Enhance Your Boxing Training

by Fran on November 6, 2013

Vasyl Lomachenko Boxing Training
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Emulate a Top Fighter!

Have you ever watched your favourite boxer perform and thought "I want to be able to do that"?

If you have ever taken part in a spar or a competitive boxing match, then the answer to that question has to be a resounding "Yes".

If you use boxing training simply to keep fit, maybe some shadow boxing and heavy bag work, then playing copycat is just as important for you.

My view is that by seeking to emulate a boxer in shadow boxing or on the heavy bag pushes you to the limits and enables you to get much more out of your session.

In this article, I am going to use video analysis to help you give your boxing training session a new lease of life by incorporating the skills of the best!

I have a specific way of grouping the individual core skills of boxing so that the student of the sport may approach learning in a very structured way.

I call these groups of skills "boxing skills buckets".

All of the top boxers use skills from the skills buckets, using them in different ways to achieve success.

By using the boxing skill buckets principle it becomes much more straightforward to dissect a fighter's style and glean usable aspects for your own style. To show you how to do this I am going to analyse a video of a top fighter.

So, which fighter have I chosen to examine?

Well, there is a certain Ukrainian called Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is a double Olympic champion who has turned over to the professional ranks.

To those in the game, it is one of the most anticipated professional debuts in living memory. He is quite simply one of the finest fighters ever to step into the amateur ring, and his lengthy list of honours proves this.

Not wishing to rest on his laurels, Vasyl Lomachenko stepped into the professional ring on October 12th 2013, competing against the experienced and dangerous Mexican Jose Ramirez.

One more thing before we start. This is not the first time I've written about Lomachenko. Let's just say that I never tire of watching him perform.

Two previous articles that you may wish to look at are Body Punching in Amateur Boxing and How to Deal with Counter Punching.

There is a serious amount of learning to be done from Mr Lomachenko, and I'm going to help you along the way.

The fight begins at 6:25. The principle is simple really. Watch the fight through with the aim being to simply enjoy the spectacle. Then, watch the parts of the fight identified within each boxing skills buckets below.

Take your time, then pick out what you are going to use in your next boxing training session.

Here's the video:

Boxing Skills Bucket #1 - Boxing Footwork

At the core of every great amateur boxer is movement in and out, also referred to as the push in/push away. I call this move 'The Stinger' (you will be familiar with this if you have signed up to the free boxing drill videos.

Look at 7:21 where Ramirez advances and Lomachenko pushes away and then triggers straight back in. He does it again at 8:46. It's simple, precise and effective and demonstrates perfectly the principle of range in boxing, taking the fighter from long range to the edge of range and back again in the blink of an eye.

Whilst the push in/push out is used extensively, another core part of the Lomachenko style is pivoting. Lomachenko constantly uses an efficient pivot to deflect the incoming attack and set up his own. 10:16, 11:55, 12:13 etc.

Lomachenko also uses lateral and diagonal movement extensively. It's as unorthodox as it is effective. Look at 12:33, a slip is used as a feint and then a diagonal movement backwards and a diagonal movement forward sets up a two-handed attack.

A key theme here is that Lomachenko wants to manage and control range. He wants to dictate at what range to box, and he is most comfortable at long range. He is more than happy to retreat in quite a passive manner only to fire back at the right moment. Future opponents might do well to notice this and should look to drag Vasyl into close range brawling. Easier said that done though.

Boxing Skills Bucket #2 - Punches

Lomachenko is a text book puncher. Every punch thrown is brilliantly precise in conception and execution. The obvious demonstration of this is the back hand uppercut to the body at 8:23. This shot is not only difficult to see coming (because of the low trajectory at close to mid range), it's very difficult to defend. So Lomachenko drops Ramirez here and subsequently virtually disembowels him at 22:20 with exactly the same shot. That back hand uppercut to the body is one bitch of a shot.

