Boxing is a sport where your bodyweight plays a crucial role. Due to this reason boxing classes are categorized on weight basis like middleweight, welterweight, featherweight, bantamweight, flyweight, or strawweight.
But other than weight there are few other factors that play an important role in determining the outcome of boxing or the performance of the boxer in the boxing field. One of such factors is Reach.
Reach is the vital element in boxing. Reach determines the boxer’s performance in the boxing field.
So, what is reach? And how is reach measured in boxing? Let’s know it.
What is Reach?
In simple language, “reach” in boxing means the total length of a boxer’s arm, i.e., from one middle fingertip to another middle fingertip. Reach is also known as wingspan or arm span.
The distance between a boxer’s right middle fingertip and the left middle fingertip when the arm is stretched perpendicular to one’s body (in a “T” shape) is called reach. Reach is measured across the chest and elbows.
How is reach measured in boxing?
“How is reach measured in boxing” is one of the most vital statistics for a boxer to know.
Every boxer should be aware of his reach and measure it at regular intervals similarly as they keep track of their weight and height.
Reach can be improved overtime with the help of
- Practicing with different grips and
- Using stretching exercises
Pro Tip – Instead of measuring reach by yourself, it is advisable to take help from some other person. This will help you to get more accurate results.
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Six Easy Steps to Accurately Measure Your Reach
We make measuring reach very easy for you. Just follow below mentioned six easy steps and get an accurate measure of your reach.
Step 1 – Prepare Yourself
Remove clothes from your upper body to get accurate measurement. Clothing can impact the measurement of reach and make it inaccurate. Even the slightest inclusions from your tee or tank might mislead the measurement.
However, females can wear sports bras; it will not impact the measurement.
Step 2 – Warm Up and Stretching
Warm up with light cardiovascular exercises for 2-3 minutes and stretch your muscles. This will help to increase flexibility of your body. You can opt for a brisk walk, light jogging, cycling, skipping or try some jumping jacks for a few minutes. This will increase your heart rate a bit. But keep in mind there is no need for any vigorous exercise.
Do some arm stretching. Lift one arm at a time and stretch it across your body, repeat it till you feel a comfortable stretch. When your arm crosses over your body, hold your arm parallel to the floor for a few counts. Repeat the same for another arm as well.
This exercise will help to release any tension in your shoulder joints and provide good stretch to your arms and shoulders. This will help you to maximize your reach.
Step 3 – Stand up Straight on a Flat Surface
Stand up straight and ensure that your feet are flat on the ground. Position your heels against the wall in a way that your back lightly touches the wall. Ensure that your shoulders are resting comfortably (nor pulled back or hunching forward). Stand still and make yourself comfortable.
Step 4 – Making T-shape
Lift your arms up to make a straight line parallel to the ground and at right angle with your body. Make sure that your shoulder feels loose and relaxed. Advisably, you can stand in front of a mirror to check your posture.
Make required adjustments to ensure that a straight line is formed connecting your middle fingers and your elbows. Then stretch your shoulders and elbows outward.
Step 5 – Measuring
Ask someone to mark the points on the wall using a calk or a pencil at the point where your middle finger hits the wall. Make sure that it should be your middle finger tip and not any other finger as it will not give the correct measure.
Now, you can measure the distance between two points marked on the wall using a measuring tape. Make sure that the measuring tape should not be tilted or twisted, it should form a straight line. The measurement you get by following this method is your “Reach”.
Step 6 – Recording
If you are not certain about the measurement you can recheck it and once you are sure, make a record of your reach. Reach is measured and recorded in either inches or centimeters depending upon whether you are using the imperial or metric system of measurement.
Exceptions to Reach
There are always exceptions to measuring reach. Reach measurement can sometime be deceptive. It’s not always the case that taller boxers have longer reach when compared to short boxers.
Similarly, many boxers from the low weight category have recorded longer reaches compared to some boxers in the heavyweight category.
For example, Roger Mayweather, a featherweight boxer had an impressive reach of 73.5 inches which was longer than heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson whose reach was just 71 inches.
Long reach does not always mean that a person is having long arms. The reason being reach considers chest and shoulder length as well. Someone having wide shoulders can have high reach measurement.
A boxer can have a longer reach if he has a wide chest but short arms. Or may have a short reach even if he has long arms but a narrow chest.
Why is Reach Important in Boxing?
Reach plays a vital role in determining the result of a boxing match.
Reach is crucial for a boxer as it affects the boxer’s attacks. A longer reach means that the boxer can attack through punches from a greater distance and gain an advantage over their opponent.
Longer reach increases the boxer’s striking range and allows the boxer to hit the opponent without getting hit. It also gives the boxer advantage of good defense by guarding or blocking strikes from the opponent.
Boxers having short reach find it difficult to offend or defend against long range punches from the opponent.
How long is “long reach,” and how short is “short reach?”
The average reach across the most successful boxing champions is 71 inches or 180 centimeters. You may have short or long reach depending upon the variation from the above length.
According to world boxing association data, reach is directly proportional to weight class. The reason being the heavier the weight class, the taller the boxers are.
For example, boxers having weight above 200 pounds have an average reach of around 76.3 inches whereas boxers weighing up to 105 pounds exhibit average reach of 63.8 inches.
So, we can say that anything longer than the average reach for your weight class is a long reach. If you have a reach of 77 inches or more and you are a heavyweight then you have a long reach.
