The Six Basic Boxing Punches

There are two dependent elements in boxing that everyone must be ready to face. One is the physical where you have to throw punches at your opponent. The other is wit.

Punches are not thrown randomly like a wrestling match. This is why trainee boxers must be taken through basic boxing punches. You do not want to be floored in minutes because you invented strikes and combos that cannot work.

Why basic punches?

You might think that boxing has no rules. The shock on you, it is a game of discipline like any other. This is why boxing punches have been named.

Naming is even more important for training purposes. A coach will just shout the name of a punch for you to throw it in a flash without confusion. There are slight variations in punches depending on coaches. However, there is a basic formula that is commonly followed to ease training.

Here are six boxing punches (right handed) every aspiring champion must learn.

  1. Left Jab
  2. Right Cross or Straight right
  3. Left Hook
  4. Right Hook
  5. Left Uppercut
  6. Right Uppercut

Have you noticed something peculiar about these punches? Check again! There are two things to note about them.

You use the right hand on all even-numbered punches while the left hand is used for odd number punches.

There is a relationship between 1&2, 3&4, 5&6. They are similar shots, but one is thrown using the right hand while the other uses the left. These are simple punching combinations and good to start with.

The above two formulas make it easy to memorize and throw, especially during workouts. Pairing the punches also makes it easy to train. Mentioning the numbers is easy and quick compared to calling them by name. This allows a team to maximize time and increase their punching speed.

What if I am left-handed?

If the left is your dominant hand then you are a southpaw, but this should not worry you. The formula turns around to accommodate your left-hand inclination. You will be throwing even numbers with your left hand, while odd numbers will be thrown with the right hand. Your positioning or boxing stance will also be the reverse of a right-hander.

Let’s look at these punches one by one.

1. Left Jab

This is one of the essential straight punch. It plays several roles, including setting up other punches as an offensive kick and a defensive one. It keeps your opponent on edge and is thus thrown continuously. It will also assist you to feel how far your opponent is for safety and strategic reasons. It will help you cause the opponent to open or be vulnerable so that you can attack. It is perfect for countering your opponent to enable you to pivot or retreat.

It is shot in a straight line emanating from the chin. Other than using your elbow, it is the shoulders that are used to generate power. Relax the hand only to tighten it a millisecond from the impact. It is a quick move to avoid extended vulnerability.


2. Right Cross or Straight

This is the perfect knockout punch. You have the additional torque that is provided by both the shoulders and hip. Because of overextending the arm, you are incredibly vulnerable. It is therefore used as a follow-up to a jab or other hits.

When throwing it, the upper body is turned towards your fighting opponent. You pivot with your back foot and rotated hips. The arm extends in a coiled spring manner. All this time, guard your chin with your left hand and recoil the hand as fast as possible.

The cross is also a powerful counter punch targeting the head or the body when the opponent throws a jab. Cross usually follows the jab, which is the classic 1-2 punch combination.


3. Left hook

The left hook is loved because of its power and speed. It is useful because the opponent is usually within striking distance. It is used for surprises and will throw the entire body by catching the chin. Use it when your opponent has exposed himself.

It works when you transfer your weight to the left. The weight transfers must be subtle other than swinging all of it. The left foot pivots you back right where you raise your elbow and punch right across with the arm approximately 90 degrees twisted. Guard your chin with the right arm and do not overextend.


4. Right hook

This is a reversal of the left hook and is a bit challenging because it emanates from your rear side. It is also a bit slow but is best combined with the left and perfect for a close-range attack. The boxing technique is that of the left hook that is reversed. Remember not to overextend or be too slow. Protect your chin with the other hand.

Hooks are power shots since the whole body is activated. The body rotates to transfer the power from the toes through the core to the right fist. The generated energy is released when the fist reaches the target.


5. Left uppercut

This is a classic dangerous punch. It is used in response to what your opponent has thrown or during a close-range encounter. When it connects to the chin, it is a perfect knockout punch. When used rapidly, it destabilizes the opponent and takes away his strength. You have to be uptight and very controlled because you are incredibly vulnerable.

What is required is a slight dip at the waist to the left with a raised back heel and pressure on your front foot. The fist is rotated upward and explodes up in sharp movement emanating from the front foot. The elbow should be bent sharply and no extension of the arms. Do not punch too low or too high to avoid overexposure. Speed is of the essence since your opponent can catch you off-guard. Uppercuts are whole body movements.


6. Right uppercut

Just like the left hook is a reversal of the right hook, the right uppercut reverses the left uppercut. It is used for destabilizing the body of your opponent. While at it, you must guard your body against counter punches. The move should be done at top speed to avoid extended exposure and vulnerability.


There are variations in numbering, especially involving the hooks and uppercuts. Other systems give different numbers for jabs on the head and the body. There is a danger every time you overextend. Your opponent finds it more comfortable to avoid your punch with the punch ending prematurely. Overextending might also hurt your elbow. Learn from professionals to avoid confusion that could cost you a fight and even endanger your body.

If you want to work out at home with the help of a punching bag, you should keep the proper forms. Also, do not forget about the correct boxing stance and the footwork since they are as crucial as punches. Read our beginner boxing tips to learn the basics.

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