In this section you will learn about all the different boxing stances and styles used. I will also explain all the variations and give you ideas on how to modify your style and stance to better suit your own personal attributes. You should not just practice and learn one boxing style and stick to that though - You will become a much better and more capable boxer if you take the time to learn how to fight using more than one style, that way you can more easily adapt your technique when necessary during a fight, to give yourself a much better chance of defeating your opponent.
Firstly, in boxing, no two boxers styles are truly identical.
The fighters style of boxing and movement evolves as he or she applies what they learn in practice, and performs it in such a way as to best suit him or herself. For example - If you feel that your bestpunch by far is your uppercut, then you can adopt a boxing style that offers you the best chances of getting up close to your opponent in an attempt to give you a better opportunity of using your uppercut on the other guy. Of course trying to get up close to the other fighter means you also need a good defence and a strong chin, as you're going to get jabbed on your way in there. So if you choose to box using that type of style, you need to work hard on possibly learning a "bob & weave" style of defence to help you avoid those jabs...........Now that is only one very basic example of developing a personal boxing strategy, but it begins to let you understand how a boxing style can begin to evolve to suit your own personal abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Many terms are used which broadly describes a boxing stance or style. Remember that a boxer is not necessarily limited to being described by one of these terms though. You should ideally strive to learn how to become accomplished at using more than one boxing style, and then you can more easily switch things around to give you the best advantage against the particular boxer you are facing in the ring.
Boxer/Out-Fighter Boxing Style
What is a boxer/out-fighter boxing style?
A classic boxer or stylist (also known as an out-fighter) prefers keeping some distance between himself and the other guy, fighting with faster, longer range punches, usually the jab, and gradually wearing his opponent down. Due to a reliance on weaker punches, an out-fighting style of boxer tends to win by point decisions rather than by knockouts, though some out-fighters do have pretty decent knockout records while still using this style. A boxer who is an out-fighter is often regarded as the best boxing strategists due to their ability to control the pace of the fight and lead their opponent, methodically wearing him down and exhibiting more skill and finesse in the ring than a basic puncher does.
What do out-fighters need?
For a boxer to be successful using the out-fighter style, he needs good reach, hand speed, sharp reflexes and good footwork.
A Boxer/Puncher is usually a fairly well rounded fighter who is able to fight at closer range with a mixture of technique and power, often with the ability to knock opponents out with a combination of punches and in some instances a single punch. The fighters movement and ring tactics in this boxing style are similar to that of an out-fighter (although they are generally not as mobile), but instead of winning the fight by a points decision, they tend to gradually wear their opponents down by using combinations of punches and then moving in when the time is right to look for the knockout punch.
What does a boxer/puncher need to succeed?
For a boxer to be effective using this style, she or he must be a very well-rounded fighter.
A Brawler is a boxer who generally lacks much finesse and footwork in the boxing ring, but makes up for it through sheer punching power. Many brawlers tend to lack mobility, preferring a more stable platform, and they often have difficulty pursuing boxers who are quick on their feet. Brawlers may also have a tendency to ignore combination punches in favour of continuous beat-downs with one hand, and by throwing slower more powerful single punches (such as hooks and uppercuts).
A brawlers slowness and predictible punching style in the ring (single punches with obvious leads) often leaves a brawler wide open to counter punches when using this boxing style. So successful brawlers must be able to absorb substantial amounts of punishment too.
What does a brawler need to be successful?
A brawlers most important assets are power and a strong chin (the ability to absorb punishment while remaining able to continue boxing) if they want to have success using this style.
Swarmers/In-Fighters Boxing Style
What is an in-fighters boxing style?
In-fighters/Swarmers (sometimes called pressure fighters) attempt to stay close to an opponent in the ring, throwing intense flurries of punches, often combinations of hooks and uppercuts, in this style of boxing. A successful in-fighter often needs a good "chin" too because infighting usually involves being hit with many jabs from their opponents defence, before they can move inside where the in-fighters type of style is going to be more effective.
In-fighters operate best at close range because they are often less tall and have a shorter reach than their opponents, and thus are more effective at a short distance where the longer arms of their opponents make punching awkward. However, several fighters who are tall for their weight class have been relatively adept at in-fighting as well as the out-fighting style.
