The energy expenditure of amateur boxing is unknown.
Total metabolic cost (Wtot) as an aggregate of aerobic (Waer), anaerobic lactic (W[lactate]), and anaerobic alactic (WPCr) energy of a 3 × 2-min semicontact amateur boxing bout was analyzed.
Ten boxers (mean ± SD [lower/upper 95% confidence intervals]) age 23.7 ± 4.1 (20.8/26.6) y, height 180.2 ± 7.0 (175.2/185.2) cm, body mass 70.6 ± 5.7 (66.5/74.7) kg performed a semicontact bout against handheld pads created from previously analyzed video footage of competitive bouts. Net metabolic energy was calculated using respiratory gases and blood [lactate].
Waer, 526.0 ± 57.1 (485.1/566.9) kJ, was higher (P < .001) than WPCr, 58.1 ± 13.6 (48.4/67.8) kJ. W[lactate], 26.2 ± 7.1 (21.1/31.3) kJ, was lower (P < .001) than Waer and WPCr. An ~70-kJ fraction of the aerobic energy expenditure reflects rephosphorylation of high-energy phosphates during the breaks between rounds, which elevated Wtot to ~680 kJ with relative contributions of 77% Waer, 19% WPCr, and 4% W[lactate].
The results indicate that the metabolic profile of amateur boxing is predominantly aerobic. They also highlight the importance of a highly developed aerobic capacity as a prerequisite of a high activity rate during rounds and recovery of the high-energy phosphate system during breaks as interrelated requirements of successful boxing.
Davis is with the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. Leithäuser and Beneke are with the Inst of Sport Science and Motology, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany.