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How to Box: The Basics A Guide From

Table of Contents Boxing Stance ....................................................................................................... 2 Boxing Footwork .................................................................................................... 4 Boxing Punches .................................................................................................... 5 Boxing Combinations .......................................................................................... 10 Advanced Techniques ......................................................................................... 13


Boxing Stance Stance is the most critical aspect of boxing because without a fundamentally sound stance all other aspects of boxing will suffer. A proper boxing stance allows you to:  Have power in your offensive attack,  Effectively defend yourself against incoming attack,  Have balance and effective footwork

Foot Placement Your boxing stance starts with foot placement. Foot placement is incredibly important because more than anything else it dictates your balance and your ability to move quickly. Proper foot placement dictates that:  Feet are shoulder width apart  Your dominant foot is back, and weak foot is forward  The toes of your front foot line up with the heel of your back foot  Your toes point at approximately 45 degrees In reality, your front foot cant point slightly more forwards, and back foot slightly more outwards If is also important to understand what happens as a consequence of poor foot placement. Feet too far apart causes a loss of mobility, while feet too close together causes loss of stability. Feet in front of each other causes poor balance and makes you easy to knock down, while feet too wide causes a loss of mobility and makes it hard to generate torque. Toes pointing too far forward or sideways also cause a loss of mobility.

Balance and Weight Distribution Your weight should be evenly distributed between your front and back foot. A common misconception is to place too much weight on the front foot, resulting in


a forward lean, which can expose your head and chin, and limit your mobility. Maintaining weight on the back foot allows you to move quickly off of it with force. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet, and not on the heels, so that you are ready to move at all times.

Bend the Knees Your knees should always be slightly bent while boxing. This bend helps ensure balance and torque. If your knees are straight, you lose balance and are a easy target to knock down, but if your knees are too bent it becomes hard to move effectively.

Body Orientation Your upper body is a wide target, and as such you want to minimize it to your opponent. Your shoulders should be aligned with your feet so that your body is facing partially sideways, minimizing the target area that an opponent can attack. This also helps provide power when you rotate to strike with your rear/dominant hand.

Arm and Hand Placement Your front hand should hover near your left cheek, protecting your head, and your rear hand should hover near the read side of your chin. Elbows should be tucked in order to protect your body. There should not be a huge opening between your elbows for an opponent’s jab to sneak through.

Head Position Last, but not least, is your head. Your chin should be tucked at all times when boxing. A blow to the chin is the easiest way to cause a knockout, so you do not want the point of your chin exposed.


Boxing Footwork After stance, footwork is the second most critical aspect of boxing because it is fundamental to your ability to perform offensively and defensively. Proper footwork can maximize the power and effectiveness of your punches, assist your defensive techniques, and allow you to effectively navigate the ring.

Preserving Balance Footwork is all about balance. Without balance you are both an easy target for a knock down, but also are incapable of generating powerful punches yourself. For this reason, at all points of movement, a boxer should be balanced. Just like in our basic boxing stance, your weight should be distributed evenly between your front and back foot, with your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.

Short and Quick Movements When you are moving, you are vulnerable. Because of this we must avoid long strides that hinder our balance and make us an easy target. Short and quick movements let us spend as little time as possible in the process of moving, and more time in a balanced stance.

Which Foot First? When moving, you always move the foot closest to the direction you want to move in first.    

When moving forward, you move your front foot first When moving backwards, you move your back foot first When moving right, you move your right foot first When moving left, you move your left foot first.

Moving your first foot leaves you momentarily in a wider stance, but this is better than a stance with legs crossed. Keep your first step short, so that your stance is not so wide that you are vulnerable.


Step and Slide After your first step in the direction you want to move, your second foot always slides into place following your first foot. At the end of this slide, you should be back in your basic boxing stance. Movement in boxing consists of many of these steps-and-slides in succession. As you attack, retreat, and rotate around your opponent, you are continually stepping and sliding in short, quick, bursts.

Boxing Punches Chances are when you wanted to learn how to box, punching is the part that excited you. And for good reason – punching is exciting. Punching is an exhilarating explosion of energy and muscle that is part raw ferocity, but also part trained precision. Remember that punches alone do not win fights, however. Strategy wins fights. Click here to learn more about how to win fights.

Basic Boxing Punches Boxing punches are typically assigned numbers so that when training you can refer to and call out punches quickly and without confusion. Depending on your trainer, different numbers might correspond to different punches. The following is a basic and standard numbering system which many other systems use as a base. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Left Jab Straight Right/Right Cross Left Hook Right Hook Left Uppercut Right Uppercut

You will notice a few things about these numbers... First of all, all of the odd-numbered punches are thrown with your left hand, and all of the even-numbered punches are thrown with your right hand.


Second, these punches are in pairs (1&2, 3&4, 5&6) that are the same, or similar punches but thrown with the opposite hand. These pairs often serve as building blocks for effective punching combinations.

Fighting “Southpaw” If you are a southpaw (left-handed) fighter these punches are all thrown with the opposite hands. For example, the number 1 is a right jab, the 2 is a left cross/straight, the 3 is a right hook, etc. Your stance will also be opposite (in respect to left-right direction) that of a orthodox (right-handed) fighter.

