Boxing Punching Techniques

Boxing punching techniques are a sub-set of the more general-purpose punching techniques used in the various fighting systems and martial arts.

In boxing, you must punch with the knuckles. Hitting with other parts of the hand is illegal. This is in contrast to some other fighting systems like Muay Thai (Kickboxing developed in Thailand), MMA, or traditional martial arts, which allow striking or punching with the palm, the hammer-fist, and other parts of the hand and arm.

Some punching techniques used by boxers are not used by traditional martial artists. This is because boxers protect the delicate bones in their hands and wrists by wrapping their hands and using padded gloves. In this way, boxers can throw harder and with less care than traditional martial artists, who have to make sure never to hit in a way that might break a bone or cause a sprain.

Most good boxers fight exclusively with one side of the body forward. Although there are some who switch it up and change side, this is somewhat uncommon. Experienced boxing fans usually view this “switching up” as an act of desperation rather than a sound strategic move.

Since boxers usually train and fight with one side forward, it stands to reason that boxing punching techniques favor one side of the body over the other. A straight punch thrown with the lead hand is different, technically, than one thrown with the rear hand. Contrast this with a martial artist who trains ambidextrously; ideally, his punches are equal in power and effectiveness no matter which side of the body happens to be facing forward. In practice, this is rarely the case, but this is the standard that he’s trying to achieve through training.

A short list of standard boxing punching techniques

In the following list, I assume that you fight with your left side forward in an orthodox boxing stance:

  • Jab — a lead-hand straight punch that can be thrown no matter what the feet are doing. You can jab moving forward, moving backward, or circling.
  • Straight Left — similar to a jab, but more powerful. Only thrown with a step. This is usually the final punch in a combination, used to clear yourself out of danger and prevent your opponent from following you with a counterpunch.
  • Straight Right — this power punch has slightly more range than a jab. If it lands on the point of the chin (or certain other places), it has more than enough power to knock a man out.
  • Left Hook — this is one of the most difficult boxing punching techniques to master, but it is one of the most useful. The traditional left hook is a close-range technique, but some modern boxers have had success with a longer-range left hook.
  • Overhand Right — an extremely powerful punch that is used later in a boxing match when your opponent is slowed down or stunned by a prior blow.
  • Uppercut — Although the rear-hand uppercut is more common, you can throw an uppercut with both hands. Uppercuts land to the head or body, and you usually don’t shift your weight from one leg to another when you throw this punch. This is a great punch to use against an opponent who is trying to crowd you.
  • Right Hook — a right hook is similar to a haymaker thrown by an inexperienced fighter. It is slow and easy to avoid, but if it lands it does more damage than virtually any other punch. Use it only when your opponent is stunned because otherwise he will see it coming and counterpunch you.

So there you have it, a short list of the standard boxing punching techniques. To get good at these punches requires lots of practice and perseverence. If you haven’t had any lessons, you should invest in some expert instruction. Once you learn proper technique, you’ll be able to step into the ring and enjoy this great sport, or defend yourself effectively on the street.