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Can rivalry be good?

Since we are all different, a rivalry is an inevitable reality. History is filled with great rivalries that attracted both national and international attention. From rivalries between countries to individual rivalries, there is a lot of competition between people and groups that believe in different ideologies or come from different backgrounds. In the world of sports, rivalries make for competitive and captivating matches. Some rivalries are so heated that their encounters have been given names, like the El Classico in the football La Liga tournament in Spain. Others receive so much publicity that they outshine any preceding matches in the sport. In the boxing ring, rivalries are a norm. However, can a rivalry be good?


Competition is healthy

Competition is the enemy of complacency. When things are going well it’s easy to sit back and relax. It takes exceptional discipline not to give in to the urge of getting comfortable. With stiff competition and rivalry, comfort is not an option. If your opponent in the boxing ring is on a strict training schedule, it’s inevitable that you have to keep up with strict training too if you want to stand a chance. Most athletes admit that their greatest motivation is their rivals. Boxing clubs encourage healthy rivalries among their trainees to motivate amateurs to step up their training and professionals to follow their regimens. A strong rivalry is enough to keep you focused on your training.

Test your brawn

After months of rigorous boxing training, there is only one way to find out if you are making progress, glove up and fight. Rivalries are the best way to test your brawn and your progress in training. A good opponent is the best punching bag since he/she can punch back. Rivalries expose weaknesses and push strengths to the limit. Therefore, if you are planning on a training schedule, identify your weaknesses and see where to improve. Moreover, perfecting your strengths may be a good way to keep winning in the ring. If your rival is no longer good competition, it’s time to get a new enemy.

Rivalry has lessons

Rivals are the best teachers of what works and what doesn’t. On your own, in front of a punching bag, you may pass for Mohammed Ali. However, in the boxing ring, you get to learn different techniques that differentiate professionals from amateurs. It is important to get your strength training and endurance, but the ultimate lessons are learnt in the boxing ring as you face your rival. The first days in the boxing club are always brutal especially if you are asked to battle out with more experienced boxers. However, with each loss or jab, you become better and internalise the techniques taught outside the boxing ring. In healthy rivalries, your opponent may be willing to teach you a new technique. Who knew the greatest teacher could be your rival?


Rivalry builds character

Everyone wants to win or be better than their rival. However, winning involves developing a strong will and determination that only comes easily to people of good character. Punctuality, resilience, bravery and humility are all attributes one can acquire from a good rivalry. To win you must be punctual on training days and determined to meet your objectives. In your effort to defeat your rival, you are bound to develop a good character. Moreover, rivalry inspires humility especially when you lose to your opponent. In a good rivalry, there is no sore loser.


You’re not alone, you’re with your rival

Boxing is an individual sport. Unlike football or rugby were players train together and encourage each other, in boxing you only have your trainer. It’s encouraging to know your rival is putting in similar effort to be better and ready for the ring. Such thoughts keep boxers training and focused on achieving their goals. It’s only the two rivals who understand the journey to the boxing ring. Consequently, it’s not surprising that great rivals make great friends. George Foreman and Mohammed Ali, one of the greatest rivals in boxing history, became good friends following the historic match in Kinshasa, Zaire. Despite Foreman being knocked out, he became best of friends with Ali.

Although bad publicity has ruined rivalries in boxing, they are important. A good rivalry is a motivation for improvement and hard work. Moreover, the creativity of trainers is put to the task before a clash between rivals. Alone you can be good but with a rival, you will be better. In boxing clubs, there are no real enemies just good rivals.


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