Boxing Training

In the boxing training section of ScotBoxer, you will learn about all the various pieces of training equipment and how to use that gear properly. There are also examples of typical boxing workouts provided to help get you started, and advice about how to develop ways to shape those routines to suit you personally, allowing you to get the most from your training sessions. I will also explain the things that seems to cause most confusion to beginners in boxing training classes - How to properly use your skipping rope and how to shadow box.

Before starting any training session though, regardless of the sport, it is crucially important that everyone knows how to 'warm up' first and then 'cool down' again afterwards. So after giving you a couple of wee training tips, i will begin by explaining how to warm up properly before a boxing specific training session, and how to cool your body down again after your workout. I know that you'd probably prefer to just go diving in and start the workout, but that's also the quickest way to injure yourself and some of thse injuries can be real bad ones, so always take time to warm-up properly first.
Proper fluid intake during any training session is very important too. So i recommend that you also read the diet of a boxer page as that goes into much greater detail about how much water you should drink when working out.
To get the most benefit from your boxing training workouts, you must remember that there are always three parts to it......
1) - Exercise properly.
2) - Eat a healthy diet that's designed for boxers.
3) - Have enough rest between exercise sessions.
It's necessary to always bear all three of those in mind. They come as a complete set, miss one out and you won't get the results that you are looking for. Doing the exercises properly is self explanatory and it's also faily obvious that eating the right food will work wonders too, as your engine won't work so well if you don't have the right fuel in your tank, but 'resting' maybe needs a wee bit more explaining - You can't workout to your full potential if you haven't given your body adequate time to recover from your previous training session. So remember that your muscles need a chance to recover before training again. If you make sure to follow those three points, your performance and the results you get, will be greatly enhanced.


Boxing Training Tips
Goals and plans are two things are just two boxing training tips that you need to have in mind before starting your workout session. You need strength and conditioning for boxing, so much of your training will be aimed towards achieving those things. More than anything else though, boxing is a sport of skill, so your training plans also need to address the skills part of the sport, in every session.
A good training plan is not something that is set in concrete and inflexible either. You want to regularly vary what you will be doing in each workout session. If you stick to the exact same training routine continuously, boredom will set in, then you will eventually find yourself in a rut and simply going through the motions.

So before every training session, lay out what it is that you want to achieve that day and what you want to work on. For example - Maybe you showed some weaknesses in your last fight? So you want spend time working on those flaws to iron them out and make sure they aren't a problem in future fights. Of course If you find a good boxing trainer, he will help do that for you.


Remember To Grab Your Free 12 Part Course Of Boxing Lessons - Get Yours Here

The Warm Up And Cool Down
Why should you warm up and cool down before and after a boxing training workout?

I cannot overemphasise the importance of a proper warm up before boxing training (or any other type of workout session for that matter) and a good cool down routine afterwards. Warming up first will actually much improve your performance and greatly reduce the chances of you injuring yourself.

The two methods that are most often used by people to warm up before their workouts, usually involve light aerobic work and/or stretching. Unfortunately, these methods do not really prepare you properly for dynamic sports training, like boxing.

Warm ups fall into two different versions - They can either be 'directly related' or 'indirectly related' to the sport you're training for.

a) Directly related - The use of the movements involved in the particular sport.

b) Indirectly related - The use of more general movements.

The main purpose of the warm up routine is to increase your body temperature and heart rate. The increase in body temperature will prepare your cardiovascular system for the hard workout ahead and that helps you to perform better during the training session. The combination of raising your body and muscle temperature, and an increasing heart rate, boosts the flow of blood flow to your tissues. This improves the efficiency of your oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide removal, during the training session.

Lastly, there are also psychological benefits to be gained from warming up properly. Including increased attention, and focussing that attention onto the training session.

The lack of a proper warm up will definitely lead to regular muscle strains, and at times, much more severe injuries. So always make sure that you have a full warm up before starting your training session. It doesn't take long and there are a lot of benefits to be gained from it.

How To Warm Up For A Boxing Training Session

The type of warn up you need to prepare yourself properly for boxing training, fall into three segments -

General Warm-Up - Joint rotations and aerobic activity.

Stretching - Static and dynamic stretches.

Sport Specific Activity - Mimicking the sporting activity.

