Fight Night Round 4 is still the best boxing video game 2022 has to offer, even after all these years. Will eSBC boxing game release date postponement mean Fight Night Round 4 will still be king of the boxing sims through 2023?

Fight fans, we’re long overdue for a new boxing video game. It’s been over ten years since we’ve had a new release in the sport. Fans love the strategic, head-to-head solo pvp experience, but there haven’t been many online boxing games. Fight Night Champion came out in 2011, and Fight Night Round 4, the last simulation style boxing title EA released, became available in 2009. Some would agree that Fight Night Champion has easier controls. It has the very first iteration of an entertaining storyline, the special effects are fun to watch, and it’s the newest title in the FIght Night franchise, so many assume it must be the only good boxing game available.

Many who have clamored for any new boxing video game content whatsoever have yet to try Fight Night Round 4, the more simulation based older brother of EA’s “Champion” title. With no new game releases targeted to boxing fans in the last decade, FIght Night fans are still searching for new experiences around every corner. If you still haven’t tried Fight Night Round 4, don’t miss out on one of the most challenging and realistic boxing video games 2022 has to offer.

The Jab (One)

A jab lands in a sparring session in Fight Night Round 4.

The jab, or the “one,” is the most important punch in boxing. Use the jab in boxing to create offensive opportunities for yourself while shutting down your opponent’s gameplan. There are lots of ways to throw the jab. In Punch Theory: Round 1, learn how to tame an opponent or set up the knockout with boxing’s most fundamental punch in Fight Night Round 4.

How To Jab In Fight Night Round 4

To shoot the jab from a straight upright orthodox position, tap the right stick up/left while the left stick is neutral. To throw a jab while leaning, you’ll have to learn to throw your punch on the right stick with the manual distribution of your weight with the left stick. To change levels and jab to the body, hold the lean button (L1 default) and execute the jab command on the right stick by pushing up/left. To throw a step jab, you’ll have to learn to time your jab with your step. The timing of the punch should depend on when and where you choose to step; whether or not it actually lands will depend largely on whether the opponent steps, leans, blocks, or counters.

Physical Mechanics of the Jab

The jab can be the quickest and the longest reaching punch, due to the origin of the punch being from the front hand, and the limited mechanics required to throw it. There’s no inherent twisting of the hips required to throw the jab in this boxing video game, so you don’t have to wind up to land a perfect shot. Boxers with longer arms tend to throw more powerfully effective straight punches, so a long reach can give some fighters a power and range advantage with their jab. A boxer with shorter arms might have more trouble landing a jab at range than an opponent with a longer reach- without first moving their feet. By the same token though, a fighter with shorter arms will be naturally able to throw the jab and bring the lead hand back to the guard position more quickly than a fighter with longer arms executing the same punch.

Power Jab

Fighters with good foot speed can close quite a bit of distance with a jab by taking a quick step in the direction of the punch with appropriate timing. Landing a power jab can catch an opponent at a distance off guard with a heavy shot since you’re seemingly out of range at first.

Loading up on any shot in the ring is risky, and the power jab is no different. If you can launch it unexpectedly though, you can cover ground while posing a threat. You’re a lot more likely to stun your opponent with a single punch if it has a lot of momentum behind it, but if you’re telegraphing, spamming the shot over and over, or otherwise being predictable, it’s easy for any intelligent opponent to outposition you; even EA’s artificially intelligent opponents. Leave that door open for a split second and that’s all it takes to end it all in Fight Night Round 4.

Jab Strategy In Fight Night Round 4

The jab can be an effective punch in a diverse set of circumstances because the fighter’s body positioning doesn’t change by much to throw it. Moving around the ring in Fight Night Round 4 doesn’t restrict you from throwing punches; while you could throw the jab while stationary, you could also throw it while stepping and leaning.  Fighters with good hand speed (controlled by a player capable of consistently executing the command with good position and timing) can deliver the jab so quickly that the opponent might have no time to react and defend. Those with good agility and foot speed can score with the jab even while simultaneously stepping out, effectively evading incoming attacks. The most clever, effective outboxers have good mobility and blurring hand speed; the deadly combination of skills affords a fighter one of the best platforms for the sweet science.

Throwing punches quickly and in rhythm is less about button mashing in Fight Night Round 4 and more a matter of timing; each fighter has a limit to the speed of their punches and a rhythm to their steps. No matter how quick your thumbs, you’ll need to learn the speed, rhythm and leverage of your fighter to actually throw punches in time, smoothly, and with precision. How quickly you can push any particular button only matters up to your fighter’s maximum hand speed, foot speed, stamina level, and positioning.

