Play Fight Night Champion like a pro with these top ringside tips from the game's producer Mike Mahar.
The lights go down and the volume rises as you approach the ring. You are Andre Bishop, heavyweight boxing pretender in Fight Night Champion for PlayStation 3, and awaiting you is IBF, WBO and WBC heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. The Ukranian giant they call Dr Steelhammer is a fearsome opponent, but luckily you have EA Canada producer Mike Mahar in your corner to dispense essential advice that'll give you more than a fighting chance...
Get in shape
There are thousands of ways to play Fight Night Champion, just as there are thousands of unique styles in boxing. This may sound obvious, but a major key to success is being fully aware and capable of throwing the punch you want, when you want.
One trick to improve your punching ability is to visit our Training Games via the Main Menu and participate in the Heavy Bag Combo training challenge.
The Heavy Bag Combo session is the perfect way to learn the punches, defensive controls and all-round technique needed to step into the ring. You can attempt it over and over again and you don't have to worry about getting hit in the face by the heavy bag.
While you're at it, try to get the World or Friends' Heavy Bag Combo High Score which we track for you with the Online High Scores feature, while you are connected to PlayStation Network.
It's obvious what boxers like Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali are good at in the ring. Tyson was feared as a devastating KO artist while Muhammad Ali was known for being fast as lightning with a granite chin.
You should always be aware of your chosen fighter's strengths and weaknesses, especially Created Boxers used in Legacy Mode, Gyms and Online World Championships.
There are several places you can check these stats, such as Boxer Ratings on the Boxer Select screen or in Create Boxer. Each fighter has unique punch strengths and defensive capabilities. If you aren't aware of these, how are you going to knock opponents out?
Take a deep breath
A common mistake many first time users make once they step into the ring is to get swept up in the emotion of the moment and resort to all out brawling. This is bad against experienced users, and will likely end up with you flat on the canvas with blood streaming out of your face.
Take your time, measure your opponent up and only hit the gas when you're certain there's an opening to land punches. Remember, this is boxing: a single punch is all that's needed to change or end a fight.
Going up against the best
Similarly, and I can't stress this enough, don't get caught up in a brawl if you're fighting a more highly rated opponent.
A good example from the sport of boxing is the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight. Granted, many people considered Tyson past his prime but Lewis didn't bother to get mixed up in a bunch of heavy exchanges where Tyson had a puncher's chance of knocking him out.
Instead Lewis chose to stay away from Tyson and use his height, jab and straight right hand to carry the day. The result was a win.
The same point goes for Fight Night Champion. If you keep getting hit with clean, heavy punches, you're increasing your chance of getting KO'd. But then again, it's your face – you do what you want.
Counterpunching can be a bit more challenging to master but it's well worth it. Landed counterpunches do more damage than a regular punch. If you land a modified Heavy Counterpunch, it does even more damage.
Moving side to side, and in and out to make your opponent miss and open up a counter opportunity is a great way to do damage and level the playing field against more highly rated opponents.
Know the score
If it isn't obvious from looking at your opponent's face whether or not you're winning, be on the lookout for Teddy's Scorecard. Fight Night Champion's colourful commentator gives you his take on who's winning the fight at the beginning of the fourth and seventh rounds.
Though it's not a 100 per cent reflection of the true judge's scorecard, it will give you a good indication of where you stand and whether or not you need to increase the pace or risk losing a tight decision.
Sharpen your skills
If you're fighting in Online World Championships or Online Gyms via PlayStation Network be sure to visit the Boxer Growth screen regularly and apply the XP (Experience Points) you've earned. Remember, you get XP even when you lose a fight so you may be able to upgrade a punch or defensive skill to prevent it from happening again.
Put these tips to work before you step into the ring in Fight Night Champion – available in-store for PlayStation 3 now.