How to Throw Punches 1 – Left Jab The jab is the most important punch in boxing because it is used both offensively and defensively and is used to set up other punches. The jab should be thrown almost continually throughout a fight. It serves to keep the other boxer on edge, get a feel for the distance between you, and to expose vulnerabilities that your opponent might open when he reacts to your jab. Additionally, jabs are often thrown to counter an opponent’s punch, and to protect yourself while pivoting or retreating. To throw the jab, shoot your left hand in a straight line outwards from your chin. You do not want to use your elbow to generate power, but rather your shoulder. Think of your arm as a coiled spring. On contact, the back of your hand should be parallel to the ground and you want to make contact with the knuckles of the pointer and middle finger primarily. Your fist should be relaxed, and tighten just before impact. Because you are vulnerable with an arm extended, your must quickly “recoil the spring,” pulling your hand back into a guard.

2 – Right Cross/Straight The cross, or straight, is the notorious knockout punch. If you have heard the saying “The old 1-2,” this is what it is referring to – jab, cross. The cross is thrown with the same “coiled spring” concept as the jab, with the additional factor of torque provided by your shoulders and hips. The straight can be extremely powerful, but that also makes it easy to over extend and leave yourself vulnerable. Because the cross takes longer to throw, it should almost always be


thrown after a jab or other punch, so that your opponent has a hard time reacting or seeing it coming. To throw a cross, turn your upper body towards your opponent by pivoting on your back foot and rotating your hips. Do not lunge forward with your body as this will leave you vulnerable. As your back shoulder rotates forward, extend your arm like a coiled spring. Upon impact the top of your hand should be parallel to the ground. Keep your fist relaxed until just before impact. Throughout the punch, maintain your guard with your left hand near your chin. After impact, quickly recoil your arm, and pivot back into your normal stance and guard.

3 – Left Hook The left hook is a punch that can be both quick and powerful. Legendary trainer Freddy Roach once said that he would rather have a strong left hook than a right cross, because of its proximity to the opponent (being your front hand). The left hook can catch your opponent off guard, can catch them on their chin, or be thrown to the body. It works well at close range, or in response to a punch thrown by your opponent that leaves them exposed. To throw a left hook transfer your weight briefly to your left side. It is important that you do not swing your body in this direction, but simply transfer weight subtly. Quickly use your weight on the left foot to pivot back to the right, raising your elbow, and punching across your body with your arm parallel to the ground. Your arm should be bent at approximately a 90 degree angle. Your arm should be tight to your body, and not extended far. The top of your fist can either be facing your opponent or parallel with the ground, but should be flat and in-line with your forearm. Be careful not to over-extend yourself to your right leaving yourself vulnerable, and make sure to keep your right hand at your chin maintaining your guard throughout the punch.


4 – Right Hook The right hook is similar to the left hook, but can be more challenging to use because it is coming from your rear hand, making it slower. It is often used in combinations with the left hook, and while fighting at close range. Throwing a right hook is done just like the left hook, but with directions reversed. To throw a right hook, transfer your weight briefly to your right side. Quickly use that weight to than pivot left, while raising your elbow and punching across your body with your elbow bent. Keep your arm tight to your body and not extended far. Make sure not to over-extend and leave yourself vulnerable, and to maintain your guard with your left hand near your chin throughout the punch.

5 – Left Uppercut Uppercuts can be very dangerous punches, that are typically thrown when fighting in close range, or in response to a punch thrown by your opponent. Uppercuts can be knockout punches if they connect with the chin, but are also used rapidly to the body which can significantly harm an opponent’s balance and strength. Like hooks, uppercuts should be tight and controlled because you will be vulnerable if thrown wildly and over-extended. To throw a left uppercut (front hand) dip slightly to your left at your waist. Raise your back heel, put pressure on the ball of your front foot, and dip your left elbow slightly. Rotate your fist upwards, and explode up in a sharp movement from the front foot. Do not over-extend your arm, but keep it close with a sharp bend in the elbow. Maintain your guard with your right hand throughout the punch, and pull your left arm back into your guard as soon as it carries through. You arm should remain close to your body, and not dip excessively low, or carry through excessively high.


6 – Right Uppercut As the right hook mirrors the left hook, so the right uppercut mirrors the left uppercut. It is thrown in the same situations as the left uppercut, and often in combination with the left uppercut to work an opponent’s body. To throw a right uppercut, dip slightly right at your waist. Raise your front heel, put pressure on the ball on your back foot, and dip your right elbow slightly. Rotate your fist up, and explode upwards in a sharp movement from your back foot. Maintain your guard with your left hand throughout the punch, and pull your right hand back into a guard after it carries through.

The Danger of Over-extending Over-extending can mean two things, both which are dangers you need to avoid. First, over-extending can refer to swinging a punch farther away from your body that it is meant to be thrown. This is commonly done with hooks/uppercuts, makes the punch easy to avoid, and leaves your body wide open to be attacked. Second, over-extending can refer to extending your arm (in a jab or cross) to the point where your elbow locks out. In practice or shadowboxing, if you throw your punches to full extension, you will hurt your elbow. Your punches should end prior to full extension of your arm.

