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You should always try to maintain the initiative and keep moving in any boxing bout. When you have the initiative, it is you who is in control and dictating how the fight is going. Lose the initiative though and it's your opponent who starts dictating things to you.
If you do lose the initiative, you should go into a defensive mode. Defensive postures should just be a temporary state for as short a time as possible, while you look for a way to gain the initiative again at the first opportunity. The longer you stay in a defensive mode, the greater the chance you have of losing the fight, so keep looking to try and second guess your opponents next move, find an opening to launch a counter attack, and try to regain that initiative again as quickly as possible.
The Slip Boxing Defence
A slipping boxing defence turns your body slightly so that an incoming punch passes harmlessly past. As your opponents punch arrives, you sharply rotate the hips and shoulders, this turns the chin sideways and allows the punch to 'slip' past.
To sway or fade, you have to learn how to try and anticipate a punch coming from your opponent, then move the upper body or head back so that it misses, or has its force greatly reduced. This kind of boxing defence is also called 'rolling with wthe punch' or 'riding the punch'
Sway Or Fade Boxing Defence
Duck Or Break Boxing Defence
You duck or break by dropping down sharply with a straight back, so that an incoming punch aimed at your head glances or misses you entirely.
Bob And Weave Boxing Defence
In a bob and weave type of boxing defensive technique, you move your head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. As the punch arrives, you 'bob' by bending the legs quickly and simultaneously shifting the body either slightly right or left. Once the punch has been evaded, you 'weave' back to an upright position again, emerging on either the outside or inside of your opponents still-extended arm, giving you the ideal opportunity to quickly counter punch. To move outside the other boxers extended arm is called 'bobbing to the outside'. To move inside the opponent's extended arm is called 'bobbing to the inside'.
Parry Or Block Boxing Defence
Parrying or blocking boxing defences use your shoulders, hands or arms, as defensive tools to protect yourself against incoming punches. A Block generally receives a punch, while a parry tends to deflect it away. A 'palm' or 'cuff' is a block which intentionally takes the incoming punch on that part of your glove.
The Cover Up Boxing Defence
A covering up boxing defence is the last opportunity (other than rolling with a punch) to avoid an incoming strike to an unprotected face or body. The hands are held high to protect your head and chin, while the forearms are tucked against your torso to help block body punches. When protecting the body, you rotate the hips and let the incoming punches 'roll' off the guard. To protect the head, you press both fists against the front of your face with the forearms facing outwards. This type of defensive guard is weak against attacks from beneath though, so be aware of uppercut punches probably coming your way when you are covered up like this.
The Clinch Boxing Defence
A clinch happens when both boxers are close and straight punches can't really be used. In this situation, you attempt to hold or 'tie up' your opponent's hands so that he is unable to throw punches. To perform a clinch, you loop both hands around the outside of your opponent's shoulders, scooping back under the forearms to hold his arms tightly against his own body. In this position, the other fighters arms are pinned and cannot be used to attack, plus even if he gets an arm free he can't deliver a decent punch as they rely on hip/body rotations and full arm extensions for power. Clinching is the last resort in boxing defence though and will be quickly broken up by the referee. A clinch defence can be useful in the latter rounds of a boxing match if you are tiring and in need of a breather, or if your opponent delivered a telling punch that hurt you and you want the extra few seconds that clinching gives you, to try and recover from it.
Lay Back Boxing Defence
Some boxers choose to lay back during a fight and wait for their opponent to make the first move. The basic idea behind this defensive technique is the element of surprise. As the other fighter moves forward and prepares to strike, you move into action and strike when he least expects it. It is best to keep your punches short and sharp. If you are against the ropes at the time, lean back against them and use their catapult effect to add a wee bit extra power into your your punch.
There are quite a few different defensive guards used in boxing, and each type of defensive guard has many variations. Some boxers may hold their guard higher for more head protection, while others prefer to have their guard lower to provide better protection against body punches. Many fighters will also vary their defensive techniques throughout the bout to adapt to the moment, and choose the position best suited to protect them against the other fighters attack at the time.
Boxers who use an upright stance, protect their chin with the rear hand in either the low or mixed boxing guard style depicted below.
Crouch fighters tend to use the 'Peek-A-Boo' style of boxing guard, also mentioned below.
Peek-A-Boo Boxing Guard
The peek-a-boo boxing guard is sometimes called the earmuffs guard. The hands are placed next to each other in front of your face (boxers tend to vary the exact positioning) and the elbows are brought in tight to your body. The peek-a-boo guard is usually what a beginner is taught when first learning how to box, then after gaining experience you can change the guard or vary things to suit your particular style of fighting. The peek-a-boo guard is a fairly middle of the road guard in terms of counter punching and damage reduction. The peek-a-boo defensive guard covers you up fairly well, but there are holes. For example, hook punches can do damage by going around your hands and landing just behind the elbows.
Cross Armed Boxing Guard
In the cross armed boxing guard, your forearms are placed on top of each other horizontally in front of your face, with the glove of one arm being on top of the elbow of the other arm. This defensive guard is the most effective one for preventing head damage, the only head punch that you're still susceptible to is a jab to the top of the head, which does little harm. Your body is more open while using the cross armed guard, but most boxers who use this type of guard bend at the waist and lean to protect the body, but while upright and unaltered, the body is there to be hit by your opponent. The cross armed guard position is very difficult to counter punch from, but practically eliminates all incoming head punches.
The Crab Boxing Guard
In a crab boxing guard, the lead arm is placed across your body, somewhere in between your belly button and chest. Your lead hand rests on the opposite side of your body and your back fist is placed on the side of your face, while your lead shoulder is brought in tightly against the side of your face. To execute the crab guard well you have to be very athletic and experienced, the crab guard is especially popular with fighters who like to counter punch. This defensive technique is very effective for counter punchers because it allows you to slip punches by rotating and dipping your upper body, causing blows to glance off. After the punch glances off, your back hand is in the perfect position to land punches on an opponent who is now out of position.
The shoulder lean is used in this stance - To execute the shoulder lean, you learn to rotate and duck when the other fighters punch is coming towards you, and then rotate back towards your opponent again while he is bringing his hand back, you can then throw a punch with the back fist as you're rotating towards what is now now an undefended opponent. The weakness to the crab guard is that when you are stationary and not rotating, you are wide open to be hit, so a fighter must be athletic and well conditioned to effectively use the crab guard. To overcome an opponent who's using this kind of defensive guard, fighters tend to constantly jab their opponent's shoulder, causing the shoulder and arm to hurt, start to tire, and then the arm will begin to drop or even be immobilised completely.
Some Random Defensive AdviceBoxers generally attempt to land high with fast punch combinations and then quickly shift position to avoid a possible response from their opponent
Strategically, the ring's centre is generally the desired position as you are able to conserve movement and energy by forcing your opponent to circle around you. When in the centre of the boxing ring you are also less likely to be knocked backwards against the ropes, or edged into a corner and trapped there. Depending on the boxers style, the centre is usually the desired location as cornering your opponent is always a good strategy. Most fighters though will not move around the boxer in the centre too much, because doing so makes them vulnerable to incoming punches thrown from good angles.
Good movement is the most important defensive boxing tool in the ring, and allows you to avoid more punches. If a boxer is standing still, an opponent has a much better chance of hitting him. Someone anticipating a punch while stationary, is much less likely to be able to evade that punch than a boxer who is already in motion. So always try to keep moving in the ring.
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