Vasyl is also a great exponent of switching attacks from body to head and vice versa. At 9:28, Lomachenko not only switches the attack from body to head but also deploys another favourite tactic to pierce defences, the channel shift. This involves varying the angle that the shot takes to the target. In this instance we have a back hand hook to the body followed by a lead hand hook to the body and finishes off with a lead hand uppercut to the head. So we have two shots to the flanks (hooks) followed by the switch through the central channel (uppercut).

Lomachenko performs superbly at close range, mid range and long range when punching. Every shot is powerful and precise. It's also worth recognising that whilst he does use single shots, the majority of Lomachenko's punches arrive in clusters of 2 and 3. You can see this throughout and it is always performed with the body/head and/or channel shift principle at play. Look at 7:30. I rest my case! Another example? 13:11- straight back hand, lead hand long range uppercut, straight back hand mid range lead hand hook. CLASS!!!!!

One more thing. Look at the straight back hand at 15:52. It's virtually a work of art. The drive from the rear foot, the rotation of the hips and the piston-like arm travelling a perfectly line to and from the target. Speaking as a coach, that is a perfectly executed punch. The fact that it actually misses the target by a whisker is academic in this instance, after all we can't land all of the time. For good measure though he lands right on the button at 18:21 🙂

Boxing Skills Bucket #3 - Defences

Lomachenko, whilst showing plenty of flare, never ignores the basics that always work well and this includes defensive blocks. The double arm block is used extensively by Vasyl throughout. It's simple and safe. 7:39, 8:18 etc. etc. The list goes on. He does not 'hide' behind this defence, he merely takes cover momentarily ready to launch subsequent vicious assaults (for 'assault' see Boxing Skills Bucket #2).

At 9:04, we can see Vasyl use defensive blocks to the incoming hooks from Ramirez, then he uses a wonderful pivot to alter his position to the opponent. It's wonderfully simple and provides incredible leverage to fire counter punch hooks and uppercuts in order to punish the opponent for trying to hit you.

Boxing Skills Bucket #4 - Body Movement

Slips, rolls and ducks can be used in defensive and offensive situations. At 8:55, Lomachenko executes a perfect outside roll and for good measure adds in a push away at the same time as a lead hand hook. Instinctive actions combining defence and attack to deal with a committed attack from a determined opponent. I also really like the rolls performed at 9:39, following on from his own straight back hand, ending with a pivot to wheel away from danger.

The passage at 13:13 - slip, pivot, roll out then roll back in. This is not achieved by mistake. This is endless drills, no mystery. He uses his body movement to perplex opponents. It becomes pretty miserable when 9 out of 10 punches you throw miss. Build this type of body movement into shadow boxing and heavy bag work and it will pay off…guaranteed!

Ducking is an incredibly simple skill to perform, in fact it's one of the first body movements that I teach to boxers. Lomachenko uses it lots, both from a static position as a feint and during movement backwards in a defensive mode. There is a consistent theme here. Body movements create defensive solidity and offensive opportunity.

Now Read Between the Lines!

So what about bringing some of these skills together? There are masses of examples of Lomachenko combining the various skills, but I'm going to pick out some of the one that really catch my eye. It's up to you to identify others, think of it as homework 🙂

21:29 to 21:35 - A clear demonstration of bringing together powerful punching, with channel shifts and short explosive foot movements. That's how we combine skills to result in high impact boxing. Enough said.

Whilst I recognise that Lomachenko is a southpaw, I haven't made a point of discussing it here. He is quite an unconventional southpaw as he moves to his left quite a lot. But he does this passively by backing away from the orthodox back hand. He relies on explosive movement and superbly crafted angles to dominate an opponent rather than the traditional southpaw 'advantages' like lots of jabs and moving to the his left to stay away from the orthodox power back hand.