 Although it was released in 2009, Fight Night Round 4  has the most subtle and strategic control system of any boxing game to date. It’s not without flaws, but the fluidity of motion possible through EA’s New Total Punch Control introduced in Fight Night Round 4 is still unmatched over ten years later, even by Fight Night Champion, released in 2011.

It’s been a very long time since anyone has released a boxing simulation game; although there have been some new promises of a new one, these hushed whispers appear to grow fainter by the month.

What Happened to eSBC Boxing Game?

When it comes to a good boxing video game, 2022 has at least a few old ones to offer; there just aren’t any new ones. Fight Night Round 4 still has the most advanced movement system we’ve seen of any boxing game released to date. Coined New Total Punch Control by EA, the scheme can be a little less forgiving than Fight Night Champion’s arcade-like Full Spectrum Control, which trades sometimes frustrating realism for simpler controls and more automated animations. Total Punch Control requires more control but offers a more competitive and balanced system of offense vs. defense when considering the ability to block, lean and step independently.

We’ve heard fanciful tales for years now of rumors of a new boxing game on ps4, long enough for a new generation of Playstation to be released by Sony. Of all the Playstation 5 games out so far, there’s been nothing playable in the way of EA-style boxing simulation games. In fact, the latest installments of FIght Night came out so long ago that they were actually released on Playstation 3 and XBox 360. EA apparently pivoted to the presumably simpler negotiation environment under the UFC umbrella, abandoning boxing. Even today, Fight Night Round 4 is the most realistic boxing video game 2022 has to offer, so it’s worthwhile to learn the control system they designed for the game.

As it turns out, it’s an outstanding side quest while we’re waiting for the eSBC Undspited boxing game to come out.

Is eSports Boxing Club Coming Out Soon?

No. In a change of direction mid-development, the title has been scrapped, in lieu of a new title: “Undisputed.” ESBC, or Electronic Sports Boxing Club, has recently been rebranded from the former, official sounding name to the dubiously simple “Undisputed.” Whether or not this name change signals a change of stance in other aspects of game philosophy remains to be seen, as release dates for the Steel City Interactive project have floated ever further beyond 2022 and deeper into the realm of fantasy.

Some of the reasons for this are hotly debated among those who await a new competitive boxing experience. Steel City Interactive appears to be focusing heavily on aesthetic elements of their release, securing licensing to feature the likenesses of athletes and apparel companies alike. Despite this, gameplay, physics, mobility and mechanics look lackluster and consistently disappointing in the company’s sporadically leaked clips.

Is EA making a new Fight Night?

A jab lands in Fight Night Round 4.

As of the date of this article, EA hasn’t confirmed the possibility of Fight Night Round 5 to BBM.

It’s been speculated that the main reason that Electronic Arts abandoned development in the  boxing video game market as early as it did stemmed from licensing difficulties. Boxing, unlike any other sport marketed to EA audiences, has no governing league to which all boxers owe dues or allegiance. Because of this, EA would’ve been tasked with approaching each fighter and brand they wished to license to offer stakes for the right to include their likenesses along with their product.

This is much more difficult than negotiations with a single individual, or representatives of a league. Since EA gambled that return on investment would be less for a boxing game with more emphasis on career development and simulation, we got Champion instead of Fight Night Round 5. As entertaining as the storyline was at times, Fight Night CHampion was also a big step back for the realistic physics of the Fight Night franchise, and ultimately became the current dead end in development. Removing momentum, automating combinations based on stats, adding camera shake and the motion blurring gave the game visual styling more reminiscent of professional wrestling than of professional boxing.

So what does this mean for a new Fight Night game in 2022? Well, although EA seemingly abandoned the Fight Night series after Round 4 and Champion, the reasons for doing so may have been linked more to the logistics of releasing their games with predictable returns than to whether or not FIght Night was a worthwhile franchise in itself.

If the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and UFC can be negotiated with to share the likenesses of teams, brands, players and locations, why would EA go through all the trouble of individual negotiations for every professional athlete in the sport-just for little old boxing?

The simple answer is that they wouldn’t over the past twelve years, and they still won’t today, and it’s yet to be seen if any other group ever will. Fight fans won’t be holding our breath waiting for a new boxing video game in 2022. If you’re like one of the thousands waiting with baited breath to try a great boxing video game that’s actually out currently, try Fight Night Round 4.