The essence of an in-fighter is non stop aggression.
Many short in-fighters learn to utilise their stature to their advantage in this boxing style, employing a "bob & weave" defence by bending at the waist to slip underneath, or to the sides, of incoming punches. Unlike blocking, causing an opponent to completely miss a punch disrupts his balance, allowing you to move forward past the other boxers extended arm, and also keeps your hands free to counter punch.
Some boxers who use the in-fighting style have been known for being notoriously hard to hit.
What does an in-fighter or swarmer need to be successful?
The key to being successful when using an in-fighter boxing style is - Aggression, endurance, strong chin and a good grasp of the Bobbing & Weaving type of boxing defence.
Counter Punchers are usually slippery and defensive fighters. They learn to use their ultimate defence of head movement and constant blocks to try and counter their opponents style.
When their opponent throws a punch, counter punchers use their defence to avoid those punches and then they try to return one of their own. A counter puncher mostly fights in at a close range, but some counter punchers do prefer to remain at the distance of an out-fighter.
What does a counter puncher need to succeed?
To be successful using the counter puncher style, the boxer must have good head movement, quick reflexes, speed, a good chin and exceptional reach.
So how does each boxing style match up against the others?
In general, an in-fighter has an advantage over an out-fighter style, while an out-fighter has an advantage over a puncher.
Punchers tend to overcome swarmers or in-fighters, because in trying to get close to the puncher, the in-fighter will invariably have to walk straight into the hard hitting fists of the typical puncher. So, unless the in-fighter has a very good chin and the latter's stamina is poor, the punchers superior power will often help win the day.
Although boxers who use an in-fighting boxing style tend to struggle against heavy punchers, they typically enjoy more success against out-fighters.
Out-Fighters prefer a slower fight, while keeping some distance between themselves and the other boxer. The In-fighter tries to close that gap and unleash furious flurries against his opponent. On the inside, the Out-fighter loses a lot of his boxing effectiveness, because he cannot find the space to throw those hard punches. The In-fighters boxing style is generally successful in this case, due to his intensity in advancing on his opponent and his good agility, which makes him difficult to punch.
The boxer or out-fighting style tends to be most successful against a brawler, whose slow speed (both hand and feet) and poor boxing technique, makes him an easy target to hit for the much faster moving out-fighter. The Out-fighters main concern is staying fully alert when using that boxing style against a brawler, as the brawler only needs to land one really good punch to potentially finish the fight. If the out-fighter can avoid the power punches of a brawler, he can often wear the brawler down with fast jabs, and tire him out. If the out-fighter is successful enough using that style, he may even apply extra pressure in the later rounds in an attempt to achieve the knockout himself.
These various styles of boxing form a cycle with each style being stronger relative to one, and weaker relative to another, with no boxing style really dominating the fight scene completely.
Naturally, many other factors, such as the skill level, fitness and training of the boxers, will do much to determine the outcome of any fight.
Firstly - It is vitally important that you quickly learn all about the various boxing stances. Basically, without a proper stance you have no chance whatsoever of even throwing a decent punch, and have very little chance of having good enough movement to avoid the incoming punches of your opponent.
In a fully upright boxing stance, the boxer stands with the legs shoulder width apart and the rear foot a half step behind the leading foot. Right handed or "orthodox" fighters lead with the left foot and fist. Both feet are parallel in this stance, and the right heel is off the ground a couple of inches. The lead (left) fist is held vertically about six inches in front of the boxers face at eye level. The rear (right) fist is held beside the chin, and the elbow tucked against the ribcage to protect the body from punches in an upright stance. The chin is tucked into the chest to avoid punches to the jaw which commonly cause knockout, and the chin is often positioned a little off centre. Wrists are slightly bent in this stance to avoid damage when punching, and the elbows are kept tucked in to protect the ribcage.
Some boxers prefer to fight from a crouching stance, leaning forward and keeping their feet closer together. The crouch boxing stance is considered by many to be the textbook stance, and boxers are encouraged to change this type of stance around once it has been mastered as a base. Many fast fighters have their hands down and have almost exaggerated footwork in the crouch stance, while brawlers tend to slowly stalk their opponents. Left handed or southpaw fighters use a mirror image of the orthodox boxing stance, which can create problems for orthodox fighters who are unaccustomed to receiving jabs, hooks or crosses from the "wrong" side.