Also, your height affects your reach, this means that the taller boxers are able to throw punches from a longer distance.
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What is Reach Advantage?
While going to face your opponent in the ring, you must consider the factor of reach advantage. Reach advantage is the difference between your reach and your opponent’s reach.
But always remember, never get discouraged if your opponent is good at reach. Reach is not the sole factor that determines your success.
You can gain significant advantage over your opponent’s reach by focusing on other areas like getting well trained in cross guard technique, lead uppercut jabs and lead hooks to the body, head, or chin of your opponent.
Utilizing Your Reach Effectively
To effectively utilize your reach, you must develop good footwork. This will enable you to move around quickly. You need to utilize proper stance to ensure that you are prepared for the opponent’s attack and at the same time you are able to move forward for an offense.
You can use straight punches wherever possible and utilize the entire breadth of your arm’s length.
Your predictability plays an important role in the boxing field. Boxing is not only physical but also a mind game.
Pro Tip – keep your opponent guessing inside the ring by changing your boxing styles throughout the fight.
Making the Most of Short Reach
We all know that longer reach is the best advantage in many sports but don’t forget that it is only a measurement. There are various other factors that are important too.
If you are not having a reach advantage over your opponent don’t get worried. Boxing is for everyone, it’s just that you will have to work a bit harder to keep up with your opponent.
In the given situation, keep in mind that an opponent with long reach will try to keep you at a distance and attack using their arm length for their advantage. To avoid this, you will be required to fight inside. Bobbing and Weaving techniques can be used here.
Bobbing and weaving is a classic move that helps you to move closer to your opponent when they are vulnerable. Here you wait for your opponent to attack, ducking underneath to slip outside or inside.
The drawback of long reach is that punches take longer to travel through the air. The smart boxer in the opponent can use this to their advantage. They can easily use dodging punches against a long reach opponent.
Double jab option can also be used for advantage in such a situation. To do this you will walk towards your opponent jabbing twice. This is great technique as even if your first jab fails to land, it will surely distract your opponent, maybe just for a second, giving you time to hit a literal punch a second time.
Famous Short Reach Boxers and Their Styles –
One of the most famous boxers having short reach is Mike Tyson. He was shorter than most heavyweight boxers and had a reach of just 71 inches. But his short reach never stopped him from knocking out his opponents who had comparatively higher reach.
For example, in one of his fights, Tyson knocked down Eddie Richardson having a reach of 77 inches in just a few minutes.
Tyson was popular for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style.
He proved the theory wrong that long reach boxers dominate the fight and short reach boxers are at disadvantage.
You may be curious to know about the boxing champions known in history for the longest reach. Let’s know about them
1. Gogea Mitu –
Dumitru Stefanescu, also known as Gogea Mitu, was 8 feet and 2 inches tall. He was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest professional boxer. We have to look back over a century for this man holding the unofficial record in longest reach category. He suffered from gigantism and had an arm span of over 100 inches. He managed only two professional fights under his belt as he died at a very young age of 26.
2. Julius Long
Another boxer in the heavyweight category that recorded the longest reach is Julius Long. Julius Long has the record for the largest documented reach 90 inch (230 cm) amongst professional boxers. His height is 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m). His height has earned him a nickname “Towering Inferno”.
You will be surprised to know that in spite of having the inherent advantage of longest reach Julius has a negative record in the ring fights. He won only 18 fights out of 43 fights fought.
3. Michael Anthony Grant –
Michael Anthony Grant is an American professional boxer playing under heavyweight title. He has a height of 6 ft 7 inches (2.01m). His recorded reach is 86 inches (218 cm).
Michael Anthony Grant is well known by his nickname “Big”. Prior to his boxing career, he was a three-sport star at Chicago’s Harper High School, and was well-talented in baseball, basketball, and football.
4. Efe Ajagba –
Efe Ajagba is a Nigerian professional boxer. He holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history as once his opponent was disqualified from the fight for leaving the ring within a second after the opening bell.
Efe Ajagba is a boxer of heavy weight category, standing tall at 6 ft 6 inches (1.98 m) and has reach of 85 inches (216 cm). He has a boxing record of winning 17 fights out of a total 18.
Famous Long Reach Boxers and their styles –
Tyson Fury is a legendary long reach boxer. He has won the world heavyweight championship twice. He stands tall at 6 ft 9 inches (206 cm) and has a reach of whooping 85 inches!
His boxing style is unpredictable for the opponent. He has an amazing IQ in boxing and years of experience in facing most boxing record holders.
Fury is well – known for his swift angular head movements and footwork. He constantly keeps on experimenting with new fighting techniques and adapts to situations quickly.
Fury fairly utilizes his long reach to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm and attacks with an unexpected jab. He successfully creates space and opportunity for himself to control a fight by using his reach advantage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1- What is considered a good reach in boxing?
The average reach across the most successful boxing champions is 71 inches or 180 centimeters. The good reach of a boxer helps to land effective strikes.
Q2- How do you measure reach by yourself?
You need someone’s help to measure your reach accurately. To measure your reach, you just need to put your arm in an outward position, perpendicular to your body. Then measure the distance between the middle fingertip of one hand and another.
Q3- What is the average reach for a 6ft tall person?
For a 6ft tall person, average reach is generally between 69”-75”.
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