With the rise of white collar fight nights and the popularity of UFC more and more people are taking their first step into the ring/Octagon and in full combat fights. A step beyond just a "Boxing Fitness class" training for combat is mentally, physically and sometimes emotionally challenging.
The Physical Challenge - if you have been attending boxing or MMA fitness classes this will have set you up with a good level of conditioning but this training will now intensify. You now need to learn to develop power behind your punches and kicks. Your reactive speeds and guard positions will need to be trained up now to help protect you from real life punches.
Strengthen your core and your neck will be a big focus of your training now to help your body protect itself and prepare for the impact of punches.
The Mental Challenge - you now need to learn about the sport and start applying your knowledge in the ring. Learning about how to read an opponent - when they keep their guard up or drop it, which hand they like to lead with? Learning when to attack and when to go to your corner. The other challenge is everything now happens very fast and many boxers feel mentally tired after sparring as they have to be so focused.
The Emotional Challenge - being hit and having to fight is emotionally confronting. Many boxers recall the first time they ever get properly hit in the nose as being a confronting and humbling experience. Learning to deal with these emotions will not only make you a better fighter but a stronger person. Remember your coach is there to support you as well as push you, discuss with them how you're feeling about training.
Stepping into the ring and taking on a contact combat sport is not for everyone but those who do it and enjoy it can reap huge benefits to their well being and if contact isn't for you - you can still get a great workout from non-contact training too.