Boxing Tactics. Fight like a Pressure Fighter with Francis Lafreniere
Hi there, I’m Mike Gales for fight your
way fit. In this video, we’re going to take a look at some advanced sparring
tactics. We’re gonna learn how to fight like a pressure fighter. What is a
pressure fighter? If you google pressure definition, you’re gonna get
that pressure is a continuous force exerted against an object, or the use of
persuasion influence or intimidation to make someone do something.
That’s exactly what pressure fighters like Joe Frazier, Julio Cesar
Chavez or the definition of a pressure fighter, Roberto Duran do. They apply
continuous pressure, and they force or influence a fighter, to fight in a way
that they may not wish to fight. Today I travel to Saint Clet Quebec, to
“Club de box Lafreniere”. I will spar 10 rounds with former Canadian and NABO middleweight champion, Francis Lafrniere. He is in a training camp for an upcoming fight. I’ll leave a link to his Facebook fan page below.
Francis s known as ” the people’s champ” because he’ll fight
anyone, anywhere and he is never ever in a dull fight. He’s a quintessential pressure fighter, who takes it right to his opponents.
Like many pressure fighters, he’s had a couple of controversial
losses early in his career, with 4 round fights. But once you start going 10
and 12 rounds, this style of pressure fighting can really break down
even the most skilled of opponents. Francis has been ranked in the top 15 by
the IBF and in the top 10 by the WBO, so he’s a world-class pressure fighter. He’s also a great guy to help me out with this tutorial video. It’s the end
of a training camp for a fight and I’ve asked him to save me a sparring day, so I
can do this tutorial for you guys. We’re gonna go all-out for 10 rounds
but with only 30 second rest in between rounds. That’s only a 30 second break,
so that way come fight night, he’s gonna have no trouble catching his wind in
between rounds with those longer rest periods. I’m gonna take a deep
breath and I will need it, because doing 10 rounds with short breaks with a
world-class pressure fighter, is gonna be really tough. Here we go.
As you can see, there’s no feeling out process. He starts off fast and
furious to dictate the pace. He goes right to work. Francis Lareniere is
a pressure fighter and he has a game plan. A big part of that game plan is
to control the pace and the tempo of the fight. He’s making me fight the way that
he wants me to. That’s at a pace that is much faster than I would normally like. At my age of 42, I’m happy to throw 30 or maybe 40 punches per round. He’s probably throwing double and some rounds probably
triple that number. His punch output is very very high. It’s not
necessarily that he’s gonna be hitting me with that high volume of punches, the
game plan is that I’m definitely gonna have to react to each and every one of
those punches. That is the key. It’s not only getting hit but it’s
consistently having to move and react that’s going to be really tough. One
thing you must note is that pressure fighters actually have a good jab. Yet they
use it differently. It’s not the type of jab, like that of an Ali, that
looks super crisp and snaps your head back and scores a bunch of points. The jab of a pressure fighter is quick and short. It’s used to close the
distance and to get inside. Once inside, that’s where they’re gonna put in some work. It’s an annoying type of jab that is just always in your face. Yet it
keeps you off-balance and continuously gives you something to think about. Once
he uses that jab to get into close range, that’s where pressure fighters really
begin to work. He just keeps that pace so high. He mixes up his punches both to
the head and to the body. Again he has set a consistently high work rate, which
is gonna really start to take its toll as the rounds go on. A pressure fighter, more often than not,
immediately takes control of the center of the Ring.
By doing that, he’s ensuring that he’s using math in his favor. By
staying in the center, like Francis is doing, he’s using one pivot to angle
himself towards me. To adjust, I need to use 3 or 4 steps to
circle at a wider circumference, to stay away from him. All of those extra
steps add up over the rounds. Once he has that center of the ring. he
continuously cuts the ring off and forces me to either against the ropes or
into a corner. There I’m going to have limited mobility and he
begins once again to really go to work. It’s also psychological warfare, as for
I feel he’s imposing his will. He won’t give up the center of the Ring
easily once he has it. You constantly feel penned in and claustrophobic.
Most fighters don’t like being trapped or pinned up against the ropes or into a
corner. There’s definitely a method to this madness. That’s gonna become
more and more apparent as these rounds wear on. It’s not only a high volume of
punches that Francis will use to apply pressure, it’s also a head and shoulder
movement and his footwork. He also feints. Even though he’s not punching, he looks like he’s about to punch or he’s invading my personal space, so I feel
uncomfortable. That’s forcing me to move, which I don’t really want to do.
