Is There a Place for New Technology in Boxing Training?
By: George Storr
Most people who run boxing gyms will proudly tell you how “old school” their methods are, but in an increasingly technological world is there a place for technology in training boxers? The growing amount of companies making electronic ‘punch trackers’ seem to think so.
Punch trackers count up the amount of punches you throw per round, giving you instant feedback on your work-rate. They also claim to be able to accurately say what sort of punches you were throwing, how fast you threw them and how hard their impact was, though this works with varying degrees of success.
Currently punch trackers are available from a range of manufacturers including Hykso and Corner as well as Everlast, who have teamed up with a company called PIQ to produce their own pair.
I road-tested pair of Corner punch-trackers and my first impressions were largely positive. They slip into your hand-wraps and communicate with an app on your phone. The app is polished and it’s straight forward to step up too, as long as you know your own height, weight and email address. It also promises good depth in terms of analytics.
The app tells you how many punches you threw per round, speed and power stats, as well as calculating averages across all three. Another useful function was the apps ability to record when the user throws single shots and when they throw in combinations.
When I started working with the trackers though there were a few little niggles. I found that the trackers didn’t detect a flicking jab. Solidly plant your jab into the bag and the trackers will detect it with no problems, but if you’re moving in and out and flicking your lead hand out, many of those lighter blows go undetected. This was frustrating and also called into question the usefulness of the power measurement side of the trackers.
The other issue came in the shape of the apps round timer. If you used this at a session in your local amateur boxing gym you won’t be working to a timer on your phone, you’ll be working to a large, visible round timer on the gym wall. As a result a function that allowed the user to synch the app’s timer with a gyms round-timer would be beneficial.
That said, these are relatively small niggles and all these functions are still in Beta testing stages for the Corner trackers so they will likely become more refined and more accurate.
One thing for users of these particular trackers to look forward to is a soon-to-be-released sparring function. It costs an extra £50 on top of the £89.99 starting price and will offer an invaluable insight for coaches. Being able to offer more detailed instantaneous feedback during sparring sessions could benefit coaches, professional and amateur alike.
Joe Gallagher, trainer to multiple world champions, has already put his backing behind the Corner product. Pro fighters Stacey Copeland and Jack Massey have come out in support too, having road-tested the trackers themselves. Massey in particular described the trackers as: “essential to my future camps”.
In terms of pricing, the Hykso trackers come in at £154.99, the Corner set, as mentioned, are £89.99 though users will soon be able to pay extra for a sparring function. The Everlast trackers are the cheapest but only by a very small margin, currently available at £89.00.
Overall the proof of the punch-tracker pudding will come in the longer term. If we start seeing professional fighters using these long-term and making improvements their stock will rise. At present they do show massive potential though. They’re no replacement for a coach and offer nothing as regards correcting technique but they are a good tool for monitoring your work rate.
Trying to beat your punch-count from a previous round is a fantastically useful push for a session where you’re away from a coach and doing your own thing. That sounds simple but it’s a big positive for these trackers. Ultimately punch-trackers could help to democratise the kind of high level analysis that traditionally has only been available to top level professionals. Some of the more refined aspects are still being tweaked but as a concept they’re immensely promising and that promise outweighs the teething problems.
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
By: Sean Crose
Boxing once again received some negative attention last Saturday night when chaos ensued after the Andre Dirrell-Jose Uzcategui super middleweight bout in Maryland. Dirrell was sent down and out by a punch that landed after the bell. Uzcategui was disqualified, but Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr, sucker punched Uzcategui twice in the fight’s aftermath. He’s now being sought by Maryland police. There was also an incident, however, involving Dirrell’s sibling, Anthony, for video shows the younger Dirrell brother pushing an individual in the post-fight madness. The man who was pushed is said to have been a Maryland commissioner. Needless to say, word was out that the police were quite interested in Anthony’s actions that night, as well as his uncles’.
