Boxing Footwork – The Angled Side Step

by Fran on March 29, 2014

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About the Angled Side Step in Boxing

I've said very often on the site, in articles, in the videos, that developing superb boxing footwork is an absolute requirement of reaching the pinnacle of your fighting capabilities. I'm not talking here about dancing around, trying to look good for anyone who's watching. I'm actually talking about remaining a constant threat to the well-being and state of consciousness of your opponent, a threat for every second of every round. To constitute that level of threat it is critical that you are able to keep your opponent fixed firmly in your crosshairs. This video will provide you with a boxing footwork drill that will enable you to do exactly that.

The Angled Side Step is a variation of the conventional side step (there is a link at the end of this article so that you can see that move). The key difference is that where the conventional side step is a an aspect of boxing footwork that may or may not be coupled with a punch. The angled side step is an aspect of boxing footwork that absolutely should be coupled with a punch. It is very much an offensive boxing footwork skill that enables you to keep your opponent squarely in the firing line. By practising this drill you will inject a real dynamism into your offensive boxing style.

The Mechanics of the Angled Side Step in Boxing

As with all moves, stay relaxed!  Don't tense-up.

The Angled Side-Step to the Right (assuming orthodox stance)

  1. From the boxing stance , the first action is a push from the front foot.  The push should be 'sharp', and aimed at providing the drive to thrust the body to the right.
  2. The back foot lifts very slightly from the floor, allowing the power generated from the push from the front foot to shift the body in a straight line to the right.  The back foot should 'glide' as opposed to stepping.
  3. Allow the front foot to follow it's course, catching up with the back foot in order to restore the stance. The key difference to the starting position is that the line constituting the stance is at an angle pointing toward the position of the opponent.

The Angled Side-Step to the Left

Pretty much the reverse of the side step right:

  1. From the boxing stance, the first action is a push from the back foot.  The push should be 'sharp', and aimed at providing the drive to thrust the body to the left.
  2. The front foot lifts very slightly from the floor, allowing the power generated from the push from the back foot to shift the body in a straight line to the left.  The front foot should 'glide' as opposed to stepping.
  3. Allow the back foot to follow it's course, catching up with the front foot in order to restore the stance in the same way as described.

Common Faults With the Angled Side Step in Boxing

The following problems can occur when performing the angled side step:

  1. The boxer 'steps and drags' rather than using a sharp 'push and glide'.  For example, when shifting to the right, the back foot (right leg) will step across and the front foot is dragged across to the right.  This approach does not offer the same speed capability as the push and glide (as described in the 'Mechanics' section).
  2. The boxer may sometimes become 'flat-footed'.  This again will result in a very 'clunky', almost robotic action.  Remain on the balls of your feet and stay relaxed.
  3. The legs may 'cross'.  For example, when moving right, the front leg (left) will step across to the right, thus 'crossing' the line from the back foot (think boxing stance).  Following this the back leg will also step across.  The same problem can occur when side-stepping either left or right. It really is a bad mistake to make and leaves you susceptible to a massive loss of balance in the event of receiving a punch.

The angled side step, whilst slightly more complex than the conventional boxing side step, is still a simple boxing footwork skill.  Spend time drilling and mastering the footwork, it's so very important to a workable boxing style.  Any spare moment can be taken to get in your stance and spend time moving around.  The conventional activities of shadow boxing and bag work can always incorporate footwork specific phases to build 'muscle memory' and improve your balance and confidence.

After leaving a comment or any questions below, why not check out the articles through the following links:

The Boxing Stance

Boxing Footwork Movement In and Out

Boxing Footwork Side Step

The pivot

Cheers

Fran

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack jones August 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

How many times should the drill be dun.

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Fran August 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

Keep doing it, you can always improve.

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Charles August 22, 2015 at 4:31 am

I really appreciate your video’s Fran. When I go to the gym and spar, I find I am too tense…I have problem with relaxing. With sideways movement, I find I am weak in side way movement and pitiful moving left. Feel off balance and sometimes feel I will trip and twist an ankle going left. I will try this foot work in this video tomorrow while sparing. It will take some focus to keep my legs and feet appropriately placed, but I think your video’s will help. Thanks. I enjoy watching what you do here.

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Fran August 28, 2015 at 8:37 pm

You’re welcome Charles. Make sure you practice is your drills, shadow boxing and heavy bag – it will pay. Thanks for the comment as well 🙂

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Grant June 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

Very helpful, especially for a tall lanky guy like me who tends to get cross-footed. Thanks for the clear, concise explanations.

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Fran July 8, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Cheers Grant, you are welcome 🙂

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WILFRED May 24, 2015 at 10:48 pm

HELLO SER, IAM WORKING ON THIS . ANGELS. BRUSSING UP ANGELS,I HAVE THE ANGEL WITH TAPE ON THE FLOOR ON FRONT OF PUNCHING BAG .I BEEN WORKING ON ANGELS A FEW DAYS.I DONT HAVE. FULL POWER PONCH TO THE PUNCHING BAG YET,IN TIME. I WIL HAVE MORE IMPROVEMENT.FAINT THAN MOVE RIGHT OR LEFT .TROW 1&A2 OR 1.2.&A3. NO MORE THAN 3PUNCHES,FOR NOW…………………….HAVE A GRATE DAY

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alexander December 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Hi Fran, merry xmass! + jab+jab+cross+hook+slip+uppercut+ boomboom # good night – cheers and good health in 2015 – boxing science – alexander

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Fran December 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Haha. Merry Christmas to you too Alexander. Not sure on your views on 2014 and the referendum, but I for one am glad that my Scottish friends remain my countrymen 🙂

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Dan Roche October 16, 2014 at 11:09 am

Great explanation Fran, I’ve been trying this in my local gym and it’s a real neat move, especially for me as an orthodox boxer doing an angled side step to the right and then throwing a punch at the target.

As an extension of this move on the punchbag I’ve been combining an angled step to the right and at the SAME time throwing a mid or long range right hook. This would surely get around the tighest of opponents’ guards? But as always it must surely be too good to be true? I’m guessing that in some way this must be fraught with danger! So please Fran explain to me the glaringly obvious negatives of this strategy. You’ll shatter my illusions but go on, I can take it 😉

Thanks Fran

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Fran October 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hey Dan

If it feels ok then try it out. Learn by doing. If you throw the backhand shot exactly as you move, it will be a less powerful shot. Also it’s going to be more difficult to maintain good balance. This being said, it’s still a scoring shot. Hopefully that’s no illusions shattered Dan 🙂

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Dan Roche October 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

Many thanks Fran, it seems like a neat combinaton of skills to me. Okay as you said you lose power in the shot and maybe your balance but on the upside you’re moving and punching at the same time so it’ll be a lot less likely to take a shot back in return. (Hit and don’t get hit is the name of the game after all!) And it could surprise your opponent completely and open him up for other harder blows.

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Andy Maran August 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for the great video Fran. If you don’t mind can I ask a rather basic question (given that I’m a novice boxer). When you demonstrate the side step at the beginning of the video are you doing so in ‘slow motion’ as it were? I say this because you always keep at least one foot on the ground. Whereas in the punchbag session you obviously speed up to mimic a real fight situation and I’m fairly sure that at certain times both feet are off the ground albeit for a very short period?

And to follow up from this, in boxing I think I’ve been told to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times just in case you get hit with a punch and ‘fall over.’ Is that true? But maybe that’s impractical in a real fight situation as things are speeded up to such an extent and you simply have to glide around the ring and both feet must leave the ground at certain times?

Thanks for any advice Fran.

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Andy Maran August 25, 2014 at 5:21 am

Thanks for the great video Fran. If you don’t mind can I ask a rather basic question (given that I’m a novice boxer). When you demonstrate the side step at the beginning of the video are you doing so in ‘slow motion’ as it were? I say this because you always keep at least one foot on the ground. Whereas in the punchbag session you obviously speed up to mimic a real fight situation and I’m fairly sure that at certain times both feet are off the ground albeit for a very short period?

And to follow up from this, in boxing I think I’ve been told to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times just in case you get hit with a punch and ‘fall over.’ Is that true? But maybe that’s impractical in a real fight situation as things are speeded up to such an extent and you simply have to glide around the ring and both feet must leave the ground at certain times?

Thanks for any advice Fran.

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Graham August 1, 2014 at 5:07 am

Thanks for the video. It’s a cool move. I think that probably the best exponent of it which I’ve seen was Apollo Creed in Rocky I. Pure class.

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txtboyz July 20, 2014 at 6:39 am

thanx fran m8. this bad boys been dissin me real bad. fran i see your from the pool so i know that if some skank in your hood messed with 1 of your bitches youd do the same.