A final word on feinting. Vasyl Lomachenko, as with other top performers, is constantly feinting. It's an art form, used to create confusion and opportunities. One of my favourite sayings for me describes what Lomachenko does:

"Boxing is a pressure business. If you are not punching you should be feinting, and if you are not feinting you should be punching"

So there you have it. A simple way to analyse a boxer in a structured way and use what you learn for your own ends. Let me have any questions or comments below.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

vicente san teodoro May 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

Dear Coach Fran,

I love waching Lomachenko but since he is sothpaw it takes me a lot effort to “see” his movements (waching the tapes more than four times) , so I use a Mirror to tape the mach against Russell , another southpaw and here is the result. If you find it interested or helpfull you can spread it.

https://youtu.be/yVO3T2Jvhk8

https://youtu.be/qUdrUcZi_u4

https://youtu.be/5HlaAwqcviY

How you feel waching Lomachenko as a orthodox??? against another skilful orthodox??

Many Thanks for your coaching Fran!!!

Vicente s.t. From Spain
Sorry my mistakes in writting English

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samuel kariuki April 13, 2017 at 6:48 am

Dear coach Fran, Lomachenko has got tallent.

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Fran April 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm

he most certainly has Samuel 🙂

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Robin April 12, 2017 at 9:07 am

Dear Fran,

Brilliant! Am going to take my time to go through this article.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
There are few better things than something to aim for!

Cheers,
Robin.

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Fran April 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

No worries, thanks Robin

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Jason Walter January 29, 2014 at 12:50 am

Thank you for this. I really enjoy all of this. I’ve been reading and studying your articles all day today. I think your approach is awesome and your attitude is infectious and motivating. I imagine it translates over to your live coaching as well. Do you have a Facebook or a newsletter or anything like that? I am a new fan and follower.
I am also a huge fan of Lomachenko and I love watching him fight. Its awesome that you do as well. Again, thank you.

Jason R. Walter

P.s. I am confident Loma will stop Salida on March 1st.

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Fran February 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Hello Jason

Thanks for the great comment, I really appreciate it. Go to the homepage and you can access a bunch of videos, reports and other goodies that I’m sure you’ll find interesting and helpful.

Thanks for the interest you are showing.

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matt December 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Hi Fran
I am really glad that you have posted this article because it confirms a principle that I have subscribed to for a while and which has been fundamental to my own personal training. Due to other commitments I can rarely get to class, sometimes I miss up to 3 months of training sessions at a time. Therefore I miss out on a lot of sparring which my training mates are getting 2-3 times per week. However, I always make sure that I diligently practice fundamental skills all the time. Every day, I drill and drill the basics, jab, footwork, movement, combinations and insist on technical precision. I also constantly watch fights closely and copy minor technicalities of the greats

When I go back to training and spar I assume I’m going to be really rusty and uncoordinated compared to others that jave been regularly sparring. But to my surprise, with all the training aids that I use and all the hours of practice I find that my timing, technique abd accuracy is still sharp after a lay off. I find that in some ways I am a lot sharper than my sparring partners because although they spar regularly they do not ever practice the skills out of class, they just hope that the techniques ‘will happen’ by chance when they spar.

Am I jus getting lucky or is the way I am training sufficient for keeping my skills and timing sharp when I can’t get sparring for long periods?

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Fran December 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Matt

Of course sparring is important, but not necessarily more important than the technical development provided by drills. It’s a progression. The more time that you spend on drills, really grasping the mechanics of the basics, the more chance that sparring ‘will go well’ so to speak. I think that your experience underlines this. Great question Matt. Keep working at the drills and keep surprising your sparring partners 🙂

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fity November 27, 2013 at 6:10 am

Mr Lomachenko was superior in every way by stats and even better.notwithstanding.

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Fran November 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Cheers mate.

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Justin November 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Great work Fran. Would like to see how lomachenko movement will differ with age, then again we are still waiting to see that of floyd mayweather. His angles that he creates with movement is quality. What style would beat lomachenko, many have tried to beat mayweather but haven’t found the so called blue print, how if you was in the opposite corner would you instruct your boxer a formula to beat lomachenko. If I was a coach I’d ask for fire to meet fire……..