General Warm Up
To begin with in your warm up routine, it is good to begin with joint rotations. That starts to remove any stiffness by lubricating the entire joint with synovial fluid. This also helps the movement that is about to follow during your training session. The aerobic activity is used in the warm up to increase your heart output and the blood flow to muscles.

Aerobic activity will help to reduce the risk of injury from the stretching that follows. Performing a general warm up before stretching helps to minimise any structural weakening, as warmer muscles and tendons are more elastic and that makes them much ess prone to injury during training.

Stretching muscles alone is not an effective way to warm up for a boxing training session, but is useful as a small part of the entire warming up process.

Using static muscle stretching increases the range of movement of the major joints and muscles that will be involved during your training session. Static stretching (stretching to furthest point and holding it there) is the safest method of stretching, and uses up little energy. Don't bounce, just stretch and hold it there for 30 seconds.

Dynamic muscle stretching is then used to reach the maximum range of movement. Dynamic stretches involve controlled movements, such as trunk rotations, arm swings and walking lunges.


Sport Specific Activity Training
The use of a sport specific activity during the warm up is done for two main reasons, as stretches do almost nothing to increase temperature or blood flow. Using Sports Specific Activity Training increases the temperature and heart rate that have been lost as a result of the stretching, and this activity involves specific muscle groups and patterns, so it is a much more functional type of training for the fighter.


Cooling Down After Training
A proper cool down after a boxing workout is also very important as the cooling down session is used to gradually return your heart rate and blood pressure back down to normal levels again.

Large amounts of blood get pumped to your extremities during exercise, so the rhythmic contractions of the big muscles during your cool down help return more blood to the heart again. That is especially important after high intensity training with an anaerobic content, such as boxing training. Anaerobic exercises also result in lactic acid building up in the bloodstream and muscles. A good cool down routine after working out helps to remove the lactic acid again, and that reduces the chances of you having muscular aches and pains later. 



Boxing Training

Boxing training is notoriously strenuous. An actual boxing bout may not come along very often, but you will spend many hours almost every day on a gruelling fitness regime that's designed to keep you in tip top physical condition, and all ready for that bout when it does arrive.

When it comes to boxing training, most boxers and trainers understand the need for strength training using weights. However, do not focus on increasing strength and muscle size when weight training, or any benefits your boxing abilities might gain from you doing some weight training, are going to be severely restricted. You have to react with speed as well as power in the ring, while having the stamina to do that over many rounds, but simply lifting heavy weights as part of your training session is not the best way to do that. So your approach to weight lifting has to be altered to create a boxing specific training workout. You can read more about weight training for boxers here.

Here is a step-by-step process for developing a boxing training specific plan, including weights.

Firstly, boxers at any fighting weight class are immensely powerful for their size, but how is that explosive power best developed and maintained?

Well Plyometrics are a proven form of strength training. Those drills can be adapted for both upper and lower body power, helping you to move with more speed and land more decisive punches. So always fit some plyometric exercises into your training routines.

Boxers require strength and endurance in order to maintain a high level of work rate throughout a bout. Even in amateur boxing, a two minute round requires a lot of sustained effort. If you have never boxed before, a two minute amateur round is a lot more difficult and physically demanding than you could ever imagine. Unless you are very fit, you will struggle to last more than a round or two in the ring.

The core muscles bridge your upper and lower body. The stronger and more able those muscles are, the greater the range of your movement will be, so working on your core strength when training is essential for boxers. That increased flexibility helps reduce the risk of certain injuries, but it also allows you to move with more dexterity and finesse in the ring, as well as landing (and avoiding) a few more telling punches.

Medicine balls are a classic piece of a boxers training equipment. They can be used to develop strength and power, also allowing you to incorporate very specific movements into your workout routine.

Boxing requires both anaerobic and aerobic endurance, so learn to build those types of exercises into your workout session.

While long slow distance runs may be a suitable introduction at the start of a training programme, interval running should be used to develop more boxing specific stamina.

Another major key to the success of any boxing training programme is adequate recovery time and avoiding of injury. Muscle ache the day after training is something everyone has experienced, so while boxers must contend with bumps and bruising from sparring, the aches and pains brought on by a tough training session is usually the result of something completely different. A proper cool down session after training will help lessen the chances of you feeling too many aches the next day.

A Basic Boxing Training Routine

As one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, boxing demands a varied conditioning routine. One which allows you to build up the fitness, technique, agility, footwork and coordination required for the ring

Shadow Boxing
What use is shadow boxing to a boxer?

Shadow Boxing is a very common part of any boxers training session. It allows you to prepare your muscles at the beginning of a workout session, before you get involved in the more intensive forms of exercise that comes afterwards.

In shadow boxing, you do not require a partner but work on your own. Instead of practicing in the ring, the shadow boxer works in front of a mirror, throwing punches as a way of getting into a fighting rhythm and identifying the techniques to be worked on during the rest of the training session.

There are two different styles of shadow boxing - The long method and the short method.

Using the Long Method, you practice jabs and straight punches, shuffling your feet to rock your body backwards and forwards. Alternatively, the short method of shadow boxing is a way of practicing close body punches, with you using a side-to-side motion to move the body from left to right, to practice the technique of slipping and short boxing.

Do NOT continually practice your shadow boxing in front of a mirror though - When boxing, as i said earlier, you must learn to constantly keep your eyes on the other fighter at all times. If you are used to glancing to the side to look into a mirror when shadow boxing, that can become a bad habit and break your concentration in the ring. You must always concentrate 100% on your opponent in the ring, or suffer the consequences. Those consequences can be devastating if you momentarily lose your concentration, so don't regularly shadow box n front of a mirror.

Shadow Boxing Tips

Well shadow boxing is where you learn how to put movement and combinations of punches together.

When shadow boxing, you practice how to move in all four directions and how to throw jabs while in motion. You learn to bounce back and forth while jabbing - the long rhythm, and to bob and weave from side-to-side - the short rhythm.

Three good shadow boxing tips are to change speed, use a mirror at times, and box against an imaginary opponent.

You want to change speed fairly often to avoid too much routine leading to boredom. Also, you will want to slow things down occasionally to work on a specific boxing technique that you want to improve.


Boxing Bag Training
Why do boxers train with punch bags?

Boxers use punch bag to practice throwing jabs and other punches, it is also used to help improve your anaerobic conditioning. Fighters engage in this type of training using various kinds of punch bag, depending on the type of technique they are working on. When using a punch bag, always wrap your hands first and wear the proper bag gloves to protect your hands.

We will go into more detail about each and every punchbag on This Page of the site, but as a brief outline.......


Double End Punch Bag

This is a light round bag used by to practice throwing accurate jabs and other punches at a moving target. Double end bags encourage rhythm, good stance, quick hands and feet. So it helps to help improve your timing.


Heavy Punch Bag

The biggest of the punch bags, it's mostly used for working on powerful punches and combination strikes. Do not try and make the bag swing all over the place as that won't usually happen if you hit it properly. If it does swing a lot, that's either because the bag is too light for you, or you are pushing it with your fist rather than punchng it. There is an old saying in boxing gyms that goes something like this - “If you want to know which boxers in here are hitting the heavy bag pproperly, just ask a blind man” - That is because you can tell if someone is punching correctly, just by listening to the sound of their fists hitting the heavy bag.


Maize Punch Bag

Filled with maize to help recreate a human body feel, a maize punch bag is used for light punches, they are also sometimes known as "slip bags"


Speed Punch Bag

The smallest of punch bags, the speed bag is air filled and fixed at the top to a rebound board. It helps you to develop quicker reflexes, improve your hand/eye coordination, while increasing your arm strength and endurance. It is also a real good cardiovascular workout.

Pedestal Punch Bag  (also known as the tower bag)

Unlike the other types of punch bags, the pedestal punch bag is not suspended from the ceiling but stands on a weighted pedestal instead. Like the heavy bag, it is used to practice powerful punches and specifically uppercuts, which aim at the opponent’s head and upper part of the body. 

Body Opponent Punch Bag

Basically it's just a synthetic punch bag that's been shaped into a human form and fixed to a pedestal board. 

Why do boxers spar?
While the majority of your boxing training session happens outside of the ring, sparring is one part of your workout that happens inside the ring. Giving you the chance to practice your techniques against an opponent, as well as helping to build up your fitness levels.
To define sparring, it is important to remember that sparring is not for a fighter to try and beat their opponent, but instead the two boxers work together on routines, which let them practice particular boxing techniques against each other.

