Top 21 Dirty Boxing Techniques (With Videos)

In this article, let’s look at the dirty tricks that professional boxers use. Boxing is a game of rules. The referee is responsible for enforcing the rules. Boxers are willing to use dirty tricks to win the fight. Some fighters were very successful in using illegal moves.

Punch To The Back Of The Head

The back of the head is one of the illegal punches. The reason: the back of the head is a weak area. The punch is called a “Rabbit Punch” (it’s how huntsmen kill rabbits). During a fight, boxers unknowingly or intentionally “throw” punches to the back of the head.

Deontay Wilder is one of the professional boxers who perfectly masters the “rabbit punch” technique. To be able to perform the technique it is necessary to have a longer arm span than the opponent’s arm span.

One Hand Holds, The Other Hand Punches

In a boxing fight, it is illegal to hold an opponent with one hand and punch with another one. The hold must be stopped by the referee. However, if you do this trick quickly, you can do some tricks where the hand pulls the opponent on the punch.

The success of this trick depends on the timing of the hold. The famous Mohamed Ali often used a similar technique.

Forearm Pressure On The Neck

A classic technique of tall boxers. To execute it, it is necessary to be taller than the opponent (or at least to be on the same height). The pressure of the forearm on the neck is an effective move. It gives several advantages: the opponent loses his energy and loses the tempo.

Also, it helps to win sometime in the fight. Wladimir Klitschko is a master of this technique.

Trip Up

Footwork in boxing is an important part of success fight. Boxers are not allowed to use their legs to execute technical moves like in kickboxing for example. However, in some situations, tripping can be useful. Trip up should be done at the same time with the punches.

In this way, the referee does not see the beginning of the leg movement. If it is done correctly, the opponent will lose his balance and fall. The referee will count it as a knockdown. Amir Khan was using this technique sometimes.

Stepping On A Foot During A Punch

This move is like the trip up but has different technical execution. Stepping on the foot during the punch is more convenient in a fight with an opponent who works in the opposite stance. Left-handed better to do it with a right-handed boxer, or right-handed with left-handed.

It is not allowed to step on the foot, but if you do it quickly, you can make a stopping effect. In this way, the opponent will not escape from you. This trick was done by Juan Manuel Marquez in his third fight against Manny Pacquiao. Marquez’s left foot blocked Pacquiao’s right foot.

This allowed Marquez to land his punch on a controlled target.

Injury Simulation

A classic dirty technique in boxing. Andre Dirrell showed simulation in his fight with Arthur Abraham. Dirrell lost his balance in the 11th round. Abraham landed a light punch on his kneeling opponent. Dirrell faked an injury and refused to continue the fight.

Technically he had the right to do it. But after many replays, it became obvious that Dirrell was faking. The referee decided to disqualify Abraham.

Push And Punch

Push with one hand and hit with the other. What could be easier? But, such tricks are illegal in boxing. This technique must be executed quickly. The effectiveness depends on the first movement where you need to get the opponent off balance. After the push, you need immediately to throw a power punch.

To do this technique right you need to be physically stronger than the opponent. Tyson Fury did push and punch trick in the 7th round of his fight with Steve Cunningham. Thanks to this little trickery, the Gypsy King won the fight.


The oldest in the list of dirty techniques. A headbutt is an opportunity to demoralize or injure an opponent. In boxing, headbutts are illegal. It all comes down to the timing and referee attention. About 50% of all nose injuries in boxing are the result of headbutts.

This technique is useful against tall boxers. Carlos Takam did it in his fight against Anthony Joshua.

Forearm Punch

Technically difficult, but effective technique. In boxing, it is allowed to hit the opponent only with the punching part of the glove. In some situations, by doing a purposely missed punch, fighters hit with the forearm as if not on purpose. At the peak of the fight, a forearm punch looks like an accidental punch.

Many professional boxers use this trick in their fights.

Thumb Punch To The Eye

A rare and dirty trick. Some boxers purposely push their thumb out to hit the opponent’s eye at the right moment. If this technique is perfectly mastered, it can lead to serious injury. Carlos Monzon injured Jose Napoles with a punch to the eye. The Cuban boxer had to refuse to continue the fight.

Elbow Punch

An elbow punch in a side punch. It looks like we’re making a clean side punch to the head, but we’re making a glancing motion and throwing the elbow straight to the head. Don’t mix it up with an elbow in Muay Thai, where the arm is fully bent at the elbow so that the glove touches the chest.

In boxing, this happens in a kind of unintentional way, where you simulate a fist slip of a missed punch and execute an elbow punch. Andre Ward did this trick against Sakio Bika in 5th round.

