To be effective in the clinch, you need to understand how to close the distance against your opponent. You could be the world’s best clincher, but if you can’t get into clinching range, you won’t be able to exploit your advantage. Skilled clinchers know how to close the gap and get the fight where they have the advantage.
Moving from out of range into clinching range is a dangerous area to cross for clinchers. To get inside the clinch, you need to enter your opponent’s striking range without getting hurt in the process.
Advanced clinchers know how to close the gap and get the fight where they have the advantage.
If you don’t practice closing the gap against your opponent in training, you will find it difficult to do it in a fight. When most people practice clinching, they don’t work on closing the distance.
To be effective at closing the gap and getting into clinching range, you need to wait for the right time. Timing is everything. If you come forward at the wrong time, you can get knocked out by a hard punch.
In the following video, Petchboonchu demonstrates a few tactics he uses to get into the clinch.
Keys to Entering the Clinch
Good evasive fighters are good at utilizing footwork and movement to avoid entering the clinch. If you try to chase an evasive fighter, they will circle out and make it difficult to grab them.
To counter good footwork, it is important to understand ring control. If you can back your opponent up against the ropes, they won’t be able to back away from you. While a good fighter can still circle out, it makes it easier to close the distance.
Keep a Strong Guard
When you try to bridge the distance against your opponent, you will need to enter their striking range. Fighters who are good at elbow strikes and punches can punish clinchers moving forward trying to engage in the clinch. A strong guard will block a lot of the incoming attacks as you push into the clinch.
In the video above, Petchboonchu utilizes a strong guard and a hop step to swarm his opponent. This is a tight defensive position, and it ensures that you are protected while you are moving forward. You will notice that Petchboonchu’s guard is tight the entire time he goes for clinch entry, this is to prevent any punches or elbows from landing.
Time Your Opponent’s Strikes
An excellent opportunity to close the distance against an opponent is to wait for your opponent to hit so that you can time your clinch entry. When your opponent is striking, it can allow you to block the strike and step forward at the same time. Petchboonchu does an excellent job of timing the strikes and stepping forward in the video above.
Timing your opponent’s punches and kicks requires practice. As you block, you need to step forward from the block. If you try to block and then step forward after, your opponent can recover and strike you again.
Practice Clinch Entry in Sparring
The next time you are sparring, practice closing the distance against your opponent and entering the clinch. You don’t have to clinch with your opponent, but you can practice getting into clinch range and breaking apart after.
Working on your clinch entry in sparring is ideal because it will teach you to block incoming strikes as you are moving forward into the clinch.
Special thanks to Petchboonchu FA Group for demonstrating these clinch entry techniques. If you want to train with Petchboonchu, you can learn more by visiting Evolve Vacation.