During sparring routines we use special sparring gloves (which have more padding than the boxing gloves used in competition), along with a head guard, groin guard and gum shield, to lessen the risk of injury. So remember to always use the proper protective equipment when sparring.

An alternative form of sparring is something called 'body sparring' - As the name suggests, it's sparring which does not allow the boxer's to hit their opponent on the head.


Jump Ropes - Skipping Ropes

Why do boxers use skipping ropes?

Jump Rope or skipping rope training is a common part of a boxers workout session. Mostly used to improve your agility, footwork, coordination, speed and endurance.

For skipping, we use a rope of approximately 8-10 feet long, holding one end in each hand and jumping over the rope for several 3-minute ‘rounds’, in order to get used to the endurance required in each round of a fight. Again, begin slowly and the increased speed will gradually develop through practice.


There are three main ways of using the skipping rope for boxing training:

Running In Place - The easiest way to use the skipping rope as you basically run on the spot, moving the jumping rope over your head and lifting your feet over the rope as it comes down in front of your body.

Double Unders - A more advanced and strenuous way of using the skipping rope. You to keep your feet together and jump with both feet at a time, jumping once for every two turns of the rope.

Criss Cross - The criss cross can be applied to either of the above styles of skipping, adding an extra dimension to the basic skipping steps. To perform the criss cross, you have to cross your arms (and the rope) as the rope passes down in front of the body, jumping through the loop that is formed and uncrossing the arms during the next rotation.
Aerobic/Anaerobic Exercises In Boxing Training

Boxing is an aerobic sport that needs you to have high levels of fitness and endurance, which means that a large part of our workout drills consists of aerobic and cardiovascular routines. Exercises such as sit ups, press ups, crunches, pull ups, squat thrusts and star jumps, are a regular part of boxing training, helping you to build up the muscle and endurance required.

As well as requiring high levels of aerobic energy and endurance, the power and strength needed in the boxing ring requires you to also have high anaerobic energy levels. A good way to build up anaerobic energy is by adding plyometric exercises to your training sessions. Plyometric exercises use explosive bursts of energy to improve your muscle contractions and reaction times, in order to allow you to respond quickly and powerfully in the boxing ring.

Good forms of plyometric exercises to add to your training routines include depth jumps, throws, short sprinting exercises and abdominal exercises using a medicine ball. Punch bag work can also be classified as a form of plyometric exercise as it uses the muscles powerfully for a short amount of time. 
A Typical Beginners Boxing Training Session
What would be a decent boxing training session for a beginner?
Do i need to remind you about the need to warm up properly first?
Assuming that you have already began your warm up routine, remember to always begin your training session by 'wrapping your hands properly' - It is best to do this at the start of the training session so that you don’t have to pause your workout once you have started. Also, get your round timer started and set with 3 minute rounds and a 1 minute break between rounds. Of course a stop watch, mobile phone etc, will do just fine to guide your time.

Once you are all set up and ready to go, take your skipping rope and warm up for two rounds at the start of your training session. It is a great way to break into a sweat and get your body loosened up. Without a skipping rope, you can perform jumping jacks and/or jog in place instead.

After you have finished that part of the session, your next target is to complete 100 Push Ups and 200 Sit Ups. Probably the best way to tackle this for a beginner is to break them up into sets of 20 and 50 respectively, and alternate between the two, but take as many sets as necessary to complete the task. If 100 push ups and 200 sit ups is way more than you can handle at the beginning, do as many as possible and gradually work up to higher levels in future training sessions. You want to build up your strength, but you don’t want to be physical exhausted before the proper training session even begins.

After finishing up with those, it’s time to do some shadow boxing. Spend two rounds shadow boxing in front of a mirror. You can rest in between rounds for one minute if you like.

Now that you are done with your warm up, you have got some strength training in and your technique should be honed, it’s time to move onto the heavy punch bag.

You should aim for a total of maybe 5 rounds on the heavy bag, resting for the full minute between each round. Your aim when using the heavy bag is to stay active and remain busy the entire time. Circle around the bag, moving both left and right, and throw combination punches. Add in defensive moves and generally keep working continiously for the full three minutes of each round. When you are done with the 5 rounds on the heavy bag, you should now perform three rounds on the speed bag, but do not rest between rounds this time. If you don’t have a speed bag yet, spend another 3 rounds shadow boxing instead. After all this hard work, your shoulders and arms should really be feeling the burn.

Once that's completed, you are now done with the boxing part of your training session, so all you need to do now is cool down your body and finish off your workout with some more cardio work. You can do this with another 2 rounds on the skipping ropes, do not take a break in between the rounds and always try to finishing your skipping strongly and powerfully.
Now take some deep breaths, stretch those muscles and sip some water. You should be absolutely exhausted if you just completed this beginner boxing training workout for the first time and followed every step.

If you have moved at a fairly decent pace, that beginners training session should have taken you just over an hour to complete.

With practice, you will be able to add variations and develop your own individual training routine.


Typical Pro Fighters Training Routine

First of all, maybe i should say that there is no such thing a 'typical'  pro boxer's training routine. They vary greatly from person to person, but this is a rough guide and will give you some idea of what they do on an average day.

Work-Out 5 days per week - Rest on the other 2 days.

Get up and after a stretching routine, go for a 4 mile run (include some sprint bursts in that)

Come home, shower and go back to bed

Wake up and eat Porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast

Start a routine of exercise with weights

Some skipping, shadow boxing, speedball and bag work. Then 5 rounds of sparring

Have another meal (Plenty chicken and pasta with fruit juice drink)

More ring work, then 30 mins on the exercise bike

Home to chill out.

Sometime during the evening
Fit in 1000 sit-ups (10 sets x 100) - 200 dips (10 sets x 20) - 200 press-ups(4 sets of 50)

Plenty steak and pasta with fruit juice

2 Days A Week
Pretty much do nothing and eat whatever you want, wiithin reason - You can visit this page of the site for much more detailed information about a boxers diet - Remember too that having these rest days are very important as it gives you the opportunity to recharge your batteries. If you train every day, you aren't giving your body adequate time to recover and won't get the full benefits that all your hard work deserves.


Road Running

Why do boxers do road runs?

Firstly, most people do not have the slightest clue about how to train or condition themselves for a fight, and don't fully understand the value of a proper road running programme as part of a boxing training routine. Interval training was an unknown concept 15 years ago, but many advancements have been made regarding road running over the years

Before discussing the specifics about road running, let's clarify one important point - The best way to prepare for boxing is to step inside the ring and actually box. No matter what you do for conditioning, if you fail to spar, you will never be in the proper shape to fight. Road runs alone will not prepare you for the rigours associated with a grueling fight. What a good road running programme will do however, is enhance your ability to sustain more intense sparring sessions. If you take a boxer who goes to the gym every day but never road runs, and match him against an evenly skilled fighter who performs his road runs religiously, i'm willing to bet that at least 9 times out of 10, the winner will be the one who has been doing his road running. It really is that important.


A Quick Road Work Running Tip

I see people road running and most sure do like to make things difficult for themselves by running in an upright way, or even leaning slightly backwards. Learn to lean forward slightly when you run, that lets your own momentum, gravity, and body weight help you, rather than hinder you. 


What Exactly Are Road Runs?

Many people think that boxing roadwork means waking up early in the morning and just jogging along quiet roads for 3 or 4 miles before breakfast. While that kind of running routine sure beats hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock, or bouncing it off the wall and going back to sleep again, it is not the most effective use of your time on the road.

Boxing is mostly a fast paced, anaerobic event. Basically you win fights by moving quickly and throwing punches while avoiding the other fighters punches. So, considering the anaerobic nature of boxing, why would you want to limit your road work to slow aerobic jogging? That just doesn't make sense.

So you should ideally use more intense forms of road running. Interval Training is one good solution.


Interval Training

A common phrase today is 'Sport Specific Training' - But what exactly is sport specific training, or interval training?

Well boxers can make their running programme more sport specific (anaerobic) by training around the same work-to-rest ratios of an actual boxing bout. This style of road running is called interval training.

Essentially, interval training consists of running hard for the duration of a boxing round, for example 2 or 3 minutes, depending whether you are an amateur or professional boxer. Your rest period between them will be 1 minute, the same rest period that you have between rounds.

If you are fighting 3 rounds, a good training programme will consist of 4 intervals. Professional boxers training for longer bouts will obviously increase the number of intervals they do. It is a good idea though to keep the maximum number of intervals to less than 10, or you run the risk of over-training.