Number Variations Typical variations in number systems involve changes to hooks and uppercuts. Some systems differentiate between a high hook thrown at an opponent’s head, and a low hook thrown at an opponent’s body. In such a system, 3 might be a high left hook, 4 a high right hook, 5 a low left hook, 6 a low right hook, with 7 and 8 assigned to uppercuts. Additionally, some schemes will differentiate between head and body jabs, or might assign a number to the overhead punch that is thrown with the right hand.

Developing Punching Power If you are looking to develop more power in your punching, do not make the mistake of thinking it is as simple as lifting weights and putting on more muscle. To learn to increase punching power, read 6 Ways How to Punch Harder.


Boxing Combinations Boxing combinations, or punching combinations, are the logical extension of boxing punches. When learning how to box, combinations serve as important building blocks for understanding the interactions between two opponents. Certain punches or movements generate certain reactions from opponents, which in turn lend themselves to certain types of follow-ups or responses from you.

Purpose of Boxing Combinations Boxing combinations are designed to maximize the vulnerabilities opened by patterns of punches, and to use your own weight and balance from one punch to generate power for subsequent punches.

Shifting Weight in Combinations A primary element in forming boxing combinations is your weight transfer. As discussed in the basics of boxing punches, many punches involve a transfer of weight from left to right, and a twist of the hips and upper body. Instead of resuming our guard after twisting right, we can alternatively use that weight on the right to feed a new twist to the left. For example, you throw a left hook, which transfers weight from left to right, followed by a right hook, which then takes that weight on the right and transfers it back to the left.

Basic boxing Combinations The following are some basic boxing combinations. These combinations are explained for orthodox (right-handed) fighters. If you are a southpaw (lefthanded) fighter, the motions are reversed (a three becomes a right hook not a left hook).

1-2 (Jab-Cross) The old 1-2 is the staple boxing combination and is often used as part of larger more complex combinations. It is both fast, and can be powerful. When throwing a 1-2, your cross should extend at the same time that your jab is recoiling. Make sure that when a hand isn’t extended it should be guarding your head.


1-2-3 (Jab-Cross-Left hook) Follow the 1-2 with a left hook and you have a 1-2-3. Often an opponent might be occupied or slow in reacting to your cross, which leaves the side of their face wide open for a hook. At the end of your cross, your hips and shoulders should have twisted to bring your back shoulder forward. Use this position as the beginning weight-transfer for your hook. With your body already pivoted, raise your front elbow and throw your hook as your back hand recoils from the cross.

2-3-2 (Cross-Left hook-Cross) This combinations heavily relies on weight transfer. Like in the 1-2-3, you throw a hook using the already pivoted position that resulted from a cross. But this time, as your cross twists your body and transfer weight to the right, you use that point as the starting position for another cross. Visualize your right shoulder coming forward with a cross, the left hook rotating your right shoulder back into its original position, ready for it to return once more with another cross. Lots of power is generated from the hips in this combination.

3-2-3 (Left hook-Cross-Left hook) This is exactly like the 2-3-2 but with hooks at the start and end. Throw a hook, which pulls your right shoulder back as a result of the hips/shoulder twist, then rotate with a powerful cross which puts you right back in position to throw another left hook.

3-6-3 (Left hook-Right uppercut-Left hook) The 3-6-3 catches many opponents off guard because they might be expecting a 3-2-2 and because the punches come from both high and low. Throw a left hook, and then when your weight is on your right/back shoulder dip your waist to the right, raise your back heel, and throw a right uppercut. The uppercut should leaves shoulders open – in perfect position to return another left hook.

Mixing It Up


Basic combinations can be changed and tweaked in many ways. Here are several ways that you can get more out of these combinations: Since you don’t typically want to lead with a cross, throw a jab prior to a 2-3-2. This makes 1-2-3-2. Throw a variable number of jabs before or after a combination. This makes a 1-2 into a 1-1-2 or a 1-2-1-1 Throw a jab before a left hook to catch an opponent off guard with two left handed punches. Mix up high and low punches. Try 3-6-3 where the first hook is low and the second is high, or reversed. Combine combinations. An example is 1-2-3-2 or 1-2-3-6-3 or 1-2-1-2

Practicing Your Combinations Practice your combinations in front of a mirror! This will let you watch the subtleties of your weight transfer and mechanics. If something looks awkward, than you are probably doing it wrong. Once you are comfortable with combinations, practice on a heavy bag, or with a partner using focus mitts. A partner can “call out” combinations for you to throw. Being able to execute combinations of punches effortlessly is essential in order to win fights.


Advanced Techniques No fighter can be prepared for every possible attack. What happens when fighters are caught off窶身uard determines who wins and who loses. If you cannot recover from something unexpected, you will lose. But if you can be the one to catch your opponent off窶身uard, you can win. To learn how to catch opponents off-guard, get our FREE report here. Our guide will teach you 12 techniques that win fights.


Basics of How to Box  

Learn how to box including boxing stance, footwork, punches, combinations, and advanced boxing technique