Boxing Punches

There are four basic offensive moves in boxing:

  • the jab,
  • straight right (or left),
  • hook (left and right), and
  • uppercut (left and right).

These boxing punches can be delivered anywhere above the waist and it is best to mix up where they are delivered.

You cannot win a battle without a great offense. You can have the best defense in the world, never allowing your opponent to hit you, but you cannot win if you don't hit him. That of course is where these boxing punches come in.

You can't win if you don't punch!

A couple of things you want to remember when thinking about the offensive part of your game. First, you always want to keep your opponent guessing. The worst thing you can do is forecast your punches or get in the habit of delivering the same punches in the same order over and over again. If your opponent is any good, he will quickly pick up on it and the effectiveness of your offense will be diminished if not completely obliterated.

You can forecast your punches in a variety of ways. Most common are wide sweeping punches and dropping your shoulder to kind of wind up and punch. All signs of a true beginner and not what you want to be known as. You have to watch other things as well like your breathing, facial expressions, head movement, the list goes on and on. Put on your poker face when you enter the ring.

Second, don't always focus on delivering the power punch. Have them at the ready but give a constant barrage of jabs. These smaller hits over the course of a fight can do a tonne of damage, don't take a lot of energy, and can win the fight for you.

A final note on breathing. Don't hold your breath, which, believe it or not, is the natural thing to do when you punch. With every punch breathe out through pursed lips making a quick short "fffffff" sound. This ensures you are breathing and aids in your power distribution. It's like karate guys yelling whenever they punch or kick. Kind of centers you...if that makes any sense.

So, with those points in mind, let's get technical. Oh, and one other note, I'm going to describe the punches for right hander's, that is left foot forward. If you're a left hander, please don't feel offended, just reverse the instructions.

I strongly recommend you consider creating a FREE Silver Account or joining the Inner Ring to get video lessons and more detailed writeups on these punches. Ensuring you master the correct technique while you learn is extremely important to progress in the sport.

The Jab - 1

Your most important punch. Spend hours and hours and hours and hours perfecting it. This punch alone can win you a fight because it delivers a lot of damage if done correctly and does not leave you exposed for a counterstrike. The jab is your favorite punch, do you understand?

To deliver

From your boxer's stance, the jab is delivered with the hand of the foot which is forward. For right hander's that means your left hand is delivering the blow. You throw your left hand toward the target in a straight line from your chin.

As your arm straightens and nears the target you begin to rotate it 1/4 to a half notch inward (so palm is heading down) and begin to clench your fist. Your fist should be fully clenched at the moment of impact and then you must bring your arm back to your guard just as quickly as it shot out.

All of your punches are snapping motions. Accelerate out, SNAP, accelerate back. You can get a little more power in your jab by twisting your torso slightly and and throwing your hip forward as your arm goes out.

This punch is an arm punch, so there should be little to no re-distribution of weight. Most of the time you will deliver the jab while stepping forward, so that is what you will want to spend a lot of time practicing.

Why the step forward?

Well, it closes the distance between you and your target, gies you a little extra forward momentum and the close distance between you and your opponent sets things up for the delivery of your other power punches.

You should be able to quickly deliver 2, 3, 4 jabs in a row all with precision and power. By using the jab, you set your opponent up for power punches and it is also used to keep your opponent at bay. If he's coming in too quick a quick, powerful jab to the head is usually enough to stop him and make him think twice about doing it again.

The Straight Right - 2

This is the punch you are going to love because it feels the most natural and is a power punch because it involves a re-distribution of weight. It is because of this weight redistribution that you must also be careful in how and when you use it. Anytime you redistribute your weight you place yourself in a vulnerable position for the split second your weight is in transfer. If your opponent times it right, you'll pay the price.

To Deliver

From the guard position (regular boxer's stance), your right hand goes out towards the target, again, in a straight line from your chin. Unlike the jab though, as the arm goes out your torso torques to the left and you pivot on the ball of your rear foot, moving your weight forward into the punch. You should feel your back involved in this one.

