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Welcome. This Boxing Science article is an introduction to our psychology section. The articles will be dedicated to outline the benefits that sport psychology has for boxing training and competitive performance. This will be achieved through reviewing current misconceptions and scientific literature, our own research and interactive activities.

What to Expect:

  • How to set goals and achieve them
  • Preparation for training and competition
  • Confidence, Control and Concentration

“Boxing is the toughest and loneliest sport in the world. You’ve got all the fans, lots of hangers-on jumping up and shouting different words. But when you actually go in the ring, it’s a very lonely and scary place. It’s just you and the other guy” – Frank Bruno

The ability to be mentally tough, supported by an array of psychological skills, are the foundations critical to an individual’s success in any sport. However, not many sports test mental toughness more than having another person within close proximity wanting to punch them in the face – that’s what a boxer has to deal with every competition and training session.

“Everybody has a plan, until they get hit”

This is a famous quote from Mike Tyson, we believe that this meant that a fighter can plan and prepare meticulously, but when hurt, that plan can go out of the window. This can disrupt fighting strategy, concentration and control of emotions. Similar to Tyson, the legendary boxing coach Cus D’Amato believed that “fights are won and lost in the head”.

Boxing Science - Sport Psychology

What Does The Research Say?

Despite the need for a well developed mental game, there has been little research of psychological traits of Boxers in the scientific literature. Majority of the population still perceive Boxing specific psychology to be about motivation or dealing with mind games with an opponent. Sport psychology can also help develop an athlete’s self-esteem, concentration, confidence, controlled anxiety, imagery skills, motivation, daily and weekly preparation, stress management and goal setting. That’s just a brief overview of what will be covered. Boxing science will not only be applying research supported psychological processes, but also driving for new scientific research in Boxing.

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The Boxing Science Team

Sport Psychology Authors

Dr Pete Olusoga PhD CSci MSc BSc

Pete Olusoga

Pete is a Sport Psychology lecturer and researcher at Sheffield Hallam University. Furthermore, Pete has worked with a range of athletes in a variety of sports, including Boxing, Basketball, Football and many more. Most recently he worked with England Table Tennis, contributing to their Commonwealth Games Success. Pete is a sport psychologist by day, and a keen ‘Baller’ at night.. and more or less every morning. Through his Boxing Science – Sport Psychology articles, Pete will teach you the importance of training your mind, being in control and concentration.



Rory Mack MSc BScRory Mack

Rory is a sport and exercise psychologist in training, and current PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University. Rory hasexperience working in both sport and exercise settings, and as a lifestyle advisor. His main areas of interest include athlete well-being and the ‘therapeutic alliance’, maximising sport performance and facilitating pro-health behaviour change. Rory has worked in over 15 sports since graduating from my Masters degree, but has a particular interest in combat sports. I find the psychology of combat sports fascinating, because these provide an arena to test the limits of physical and mental functioning, and of what it means to be human – drive, fear, resilience, self-sacrifice, and instincts. Combat sports, particularly boxing, offer contests than can be decided in a split second. It is crucial therefore that when your split second chance arrives, you are ready to take it. As an athlete, Rory played county level rugby and squash, and was an international volleyball player, representing Northern Ireland at junior and senior levels, and playing in Junior College in the USA. I then transferred to strength sports, competing in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting at university level, and currently competing as an amateur strongman. This requires lifting big rocks and pulling vans – just your everyday activities. Rory will be discussing anxiety control, preparation and confidence in his Boxing Science – Sport Psychology articles.




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