For boxers, many measurements factor into the tale of the tape. Officials track body weight closely to ensure fighters are competing in the appropriate weight classes. Other factors like height and reach also are critical in determining the approach a boxer should take against his opponent.
Reach refers to the total length of a boxer's arms, measured from right fingertip to left fingertip when the arms are parallel to the ground — think of it as your wingspan. Arm length measures just one arm, shoulder to fist. While reach measurements are very common, arm length often will be used instead when compiling a fighter's statistics.
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Prepare to Measure
Remove any upper body clothing. Proper measurements require that a fighter be shirtless to ensure consistent and accurate results. Female boxers can strip down to a sports bra.
Warm up by performing two to three minutes of light cardiovascular activity. This prepares the body to be stretched to acquire an accurate measurement. Stretch the shoulders and arms by pulling each arm across the body at a height parallel to the floor. This loosens the shoulder joint and ensure a proper measurement.
Conduct the Measurement
Extend one arm to the side, perpendicular to the body. Measure the distance between the armpit and the tip of the fighter's closed fist. Record this number in a notebook and repeat the measurement on the other arm.
Limitations and Considerations
Arm length is a useful measurement because it gives a clear indication of the distance from which a boxer has the ability to strike. Because reach factors in the width of the back and shoulders as well, a fighter with short arms but wide shoulders may have a deceptively long reach.
It is best to consider both reach and arm length to get a true idea of a fighter's capacity.
Fighters with shorter arms tend to prefer fighting as close as possible to an opponent because they are able to throw short, powerful punches quickly. Those with a longer arm length tend to prefer keeping a safe distance, throwing punches from far enough away to avoid getting punched.
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