That’s the beauty of what he’s doing. He’s mentally forcing me to make all of
these extra movements that I shouldn’t be making. That’s all going to add up
as we head down the road. That’s why pressure fighters may lose some fights
early on in their career. The 4 to 6 round fights. It’s not apparent as to what is transpiring. Perhaps an opponent can keep running or
pumping out the jab and win some of the early rounds. Yet you can’t run forever.
Extrapolate all of that extra movement over 10 to 12 rounds, and
many of the fighters that have won a decision over a pressure fight in a
4 round fight, would probably get knocked out if it was a 12-round fight.
As they would begin to feel the accumulating effects of this pressure
fighting style. Once he’s in range, he often throws his punches and as soon as
he finishes throwing, he falls in forward to smother my return shots. You’re
gonna see this over and over again. Like right here, he’s putting his head right
up against my lead shoulder. No, he’s not resting. Trust me he’s not
resting at all. He’s trapping my lead arm and keeping me squared up, so that I
can’t fight back with any real authority. Right there, he’s gonna continue to pound
away. If I were a southpaw, then he would pin me to the other side. This
style of boxing is not pretty, as there’s a lot happening in close here. Yet it’s
oh so effective! You’re gonna see this time and time again. He
gets within range and he throws the shots that he wants to throw. Then
again, strategically yes strategically, he falls into trap my lead arm and stop
my shots. He’s used to fighting in close
range like this and he’s comfortable here with all these little short range
shots. It always comes back down to the fact that he’s making me fight his fight.
He loves to fight in close like this. He’s so experienced at controlling
his opponents on the inside. I can’t get a chance to breathe, let alone get my
balance or throw any meaningful shots. He’s just always so close, that I can’t
really throw anything. He’s just always right there in my face.
He’s also leaning on me, keeping me squared up and on my heels. That’s
also sapping my energy. It also makes it very difficult to throw rear uppercut,
which in this situation, is the shot I’d like to throw. Yet because he’s leaning
on me, I just can’t get the right leverage. He again keeps his head in
close, over my lean shoulder. He’s basically using my only shoulder for
defense against my own punches. He’s also simultaneously walked me back to
the ropes or to the corner. He’s even using his head and shoulder to swing me
or steer me where he wants me to go. It’s pretty clever. You’ll notice that once he
uses his jab to get within range, he lets his hands go with combinations.
he’s throwing 2, 3, 4, 5 and sometimes even 6 punches in succession.
He’s also not loading up with a 100% power with every shot. He
varies the intensity. Some are a little bit harder and others are not all that
powerful. Yet I have to react to all of them. Why? Because I can’t tell from this
close range, which ones are going to be light and which ones are gonna knock my
head off. It’s forcing me again to continuously have to react to all of
these punches, which I’m telling you, is draining. Talking about draining, he’s
also really putting in some work to the body. All great pressure fighters have a
good body attack. It’s part of their overall strategy. They’re in it for the
long haul as these guys fight at a high pace. Yet they’re also simultaneously
doing everything that they can so that you can’t keep that pace up. Maybe
not after 1 or 2 but after dozens of body shots, you’re
not gonna feel all that energetic in the later rounds. Going to the body
early, is like putting money into the bank. It’s all going to add up very
soon, with interest. It’s very difficult to box a guy like Francis because he’s
so skilled at keeping the fight where he wants it. He’s able to control the range
with his feints, his jab and his footwork. He can stay within range because he
has really good defense. He’s great at blocking punches and he’s skilled at
slipping punches in that close range. He’s masterful at pinning his head
up against my shoulders, so I can’t really hit him back in return.
It’s very difficult to get him out of there. Once again, these pressure
fighters have a skill set that makes you fight their type of boxing match. You
may not be accustomed to fighting like that, Yet I promise you that they are!
