Tie up your opponent
You've seen boxers clinch in every fight. To someone who doesn't know any better, it becomes downright annoying because it breaks up the action of two people swinging at each other. However, if you want to become a competitive boxer, you have to understand clinching, when to clinch, how to clinch, what to do in a clinch, and how to get out of a
What is the goal of the clinch in boxing?
The goal of clinching in boxing is to tie up your opponent. Basically you want to capture both of his arms under yours - much like giving him a big bear hug that effectively prevents him from lifting his arms and punching. Don't think you are going to be able to do this for long. In boxing, you can't tie up your opponent and the referee will break you apart, but it can be enough of a break if you are getting pummelled and need to stop the onslaught.
the clinch can keep you from losing, but it can't make you a winner
How to Clinch
Like I mentioned above, to clinch you need to capture both of your opponent's arms under yours. In addition, you will want to put your head on his shoulder, hold him in tight and put as much weight as you can on him. This serves two purposes - first, it gives you a bit of rest and second, it makes him work harder. To get into a clinch, move towards your opponent with your guard high and elbows close together. Shoot your arms forward hooking both arms of your opponent just above the elbows and immediately pull him in close -- rub sweat. (this reason alone is a good one to do this sparingly
Then lean on him and do not let him open the distance. Keep his lead leg between your legs and then use his movement to balance yourself. Conciously rest and control your energy output and breathing.
How to keep the referee from breaking your clinch.
Clinching in a boxing match is never allowed for long, but you can prolong it by looking busy in the clinch. If one of the boxers has an arm free and is fighting, the referee may not break it up. This takes a tremendous amount of energy and nullifies the short rest break you are attempting to achieve in the clinch, but if you are facing an opponent that likes to tie you up, then feed it to him. Get one arm free and slam it into his liver and side as he clinches you. Occasionally push back a bit and get a hook into the head. If you want to get illegal about it, the clinch gives you a clear shot of your opponent's kidneys and a rabbit punch or two is always available as well. I don't suggest you resort to illegal tactics, but a warning shot can signal a clinchy opponent to back off.
How to safely exit a clinch.
Getting out of a clinch can be dangerous because your arms are tied up and your guard is lowered. The first one to free his arms in the clinch can easily land a punch on exit which can lead to a full fledged combination and suddenly one fighter has the initiative. There are two methods of getting out of a boxing clinch: spin out or shove out.
Spinning Out: Decide which side you are going to spin out on. Usually it is done on the lead hand. So, if you are orthodox, you want to use your left hand/palm and grip your opponent's arm just above the elbow. Control it and push it across your chest and down at about 45 degrees as you step left and around your opponent. This effectively spins him away and you around. If the referree didn't break you up, then this is an excellent time to throw a left hook or straight right. I like to practice the push and followed immediately by a left hook.
Shove Out: In the clinch, quickly bring your hands in and give your opponent a strong decisive shove in the middle of his chest while simultaneously stepping back. You may find it better to even use the shove as a starting point for a quick hop backwards, but at any rate, ensure you shove is sufficient enough to throw your opponent off balance for a moment. You are trying to ensure he is not in position to throw a jab or other punch as you break the clinch. A safer method of doing this is to leave your lead hand tying up your opponent's lead arm and using your rear hand to initiate the shove. You can then guide your opponent's lead as you shove off ensuring a successful and safe exit from the clinch.
If a referree breaks you up, then step back cleanly and don't attempt to cheat and get in a cheap shot. At the same time, realize that this is boxing and cheap shots are plenty, so protect yourself at all times.
The recent Mayweather-Hatton fight gives you plenty of examples of the clinch in action, especially through the initial rounds up to round 8. If you can get through the first two minutes of this video (cheesy tribute introduction), you can see a number of clinching highlights. Notice around the 3rd minute how Hatton ties up Mayweather. It is a very obvious bear hug and you will also notice how the clinch can deteriorate into some vicious infighting. So, beware if you are using the clinch because you are tired. There is a good chance that you will end up even more tired after it. Used at the right time though, it is a good boxing technique to have available in your arsenal.