Locking The Elbow In A Clinch

When the fighters come together in a clinch, the boxer grabs his opponent’s arm from below under the elbow and pulls the elbow toward him. It should be done sharply as if breaking the opponent’s arm. The most important thing in this technique is that the opponent does not expect such a tactic and can get hurt.

Shoulder Punch

When we get in a clinch and the opponent puts his head wrong on our shoulder. This means that the boxer, for example, presses his chin against his opponent’s shoulder, but does not lean his cheek heavily against the back of his shoulder.

At this moment, the opponent sharply and strongly makes a push or a punch with the shoulder to the chin of the opponent, so the referee would not see. The punch is very nasty and can get the athlete off-balance. That is why in a clinch it is very important to press the head correctly against the opponent’s shoulder.

Block Punch With Elbow

This dirty trick is usually done when the boxer stands in a “shoulder roll” stance. In this stance, the backhand covers the head and the front hand is lowered and covers the stomach. Also, the boxer covers the jaw with the front shoulder. Then, when the opponent throws a punch, a boxer can as if accidentally put his elbow in front to block the punch.

That way the opponent will land a punch against the elbow, which could injure him. Besides, the fighter can also put his elbow out when the opponent tries to close the distance, which can also cause serious injury.

Kidney Punch

Kidney punches are an illegal technique in amateur and professional boxing. But some boxers use these illegal punches to hit their opponent’s kidney. The boxer may be hurt by the punch, but the worst thing is waiting for him after the fight. A kidney punch in boxing has what’s called a delayed effect.

Even if the boxer didn’t feel the damage during the fight, he will feel the negative effects immediately after the fight. There will be blood in the urine, skin discoloration, general weakness. In extreme cases, a hard punch to the kidney area can lead to internal bleeding, low blood pressure, and even kidney disease.

With serious injuries, a boxer can be suspended from fighting for 12 months.

Punch With Pulling Back The Opponent’s Glove

This technique is better to do from an angle. The boxer leans forward and to the side as if to dodge a punch. Then the hand that is closer to the opponent covers the opponent’s defensive arm and pushes it to the side.

Immediately after that, a hook is executed to the jaw before the opponent has time to return the glove to the face. This is where the boxer pushes the glove to the side and does not pull it on himself. This way the hand moves to the side much easier.

Elbow To The Solar Plexus

The boxers stand at close range. One of the boxers, while the referee is standing behind him, gives an uppercut to his opponent. But it’s not just an uppercut, it’s an imitation. The goal here is not a punch to the head with the glove, but a punch with an elbow to the solar plexus.

This means that the boxer, executing an uppercut, does not raise his hand as much as possible, but pushes it with his elbow to the chest. And the glove stops at the level of the opponent’s head. With such a strong punch, you can knock your opponent’s breathing down pretty hard.

Elbow Punch In A Clinch To The Arm

Elbows are involved in this punch. When boxers standing in a clinch, it happens that a dirty boxer hits his elbow against the opponent’s arm. As if accidentally, he drops his elbow with its angle on his opponent’s biceps or forearm.

The consequences of such a punch can weaken the opponent’s hands pretty hard. It is difficult for the referee to see such an accidental punch, and most likely the boxer won’t even get a warning.

Punch To The Heart

This punch is not illegal, but it can get the opponent off-balance. During the attack with the opponent’s left hand, the boxer, squatting a little bit and throws a strong punch. But this punch is pointed not to the stomach, as is usually done, but to the heart area. In this way, the opponent’s breathing can be disturbed.

Also, he will start to get nervous, so the heartbeat will increase a little bit, and the opponent may lose effectiveness for a while.

Hips Punch

As funny as it may sound, there are times when an opponent can punch a boxer in the hips or buttock area in a clinch. This punch is also illegal in boxing. Why would such a dirty move be dangerous? Because there are many muscle fibers connected in areas that affect the back and legs.

And if you punch this area hard, that muscle can be cramped for a while. So it will be harder for your opponent to move around the ring.

Groin Punch

Probably the dirtiest trick is a punch to the groin. While the referee is behind his opponent’s back, he can’t see where the boxer’s hand lands. At this point, the boxer comes close to his opponent, and at the last moment lowers his hand and punches his opponent in the groin.

Also, the boxer moves without lowering his shoulder or showing any clear purpose of hitting his opponent in the groin. It’s not a punch, but more of an accidental push on entering the clinch.


In conclusion, I would like to add that boxing is not a sport where there is room for all these dirty techniques. Boxing is a sport where two gentlemen fight in the ring, respect each other, and fight fair by the rules. Always respect your opponents.

I hope this article was helpful to you. Good luck in boxing.

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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