After impact, get your right hand back to the guard and get your boxer's stance back as quickly as possible. Remember accelerate out, SNAP, accelerate back. When throwing the straight right be careful not to dip your shoulder or wind up, both tell tale signs that it is coming.

The Left Hook - 3

The infamous left hook (or right hook...). The hook is an inside power punch and is very tricky to learn to do correctly. It is not a sweeping motion initiated by the arm, but rather a punch which is initiated and delivered by an entire side of your body. Your arm and fist are simply the tips of the sword which make impact.

I mentioned it is a power punch which as you probably guessed means there is a weight transfer. Again, be careful as anytime you transfer weight you are unstable for a fraction of a second.

To Deliver

From your boxer's stance, to deliver a left hook, bring your elbow out and up so it is almost parallel to the floor. Your palm is facing down for very close targets or facing in for targets slightly further away. Once your arm is in place, torque your whole left side, pivoting on the front left foot. It is a powerful, quick turn which involves your leg, torso, and finally your arm and fist.

Like all punches, your fist is relaxed and tenses up just as impact occurs. When your front left foot pivots, think of it as if you are squishing something under it - your little brother, sister, spouse, dog, cat, whatever you want.

Follow through with your hook, when you torque your body around, go through the target and end up bringing your fist to your chest with your elbow pointing towards the target. This does two things, first, it protects your head as there is probably a left hook coming at you from your opponent as it is the counter for a left hook. Two, if you miss with your fist, there is a chance your elbow will hit the target, not legal but accidents do happen.

From there, recover. Accelerate through the punch, SNAP, accelerate back. Protect yourself.

The Uppercut - Left (5), Right (6)

Uppercuts are used when you are fighting very close to your opponent (inside fighting). They come from below and are very effective. The initial target for uppercuts is not the chin, but the sternum (right in the center of the chest). The follow through is what sometimes catches your opponent on the chin, and if hit right, knocks him out.

To Deliver

From your boxer's stance, to deliver a left uppercut, your elbow dips towards your hips bringing your head kind of forward and down. At the same time, you rotate your palm in and bend your legs slightly. Then you accelerate to the target pushing up off the floor and bringing your fist to land in the sternum, but don't stop there. Keep your fist moving up hitting the head as a secondary target.

The right uppercut is a mirror image of the left.

The power of this punch comes from the legs as you push up. You kind of coil like a snake and then spring into the punch. Your feet, of course, never leave the floor, but it is the kind of feeling you get.

And, once again, don't forget to RECOVER quickly. Anytime you forget you are exposing half of yourself to your opponent, not a good thing.

So that's your offensive game. Taking the time now to ensure you deliver these punches efficiently, effectively and accurately every time will go a long way to helping you with combinations, sparring, and ultimately when you are in the ring or fighting for your life.

One last thing to mention. Never forget about the hand which is not punching. It is a common error, especially for beginners to forget about the hand which is supposed to be guarding when the other is punching. This is especially obvious while throwing the jab with the left hand. Watch yourself in the mirror and you will be sure to notice that while you are jabbing with the left, your right mysteriously slides down to chest height instead of being up protecting the chin.

It's natural, gravity is pulling at it all the time, but everyone, especially in the beginning has to make a conscious effort to keep their hands up where they should be. Don't worry, it's even harder to remember when you have both hands flying out delivering combinations as we'll see next.

Comments

hello im new to the sport and i am planing on going far with it but ive been informed that women dont do as well as men in the sport i want to prove many people wrong and make this a profession i love to learn and wld like as much info on boxing but im confused on where to start ive youtubed laila ali videos very interesting but i dont know what to look for in each one i attend boxing lessons twice a week very physical information now i want to work on the mental part! oh yea i wear prescription contacts so im in the process of tryin to prove u wrong lol..please reply on any websites or info for an up && coming professional woman's boxer!

