Breathing is essential. You need to breathe to live and in sports you need to breathe to perform. And it goes without saying, the more efficiently you breathe, the more efficiently you can perform. To be an effective fighter you'll need to develop strong lungs. To become a fighting machine you’ll need to develop controlled breathing.
If you have bad habits, training is where you can develop good ones.
Work on timing your breaths with movements, not the other way around.
You want to establish a calm rhythm between breathing and action.
Due to the mixed aerobic and anaerobic nature of boxing and fighting, efficiency of breathing can make a huge difference in your stamina and also assist you in staying focused. Two common rookie mistakes during sparring and competition are 1. holding one’s breath in the midst of action and then 2. over breathing or gasping for air in between. The combination of these two conditions will quickly cause fatigue. Additionally, anytime you hold your breath you’re temporarily cutting off the oxygen supply to your muscles, which could invite cramps.
When you’re breathing efficiently you’re taking optimized breaths (slower, deeper breaths). So you’re delivering more oxygen per breath. This saves a ton of energy, and ultimately allows you to turn up the intensity. Superior athletes have this efficient breathing down and you can see this, not only in their athletic prowess, but also in their hyper focus. More oxygen delivered + less energy expended = sharper awareness.
Besides optimized breaths you also want to always breathe through your nose. When you’re breathing efficiently from your nose, you’re increasing nitric oxide gas in the bloodstream, which actually relaxes the blood vessels. When this happens, it expedites blood flow, getting oxygen to your muscles and organs in a timely fashion, which in turn, helps you avoid fatigue.
When you’re training, spend time working on various drills while emphasizing your breathing. If you have bad habits, training is where you can begin to develop good ones. Work on timing your breaths with your movements, and not the other way around. You want to establish a calm rhythm between your breathing and your action. Slow yourself down if you need to, but you want to get your lungs “coordinated” with the rest of you.
Serious weight lifters know that breathing is part of every rep. It’s worthless trying to build muscle if your breathing is weak. Same goes for trying to build yourself as a fighting machine. You'll never master your fighting until you master your breathing.