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Boxing Punches: Everything You Need To Win A Fight

There are six basic strikes in boxing – jab, cross, lead hook, rear hook, lead uppercut, and rear uppercut. I will assume you are right-handed, but if you’re lefty, mirror the moves. Only around 7% of southpaw fighters are worldwide, so I will try to stick with the majority. 

The Jab: The Most Basic and Effective Punch in Boxing

The jab is a fast, straight punch tossed with the lead hand from the guard position.

This punch stretches out from the side of the torso and usually doesn’t pass in front of it. It is joined by a little, clockwise turn of the torso and hips while the fist makes a 90° turn, thus becoming horizontal upon impact.

As the punch arrives at full power, the lead shoulder can be raised to guard the jaw against a potential counterattack. The backhand stays close to the face to monitor the jaw.

After hitting the opponent, the lead hand returns to its initial position to guard the jaw.

The jab is considered the most important punch in a fighter’s arsenal since it gives a decent amount of personal spread and leaves almost no open space for a counterattack by the opponent. It has the most extended reach of any punch in boxing and doesn’t require responsibility or huge weight moves.

Because of its generally weak force, the hit is regularly used to gauge distances, test a rial’s defense, annoy the opponent, and set up heavier, stronger punches.

A half-step might be included, moving the whole body into the punch for additional force. Some of the best jab users in boxing history are Larry Holmes and Wladimir Klitschko.

The word jab was first used in 1825 to mean “to”thrust with a point.” T”e term is a Scottish variant of the word job, which means “to”strike, pierce, thrust.” 

“while standing in the basic stance, your back is slightly hunched, your hands are slightly above the temple level, and your feet are a bit more than shoulder-width apart. 

Step 1: When you want to throw a jab, step forward, extending your front leg. 

Step 2: Extend your back by keeping your right hand on the temple level (this protects you from your oppopponent’sunterpunch). Transfer the weight to your left foot. 

Step 3: Extend your left arm to the angle of 174-178 degrees, but never 180 degrees. You will risk an elbow injury if you do so. 

Step 4: Punch your opponent to the head and dondon’ttate your left foot. Rotate your left hip clockwise. 

Step 5: Return to the traditional Muay Thai stance as fast as possible. 

Set up a strike and cover up as soon as you can. Ensure your weight is 50% on your left foot and 50% on your right foot. Congrats, you are ready for a new strike! 

Here are some professional tips which will help you send your opponent to the ground:

  • A jab is the most dangerous punch when you perform a counterattack. If your opponent tries an inside or outside kick, he has to drop his arms. It is your opportunity – crush his chin. Watch Semmy Schilt or Bob Sapp; they have many jab stoppages. 
  • A jab works as a defense from low kicks. Step forward and jab his chin if your opponent uses too many low kicks.
  • You can connect two jabs to irritate your opponent. When applying the second jab, flex your left arm, making a 90-degree angle in your elbow. Your jabs will be faster and the opponent will surely try to attack you. This leaves an open space for a right cross. 

The Right Cross: Adding Power and Precision to Your Punches

The cross is a strong, straightforward punch thrown with the backhand.

When in a guard position, a boxer will throw his backhand from the jaw, crossing the body and going towards the objective in an orderly fashion.

The back shoulder is pushed forward until it reaches the chin of the attacker. Simultaneously, the lead hand is withdrawn and tucked against the face to secure the jaw from a potential counterattack.

For extra force, the torso and hips are pivoted counterclockwise as the cross is thrown. A proportion of an expanded cross is that the shoulder of the striking arm, the knee of the front leg, and the bundle of the front foot are on a similar vertical plane.

Weight is also transferred from the rear foot to the lead foot, resulting in the back heel turning outwards as it acts as a fulcrum for the weight transfer. The rotating body and the sudden weight shift give the cross its power.

Like the jab, a half-step forward might be added to gain more power and speed.

