The cornerman guide: How to work the boxing corner

Boxing Corner

The cornerman

A good cornerman is a valuable asset to any boxer. If you ever wonder how to work a boxing corner. Or if you want to know what makes a great boxing corner, keep reading.

In this article you will learn how great cornermen get their  fighters ready for a fight, the materials they use and what they do in the minute between rounds to get the most out of their boxers.

A good cornerman makes a difference

First you need to prepare, don’t walk into a corner with a towel and a bottle of water. I’ve seen it!

Let’s be professionals.

Bellow there is a  list all the materials we are going to need. To work the corner we will need them. We should take them with us. Don’t count on others to supply them, but expect people asking. Not every body is as professional as you are.

The cornerman kit

1. Corner Tote. It is a good idea to have one to have every thing handy.

2. Bottle of Water.

3. Ice.

4. Icepack.

5. Two small buckets. One to keep the ice and other for spits

6. Enswell.

7. Two towels

8. Gauze. Have plenty. At least 4 rolls per fighter. Just in case you have to rewrap

9. Tape. 1 roll per fighter

10. Cotton Swabs

11. Vaseline

12. Scissors

13. Latex gloves. Without talcum powder

14. Sponge

15. Stop watch. In case you want to keep record of time.

16. Stool to sit

17. Adrenaline 1:1000(epinephrine)

18. Extra mouth piece for each fighter fighting that nigh. There are rare occasions where the boxer loses his mouth piece nobody knows where, and the fight is stopped till is found. This could be good for your fighter or bad. Depending on the situation, you will want to have a mouth piece reading.  Especially if your fighter is wining.

19. Extra cup, sometimes they break.

20. Mitts

21. Pair of boxing gloves. You might need them to warm up your fighters.

22. Cornerman jacket

The cornerman job in the locker room

Before the fight there are some things that need to get done to prepare the fighter.

Once in the locker room start preparing the gauze pads, two for each fighter. This is done by rolling a gauze over your hand with spread fingers 10 to 15 times. Have some tape handy. Check regulations.

The first thing is to apply some Vaseline to the fighter face. That will keep the give moisture  and flexibility to the skin. Vaseline avoids scratches and cuts by reducing friction while at the same time make the face slippery. Any time tried to open a jar with oily hands? Same principle applies here.

Don’t go crazy on Vaseline thou. Too much and it will get in the adversary gloves and later could enter on your fighter eyes. Not a good thing!

You can always reapply when needed.

Before hand wrapping it is a good idea to massage your boxer’s hands. Go to this link to watch  of Fredy Roach and Nacho Beristain handwrap jobs. It is a good idea while wrapping the wrist to make the fighter close the hand into a fist, and when wrapping the hand make sure he spread the fingers wide open.

This is the time to check your fighter emotional state, reassure him and lift him up.

In amateur boxing the use of tape is very limited. Gauze is rarely used anymore. Most fighters nowadays use mexican style hand wraps , in compliance with AIBA specifications.

In professional boxing, 15 yards of 2″ gauze and 3 to 6 feet of athletic tape is the norm. Tape must be applied 1 inch behind the knuckles.

Important to check before hand if there is going to be an official to check hand wraps.

I’ve seen local events were there is nobody to check them. In that case it will be up to you to decide what to do. If you want things done in compliance with regulations you will have to be the one asking for it. Remember than anyone officially connected to a contest may have the fighter’s bandages examined upon request. If you ask me, I would say that is always better to play by the rules. But don’t be so naïve to expect everybody is the same.

By now you should now the order of the fights, keep track of them to have your fighter ready on time.

When taping gloves laces make sure to end with the tape on top, on the outside. If you finish on the inside there is a great probability it’ll get loose during the fight. When you are done place the tape in one of your pockets, you might need it later. Same as the scissors.

Ten to fifteen minutes before the fight is time to warm up. This is when the par of extra gloves you brought will be useful in case the organization hasn’t provide them.

Light calisthenics, shadow boxing and mitts work would do. Don’t go crazy, the idea is to get your fighter warmed up, not exhausted.

This is the time to refresh the strategy for the fight is case you have one.

If you know your fighter well, you will be aware of his emotional state. Every fighter deals in a different way with pressure. They have different reactions to the adrenaline rush (fear). You may need to lift him up, calm him down, reassure him or just leave him alone.

Time is up

When entering the ring you should open the ropes for your fighter.

Once in the ring stay with him till the fight starts, either massaging his neck or with a hand on his shoulder. Touch him, let him feel that you care! You are a team, many fighters feel lonely, they wont tell but they do.