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txtboyz July 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm

hi fran m8. just to let u know what a happen. i watched ur gr8 vid on right hooks a few times. and then hit the big fat lad with a right hand rocket KABOOM. he didnt go down , hes prob 2 big and i needs more practise on the hooks. but he did run away like a big cissy. so i dont think hell be messin wiv me bitch shanika (hi luv if your reading this) again. this is the best site on the net for sortin out dudes who mess wiv your hoes. im gonna be tellin all me homies about it. thanks again fran m8. u the guvnor

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Fran July 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Speechless and pissing myself laughing at the same time. Comment of the Month Award right there.

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txtboyz July 25, 2014 at 6:52 am

Yo fran m8. ur from the pool so u wells know how it gos down in da ghetto. but since i come to this site and learn a few sly moves im the main dude in me hood. u can come visit anytimes bro. ill show u boobiqua she be a fine BIG girl. just txt me. nuff respect goin out to fran sands. u da man

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txtboyz July 29, 2014 at 8:07 am

yo fran. no BS but me reckon ur 1 of the bestest fisticuff coachs on the planet an me need ur advise big styles m8. dos u think im ready to turn pro. me thinks maybes i am cuz 4 real me can bang well hard. i knows this 4 a fact cos when me clocks lardy boy wiv the big right hander KRRRRUNCH i hits him sooo hard he very naerly dropped his hot dog. and i cud alaways take me crew wiv me ringside for backup in case anything gos pete tong. the only prob i can see wiv goin pro is i might have to give up da weed an i dont want dat. what u thinks bruv. am i ready. or should i watch a few more of ur vids 1st? ps do u think freddy roche mite be intrested. maybes u got his phone no. cheers bro

txtboyz July 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

gr8 vid m8, luv it.
cud yu do 1 on big ko right hooks nxt plz m8. cos theres this big fat boy down my street whose annoyin me big time and i wanna knock im out

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Fran July 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Hahaha. See what I can do but try annoying the kid back or ignoring him rather than going straight to the knockout thing!

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Bernie June 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

Thanks Fran. Don’t worry, if I get ko’d whilst doing the shuffle (a definite possibility) I promise not to blame you. 😉

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Fran June 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Hahaha. That’s reassuring Bernie 🙂

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Bernie June 14, 2014 at 6:58 am

Thanks for the reply Fran and your great advice.

P.S. Since I wrote my original comment I tried out the ‘shuffle step’ on a punchbag in my local club. When I extend my left hand to touch the punching bag to simulate hitting it with a jab (and so am in range). And then perform the shuffle step I notice that I do go out of range (my left hand no longer touches the punchbag) halfway through the move but at the end of the move I am back in range with my left hand touching the punchbag once again. So I could in theory jab my opponent, perform the ‘shuffle step’ going out of range momentarily and (hopefully!) avoid any counter punches, go back into range at the end of the move having moved 45 degrees to my right and jab my opponent once again, etc. It does seem to be quite slow though but maybe I need to practice it alot more!!
I jab and move alot (long arms) so it might be useful to employ it once in a while, it’s good to have different options and not become predictable I’m sure you’d agree Fran. Thanks once again, Bernie

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Fran June 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Cheers Bernie. Yes indeed, practice may improve it. Although, the lay back, push out and in and and of the body movements would have the same effect with less energy expended. Worth experimenting though 🙂

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Bernie June 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

As usual, an excellent video and so well explained. Many thanks Fran!

As a point of interest Fran, for an orthodox boxer, what is your opinion on using the shuffle step (shown here for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skuOUPjPY_A although it’s called something different there) when moving to the right as an alternative to the angled side step?
I’m guessing perhaps that it’s slower than the angled side step you outline but maybe the shuffle step has the advantage of taking you out of range momentarily and so avoiding punches? I’d really value your opinion on it. Thanks in advance.

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Fran June 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Hey Bernie

Thanks for the compliment on the vid, much appreciated.

That type of side step, described here as a shuffle step, is an interesting one and one. The real benefit of that move is when performed explosively at close range to provide a platform for power hooks and uppercuts. When performed out of range (as in the link you provided) it’s quite a passive move and often becomes a habit for boxers..looks good :-). If performed at long range it doesn’t really give you the ability to throw the shots and exposes you to risk really.

So, either out of range or at close range.

