Lighting Design Forum
Lighting design tips for a boxing match
Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by JaJuan Lowry on Jul 21, 2009 at 2:25:43 pm

Hello All!

I have recently been hired as the LD for a military boxing match coming up in a couple of weeks and I was wondering if any of you great lighting guys have any tips/suggestions. It is not a huge budget for the show, but I do have a little bit of money to play with. I am thinking about doing a small rig, 8-mac 250's mounted on a square truss above the ring.I would also like to hang some source four ellipsoidals to throw some gobos on the wall. And my main problem, lighting the ring. I don't know if it would be best to hang some S4 pars on the rig, or stack one piece of truss on top of another 20-30ft away from the ring and throw some Ellipsoidals on it to wash the ring. If I did stack the truss I think it would be good to throw some s4 pars on it as well to wash the crowd. Any suggestions?

I would also like to create a couple of different scenes for the match:

1:pre-show look- as people walk in I would like to create a military command center inspired theme. I was thinking of washing the crowd with an almost ultraviolet purple and throwing some military inspired gobos on the wall in a laser green color. (I picked out some gels but can't remember the numbers off the top of my head.) During this time I want the ring to be dim and I was thinking about washing the ring with blue and using some gobos to throw some stars on the ring floor. I'm not sure if the purple in blue will clash or not.

2:boxers entering the ring- Another part of the show I am struggling with and am open to any suggestions. Originally I wanted to use a low crawling fog in the hallway where the boxers would enter from, but of course they don't want to use anything that resembles smoke, COOL! So, I was thinking about setting up a rear projection system in front of the door they will be entering from and having the boxers stand in front of the screen and throw a couple of jabs before they walk out, hoping to create the illusion of a silouette behind the screen and I can change the color for the different boxers. I'm not sure if I can squeeze that into the budget so I may have to come up with a more cost effective method.

3:during the fight-at this point I plan to keep the audience dim and have all focus on the ring. still haven't figured out the best way to light the ring yet.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and thanks in advance for all the great suggestions!!

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Jul 21, 2009 at 9:51:09 pm

your instincts are correct...and you're being quite ambitious.
Your Mac 250's won't be powerful enough. You'll need AT LEAST a MAC 500 or 600. (I normally use a MAC 2kw... the ideal would be a VL 3000).
Hang one square truss all around the ring approximately 20% bigger than your ring.
Here's a quick and easy way to light your fight. Divide your ring into 9 circular areas. Pretend each area is a clock face. Hang a source 4 PAR from the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions of each circle. Be sure to use the correct lens to create an equally intense beam with the same diameter coverage from the distance you're hanging at. Barn doors and light diffusion will be VERRYYY useful. You'll now be evenly lit all around the ring for every camera angle. You should also add specials into each boxer's corner. Be sure to keep the truss high so you don't blind the fighters ...or you'll be in deep trouble.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Bill Davis on Jul 22, 2009 at 8:00:38 am

If the budget is tight, another approach would be to build a super-sized softbox over the entire ring.

The way I understand it, there's no fixed size for a boxing ring. 16x16, up to 20x20 are typical. So this assumes 16x16.

I'd start with a 16' x 16' box built out of 2x6 lumber with evenly spaced joists and stringers to start. Rig that to the roof/ceiling with chain. Then go to Home Depot and buy a whole bunch of cheap two or four lamp fluorescent fixtures and suspend them from the box in close rows over the entire surface of the ring. Lamp them with decent "full spectrum" modern tubes. These, in turn would be suspended from the wood box and positioned so they're 6" to 1' above a large expanse of translucent white fabric. I'd probably build a 20x20 frame from 1x4 and stretch the fabric around it, then use more chain to suspend the fabric frame from the light support frame. Contact Rose Brand for bulk fabric, or if you don't have time - just sacrifice a bunch of old-style white parachutes and use that) What you want is an even, shadowless wash of illumination that comes at the fighters from every direction so that both can see equally well, and the illumination level is consistent from any and every direction. That way both the fighters and the audience can see perfectly no matter what angle they're positioned at around the ring.

Then use your other lights to do the walkup and corners, gobos and whatever.