Anthony Dirrell himself, however, claims the police weren’t interested in him at all last weekend. “They wasn’t even looking for me,” Dirrell said over the phone. “They never interviewed me or nothing.” Dirrell even claimed that the police were rather helpful after the madness that transpired at the MGM Grand National Arena. “They escorted me to my brother’s room,” he claimed. Dirrells’ assertions coincide with those of his representative, Kira Kusky, who I had spoken with earlier in the day. “He is not in any jeopardy,” she said when I asked about a police investigation. “No, not at all.”
And so Anthony Dirrell looks clear to meet Callum Smith next September in California for the WBC world super middleweight title. There was word that the championship battle would be put off due to legal matters stemming from last Saturday, but both Dirrell and his representative assured me that wouldn’t be the case. “His next fight is still on,” Kusky said, a fact Dirrell himself reiterated when we spoke a short time later. “I don’t see how (the fight could be off),” he claimed. “Nobodies’ looking for me.” It’s clear, then, that Dirrell and his team feel it is safe to focus on the talented and undefeated Smith without being impeded by legal matters.
As for older brother, Andre – who found himself on the mat after the bell last Saturday – Dirrell claims he’s doing well. “My bother’s fine,” he said. The saga of Leon Lawson Jr, uncle and trainer, has yet to be resolved (he’s still wanted by police, after all), yet it looks like both Dirrell brothers themselves are free to carry on with their respective careers. Before the call ended I asked Anthony if he’d like to, through his perspective, go over the events at the MGM Grand National Arena. “No,” he responded. “I’m not talking about that.”
Boxing’s Dark Saturday
Boxing’s Dark Saturday
By: Sean Crose
Look, boxing is a rough sport. Always has been. Always will be. Nothing gets much darker than when fighters become permanently damaged or even killed.
There’s other less than savory matters, however, that often abound in and around the sweet science. For years, the sport was heavily under mafia influence. What’s more, bad decisions on the part of judges still pop up on a regular basis. Worse yet, modern fans are forever being taken for saps (Mayweather-McGregor is – or will be – in a sense, only the most recent example). And then, of course, there’s the miscellaneous, off the wall stuff. Like the time an in-ring riot erupted immediately after a Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota heavyweight throwdown.
This past Saturday presented just such a scenario, when Jose Uzcategui was disqualified for hitting Andre Dirrell after the bell, an act which subsequently sent Dirrell to the mat. In response to said offense, Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, Leon Lawson Jr, absolutely cold cocked an unsuspecting Uzcategui twice. To make matters all the more insane, the entire incident was recorded for the entire world to see. Police are now looking for Lawson, who will be charged with some pretty serious stuff after such a violent assault. The trainer, who slipped out of the MGM Grand National Arena after the attack, is still essentially on the lam, as a Sunday phone call to the Saint George’s County Police Department presented no further developments.
Again, boxing is a rough sport. What’s more, physical violence, which is what boxing deals in, can lead to exceedingly high emotions. Still, one simply does not get to step up to an unsuspecting person and repeatedly punch that person in the face. It’s illegal and it’s also wrong.
Will Lawson be banned from boxing, as some are suggesting? Will he end up doing jail time? Maybe. Maybe not. This is boxing, after all, where nothing can be taken for granted, either in or out of the ring.
Yet the dark cloud that hung over the sport on Saturday didn’t begin and end with Lawson. Up in Madison Square Garden, Terence Crawford absolutely beat the hell out of an overmatched Felix Diaz later that same evening. Fair enough, you might say, Diaz knew what he was getting himself into. And while that’s true, this author still found Crawford’s behavior unsavory. Mocking an opponent is part of the psychological warfare of boxing.
Mocking an opponent while in the act of deforming that opponent’s face, however, is sadistic and unacceptable. Oh, it’s legally permissible. But it is – or should be – socially unacceptable, nonetheless.
Boxing’s been having a great year. Here’s hoping the terrible moments keep to a minimum.