light match and is the best time to practice.) 
  • I wish I could spar every day, I learn something everytime and it's also the best workout. I think I only had one medium sparring session with the really good young heavyweight boxer. Well, it was probably 60% for me and only 30% for him. 
  • The head trainer always asks me to spar, since he knows I want to go for the match and he knows I'm a beginner who needs a lot of work. 

#7: Wed 9/4 GerryC
  • I sparred the nice man. He's roughly my height, and about 40 lbs lighter. If I lose my fat, I'd probably weigh as much as him, probably late 30's. 
  • I was hitting on my jabs again. I tapped him several times whenever he tried getting in. 
  • However, twice I didn't pull my hand back quickly enough after a jab and he hit me pretty hard with his straight right. I notice he hits the heavy bag pretty hard and has a powerful straight right. If I wasn't wearing my faceguard and he was going full power, he may have made my nose bleed/broken my nose. He had a powerful right hand. 
  • I remember closing my eyes when he hit, and I can't do that if I want to survive in the ring. 
  • I can hit pretty quickly with my jab, but the problem is I don't a) bring it back fast enough, and b) I don't move back after I hit to avoid power punches. 
  • I still can't do a lot of combos and he got me in the body many times, he's definitely quicker than I am but the only thing I had better than him was my jab.
  • I thought it was interesting. He hits the heavy bag quite a lot, and so has powerful punches. I try to be lighter and do the speed bag, double bag, and mitts so my jab is better and faster than his. 
  • I think if this were a 3 round match it would have been pretty close. I definitely got more punches in and hit him more than he hit me, but the shots he got me with were much more powerful. Without my faceguard, I'd have a broken nose and it'd be bleeding for sure. I have to remember this. 
  • Things to work on: a) snap back on the jab quick, b) tilt my head back/step back after the jab, and c) move around more after the jab - left, right, back, side, etc. Overall keep an eye out for the right hand and don't just think about offense. 
  • The best part of boxing is the sparring for sure. 

#6: Tue 9/3 MarvinH
  • I wanted to spar at 50% at least, but my partner only went about 30%. It was still helpful but I wish he actually hit me rather than just be far away and try to hit. 
  • He was better than me for sure, but I was at least 5 inches taller that he couldn't really get in on me or do much since my jab was hitting him before he could hit me. 
  • I tried to be like Wladmir Klitchscko and totally focus just on my jab. I'm still not sure if the drowning style will work for me, I'm a big guy and I don't have really long arms. I can back pedal at a decent speed so I'm hoping to jab and get out. I like this style b/c it's a calmer style, focusing on mainly one punch. Perhaps as much as 90% jab, then 5% straight right, and then 5% all the other punches. I think right now most of my sparring sessions have been about this ratio.
  • I worked on just two things, jab and right + right hand block, then uprcut + hook. I couldn't do a whole lot of combos mostly b/c I'm tired. 
  • I haven't fought anyone taller than me really, so I'll have to adjust if my opponent is 6'2 or taller. 

#5: Sat 8/24 GerryC
  • I sparred a new guy today. He's a really gentle nice man, about early 30's, 5'10, and maybe 190 pounds or so. He's never been in a match, but has been working out for about 3 years just for exercise, sparring very irregularly. He has no interest in being in a real match so doesn't really like to spar. 
  • The 2 rounds went by fast. He was already tired and was in much better shape than I was, but I just got there so I had more energy. 
  • Overall it was a good session. He got me with a bunch of body shots, but since he doesn't spar much he didn't keep his hands up very much so I got him a number of times with my jab. 
  • Since he's a beginner like me, when he went for a body shot he went too low so he got me but I was able to get him in the head almost every time. 
  • My jab came out much better today since I was trying to be more conscience of lowering my hips  when I went for the jab. 
  • I still got hit a number of times on my head and body, but for the most part I was able to get him with my jab whenever he came in. I notice that if I'm relaxed then I can be a lot more accurate, and in amateur boxing I know it's not about hitting hard but being accurate. 
  • He got me with a lower body uppercut a number of times, but I was able to hit his head only b/c he wasn't defending it very well. I think for better boxers, they'd protect themselves more while trying to go for the body shot. I think I have to give up body shots to some degree since I'm not sure I can avoid them all, but overall I think my presence in the ring is getting better. I do have to work on moving around more, I'm kind of like a statue just sitting there and blocking mostly b/c I'm too tired to move. 
  • My opponent said that my jab was really strong even in the 2nd round. He said when he tried getting in to do some kind of combo I would just jab away at him really hard. I didn't feel like I hit him that much, but that was a nice compliment from my opponent. 
  • Overall the best session so far I've had in sparring. I actually felt like a real boxer today. 

