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Mike Perez vs. Magomed Abdusalamov

If you think it’s just a sport for the rough and tough, you’re wrong. Boxing is now one of the most popular fitness regimes out there and if it’s a lean, toned, strong body you’re after then this could the sport for you. Think Hilary Swank. Think Mark Wahlberg from ‘The Fighter’ and see some amazing results.

What’s it all about?

Scrap any ideas you have about beating a punching bag by yourself, boxing is very much a social sport. Classes are usually made up of around 15 to 20 people and concentrate on pad work and sparring. This means you face off opposite someone and throw combination punches at them which they block with their padded gloves. Then you swap and block theirs.

What can I expect at a class?

A typical class will start with a 10-minute warm-up, followed by about half an hour of boxing and finishing with a 10-minute warm-down. Classes will teach you how to punch properly — it’s about technique not strength.

There are three main moves to employ: hooks (“side” punches), jabs (straight forward punches) and upper cuts (punches going upwards). Your instructor will tell you which combinations you’ll be doing, and may also get you to change partners part-way through the work-out.

Don’t think that boxing is an easy ride, though: it’s seriously hard work. Boxing is a high intensity, full body workout that will keep you moving the whole time. When you’re not throwing a punch, you’re ducking and weaving — or doing squats and abdominal work.

What benefits will I see?

Weight loss, increased agility and coordination, muscle tone and greater fitness all result from boxing. Many people think that boxing is all about the arms but it is actually a cardio work-out for the whole body. It’s especially good for toning your bottom and quadricep muscles, which is perfect for women who want to lose weight around their bottom and thighs as part of an overall reduction programme.

There’s no need to worry about bulking up, Hilary Swank-style, either. Boxing is very much a high repetition work-out so you’ll see tone rather than muscle. It’s also very empowering and people really get pumped up and stuck into it during the moves. While it’s not a self-defence lesson, by the end of the first class, you should be able to throw a solid punch.