Hope this helps Bernie

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Paul Jolly May 13, 2014 at 11:35 am

As always a great video. Very instructive. Thanks Fran, keep them coming please.

P.S. I’ve just read your recent brilliant article regarding the waning powers of the all-time great Floyd Mayweather (as opposed to those of Amir Khan). I found myself in broad agreement with what you wrote. But then I checked back on your earlier video of “Old man punching the heavy bag” and compared that bag work with that contained within this video. The bag work in this vid is great but not quite as explosive as the previous one. This is a bit of a cheeky suggestion I know but is it just possible that old father time is not just catching up on Floyd but Fran too?! Or maybe Fran is just a bit out of practice, that’s a far more likely explantion I’m sure!

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Fran May 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Brilliant comment Paul! You can come back anytime.

I believe it’s the latter 🙂 The previous “Old Man” video came at the end of a couple of weeks of good training, this video didn’t!

To prove my theory I will be posting a new “Old Man” video in the next couple of weeks. My roadwork has been impeccable this week 🙂

Cheers mate. Boss comment!

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mark hughes May 1, 2014 at 5:26 pm

good stuff Fran,excellent explanation!

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Fran May 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Nice one Mark

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Sarah April 7, 2014 at 4:35 am

Thanks for all the great videos Fran, they’ve been really helpful to me. But this one might be even more useful than the others. I’m orthodox and have a big problem going square on when I move to the right circling a punchbag or an opponent. I reckon if I could perfect this movement then this problem could be solved! I’ll try it out in training tonight and see how it goes, wish me luck!

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Fran April 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

That’s excellent Sarah. I hope that your application of this skills works out (I’m sure that it will). Thanks for the comment

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Dennis April 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Fran,
Thanks for the great video. Clumsy footwork leads to clumsy handwork. thanks for keeping it simple.

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Fran April 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm

You’re welcome Dennis. Thanks for the feedback.

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MickeyG March 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

sorry – forgot my name ohn there -Glad ur back Fran – great video and technique – as usual! Definitely going to add this to the class this week. Should come fairly natural to those that have practiced their side steps and pivots. It should also allow them to feel safer (avoiding punches) while still making an aggressive move on offense.
thanks,
mickey

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Fran April 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Hello Mickey. Nice to hear from you mate, hope you and yours are well.

Really happy that you are happy using this stuff with the boxers, that’s a ringing endorsement 🙂

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Anonymous March 31, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Glad ur back Fran – great video and technique – as usual! Definitely going to add this to the class this week. Should come fairly natural to those that have practiced their side steps and pivots. It should also allow them to feel safer (avoiding punches) while still making an aggressive move on offense.
thanks,
mickey

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Frank Mitchell March 31, 2014 at 2:37 pm

And it applies to karate sparring too, at least in Shukokai.

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pug March 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Hi Fran,

Ditto all of the above. It’s all about fundamentals, which I heard Roy Jones comment last year is lacking in alot of American boxers at the present time. This the ‘Foundation’ of Boxing and you are the professor. School’s in!

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Thanks Rick. From a fellow (very) experienced coach that really means a lot.

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pete March 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Hi Fran

Loved the new video – you make things simple and build coaches and boxers confidence. Just wish you could produce more of them

Thanks Mate

Peter

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Cheers Pete. I am frantically working out ways that I can get a more regular delivery. Time is a bitch though!

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Velox1 March 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Excellent video. Clear and concise. I really profit from watching you sum everything up on the heavy bag. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Thanks mate, glad it helped.

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Dave Waterman March 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Nice vid, Fran. Subtle variation on the side step and pivot and a nice skill to learn. Add it to a box of tools and it’ll fit nicely into a fight at any level. Interesting also because, to the lay observer in either amateur or pro contest, it would be lost as a simple change of position.

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Thanks mate, glad the subtleties have been captured, they are often the difference between good and brilliant aren’t they.

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Paul Smith March 30, 2014 at 5:01 pm

That was a great article, an excellent lesson and some impressive heavy bag work by you Coach.

Thanks

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Thanks Paul. Don’t know on the heavy bag work, I need to get myself in better shape! Give me a few weeks and I’ll post another drill-based bag session without the lead weights in my gloves and the keg of beer under my short 🙂

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Paul Smith March 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I know the feeling Fran, trust me. You don’t have a keg — I have a keg! It’s been a long winter with no work for me and I have put on quite a few pounds after so much couch surfing……That’s why I was impressed with your bag work, because your mobility and power made me think that if you were to hit me in my current state — I’d probably burst.

