Beginner’s Guide to the Six Basic Boxing Punches

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boxing punchesThere 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 the wit.

Punches are not thrown haphazardly 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 the basic punches?

You might think this martial art has no rules. Shock on you, it is a game of discipline like any other. This is why boxing punches types 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 is the list of boxing punches names with the number system every aspiring champion must learn.

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

Have you noticed something peculiar about boxing punch numbers? 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 combinations and good to start with.

The boxing number system 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 on time and increase their punching speed.

What if I am left handed?

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 stance will also be the reverse of a right-hander.

Related: Practice at home! Get a heavy bag and other equipment here


Let’s look all boxing punches one by one

1. Left Jab

This is one of the most important punch. It plays several roles including setting up other punches, as an offensive kick and a defensive one. It keeps your opponent on the 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/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 extremely 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.


3. Left Hook

The left hook is loved because of its power and speed. It is effective because the opponent is usually within a 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 transfer 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 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.


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 extremely 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 over exposure. Speed is of the essence since your opponent can catch you off-guard.


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. There are other systems that give different numbers for jabs on the head and on the body. There is danger every time you over extend. Your opponent finds it easier 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 as well. Also, do not forget about the correct boxing stance and the footwork since they are as important as punches.

Recommended: How to box for beginners guide

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3 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the tips. I’m a total beginner and I didn’t know where to start.

  2. Rich-I’m a total newbie to boxing. I took karate for 5yr’s but it’s a totally different approach than boxing!! I have to think more in the box rather than outside it. But I really would like to integrate them. Thanks for a beginners lesson!

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