Boxing As Much About Psychology As Punches

“What I’m learning is that getting good as a boxer, at least in practice, is 95% physical and 5% mental. But once you’re in the ring, it’s almost the other way around, as you’re trying to not only out punch your opponent, but also out think them.”

As training continues for KXL Afternoon News Anchor Dan Mitchinson’s first boxing match, Mitchinson says he’s trying to take the small successes with the big disappointments as he learns something new.

“It might be one more punch, or improving your foot work, but you’re never going to be completely satisfied with your performance” his  coach, Molly McConnell says. “As long as you come away with improving something, no matter how small it might be, then hopefully I’ve done my job as a coach.”

But Mitchinson says it’s hard for him to enjoy the small successes.  “That’s because I only see the larger failures like the missed punches, tripping up over my foot work, or not blocking a punch.”

At her Northeast Portland gym, where he’s  training, McConnell asks if Mitchinson sees any improvement. “I’m my own worst critic, so today, not so much” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement” says McConnell. “You’re not necessarily going to make huge strides where you’re going to say ‘hey, I got the footwork, or I know everything about it,’ so as long as you’re moving forward, which you are, that makes me pretty happy.”

McConnell says Mitchinson’s strength may be his jabs and footwork. “You have a long reach, which is good, and footwork will keep you moving, which means you’ll be harder to hit” she says. “The problem is if your feet are in the wrong position, it becomes harder to throw the punch you want, which is why footwork is so important. But once you get in there and start sparing, you’ll see how important it is.”

“I guess what I’m learning” says Mitchinson, “is that boxing is fifty percent physical and fifty percent psychological. I read that all the great fighters had that edge, like Muhammad Ali, who believed that high confidence lead to success. So now, with a few weeks to go, it’s not just my body I need to condition and train, but also my mind and way of thinking.”

Connect with Dan on twitter @dmitchinson or at



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