Oh well, I started a new job today and hopefully when it’s done in 8 weeks time, the good weather will be here to stay and I can get to exercising again.

Cheers. 🙂

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Fran April 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Bring on the Summer pal 🙂

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Terry March 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Hello Fran,
Great clip mate.I’m always very interested in any footwork articles as it is just so important in this game.I think part of the reason that some of the great amateurs who have stepped up recently into the pro game have done so well is because of their wonderfull foundation skills.(footwork,balance,range etc)On the other hand some of the leading pros seem to lack the same level of these skills.Of course they make it up in other ways.Maybe the tv coverage has affected the way promoter’s want boxers to box.Anyway mate,I look forward to more articles along these lines.All the best Fran.Best Wishes Terry

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Hey mate

Nice to hear from you. Got your email too and I’m made up with it (that’s stoked in Australian). As usual some great back stories and the pics and other attachments are great. Will email back in the next few days mate. These type of drills really do make a difference regardless of the level and you’re right, the grasp of solid fundamentals at pro level can often me ‘looser’ than it should really be!

Nice hearing from you pal.

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James Morgan March 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm

I’m loving it. I practice footwork and stance more than anything else. I need to add something like that into my round workouts, so thanks for putting that in on the back of the instructional. Missed your stuff!

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Thanks James. I don’t need to tell you this, but keep practising that footwork!

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Roberto March 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Fran

Thanks for another brilliant instructional.

Best regards

Robert

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Fran March 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm

No problem Robert. Enjoyed doing it and hope that I can bring a lot more out in the coming months.

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Fran August 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Bestest fisticuffs coach on the planet, that’ll do. The weed thing is a bit of a problem, although a ring walk to the tune “Don’t bogarde that joint my friend” would be original. The crew thing, no problem. In the Liverpool Echo Arena during a big pro show there’s more punches exchanged in the crowd than in the ring – your boys’ll fit right in. Forget watching anymore vids, unless it’s Cheech and Chong, and sign yerself up.

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txtboyz August 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

thanx fran m8. mes still watching all ur vids, i luv them. mes still waitin 4 the gr8 man freddy roche 2 return me calls. hopefully if me gos pro 1 day i will fiight in da pool. me hears its not hard to get a fight in da pool whether u wants 1 or not. cheers bro

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Fran August 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Between your bitches and Freddy Roache fantasies, and Graham’s Rocky Balboa fetish, I’m going to be worn out 😉

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txtboyz August 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

yo fran bro. just to let u know. i seen da fat lad the other day and xcuze me french but his boat is still a right ******* mess. thats how harrd me hits m8. me knows ure a bit tastey fran cuz me seen all ur vids but me is a bit handy 2.
cheers fran m8. and remember 2 protect urself at all times

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Andy Maran August 27, 2014 at 5:22 am

Thanks for the great video Fran. If you don’t mind can I ask a rather basic question (given that I’m a novice boxer). When you demonstrate the side step at the beginning of the video are you doing so in ‘slow motion’ as it were? I say this because you always keep at least one foot on the ground. Whereas in the punchbag session you obviously speed up to mimic a real fight situation and I’m fairly sure that at certain times both feet are off the ground albeit for a very short period?

And to follow up from this, in boxing I think I’ve been told to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times just in case you get hit with a punch and ‘fall over.’ Is that true? But maybe that’s impractical in a real fight situation as things are speeded up to such an extent and you simply have to glide around the ring and both feet must leave the ground at certain times?

Thanks for any advice Fran

Ooops sorry, I’ve posted this 3 times! I couldn’t see the other 2 initially, they’ve gone higher up the page.

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Fran August 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Haha. No problem Andy, I’ll answer this one 🙂

Simple really mate. Aiming to keep the feet on the ground during drills, bagwork etc. instills good practice. From a technical point of view there is no benefit in both feet being off the ground at the same, and indeed there is risk. However, that’s not to say that during sidewards movement particularly both feet may lift very briefly – that’s down to the speed of execution as you point out, and this limits the risk. For the vast, vast majority of time at least one foot will be on the deck. Hope this makes sense.

Thanks for the question Andy

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Andy Maran August 28, 2014 at 6:08 am

Thanks Fran, you’ve explained it perfectly.

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