Winning vs loosing an amateur fight

Female boxer and coach post fight

Coach Helene here - I felt compelled to write this because I just came back from watching the Brampton Cup tournament & after watching the wins and losses of about 40 fights I thought this topic should be discussed.

Whether you are just starting your boxing journey (with no fight path in mind), thinking about fighting in the future, prepping for your first fight, a seasoned fighter, or somewhere in the middle of that - I hope this will be helpful!

Like it or not - our sport is judged and therefore can be subjective. It is not a race where you either made the time or you did not. That is why you may have heard the saying - 'don't leave it up to the judges.'

I will start off by saying no one goes into a fight wanting to loose. So with that in mind - the thought of loosing becomes a non-option which can then be more of a shock when the winner is announced and it is not you.

It may be controversial to say this, but you will learn WAY more from a loss than you will a win. Let's look at the two scenarios below:

1) You win - There is usually celebrations of some kind. Possibly some rest days after and then back to the gym. When you go back to the gym you get back to work and prep for the next (if that's your path). While in classes there may mentions of what worked well, but is there as in depth of conversations as you would have if you lost? Is there video replays and discussions with your coach? Have you replayed your videos to see what you can improve on? Maybe and maybe not.

2) You loose - There is probably some version of disheartenment (in my case that was crying). There may be some rest days from the gym to recover from everything that happened and give you a moment to process it. Maybe during the rest or after you will most certainly review the footage, discuss with your coach - what 'went wrong,' what improvements do you need to make. Will you be more 'hungry' for that win - probably? Will you work even harder this time to prep - maybe? Will you know what a loss feels like - sure will! So you can mentally prepare for that scenario if it were to happen again. 

Am I saying that I want you to loose - definitely not! However I would like to structure the win aftermath differently. I think its important to take the win - enjoy, celebrate, etc - but I think it is important to do the same measures after like a loss. Just because you won doesn't mean there isn't something you can't work on. Boxing is the most unforgiving sport as there is ALWAYS something you can work on. So use any opportunity (sparring/fighting) as LEARNING opportunities - what worked and what did not. What can you improve/enhance and how can you take the steps to work on those.

I lost my first fight and I grew more as a fighter and a human than if I won. I wouldn't have been able to say that in that moment, but after years and further reflection it has made me realize this. ALSO - just because I lost, doesn't mean that I didn't give it my ALL!

I feel there is a big misconception between loosing to the judges and not putting your best effort in. I have said this to any of my fighters - the most anyone can ask for is that you put in 100% effort. If you have done that, then you have won! Regardless of what the judges say or anyone else. Your 100% effort may not have won the judges, but at least you can say you did everything you could. There are no regrets or what ifs.

The last thing I will say is this: we don't choose to fight because we want to win. Yes that is definitely the end goal, but I bet if you asked yourself (or someone else/your fighter) - why are you doing this? The answer would not be to win. The answer would be something like: I want to prove myself I can do it, I want to challenge myself, I want to prove to others I am capable, etc. So again remember that when you win/loose - did you accomplish what you wanted to accomplish? If you wanted to fight - then stepping through those ropes and competing means you won - because that was the goal and the purpose. Just something to consider for yourself or your fighters!

I would love hear in the comments below if this was helpful. Did you resonate with it? Do you agree with it? Do you disagree with something? This is a tricky topic, but one that should be discussed.....

Until next time 👊

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