Another attribute of a pro pressure fighter, like Francis Lafreniere is
that they have great chins. They know that they can take a punch. They’re not afraid of stepping into range and potentially getting hit. They
really do have grace under fire. Even when I hit him with solid shots, he
doesn’t react. He doesn’t get mad or instantly try to retaliate. He stays
composed. When I hit him, it’s no big deal. He just goes right back to work. He doesn’t get rattled. He just sticks to
the gameplan of wearing you down. As the rounds wear on, it’s apparent that he’s a
great pressure fighter. This sparring session is going exactly how he wanted
to go.Here’s a great example. When I feel like I’m ready to trade and really
throw some hard shots, he senses it. He disengages. It’s like killing a
changeup in baseball. Now I’m chasing him. I’m chasing him! Okay, good.
Then all of a sudden, he stops and he traps me, as I walked right
into a combination. That’s because he switches up the cadence.
He’s usually but not always coming forward. Your brain gets used to that.
Then all of a sudden, he mixes it up. He also mixes up the speed of his
punches. That makes it very difficult to deal with.
I’m telling you, most sparring sessions have a certain rhythm. You hit me and I hit
you. You hit me and I hit you. Yet with Francis, it throws you for a loop.
The timing is different. It’s like I want to hit you and then you hit me. Then
you hit me and then you hit me again. When I want to go hit you back,
you’re either smothering my shots up close or you’re gone. Top professional fighters have a game
plan. The best fighters have the ability to alter that plan if necessary.
They also have the discipline to stay the course, if the plan is working. No matter what I do, this guy just doesn’t relent. He sticks to the plan.
He keeps applying the pressure. In fact, over the past few rounds, he’s picking up
the pace and trying to get me to run out of gas and die out. The thing with a
pressure fighter, is that they’re right there in your face. So guess what? You
have to react, because if you’re not punching him, which is draining your
energy and getting you very tired, well then he’s punching you! Either way, you’re getting into deep trouble in these later rounds. Finally
here we are round 10. That was with only 30 second breaks. His game plan
is really starting to pan out. My shoulders are extremely tired and my
legs are getting exhausted and they don’t easily want to move. My energy
level is sapped. If this was a video game, you would see my health meter
getting completely drained. My punches are now in slow motion. I’m missing
many of them. My hands no longer want to stay up nice and high. I’m breathing
in nothing but hot air, There’s only one big problem. That is that he’s used to this! He’s not tired! Now he’s picking up the
pace and trying to close the show. In this 10th round he still keeps such a high pace. he’s still able to keep throwing punch after punch. That’s because of all the small
things that he’s done. He’s used his jab. He’s worked the body. He’s used feints.
Basically for all the rounds, he’s kept up a high pace and continue to apply the
pressure. Now all that finally adds up and it
breaks down the opponent. You may be watching this and asking, if he is a good pressure fighter, then why am i at 42, not getting knocked out or knocked
down? The main reason is that I’m so much heavier. I’m 200 pounds and he’s a
middle weight. Trust me, if I was lighter,
I’d be in big trouble. At this point, I am still tired and I can
definitely tell you that boxing a pressure fighter of this caliber is never fun. No
matter what, you’re not going to look good. Even if you do win by decision,
well it’s gonna be very tough on you and on your body. You’re definitely gonna
pay a price. You will definitely feel it tomorrow. Once again, I
just want to thank Francis Lafreniere, for helping out with this
little tutorial. Not many Pro fighters allow people to record their sparring
sessions and then post them on YouTube. Aside from being “the People’s Champ” and a great pressure fighter, he’s also a great guy. After these 10 rounds what makes
him a good pressure fighter? First and foremost he’s in phenomenal shape.
He can even go 12 rounds at such a high pace. He has a very high punch
output and a lot of those punches are thrown from him close. He also has a
really good jab and he uses that jab to close the distance. He has both a good
chin and good defense. He’s also good at cutting off the ring and forcing his
opponent into the ropes. He punches in combinations and puts in a lot of work
to the body. Most importantly, pressure fighters are mentally tough and
they win a battle of attrition. They know that they have the heart and
the stamina to go to the distance. They’re just relentless. If you’re in
there with a pressure fighter, you’re definitely gonna get those things tested!
If you guys like these videos, I’ll try and do more of them, as different
fighters ,with different fighting styles will enter training camps. I’ll see
if I could bug them for some sparring. til then this has been Mike Gales for fight
your way fit. If you like these videos then please click the like button or subscribe, as I’m constantly posting up great tips and new ideas and they’re
all meant to get you into the absolute greatest shape possible.