#4: Wed 8/21 MikeT
  • Today they had a 20 year old boxer my size. He was my size when I was 18, over 20 years ago. We were about the same height, and if I lost 35 pounds I might look like him with less muscle of course. He was an experienced boxer and so many times let me hit him. I didn't hit very hard, but he let down his guard so I could hit him a bit. 
  • He started hitting back, and got in a number of shots. One shot was fairly hard to the head on a left hook, and the other time he got me with a right uppercut inside. For sure, if we were going 100% I would have been knocked down with the upper cut. I went in for a straight right and he ducked under and just got me under my chin. It hurt. I should have had a mouth guard. 
  • A few times he got me in my stomach area, and though he didn't hit too hard, he did hit hard enough that I wasn't breathing very well afterwards. If this were a real match I'd be in real pain today. This guy already had a full hour+ workout and was pretty tired, yet in the ring he was so calm. I guess having great conditioning makes you calm even when you're tired. 
  • The major takeaways for me were: better conditioning, keep my hands up, and use more the drowning style. In particular, my hands have to be up. I can take a shot to the body, but it's much tougher on the head. This guy was great. 
  • If I sparred him once/week I know I'd get much better since he knows he's better, but he does hit back pretty hard. He's the biggest guy I've sparred so far, and even his light taps hurt. I wonder if I could have been that good if I started in my teens. 

#3: Sat 8/10 MarvinH
  • My trainer/owner of the gym usually tells me to do some light sparring whenever there is anyone roughly within 5 inches of my height. My opponent was a guy about my age, but who was in fantastic shape. He was with his 13-14 year old son, so could have been anywhere from late 30's to mid 40's. He was a few inches shorter than me, but looked like he was really experienced.
  • The trainer said I wasn't doing any counter punching, which I guess is common for beginners. Beginners typically do a combo, move away/parry/or step back, and then just think about our own combos. The advanced boxers of course counter quite a bit, and can think about doing combos and then adjusting by countering the opponent's punches. 
  • I'm going to think about just one counter in my next sparring match, whenever he throws a left hook I'll slip and throw a right to the body or a right upper cut to the body. 
  • I'm also trying to figure out my most advantageous style. I'm shorter limbed, so I have to fight inside a bit more even if I'm the same height as opponent. 
  • Now that I'm actually sparring, even if it's light sparring, watching training videos makes a lot of sense. I can't imagine someone can learn without actually sparring. As they say, the difference between being a boxer and someone who boxercises is sparring. 

#2: Fri 8/9 SugarRayL
  • My partner was an experienced boxer. He was about 3 inches shorter than me but had really long arms, so our reach was about the same. 
  • As the taller guy, I should have been able to keep him at bay more with my jab but he was within  striking range when I used my jab so I wasn't able to counter very effectively. 
  • He was able to slip almost all my combos, and I only was able to tap him when he had already hit me. If we were in a match he might have even knocked me out, since he tapped me in the head at least a dozen times. 
  • After our 2nd round I was breathing heavily and I couldn't even hear his breathing. I have to improve my conditioning if I want to last 3 rounds. I need to work on my footwork. I find myself sometimes having my feet nearly parallel at times after throwing a number of combos, and of course I'll get knocked down quite easily. 
  • For sure, it's better to spar with someone much better than you. When I attempted combos he just blocked and let me try them, and would slip or just block them. When he did his combos, he started slow and then started throwing 3, 4 even 5 hit combos. After a while I couldn't even see his hands as he was hitting me.