This simple gesture will reassure trust. Lack of confidence and trust is one of the main reasons  boxer’s don’t listen to their corner men.

Have the mouth guard ready.

First round. Study the opponent look for strengths, weakness and technical flaws.

When the round is about to end, get ready. If there are two or more guys in the corner, only one talks to the fighter.

The round is over, make the fighter sit on the stool. I’ve seen many fighter standing on the corner between rounds. It’s been proven that fighters recover better when seated. And since the main goal during that minute is to get your boxer ready for the next round. Make sure he starts as fresh as possible.

The role of main corner man

When the round is over, make your fighter sat on the stool. Take his mouth piece, pass it to the second to clean it up.

If you are right-handed like I am, it is a good idea to have your second at the right hand side. And vice versa.

Clean your boxer’s face with a towel.

Tell him to take deep breath, relax his legs, sit him straight. Make sure he doesn’t rest his arms on the ropes( the brachial artery could get pinched interrupting the blood flow to the arms, not a good thing).

Once his breath normalize, you can give him some water. First ship is to clean his mouth. Make him spit it on the bucket you brought for that purpose. The second one he can drink.

Look at your fighter and tell him what he needs to hear. Ask how he feels. Give simple instructions, don’t tell him to do things he hasn’t worked on. Instill confidence, reiterate strategy and exploit opponent weakness.

Apply Vaseline while giving instructions.

At seconds outs, walk outside the ring. Have the mouth piece ready. Wait for the bell to stand your fighter up. Yes, you are the one who lift him up, place your arms under his shoulders and lift him up. Remember, that minute is to recover, make your boxer take full advantage of it!

Role of the second corner man

He should deal with the physical aspect of the fighter.

Take the corner stool and the spit bucket with you when the round is about to end. Once the fighter is sat down, place the icepack on his neck. Clean the mouth piece and have it ready. Pull from the cup to make breathing easy for the fighter.

There are two things that recovers the fighter. Ventilation and cooling him down.

Follow the indications of the lead corner man.

Once in a while check the other corner to see  what they are working on (icing, legs, eyes, etc).

Take the stool once the fighter is up and clean the corner.

The cornerman’s job when things go wrong

Your fighter got hurt!

Now is when a good boxing corner makes a difference. When things are going well is an easy job. But when things twist a little…

It’s at times like these were a good corner shines.

Many fights have been won or lost during that minute.

If your fighter gets stun. Get ready, at the rang of the bell jump into the ring and go look for him, help him back to the corner and sit him down.

It’s time to use the sponge soaked in cold water on his head, you might need to spread some water on his face to bring him back to reality.

This is not the time to slap his face or to go ballistic on him.

Talk to him, make sure he is ok. You have to care for the integrity of your fighter!

He has one minute to recover. You have to make sure he is well before the sound of the bell. If he is not, time to stop the fight. Don’t send him out in a bad condition to get knocked out.

If there is a swelling use the enswell, that you previously placed in ice. Apply a little Vaseline to the enswell so it doesn’t get stuck to the skin. Don’t apply to much pressure. It is the cold not the pressure what diminish inflammation. If you apply pressure you can cause more damage.

If there is any cut or bleeding. Dip a cotton swab and a gauze in adrenaline.

First thing you do is to calm him down. Assure him that you would take care of it and that he has nothing to worry about.

Clean the cut with a towel. Place the cotton swab on the cut and the gauze on top of it. Apply constant pressure.

At seconds outs, spread some Vaseline on the cut and the rest of your boxers face.

In amateur boxing adrenaline is not allowed. Only thing you can do is apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Don’t forget to have latex gloves on.

For nosebleed.  Use a rolled gauze or cotton swap dipped in adrenaline. Apply pressure on the nostrils till bleeding stops. Tell the fighter to breath through his mouth.


Now you have some idea on how to work the corner in boxing. Experience will do the rest!

There are slights variations on how different corner men work their corners. But most of them follow the same path.

Try to avoid mistakes like yelling to the fighter, every body talking to him in the corner, giving complicate instructions, keeping him standing up, allowing him to place his hands on the ropes. Giving him water as soon as he sits down, not pulling his cup to ease breathing, etc.

If you have any suggestion to improve this cornerman guide, don’t hesitate to leave a comment sharing your wisdom, we and our readers will appreciate it.



Related posts:

One Response to “The cornerman guide: How to work the boxing corner”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. David says:

    Afrin nasal spray in case his nose gets clogged up. Gotta breathe through the nose.

Leave A Comment...