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Fran November 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I think I agree Justin. There were 2 ‘opportunities’ that I saw if I was sending someone out against Lomachenko. The 1st is the chance to really get rough and hustle up close. Make it a truly dirty battle, something that he’s not necessarily used to. Secondly when he moves away from the opponent and moves to his left he does the little foot shuffle as a habit. Maybe trying to launch an attack then might work. Ifs and buts though. He’s an incredible proposition! Very cool question mate, thanks.

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Ivan November 11, 2013 at 3:58 am

Great piece. I almost called it an an effort but realized you must have enjoyed writing it. The technical observations should be distributed to commercial boxing writers who have reached tabloid level with very few exceptions. Most boxing journalists are just fans with little or no boxing knowledge and use provocative hype to mask their boxing illiteracy. They should be referred to your site somehow before they do any more damage.
Lomachenko deserves all the hype he can get. Perhaps he tried too hard to look professional in his first pro fight and this took away some of the spark and flavor from his performance. He will “loosen up” and show his versatility which should get him the fan base proportionate to his ultimate skills.

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Fran November 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I agree Ivan, I think Lomachenko is going to add some real class to the pro scene. Of course there’s plenty around anyway, but there’s just something about watching this guy. He’s oozes class.

Thanks for the commendation on the analysis piece Ivan. Every televised fight is a learning opportunity 🙂

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James Cullen November 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Great article Fran.
I volunteered at the Olympics last year and peeked into the warm up area to watch lomachenko get ready for his final. His father&coach swung a towel while Vasyl either pushed in/out to avoid or – when it was swung high – would slip and roll to avoid the towel. No pads, no bag. I recall watching his first bout at the games and I don’t think he threw a punch for the first 2 minutes. But of course he didn’t take one either. The first shot he did throw was a long range uppercut – straight on the button! As you say, CLASS.
Keep up the great work Fran, look forward to your next analysis.

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Fran November 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Brilliant insight James. There’ll be guys all around the World getting their coaches to swing a towel. It’s certainly something I’ll use in the gym. Thanks for the comment James, incredibly helpful.

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chrisl69 November 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Hey Fran
You can obviously pick a good horse .
Lomachencko seems to be a class act ! I know you have featured him on the site before he turned pro ( In an Amateur bout where his opponent suffered the same fate, if i remember correctly). As a layman to boxing can you answer the following.
1 How difficult is the transition from amateur to pro boxing and how will his fighting style have to adjust.(if at all )
2 Physiologically what is actually happening to his opponent when that body shot lands ( It seems far more sickening than a head shot)
3 Does the fact that he is a Southpaw make that left hand body shot technically easier/ more devastating than if he was an orthodox fighter and could he pull the same shot off against another Southpaw.
Ignoring the above, I think he will turn out to be one of the greats!
Keep up the great work mate ! (your training program is constantly lowering my cholesterol despite my best efforts).
Cheers
Chris.

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Terry November 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Hello Fran,This is a great article mate.It’s a real skill to be able to firstly identify and breakdown exactly what these very top level blokes are doing (and setting up to do)as they are usually very subtle and patient in their movements and combine so many things together as they probe for opportunities.Also mate,congratulations on your You Tube milestone,you absolutely deserve any success that comes your way.As always top stuff Fran.Good luck mate.

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Fran November 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Thanks Big Terry, really nice to have good words from a fellow boxing man. I really appreciate your continued support and I’m glad that the articles continue to offer you something.

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Sultan November 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Thanks, Fran this fighter is really skilfully
Demonstrated why boxing is an art.
And your article was a great lesson
That for sure will take us to another level.
Always special stuff.

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Fran November 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Thank you Sultan, so glad it worked for you.

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Mike November 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

Brilliant stuff Fran, such a great fighter to emulate. I’d be happy to be half the boxer Lomachenko is. With your analysis, it’s great for you to discuss all his pivots, feints etc. as he does so much, it is hard to see them at work without a coach pointing them out like you have. Good work

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Fran November 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm

You’re welcome Mike, it’s very rewarding for me that you enjoy this stuff. Thanks Mike.

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