#1: Tue 8/6

My very first sparring match as a 41 year old. My opponent was a younger guy in his early 20's who seemed very tentative and unsure of himself. I was at least 5 inches taller and 80 pounds heavier so he looked a bit intimidated. He was much more skilled than I was but he was very tentative. We weren't really hitting, but more touching our gloves rather than hitting. He got me in the abdomen area several times and would have hurt me pretty bad, but I got him several times in the head mostly b/c I was taller and had a longer reach. By the time the second round came around, I was much too tired and just ended up blocking.

1) SugarRayL - mid 30's, ~165 lbs, 5'9, with a really long reach. Very athletic and fast, really experienced amateur boxer. He's able to hit the body very quickly. Has a lean muscular build, and looks like he could be a pro boxer even though he's not. He has been in multiple matches, and often gives other boxers advice so probably has been boxing for a long time.

2) MarvinH - 39yrs, 150lbs, 5'8 and really muscular and thick. Has good speed. Has never been in a match before but is preparing for his first one. Has been boxing for 7 years or so recreationally.

3) MikeT - 22 yrs, ~200lbs, 6'0. Doesn't have the best body, not really cut but not really fat. Has been boxing for 4 years. Extremely powerful and quick. One light body shot or hook from him and I feel it all over my body the next day. He's the best boxer in the gym. Has a baby face, wavy hair, but moves really well. I wish I could box like him one day but maybe I'm too old.

4) GerryC - 33 yrs, 180lbs, 5'10 and really muscular and thick. Always working the heavy bag and has a really powerful right hand. Is not interested in matches and doesn't really like to spar much either. Doesn't really know how to jab very well, but is fast and strong so his right hand is dangerous even in a sparring match.

5) OscarD - 36yrs, 155lbs, 5'8. Good combinations, been boxing for 15+ years. Really powerful for a light guy and has been in a lot of matches so is very comfortable in the ring. He doesn't come in often, but when he does I see him stay for 1.5 hrs+ working really hard in everything.

6) MannyP - Maybe late 20's, 5'7 or so. Southpaw. Really fast, but doesn't have much power or experience. Doesn't put his guard up so he could zip around the ring using footwork.

7) RoyJ - early to mid 20's, 170 lbs, 5'11, really muscular body. Built like a muscular soccer player/receiver in football. Southpaw. Has good speed and endurance, and has really strong punches. Has the most ideal body for boxing out of anyone in the gym. Is a beginner boxer like me, who needs a lot of work on his basics including footwork. Great conditioning so he doesn't even break a sweat during our sparring sessions. He loses balance on his punches however, mostly b/c he throws so hard. As he gets better he'll be a tough guy to spar since he's really strong, quick, and well conditioned.

8) DavidT - 45 yrs old, 5'8 and maybe 175-180lbs. The thickest guy in the whole gym with legs that are much thicker than mine/like tree trunks. Doesn't jab at all, waits to counter punch with hooks or uppercuts. Really powerful punches, but doesn't have a long reach. Quick feet for his age, can pop up strong with a straight right or multiple hooks if you miss.

9) ThomasH - 51 yrs old, 6ft tall, and around 155lbs. Long arms and really quick. Can throw double jabs and any jab very quickly. Overall a skilled boxer who is in great shape for his age. Doesn't hit too hard but the speed and timing of his hits can hurt you. He places his shots so it hits your jaw, or right under the weak part of the ribs, and is really accurate with his punches.

10) VItalyK - late 30's, 6'2 or 6'3 tall, and around 185lbs. Rusty since he hasn't been in the gym for over a year, but he did box for several years before that. He wasn't fast but head really great head movement like Ali.

11) RockyM - 41 yrs old, about 5'6. Really thick and fast. Maybe 155 lbs. Has a great body shot and good uppercut.