Monday, January 9, 2012

Boxing Basics & Tips for Youth

Conventional wisdom tells us that participation in martial-arts training can benefit teens because of the physical outlet, positive role modelling and character-building aspects of being involved in an activity that requires patience, focus and grace under pressure. Although most people think only of Asian martial arts when they consider this option for their children, enrolling in a boxing program can provide the same benefits.
Boxing for teens is much like boxing for adults. Students can attend a regular class, where they'll practice skills and get a solid cardiovascular and resistance workout. In most programs, they will work closely with a coach who can serve as a mentor and support parents and teachers in helping the teen grow. Although boxing is at its heart a competitive sport, most teen programs allow participants to choose whether or not they will actually box against a live opponent.
Junior Rules
The International Boxing Association --- known by its French acronym, AIBA --- sanctions competitive fights for teens of both sexes age 15 and up, classifying 15- and 16-year-old boxers as Junior boxers. Bouts between Juniors consist of three rounds, each lasting two minutes. This shorter time reduces the amount of time the boxers will fight while fatigued, which is the time they are at the greatest risk of injury.
Youth Boxers
The AIBA defines 17- and 18-year-old fighters as Youth boxers. A Youth-level fight lasts three three-minute rounds for boys and four two-minute rounds for girls. This increased time in the ring reflects the increased mental and physical durability that's expected of teens.
Other Ages
Teens 19 and up compete as adults in AIBA-sanctioned events. Children under 15 can't fight in AIBA events, and you can expect most kids classes to be heavy on the workout and light on actual sparring. Some local organizations do host fights between young children, but these usually last two to three minutes at the longest and use the heaviest head protection and the most-padded gloves.
Weight Classes
In a contest between two fighters of similar skill, the larger boxer is likely to win. For this reason, boxing is divided into weight classes that sort fighters into categories of similar size. Weight classes for Junior fighters are at 46, 48, 50, 52, 57, 60, 63, 66, 70, 75 and 80+ kilograms. Female Youth boxer weight classes are at 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 64, 69, 75 and 81+ kg. Male Youth boxer weight classes are at 46, 49, 52, 56, 60, 64, 69, 75, 81 and 91+ kg. If a fighter weighs over the limit for his class at the weigh-in before a fight, he is disqualified and the other boxer wins by forfeit.

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