After the cross is thrown, the hand is withdrawn rapidly, and he resumes his guard position like before the punch (cross) was thrown. It tends to be utilized to counter punch a jab, focus on the advadversary’sad (or a counter to a cross concentrate on the body), or set up a hook.

Right-cross is a very dangerous punch, and it can deliver a brutal knockout in a split second. Tall fighters mostly use this technique to prevent clinch fighting and keep smaller opponents in the distance, and it is also beneficial to counter an opponent who spams low kicks. 

Step 1: Step forward slightly and lean your body. Your head is slightly ahead. 

Step 2: Rotate your body and hip counterclockwise, but dondon’twer the center of gravity. Your hip gives the power to the right cross. 

Step 3: Keep your left hand tucked on the chin and perform the right cross as fast as possible, extending your arm and back. 

Step 4: In the moment of impact, your back is flat, your hip is rotated, your left hand is up, and your rear leg is on the toes. You can fully extend your right arm, recover it quickly, or get countered. 

Here are some professional tips which will give you a hard time with your opponent:

  •  Make sure not to try this attack if your opponent is closer to you than the distance of your arm. He can easily slip or clinch up with you.
  • This attack is an excellent counter versus right low kick or right high kick. Keep your left hand up and counterpunch your opponent as he opens himself.
  • DonDon’trform this as the first attack in your combination unless it is a counterpunch. The best option would be to connect after a jab or a left low kick. You can use this technique as an opening if you fight against a southpaw. 
  • Do not perform this attack if you are on the ropes. There is no chance you will be able to deny your opponent. The right cross cannot counter clinch strikes or knees; you will eat a knee to the stomach. 

Hook Your Opponent: A Guide to Throwing a Perfect Hook in Boxing

The hook is a powerful semi-circular punch in boxing and other combat sports. Its main aim is to strike the side of the opponent’s head or body with maximum force.

While in the guard position, the elbow is moved back with a horizontal fist (palm facing down). However, in modern professional and amateur boxing, many boxers throw the hook with a distinctly vertical fist (palm facing themselves).

The backhand is immovable against the jaw to secure the whole jawline.

The lead hand and torso work in tandem for the hook punch. As the left heel turns outwards, the torso and hips rotate clockwise. Once contact is made, the hook’s circular path comes to an abrupt end, and the lead hand is swiftly pulled back into the guard position.

The hook lands with a sudden snap, and the lead hand swiftly returns to the guard position. It can also target the lower body, known as the “right hook” to differentiate it from the standard head hook.

Some of the best “ho”kers” i” modern boxing are, undoubtedly, Joe Frazier, Bob Foster, Jack Dempsey, Henry Cooper, David Tua, Tommy Morrison, Rubén Olivares, Felix Trinidad, Andy Lee, and Mike Tyson.

The Lead Hook: An Essential Punch for Boxers of All Levels

The lead hook could work well as a defense from leg kicks or against an opponent who doedoesn’tve too much, especially when an orthodox meets an orthodox. 

Step 1. Shift your weight slightly to your back leg from a basic boxing stance. Keep your knees slightly bent. 

Step 2. At the same time, rotate your body through the hips, and it loads the entire kinetic chain and increases the strike’s power. Good foot rotation leads to a more devastating punch. 

Step 3. Bend your leading arm to a 90-degree angle and place the elbow directly behind the hand and parallel to the floor. Line your hand, elbow, and shoulder. 

Step 4. Pivot on your lead foot clockwise, following the punch to increase its power.

Step 5. Keep your chin tucked and your right hand close to the head to defend the brutal counters. 

Here are some professional tips to increase the power of your left hook:

  • Counter your oppopponent’sg kick with a lead hook. This technique works well, mainly when he attacks the inside of your thigh. 
  • You can hold your elbow slightly under the level of your shoulder to increase the speed, but it will affect your technique. 
  • Sway to the left to increase the power of the strike. 

