Are you wondering what boxing reach is and how it impacts a boxer’s performance in a match? Boxing reach can be a strange metric for anyone who doesn’t watch combat sports or is a beginner.
Participants’ age, weight, and height are often measured in almost every sport. However, reach is not. It is only measured in a few sports, especially boxing, in which it plays a key role in determining the fighter’s winning moves or success.
The article will talk about boxing reach, how it is measured, and does it really matters? So, let’s find out!
What is Boxing Reach?
A boxing reach is defined as the total length of the boxer’s arm from one fingertip to the other. You may think of it as a fighter’s wingspan or arm span.
Moreover, it is a distance measured from the tip of the right middle finger to the tip of a left middle finger when the arms are stretched out parallel to the ground.
Why is it important?
The boxing reach is important because it plays a vital role in determining the match outcome. Apart from the boxer’s weight and height, analyzers also note their reach.
Boxer’s reach is directly related to the height — the taller you are, the longer the reach will be, and vice versa. However, apart from the boxer’s height, factors like a wide chest and long arm also contribute to the reach. Hence, there can be cases where the shorter boxers have a longer reach, although such cases are exceptional.
Usually, the boxer with a longer reach has a huge advantage because he can throw jabs at the opponent from a long distance. But, a longer reach isn’t enough to win a fight; you also need to be trained well.
What is the Difference Between Reach & Arm Length?
Both arm length and reach are the important metrics measured in MMA and boxing. However, one should not confuse the two. The difference between these two terms is that reach considers the size of the boxer’s chest and shoulders, whereas arm length doesn’t. Arm length only measures the distance from the armpit to the fist.
According to experts, arm length is a more consistent metric and difficult to manipulate, unlike reach. One can easily manipulate the reach by shrugging the shoulders, making it appears shorter.
How is Boxing Reach Measured?
Measuring the boxing reach is pretty simple; however, you can’t do it independently. To get an accurate measurement, you must need the assistance of a friend, coach, or anyone else.
Follow this step-by-step guide to measure your reach:
Step 1: Remove upper body clothing
The first step is to remove any upper body clothing or T-shirt you’re wearing. To be as precise as possible, the fighter needs to be shirtless, as the slightest inclusion of the tee or tank can affect the accuracy of results.
So, we recommend male boxers to measure with a bare chest. However, for female boxers, sports bras are completely fine to keep on as they don’t cause any error in reach measurements.
Step 2: Warm-Up or Stretch for 2-3 min
Secondly, you need to warm up by engaging in a light cardio workout for a few minutes. Go for a light jog, fast walk, or do some jumping jacks or pushups. Remember that you don’t have to engage in strenuous exercises.
Moreover, you can also do some arm stretching exercises like biceps & triceps stretch, wrist stretch, arm circles, and more. Doing these exercises will help you loosen up your shoulder joint and surrounding muscles. So, your muscles must warm-up to get the best flexibility and optimal reach.
On the contrary, if you don’t warm up before taking the measurement, you will not be able to get an accurate reach. Since your muscles will not be flexible enough to give their best, you would get lower reach values than your actual.
Step 3: Stand with your back against the wall in T-position
Now, stand with your back against the wall in an erect position. Keep your shoulders straight, heel against the wall, and feet flat on the ground. Also, make sure that your shoulder must be in a comfortable resting position, i.e., they shouldn’t be pulled back or hunched forward.
Next, straighten your arm outside at a right angle to the body (T-position). Your arms must be parallel to the ground.
It’s better to ask your colleague or companion to check whether your arms are parallel to the ground or not. Otherwise, you may stand in front of the mirror to predict your posture and see if you’re doing it the right way or not.
Step 4: Face your palm towards the wall
Turn the back of your hand so that the palm faces towards the wall. Furthermore, align your fingers with the elbows so that you can see a linear line connecting your middle fingers to your elbows. You can make any adjustments when required.
In short, you must line up your shoulders, elbows, and middle fingers in a linear position.
Step 5: Stretch your fingers as much as you can
While maintaining the above position, stretch your arms as much as possible. It will help you to get the most accurate reach measurement. Make sure that your arms & back are straight and fingers & elbows aligned.
Get your friend to check again if your arms are parallel to the ground or not, as otherwise, it could distort the measurement.
Step 6: Note down the measurement
Ask your friend to mark the points at the end of your middle fingers using chalk or pencil. Measure the points right exactly where your middle finger ends, not any other finger, as otherwise, it will affect the results.