That's what I'd do if I wanted to keep things affordable, anyway.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by JaJuan Lowry on Jul 22, 2009 at 3:11:38 pm

Hello Dennis,

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post! I really value your opinion and I think this will be the best method to get an even wash across the ring. I am trying to picture in my head what your describing, and I would assume you would line 9 pars along each side of the truss to hit the designated clock time of each area. If I am explaining this correctly, from the 12 o'clock position of the truss you will hit all the 12'oclock positions for each area and so on for the other sides. I definitely think your comment about the lenses will be important. For shorter throws would I use a wider lense and for longer throws a narrower lense? Or is it one of those things you just have to play with? I haven't done a lot of work with diffusion before and I was wondering if there is one you would recommend over another.

I also agree that the Mac250's will be too small so I will look into getting a higher wattage ML.

Thanks again Dennis! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out with this project.

JaJuan Lowry

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Jul 22, 2009 at 11:40:25 pm

You've got it.
The closer area lights should be medium lens fixtures at 750w, the middle areas should be narrow lens fixtures at 575w, and the far area fixtures would be very narrow lens fixtures (which should also be mounted on the top of the truss to help maintain a consistent beam angle).
I'll attach a sample arena boxing light plot I did for an event. It may help you to understand the layout.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Jul 22, 2009 at 11:47:47 pm

By the way, a good diffusion to use would be Roscolux Hamburg Frost #114 (between the barn doors and the lens).
Roscolux #119, "Light Hamburg Frost", might be better for the medium lens fixtures. It depends on your throw distances.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by rut waldeyer on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:26:51 am

Hey Dennis,
I just read your interesting tips for lighting a boxing match. I think i understood the 9,12,3,6 o clock method. I´d anyways be happy if you send me the plot you offered.

I´m designing the lights for a boxing match in Berlin.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:51:53 pm

Wow ..... you really dug deep into the COW files. Good for you.
Here's a plot to give a whirl!

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by rut waldeyer on Jan 24, 2011 at 11:07:50 pm

Hey Dennis,
thanx a lot. I think this set up is too big for the match, but i got an idea. How high would you rigg the lamps. I am lighting theatres normally, so I´m not so clear about that.

Best, and thank you again!

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Jan 25, 2011 at 3:21:06 am

This is actually only a medium size set-up.
If it's too big for you to handle, then drop your number of areas down to 9 (3 rows of 3), and triangulate your lighting (3 equilateral keylights to each area). Your total fixture count will only be 27 units.
Use a bigger lens to achieve the proper diameter beam, and be sure to pump up the boxer's corners with a head on special.
Your truss height will be determined by your arena ....and the height of the ring. Maintain a steep 30 degree angle -- or steeper -- to the areas, otherwise you'll fall into the trap of creating a glare in the fighter's eyes -- blinding them unecessarily. (Think of the old gunslinger's trick ..... keeping the sun in the eyes of their opponent during a shoot-out). This would only anger them, creating an unfair advantage in certain positions; and perhaps then you'd be the one with the black eye.

Good luck

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by rut waldeyer on Jan 25, 2011 at 12:03:36 pm

yo, you´re right, bigger can be imagined :-) but thanks so much again, I´ll start drawing now.


Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Andrew Fox on Feb 18, 2013 at 3:47:55 am

Hello Dennis.
I would really like a chance to speak with you and your expertise in boxing ring lighting. Can you please email me at Or may I call and have 5 minutes of your time to get a few pointers from you. It would be so great if I could as I can see you really know your stuff! Thanks so much!

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Casey Williams on Apr 23, 2013 at 6:48:13 pm

Hey Dennis,

Thank you so much for putting this plot up as a reference. It is a huge help. I'm currently researching how to do similar lighting for MMA events that use the cage style ring. Do all of the same rules and tactics still apply pretty much, and I hate to ask but do you have a version of the plot with annotations (such as focus points, gels, etc...)?

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by keyukel joe on Aug 11, 2018 at 2:51:53 pm

I also need lighting for my client who are building a new boxing stage. Apart from traditional lighting, we also need the color changing lights. I heard of many lighting suggestions for boxing, but what is the price? Is it expensive?

The requirement is that the lights should be energy-saving, long-lasting as well as bright enough to light up the entire boxing ring.

Re: Lighting design tips for a boxing match
by Dennis Size on Aug 11, 2018 at 4:03:12 pm

"Expensive" is relative to how much money you have. If you only have $100, something that costs $200 could be considered too expensive.
To purchase the proper LED moving light package for a simple, medium sized boxing ring anticipate spending about $200,000.