Rear Hook Mastery: Tips and Techniques for a Killer Punch

The mechanics of the rear hook are the same as the lead one. The position of the striking hand is the same and the same principles apply. 

But there is a key difference from step 3. The lead foot must be firmly planted on the ground. Pivot with your back foot to simultaneously follow the strike. 

Rotate your back foot no further than 45° (your heel aligns with the opponent). 

Here are some professional tips: 

  • You can rotate your back foot more, but you might lose your balance when you miss. 
  • Utilizing a jab as a setup or feint increases the chances of successfully landing a rear hook. Without the preparation from the thrust, connecting with the opponent using a rear hook can be challenging.
  • You can use it against a guy who constantly keeps his hands close; it is a wide strike that crushes. 
  • Not a good strike for Muay Thai clinching or any clinch exchange. 
  • An excellent idea when your opponent is pressed against the ropes, especially when you corner him. 

The Deadly Uppercut: How to Perfect Your Technique for Knockout Power

The uppercut is a vertical, rising punch thrown with the rear hand.

With a slight shift to the right, the torso and knees are slightly bent, and the backhand drops beneath the level of the opponent’s chest from the guard position. This allows for the rear hand to be launched in a rising manner toward the opponent’s chin or torso, depending on the attack’s intended target.

At the same time, the knees have to push upwards rapidly, the torso and hips rotate anti-clockwise, and the rear heel turns outward, mimicking the body movement of the cross, which means that the uppercut is not that different from other types of punches.

The strategic purpose of an uppercut lies in its ability to lift the opponent’s body, throwing it off-balance for follow-up attacks. Ideally, the uppercut should be aimed at the opponent’s chin or solar plexus, making it difficult for them to counterattack.

Combining a right uppercut and a left hook is a lethal move involving utilizing the uppercut to elevate the opponent’s chin, leaving them vulnerable to a left hook that can knock them out.

Samuel Elias, nicknamed “Dutch Sam,” is recognized as the inventor of the uppercut punch, initially called the “undercut.” Legend has it that Dutch Sam caused chaos with the new technique until an effective way to defend against it was developed.

Some of the boxers quite famous for their uppercuts are or were Lennox Lewis, Joe Louis, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Rubén Olivares, and Sandy Saddler.

How to Throw a Devastating Left Uppercut: Tips and Tricks from Boxing Pros

A left uppercut is mostly used to create an opening or surprise an opponent. A proper technique requires at least one year of training. And remember – the power of your uppercut comes from your hips and shoulders. Your hand is just the end of the chain! Here are the proper steps to learn a left uppercut, with a video tutorial:

Step 1. Bend your legs and slightly dip your left shoulder counterclockwise. The angle in your legs should be 160 degrees or less. If the angle is bigger, you will be too slow. If your shoulder is dipped too much, the punch is more potent, but the technique is slower. 

Step 2. Your right hand must remain on the chin and tuck to your chest. This will prevent counters. The right knee to the body and right hook are very dangerous attacks – your right hand protects you! 

Step 3. Move your left shoulder slightly to the left, swinging the weight on the left leg. This will provide more power in the punch. At the same time, it prevents you from the right cross. It enables you to duck under your opponent and crush his liver. 

Step 4. Exploding off your legs, slightly pivot your left foot clockwise and throw an uppercut. Extend your legs at the end of the movement. Forget about mortal combat uppercuts – it is attractive, but if you miss, your chin is wide open! Your elbow musmustn’t be higher than your shoulder. 

Step 5. Return the fist to your face the shortest way and return to the basic boxing stance to cover up. 

