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The How To Issue

How to Take a Punch: Freddie Roach

How to Take a Punch: Freddie Roach

Photographs by Randi Berez for Bloomberg Businessweek

The best way is to make it miss, of course. But if you’re taking one, you want to take the sting away by rolling with the shot. Most people in the street throw hooks and roundhouse shots. They’ll give you a chance to move with the shot because you’ll see it coming. If a right hand is coming, you’re going to roll your chin to the right, and as you roll, the punch kind of goes by. It’s a lot better than walking into it. If it’s a body blow, the best way is to tighten your abs up and breathe out as the punch comes in. That’s why fighters breathe out through their noses a lot when they exchange blows, to tighten up their abdomens. Leaning into a body blow can be effective. You take away the momentum of the punch. Make sure the abs are really tight when you lean in. But really, if you think you’re getting hit, hit first. — As told to Ira Boudway
Watch Freddie Roach explain how to take a punch at or in our iPad and iPhone apps

Roach is a former professional boxer and trainer to more than 20 world champions, including Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, and Oscar de la Hoya.

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