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What’s The Most Important Thing In Boxing?

Ever wondered what the absolute most important thing is in Boxing and why?

As we all know, there have been many arguments, debates and conversations about what is most important in boxing. For example, is it most important to be powerful, lightening fast, have a strong defence etc?

Well, in my humble opinion there’s one thing that surpasses them all!

What is it? FOOTWORK

Footwork is the foundation that must be established and born first and foremost because without it, how can anything else like hand speed, power, defence etc possibly be properly executed or utilised?

For example, you cannot build a house on a weak and unbalanced foundation and expect the frames, roof and everything else on top of it to stay in place and not come crashing down!

I know first hand how frustrating it is when you are an absolute beginner and have just started learning how to box. Everybody was a beginner once upon a time! You are very excited, eager and all you want to do is put on your gloves and start bashing away on the bags! Then before you can blink the first thing your coach or instructor does with you is stick you in front of a MIRROR…

WHY? TO TEACH YOU HOW TO MOVE YOUR BODY CORRECTLY! You will never learn anything or progress if you simply have a brief demonstration of a few punches from your coach and then go straight into hitting the bags…

You need to actually be taught properly, thoroughly understand how your body is supposed to move, and then see exactly how your body is actually moving… then simply work on correcting any mistakes promptly and accordingly!

With every punch comes a foot movement…


• How can you effectively throw a Hook without pivoting on one foot?
• How can you effectively throw a Cross and generate maximum power without pivoting on your back foot?

Both speed and power come from your legs. They come from being truly balanced, comfortable, in control and agile within your stance at all times.

If you don’t have a strong foundation in footwork, then it doesn’t matter what you do with your hands.

Your opponent will always be able to dominate you because you do not have the necessary footwork skills to evade attacks and launch your own in return quickly and effectively.

Here is a simple drill to help build and significantly improve your footwork!


STEP 1: While in front of the mirror, get into your Boxing stance just the way you’ve been taught, then simply relax your body. Allow yourself to feel truly comfortable, balanced and grounded at all times!

STEP 2: Practice walking forwards and backwards without throwing any punches. Each foot should be taking one small step. Make sure you maintain the distance between your feet and never allow them to come fully together like a ballerina or a pin, that’s when you completely lose your balance!

STEP 3: Repeat the same drill but while moving Left to Right this time! Again, maintain the distance between your feet and do not cross your legs over.

Once you have done this for 2 – 3 rounds, you can start adding punches! Make sure you do these drills very slowly and deliberately, and once you feel more confident then you can try to speed it up!

It’s almost like learning how to walk all over again, so take your time and be very patient with yourself! We all have to start somewhere and even the best boxers in the world started out doing these simple drills!

Alec L West