Professional tips:

  • If you want to deliver a knockout punch, throwing a hook or two is an excellent strategy. The opponent’s guard will be wider, making landing a clean shot easier. Aim for the chin, and you’ll be sure to rock them.
  • You can duck under the oppopponent’sght hook and throw a left uppercut as a counterpunch. There is a space for a world-class counterpunch if an opponent misses the right cross too. 
  • It is an excellent way to prevent clenching. An opponent should stand with both feet parallel when grabbing your head. A strong uppercut will stop him! If you connect a cross immediately, his balance center has a big problem!
  • This is a good technique for starting a combination, mainly if you aim oppopponent’sdy. You can connect it with the right knee, right high kick, right low kick, right straight, or right cross. 
  • To avoid being open to counter punches, particularly kicks, it’s crucial to not stay too far away from your opponent when throwing a left uppercut. Only execute this punch if you’re confident with a 90% accuracy rate that you will hit the target.
  • The trajectory of your uppercut has to go straight through an oppopponent’sard. An angled uppercut is not an option if you attack the head. 

Crushing Blows: Mastering the Right Uppercut for Maximum Impact

You can mainly use a right uppercut to finish your combination. It also stops ducking out to the right. When you see it, it is primarily a knockout or a knockdown! A good comparison describes the right uppercut – a hospital or a cemetery.  Unlike the left uppercut, the right uppercut requires a lot of cardio and world-class timing. 

This is the best choice if you want to add a devastating, powerful, surprising, and sneaky attack into your repertoire. 

Here is the proper technique:

Step 1. Drop your right shoulder slightly clockwise and bend your knees, keeping your left arm on the chin and tucked to the chest. 

Step 2. Swing upwards from your hips and your front leg. Throw the right fist upward, keeping your chin down. 

Step 3. Swing your front foot upwards, not to the side. Lift your right foot on the toes, but dondon’tvot counterclockwise. If you miss it, this will enable you to connect with a left hook. 

Step 4. Return the fist to your face and return to the basic boxing stance.

Here are some professional tips which will help you put more power and knock more opponents out:

  • Perform this strike after a left uppercut or a left hook. This technique is very predictable if there are no previous strikes or feints. Hide this brutal punch!
  • DonDon’trow it frequently. You must remember –  this is a surprising technique!
  • A right uppercut will demolish his chin if your opponent constantly tries to clinch up and use knee strikes. He wonwon’tt his hands on your head again that easily! 
  • Slip slightly to the left to counter-cross via a stunning right uppercut. 
  • Attack your oppopponent’sdy if he protects his head only. It is a great way to hit the spleen and send your opponent to the ground. 
  • You should throw this technique only if the distance between you and the opponent is smaller than the width of your hand. 

Other Types of Boxing Punches and Combos

Combining multiple punches into a rapid sequence is a key strategy in boxing, known as combos. The most frequently used combo is the jab and cross, which is also known as the one-two combo. This pairing is effective because the jab can block the opponent’s view of the cross, allowing for a cleaner and more forceful hit. Mastering combos is essential for any boxer looking to become a true contender.

The Roundhouse, Haymaker, Overhand, or Sucker-Punch: Different Names, Same Devastating Results

A powerful circular punch that starts from a cocked-back position with the arm at a longer stretch than the hook is commonly known as a “roundhouse,” “haymaker,” “overhand,” or “sucker-punch.” This type of punch involves putting all of the fighter’s might behind it, making it an extremely powerful strike.

Relying on body weight and using the centripetal force within a wide field, the roundhouse can be a decisive blow. Still, it is often a wild and uncontrolled punch that leaves the fighter delivering it off balance and with an open guard.

A sucker punch can be a dangerous move if executed improperly. Wide, looping punches like a roundhouse or haymaker are especially risky because they take more time to deliver, giving the opponent a chance to anticipate and counter. This can quickly turn a situation in your favor into a disadvantage.

Coaches often regard the haymaker or roundhouse punch as a sign of poor technique or desperation, and not a conventional punch. It’s considered a cowardly shot in most cases, and should only be used to finish off an already weakened opponent, which itself is a rare occurrence.

