A clinch is when one opponent grabs the other in a bear hug to prevent the opponent from punching. It is also known as "tying up" the opponent. When used to tie up the opponent, it is usually because the fighter is tired and wants to take a break in the action. In a tournament, one the reason for the holding the tournament is to entertain the spectators who are paying to see the action. Since a clinch causes a break in the action, it is usually not permitted by the rules. When a clinch occurs, the referee will separate the fighters.
Clinching telegraphs to the opponent that you are not confident in punching it out with him or her, and it may give the opponent more incentive to keep up the punching attack. It also tells the opponent that you are tired and getting weaker. Too much clinching by a competitor may result in a warning or a point deduction by the referee.
Since you must be able to grab the opponent for the clinch to work, the clinch is only used at close range. It may be used in mid-ring against a good puncher who is getting in with powerful punches. If you stay close to the puncher, you will limit the motion of the fighter's punches, thus taking away some of their power. Also, staying close range the puncher from stepping into punches, which limits the power of the punches. When overwhelmed by the puncher, step in and clinch to stop the action.
When trapped against the ropes or in a corner and unable to escape, use the clinch. Since the referee will break the clinch and separate the fighters, it allows the trapped fighter to move to the side and off the ropes. In addition, when pinned against the ropes or in a corner, you can clinch and spin the opponent around so you are on the outside, then release the clinch and start attacking; the opponent is now the one pinned.
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