The Most Brutal Sport: Boxing

Andrea Gill, Staff Writer

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  – former World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson.

The adrenaline rushes through the blood and your arm is locked on its target until your vision blurs and your body drops to the ground, while your opponent ruthlessly stands above you.  Your body can push its limits to the max; but in boxing, mental strength and quick thinking will truly reveal who is victorious. 

Boxing is, arguably, the toughest sport of all time. The sport incorporates every part of the human body and forces athletes to utilize every part of their mind. It’s a full-body workout that helps build “muscles in your legs, hips, core, arms, chest, and shoulders,” states Anne Davis in “Boxing Workouts: Do They Help You Gain Muscle?” Having the perfect coordination and balance in your body will aid in your momentum and will ultimately work to your advantage in matches. Something else to note is the insane amount of endurance training needed for the athletes to keep themselves from running out of stamina during a match. You can have perfect movements and a strong body, but without the stamina to last, you have no chance to out fight your opponent. 

Eric Stevens, a fitness professional, challenges people to “Try punching with all-out speed and power on a heavy bag for a thirty second sprint” in “Why Boxing Is The Toughest Sport.” You will realize just how hard this is when you have difficulty breathing , and your chest burns from the lack of air you have. According to “How Long Is a Boxing Match?” by Way of Martial Arts, boxing matches vary in length due to gender and experience. A men’s professional boxing match is up to 12 three-minute rounds and a women’s match is usually 10 two-minute rounds. The highest an amature fighter can box for is 3 three-minute rounds. Boxing is an ongoing physical battle that not only goes against your opponent, but even tests yourself and your capabilities.

ESPN created a ranking of what they consider the most difficult sport to play and their number one ranked sport was boxing. Their criteria examined the different characteristics that an athlete needs to play a sport like endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, durability, nerve, and analytical aptitude. The characteristic NERVE meant “the ability to overcome fear.” In the ESPN ranking, boxing had an 8.88 NERVE score, which is what ultimately put it over the top to beat the second ranked sport of ice hockey, which had a 6.00 NERVE score. The fear of knowing you can get damaged anytime during boxing matches causes mental exhaustion. 

Rebecca Joy Stanborough writes in “Can Having Anxiety Make You Feel Tired?” about anxiety and how it affects people. She states, “Anxiety causes a hormonal rush that can leave you feeling drained and tired.” The mental exhaustion that one experiences during an athletic event is representative of this. The purpose of boxing as a sport is to face the fear of the opponent’s objective to hurt you while using your body as a shield. There will always be numerous fears when an athlete plays sports, but none are as straightforward as boxing. Eric Stevens explains that “skiing and surfing can be dangerous but the mountain and ocean are not trying to destroy you on purpose,” or even that a football knockout “may be a byproduct, but it isn’t the goal” of the sport. As a boxer is keeping in shape to last the match, coming in terms that they could get injured, they lastly have to ensure that they are alerted at all times during their match. Once the match starts all a boxer is thinking is “I want to knock them down.”

All athletes and sports in the world are valid and respectable, but it’s blatantly obvious that boxing pushes athletes in their physical ability, intelligence, and courage in a way that no other sport can. It takes a strong spirit to face another person head-to-head with no balls, goals, or teammates in the way. It’s just you and your own abilities as a person against an opponent who also has the same hunger and drive to fight back.