Now, use a measuring tape to measure the distance between the two points. Ensure that the tape isn’t tangled or twisted while taking the measurements because it can lead to incorrect results. You can avoid this by holding one end of the tape and asking your friend to hold the other, thus keeping the tape aligned.
What if You Have a Longer Reach?
Suppose you have just measured your reach and found it 78 inches, congratulations! You are blessed with some amazing long reach. Now that you’ve got a fantastic reach let’s discover how to make the most out of it.
First, you need to build up good footwork to turn around easily whenever the opponent tries to approach you. Good boxing footwork will allow the boxer to attack or defend while staying balanced.
Secondly, you can use the total breadth of your arm’s length while throwing the straight punches. It is a good stance for straight shots but not for hooks. In the case of hooks, the long arms may shake off the balance if you’re not in an accurate position.
Advantages of longer reach
There are several benefits of having a long reach. It keeps the opponents at bay without even drawing closer to them. A boxer with a long reach can jab the opponent repeatedly from a longer distance. Thus, a long reach in boxing is quite beneficial for the defense.
A long reach also means a long arm which indirectly means more power behind each punch. The harder your punches, the easier it will be for you to beat the opponent in less time.
In addition, many boxers are trained to stay inside to find an opening power punch. However, the fighters with a long reach can fight outside and still be effective.
What if You Have a Shorter Reach?
It is completely okay if you haven’t been blessed with Tyson’s Fury level arms! There isn’t any need to lose your morale, as a fighter can still win the match without having a long reach. You have to practice a bit harder to knock out your lengthy rivals.
A longer reach doesn’t always guarantee you success. If you look at some famous fighters like Joe Frazer, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Patterson, they don’t possess a long reach; rather, they possess a massive punching power.
You need to devise a different approach if you have a short reach. Note that your lengthy rival will try to keep you at bay so that he can easily jab you every time you come closer. So, your ultimate goal should be to close that distance by fighting inside where the opponent can’t take advantage of his long reach.
On the other hand, having a short reach has some of its benefits, too. For example, it will enable the boxer to throw hooks and uppercuts easily while fighting from the inside.
Strategies to make the most of shorter reach
You can knock out your opponent even with a shorter reach by using simple strategies.
“Bobbing and Weaving” is one of the best techniques. It is a defensive maneuver in which you wait for your rival to blow first and then stoop your head to slip inside or outside. This classic move will allow you to close the distance and counterpunch the opponent.
Another option is closing the distance by using “Double Jab.” This technique is ideal for beginners because it requires less skill. In this strategy, you have to walk towards the rival while throwing double jabs.
It is beneficial because even if the first jab doesn’t land well, you have obscured the boxer’s vision or distracted him for a few seconds. Hence, it gives you more time for your second massive punch.
Famous Fighter’s Reach
Successful Boxers with Longer Reach
Some of the successful and well-known boxers with a long reach are:
Tyson Fury: The two-time world heavyweight champion has 85 inches reach and 206 cm height. Much of his success is attributed to his amazing boxing style and wingspan.
Sonny Liston: The dominant and powerful puncher of his era with 84 inches reach. Sunny won the world heavyweight championship in 1962 after fighting against Floyd Patterson.
Larry Holmes: A well-known boxer with 81 inches reach. Holmes’s jabs are rated among the best in boxing history. Also, he is the only boxer who defeated Muhammad Ali by stoppage in 1984.
Successful Boxers with Shorter Reach
Some of the successful boxers who made their name despite having a short reach are:
Mike Tyson: Also known as the “Iron Mike” and “The Baddest Man on Planet,” he is one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. However, Tyson had 71 inches reach, but it never stopped him from knocking out his lengthy rivals.
Joe Frazer: A boxer known for his dreadful punching power, strength, and amazing boxing style. Joe has 73 inches reach and has also won the gold medal at Summer Olympics 1964.
Floyd Patterson: Floyd had a reach of 71 inches. In boxing history, he was one of the youngest boxers to win the title at the age of 21 years.
To conclude, reach has a huge impact on how the boxer fights. Having a longer reach than your opponent is a plus point. However, it doesn’t always guarantee you success. Whatever your reach is, you should know how to utilize it with the help of appropriate strategies. In the end, what matters the most is your boxing skills, strength, endurance, and punching power.