Andre Ward, S.O.G. (“Son of God”) is regarded pound for pound as one of the best champions in the last 10 years. Ward himself has a unique boxing style which is a mash up of many styles into one, this has no doubt helped him with his dominating displays over his career. So, let’s get right into it – in this post I’ll look at Ward’s background, accomplishments and of course his boxing style and very own tips.
Who is Andre Ward?
Ward is now a retired and former world champion boxer from Oakland, California. Ward was introduced to the sport of boxing by his father at the age 9 and then taken under guidance by renowned boxing trainer Virgil Hunter who became his godfather and trainer for the rest of his career.
The American had an illustrious Amateur and Professional career winning multiple titles at all levels. He fought at two weight categories in Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, picking up and retiring with an impressive undefeated boxing record of 32 fights and victories (16 KOs). Ward defeated the likes of champions Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Chad Dawson and Arthur Abraham throughout his career.
The American finally decided to hang up the gloves in 2017 after retaining his world titles belts against the much-feared Sergey Kovalev in his rematch. He is now a boxing pundit on ESPN, with many still calling him out to return one last time.
Andre Ward’s Accomplishments
2001 – United States Amateur Middleweight Champion
2002 – Under 19 National Championship
2003 – United States Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion
2004 – Light Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medal
NABF Super Middleweight title
WBA (Super) Super Middleweight title
WBC Super Middleweight title
The Ring magazine and Lineal Super Middleweight titles
Super Six World Boxing Classic trophy
WBA (Undisputed) Light Heavyweight titles
IBF Light Heavyweight title
WBO Light Heavyweight title
The Ring Light Heavyweight title
Not too bad eh!
Learning to box from Andre Ward
As I said earlier above, Ward has mixed up boxing styles and perfected them into his own. Luckily for us, back in 2013 the former champion met up with Smitty from In This Corner TV with his very own ring demonstration on how he operates in the squared circle.
Before going onto Ward’s tips and tricks in the ring, it’s important you get a grasp of how Ward has taken elements of styles from fighters of the years. In his demonstration he uses part of Bruce Lee’s famous quote about his unique style being formless – “Like Water”. Full quote below:
You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend. – Bruce Lee
After reading this article make sure to watch Lee Wylie’s video on Andre Ward, which shows some of the past greats incorporated into his style. (bottom of this post)
Using the jab
Now going right into it – Andre Ward highlights and makes it clear that most important punch in boxing is the jab – “a lost art”. He explains how it can help you set up your shot while also getting you out a sticky situation against an aggressive opponent by keeping them out of range.
Ward also displays that you can easily win a round with the jab and credits Floyd Mayweather Jr’s usage of mixing it up, by jabbing to the stomach or solar plexus to keep your opponent guessing. Just remember to always keep that right hand up while using jab to parry and protect yourself from the hook.
Using your feet
Ward states to Smitty that “A lot of fighters are taught hands first and never look at their feet” – this is something I completely agree with as most the boxing gyms I’ve gone to in the past, have always looked at just throwing punches and never how to use your feet while punching.
The former Olympian demonstrates how he can control his opponent by just using his feet to move around the ring effectively – it’s all about inches. How do you improve this? Simple! Footwork focused drills and constant practice – hopefully Ward will help motivate you to consider this.
Combinations and Inside fighting
“People train to fight a boxer, but then the next thing they know, I’ve slipped up inside them and I push them back and beat on them…”
Ward goes on show and share his valuable experience of being able to fight someone on the inside. It comes back to him saying “I’m formless”, you don’t just want to be one style so your opponent will know what to expect. You need to change and adapt to keep them guessing to always be one step ahead of the game.
This leads onto Smitty discussing Ward as a combination fighter, but Andre corrects him by saying he is more of a “pick him type fighter” – in other words, he like to pick you off and break you down with strong, accurate and effective shots with a lower volume of punches. He makes it clear that once you have your opponent tired or even hurt, that is when you have to opportunity unleash a combination of punches.
Once again Ward makes it clear that years of drills has helped perfect this, such as constantly learning how to slip up inside and use whatever punch is most effective.
You can watch the full ring demonstration by Andre Ward below – give yourself 15 mins of your time to really take it all in, it is a true learning experience:
For me Andre Ward is one of my all-time favorite boxers to watch and learn from – he reminds us that we can take tricks and styles from many of the great past fighters and be “like water”. Just remember, Ward has perfected this style over many years of hard work and study. This style will not happen overnight to box like this and requires true dedications.
For more boxing training and fitness advice and reviews check out the link here.
I’ll leave you with Lee Wylie’s amazing short film on Ward similarities with the past boxing great below:
Thanks for reading!