The Bolo Punch: How to Add Power and Deception to Your Striking Game

The bolo punch is an unconventional and rare punch in boxing, often used as a distraction before delivering the intended shot to a distracted opponent. Ceferino Garcia is credited as the “father” of the bolo punch, although a 1924 newspaper article reported that a Filipino boxer named Macario Flores was already using it. Garcia, Kid Gavilán, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Pedro Carrasco are some of the best bolo punchers in boxing history. Roy Jones Jr. and Joe Calzaghe also often used this type of punch during their matches. 

The Rabbit Punch: A Dangerous and Illegal Technique in Boxing

An illegal punch to the back of the head or neck is known as a rabbit punch. It is a blow to the back of the head or to the base of the skull, somewhere around that area. Most people consider it one of the most dangerous punches because it can damage the cervical vertebrae and subsequently, the spinal cord, which may lead to severe and irreparable spinal cord injury, even paralysis.

A rabbit punch can also detach the vicvictim’sain from the brain stem, which can kill instantly, so – as you can see – it’it’sreful to know how whom, and when to hit. The punpunch’sme is derived from the use of the technique by hunters to kill rabbits with a quick, sharp strike to the back of the head.

The Liver Shot: The Most Dangerous Punch in Boxing

Another type of shot is the liver shot. However, we have already written an article about the liver shot, recapitulating doedoesn’trt. A liver shot can be either a punch, a kick, or a knee shot, i.e., any legal shot in combat sports that successfully hits the liver or the lower part of the right ribcage, just above the liver.

The liver is a vital organ in our body and is a filter for all the toxins that enter our body. It is incredibly delicate, and it has the function in protecting our organisms from harmful stuff. So, just as a shot to the chest area can leave you without air for a while or a dangerous shot to the head could render you unconscious, a liver shot can be just as painful and dangerous. But more on that later on.

Because of the livliver’ssition in the human body (right side of the abdomen), a perfect liver punch is always executed with the left hand, best using a hook shot. The shot should be short and quickly managed to produce the best effect. There is a classic combination in boxing when a left liver hood is executed after successfully evading the opponent’s left-hand jab.

The shot is usually placed over or just under the 9th and 10th ribs.

Although the liver punch is the most common form of a liver shot, it can also come as a liver kick or a liver knee. The latter is present mainly in MMA battles and has the same effect as a punch but is instead produced as an uppercut punch, i.e., from the ground upwards. As for kicks, they are a little more sophisticated, or – to state it more clearly – they have a more sophisticated variety.

The basic front kick is simple and is made using oneone’sft foot, placing it in the same area, but more from the side (unlike the punches, which are usually frontal). But a liver kick can also be made using a spinning back kick, where one can utilize either the foot or the heel to place a good kick in that specific region.

Such kicks can also push the opponent several feet backward, allowing for an extra advantage in case the opponent is not knocked down or out by the kick.

Liver punches are present in boxing and MMA, but most happen by chance and are rarely intended. Why? First of all, they are not always easy to hit, and, secondly, they are considered to be somewhat unfair, giving a significant advantage to the hitter. Knees are mostly present in MMA, while liver kicks can be seen in MMA and some Oriental martial arts based on karate and Taekwondo.

Now that we’we’veplained the anatomy and the physics behind liver shots, let us examine why they’re painful and specific. The reason can be found in the physiology of the liver, i.e. its function in the human body. The liver is, as stated, a filter for bodily toxins, but it is also a vital organ in blood circulation.

So, when faced with a strong punch or kick, the liver releases both toxins and a huge amount of blood, which causes a shock to the organism. Depending on the strength of the shot, the taker can either bend over (thus enabling the attacker an excellent chance for a K.O.) or completely lose his balance, his breath, and – ultimately, the fight. 

This is all due to the body chemistry of the liver and its vital role in the human organism. Most liver shots are ultimately judges as T.K.O.-s or, in extreme cases, direct K.O.-s.

How To Train Boxing Punches At Home

This tutorial explains to you way more than a thousand words. 