This interval road running programme should only be performed 2 or 3 times per week as part of your regular training routine. On non-interval running days, you can return to the more traditional form of road work, such as a basic 2 to 4 mile run. These types of road runs are still important as they help build up the stamina to enable your body to endure the harder interval work. The road running sessions should also be run at a decent pace. When you train, you must train hard or not train at all.

Most boxers should be able to at least maintain an average 6 or 7-minute per mile pace, depending on the distance of the run. A decent measure of a boxer's fitness is the ability to run 2 miles in under 12 minues.

Running "intervals" should be done on days when you won't be sparring, as there is nothing worse than sparring with weak or heavy legs to try and support you and keep you moving in the ring. Constant movement in the boxing ring is vital, so having tired legs when sparring means that you move around less and get hit more often. Getting smacked around because you are heavy legged isn't a whole lot of fun.

Interval training is also very intense. Your body will need time to recover between interval sessions, so do not overlook the importance of that rest and recovery time.

After a few weeks of interval training, you should begin to notice a big improvement in your work capacity and anaerobic endurance.

It's best to incorporate variety into the interval sessions too. Mix things up with sprints, hill running, and by varying the distance of your interval workouts (ex. 50 yards, 200 yards, 400 yards, and/or 800 yards). By adjusting your road running routine, you will encourage continuous improvements and avoid getting yourself into a rut.


Aerobic Training Tip

When planning on doing any aerobic training, alway bear in mind this piece of important information - While a short burst of aerobic training is better than nothing at all, it won't actually do you a great deal of good. Your aerobic system takes about 15 minutes to kick in - So if you exercise aerobically for less than 15mins, you won't actually gain any benefit from it. That means any aerobic sessions you include in your boxing training workouts must be at least 20 mins long, before you begin to gain even the slightest of improvemnt from it.

Plyometric Training

Firstly, what are plyometric exercises?

Plyometric training uses a type of exercise designed to produce fast powerful movements, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sport. A Plyometric exercise is one in which a muscle is quickly extended and rapidly contracted again.

Before adding plyometric exercises to your boxing training routines, there are some things you should bear in mind. The rule of thumb is that those who are unable to lift 75% of their body weight in the three major weight lift styles (bench, squat and dead lift) should consider training further to improve their strength and fitness levels before attempting plyometric exercises. Also make sure you are in good physical shape and healthy before attempting these types of exercise.

An example of a plyometric exercises would be 'Plyo Push Ups' - Here you will focus on pushing yourself as high into the air possible from the down push up position. An example of this is the 'clapping push up' where you are forced to push your body at least 6-8 inches further off the ground than normal to perform the 'hand clap'.

Example of a quick Plyometric boxing workout routine:

Plyo Push Ups 10-15 reps

Squat Thrust 10-15 reps

Squat Jumps 10-15 reps

Lateral Box Jumps 10-15 reps

Medicine Ball Slams 10-15 reps

Tuck Jumps 10-15 reps

Plyometric exercises are a VERY effective workout for developing both speed and strength for the fighter. Some professional athletes use plyometric's as their only source of training. In no time at all, you will experience great speed and strength gains by adding plyometric routines to your training sessions.

How do you spar properly?

Aways remember that sparring is just a practice session, that's all it is. I have seen many injuries occur during unsafe sparring sessions in some boxing gyms. Sparring bouts are not a full blooded competition, they are nothing more than a training and learning process for the two boxers taking part. Of course you get hit, sometimes you get hurt when sparring, so aye black eyes and burst noses are a distinct possibility, but some poor boxing trainers allow or actively encourage 'Full Fights' to break out during sparring, which get fighters hurt, both mentally and physically. That's not what sparring is all about. Sparring should be done in a friendly and non-competitive atmosphere, wearing large well padded 16 or 18 ounce boxing gloves, gum shields, low blow protector and full head guards.

If your trainer allows sparring sessions to become full bloodied fights, especially with lighter gloves, maybe you want to consider heading off to another gym and finding yourself a better coach, as no good boxing trainer would allow that to happen.

As we are on the subject of punches, there are some workout routines listed here that you can include in your boxing training schedule to help give you much more explosive punches.  





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