The southpaw boxing stance, conversely, is vulnerable to a straight right hand.
A southpaw boxing stance is the one commonly adopted by left handed boxers. In a southpaw stance, you should learn to position your right foot forward and keep your left foot behind your right hand. This southpaw stance is essentially a mirror image of the standard boxing stance.
Historically, a southpaw boxing stance has been considered as less effective than the orthodox stance. However, boxers who solely use the orthodox stance can have problems when they encounter left handed fighters using the southpaw boxing stance. This is because many of the punches thrown from a southpaw stance will arrive from unexpected directions and angles.
PS. I always hated fighting a southpaw!! >_<
General Advice On Boxing Stances
Us European boxers tend to stand with our torso turned more to the side in our boxing stances, while boxers in some other continents often tend to have a more even boxing stance and face the opponent almost squarely. The positioning of the hands may also vary as some boxers prefer to have both hands raised in front of the face, but that obviously risks exposure to body punches when keeping your hands held higher.
Boxers can sometimes be seen tapping their cheeks or foreheads with their fists. That is just to remind themselves to keep their hands up (which becomes more and more difficult during long bouts as the arms and shoulders tire).
No matter what boxing stance you use, boxers are taught to push off with their feet in order to move effectively in the ring. Forward motion involves lifting the lead leg and pushing with the rear leg. Backwards motion involves lifting the rear leg and pushing with the lead leg. During sideways motion in the ring, the leg in the direction of the movement moves first while the opposite leg provides the force needed to move the boxers body.
A good boxing stance allows the boxer maximum mobility, while offering protection to the vital areas.
Don’t be nervous and tense. Be loose, supple, relaxed, and try to conserve your energy in the boxing ring. Many fights are won by the boxer who can keep going the longest, so try not to burn off energy needlessly.
Feet in the proper positions
Never get your feet crossed, proper balance is critical to being able to deliver punches and move your body quickly to defend yourself against incoming punches. During boxing training, always think about your footwork, as without proper footwork you will always struggle in the ring.
Knees slightly bent
Never lock the knees. If your knees are locked, the only way you can move is by flexing your ankles. Good, quick, mobility in the boxing ring demands loose knees.
Hips and shoulders parallel to the ground
Keep the hips and shoulders level when boxing. If they’re not level, your centre of gravity will be skewed off to one side, making it difficult to move fluidly and quickly. Obviously, if you are slipping a punch or engaged in another technique, your shoulders might momentarily be tilted. But when you’re in your preferred boxing stance, always strive to keep your hips and shoulders level.
Bend slightly at the waist
To avoid getting hit by the other boxer, bend slightly forward at the waist. You will still have maximum power in your punches, but your range will be greater and you will have a safety marginthat allows you to pull back slightly when your opponent tries to hit you, without losing your balance.
Power hand back
Unless you have a very good reason not to do so, keep your strong side to the rear. This gives you maximum distance to generate and deliver a power punch. There are some boxers who switch it up and fight ambidextrously at times, but this is usually seen as a sign of desperation rather than a sound boxing strategy.
Keep your chin down and tucked against the top of your chest at all times. There is never any reason to lift your chin up when you are in the boxing ring. It’s your most vulnerable spot, so protect it at all times. If you show the other boxer your chin, he will go straight for it and taking a decent punch flush on the chin will often be enough to finish you off.
Look from the top of your eyes
Learn how to watch your opponent from the top of your eyes. Never lift your chin up to see what is going on. You have to get into the habit of looking out at the other boxer from just under your eyebrows.
Lead hand guards in front
Your lead hand should be up and out in front, approximately level with the eyes. The farther out you carry your lead hand, the quicker you will be able to jab your opponent. If you carry it low, your jab will have more power but it will be slower.
Rear hand guards the chin
Your rear hand must be in place to guard your chin. It will guard the side of your chin when your opponent throws a hook, and it moves in front to block your opponent’s straight punches.
The elbows guard your sides. There is no reason to hold them out and away from the body as if you are doing the 'funky chicken dance'........Always keep them tucked in for safety and to ensure putting maximum power into your punches.
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