But no worries, I will also give you detailed instructions on how to boost your boxing punches at home. I like to call it “a “ig three” –”mirror, thinking, and assistant. 

The mirror helps you monitor your moves, thinking wonwon’tt you do the activity poorly, while an assistant sees the movement better than you. But how does it look in real life? Read the upcoming paragraphs, and your basic boxing skills will rock in the next few months! 

Install a Mirror On The Wall

It is hard to correct yourself, but there are tons of videos on the internet. So many top-notch YouTube tutorials everybody can start from zero and boost his skill set. It is a small investment that will push your technical aspect of the game to the next level. 

You can watch yourself in the mirror and check the position of your feet, arms, or shoulders. I hope you are objective because many people cancan’tay objective and criticize themselves. Watch the tutorial, then observe your moves in the mirror while attempting the basic boxing technique – you should progress as time goes by. 

Call A Teammate To Help You

I hope you plan to join a boxing team or dojo. Optionally, you can start training in MMA, Muay Thai, or any other martial art that includes punches. You can always meet with somebody who trains in your dojo at your home or somewhere else. Ask him/her to take a look at your strikes. Your teammate sees better than you. You should accept constructive criticism and be open to feedback. 

Hire A Coach

This might be the most expensive option, but a professional can take complete control over your strikes and fix the tiniest mistakes. A person with coaching experience trains professionals. What makes you think he/she cancan’tlp you? 

A good coach will see every mistake, and you will notice massive progress after a few training sessions. Yet, it will drain your budget, but every investment pays off, sooner or later. 

Think About The Move

You cancan’tink about your favorite movie or love partner while throwing violent bombs or learning lead hook. You must focus on motion, technique, and learning. Think about something else and youyou’llver progress. Your technique will not be perfect after 10k repetitions. You dondon’tnt do that, do you? 

Install Heavy Bag

I hope you have some space in your house or condo. When you get into the spirit of things, it’it’sme to get into spirit of things and test the power of your strikes. A heavy bag and a pair of gloves will show your power. 


Put it all together. Land strikes and dodge bullets, focus on the technical aspect of the game and visualize. Imagine your opponent rushing forward and countering him with a big punch. Move, circle, and combine everything youyou’vearned. It is essential to defeating your imaginary opponent to think about his moves before firing back or setting up the attack. Good luck, champs!

Mastering boxing punches is one thing, but without the right gloves, all your hard work in training could be for nothing. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top boxing gloves to help you take your game to the next level. From beginners to seasoned boxers, everyone can benefit from the quality and durability of these gloves. Invest in yourself and see the results pay off in the ring.

ThaThat’s for today. Stay tuned for more information on martial arts and combat sports, and see you next time!

Frequently asked questions about Boxing Punches

In boxing, the most crucial punch to learn is the jab. It’It’squick, straight punch used to measure distance, set up combinations, and keep your opponent at bay. It’It’sso an excellent tool for defense, as you can use it to disrupt your oppopponent’sythm and avoid their punches.

Improving the power of your punches requires a combination of technique, strength, and conditioning. First, ensure your technique is solid and that you use your entire body to generate power, not just your arm. Second, focus on building strength in your legs, core, and upper body through weightlifting and other exercises. Finally, incorporate explosive plyometric exercises and heavy bag work into your training to improve your speed and power.

Footwork is essential in boxing, and shadowboxing is a good practice method. Stand before a mirror or an imaginary opponent and move around as you would in a fight, throwing punches, slipping, and weaving to avoid imaginary punches. You can also use cones or markers on the ground to practice specific footwork drills, such as pivots and angles.

One common mistake to avoid is telegraphing your punches by winding up or dropping your hands before throwing. This gives your opponent time to prepare and counter. Another mistake is forgetting to use your footwork to set up your punches and create angles, making it easier for your opponent to predict your movements. Finally, avoid throwing punches with just your arm, as this reduces power and can also leave you open to counters. Instead, use your whole body to generate power and protect yourself at the same time.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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