My impression is that when people say that women don't do as well as men, they aren't talking skill level, they are talking about financial prospects. The market, interest and payouts in women's pro boxing are less than that of men's boxing, even at the highest levels.

That isn't meant to discourage you, only to give you an idea of the reality of the situation in your chosen profession. At the highest levels, I'm sure you can provide a nice lifestyle for yourself. The road to get to those levels might be long and arduous. Keep that in mind.

If you're working with a boxing coach, just keep up the practice. For mental reps, I would often try watch fights and try to break a fighter down on my own, without commentary. Later, I'll listen again with the commentary or read reviews of the bout to see how I did. It helps keep your mind active and helps you start to see and create your own strategies.

Of course, there's always the How To Box 12 week course. It's designed for beginners and will give you a solid roadmap to follow as you're learning the sport.

Finally, the gym is your lab. That's the best place to try things out physically. Choose things to work on from time to time during your sparring sessions and drill work. Pick a day and decide you are going to work on defense and counterpunching, Another time work on throwing a certain combination, or say you're going to throw 5 punches every time you let your hands go, or maybe you're going to throw volume punches. Work on stuff you are weak on or maybe you keep getting caught with. Whatever it is, you're only limited by your imagination.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Hello, i am doin boxin

oh right

Is it possible to explain how the hand is quiker than the eye and how to deal with the punch you cannot see coming?. Your defence must be good of course but how do you take advantage of this physiological fact. I assume that combinations and power punching produce this knock out punch. Dennis

Hi Dennis, great question, but I'm curious as to why you think it is physiological fact that the hand is quicker than the eye. I've been wrong before, but I'm 99% certain that it's the other way around and haven't been able to find anything that says otherwise. Anyways, I did up a detailed post to explain this in more depth and hopefully help you out. You can take a look at it here - Boxing Tip #23 - How to See a Punch Coming.

Hello, My name is Chey Brook. Im 17 with a want and will and need to do something with the anger that I hide so very well. I notice that everytime I get mad I want to simply PUNCH the hell out of a body. But I've never been in a fight in my life with anybody but family. I dont want to fight people that dont deserve what I know I can lay on them. But I would love to use it as a self defense skill. I hide the way I feel very well. So "snapping" on people is not my thing. Point me in the beginners direction PLEASE! I have no money and I've been homeless more than i've had a place to live. Im suprised I've been as well off as I have being with circumstances i've been in. But I just want some beginners help. Im not asking for any special treatment. Im just dandy doing things myself =D Please and thank you for any help you might provide.

I go way back.. I love the sport..I do not want to sit around like retired people do...I watch classic boxing matches.like Ali. Foreman, Louis , etc the sport in the day was only second to baseball...I love hitting the bag...since I am older I get black and blue marks on my arms..doctor says I am in good shape need the exercises and tips to keep me going thanks Phil

nice ..i thought i must hold my breath to avoid bodyshot?

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fastest is more harder than hardest

my local gym broke down, so im wondering about some exersizes or drills to help with boxing, please help, thanks

Thanks for the tips guys I learnt alot from it. Now I box all the time it is an good sport to get into, One question when you go around the ring how do you keep your staminer up?

You condition your body for endurance and stamina before you get in the ring. That's done a variety of ways, such as using the training plans on the site. You basically need to get in shape so you can last for the duration of the fight. That means training and pushing yourself during your training to develop your physical potential.

How do I keep on my toes? Thank you

You lean forward :)... You're actually on the balls of your feet while moving and plant your feet when punching. You're actually aiming to be fleet footed and don't necessarily have to be on your toes the entire time to do that (not to mention it will tire out your calves). Obviously, you will need to develop your physical ability (calves) to move in this manner for an extended period of time. Skipping will do wonders to get the right muscles in shape to help your footwork.

i studied this soo much and now in june i have my first fight for the golden gloves!! Thanx so much im (15-0)!!!!!

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