IT’S a final eliminator for the world title but things are not going according to plan. Four rounds have elapsed and, even by your most conservative estimate, your opponent has won all of them. For the first third of the contest you have attempted to win a chess match, using your back-foot boxing skills to, in theory, gain check-mate, but it has not happened; in fact, it’s not even stale-mate. The ability to move into forward gear is paramount. If you cannot out-manoeuvre your rival, you must out-fight him, beat him up and break him down.
Leicester’s Rendall Munroe, a former European super-bantamweight champion who relinquished the strap after five sucessful defences, was in just such a situation in April 2010, in a WBC Final Eliminator against Victor Terrazas. The talented Mexican had built a healthy lead but Munroe’s strategic adjustment – from counter-punching to his trademark pressure-fighting – changed the fight. Rendall was relentless, applying intelligent pressure until his opponent could take no more and was stopped in round nine. While Munroe is comfortable going
backwards, pressure-fighting has proved his more effective style and, he insists, is just as technically complex as scientific warfare.
“Even though I can box, I saw in my early fights that size and strength was the key for me,” Munroe, huge for a super-bantam, explains. “A lot of people seem to think you’re just a brawler – that you just come inside and push people around – but there is a strategy and technique to doing it. You can stand in front of someone all day long and be punched around because if you’re not making the other man work, making him miss, it’ll have no effect.
“It all comes down to training. I like to push the limit all the time. I don’t want to give up. Because of that I never give up in the fight.”
With that in mind, Munroe explains five pressure-fighting moves, with explanations provided from Rendall and trainer Jason Shinfield; Jason also offers S&C advice.
How to cut the ring off and limit their options
1. Shinfield: You want to put them on the back foot and you’ve got to make them move a way they don’t want to go. Every time they try to get out of a position, you have to step across them to keep them there, gradually working them into a corner.