All of us who have learned boxing at least a little bit know that several punches have specific technique execution. Athletes often learn basic techniques such as straight punches, hooks, uppercuts, defense techniques, and counterattacks. Then, of course, athletes “upgrade” their punching technique to a more complex one over time.
Boxing is not just a sport but also an “art” as well. Here every boxer has the right to create his style and different creative and unusual punches that the enemy would not expect.
The Undercut is a punch that Willie Lewis used and is a cross between a hook and jolt punches. Lewis threw it with a circular motion of his right hand to the opponent’s side at close range. Usually, he did it while entering a close distance or a clinch. His punching arm, bent at the elbow, never straightened during this punch.
The strong rotation of his body to the left gave the feeling that this punch was delivered by his body movement more than his arm. Even though the way of the punch was short, Lewis was able to execute it very powerfully. His fist was always facing downward with the fingers.
So, the undercut is something between a hook and a jolt. The boxer did it with a circular motion of his right hand to the side of his opponent at close range, usually entering a clinch. The punching arm was bent at the elbow and never unbent during this punch.
The punch was executed with a decisive turn of the body to the left. Andre Ward also performed this punch in his fight against Edwin Rodriguez.
The Smash Punch
The smash punch in boxing is a punch with the front hand and a trajectory from half-bottom to half-side. It is a kind of hybrid of a hook and an uppercut. To execute the smash, a boxer has to load his front leg (to move his body weight) and turn aside to his opponent.
The one who created this punch is Donovan Ruddock. The boxer from Canada used the smash punch as a power punch. Donovan is left-handed in life. He works in a southpaw stance (right-hand stance). His front hand is the leading hand. Many of Ruddock’s early victories were won with the smash punch.
It was Donovan who named his “signature” punch smash punch.
Crochet & Half-Crochet
Crochet comes from the word Le Crochet, which means “hook” in French. It is an upward backhand punch executed obliquely at an angle of 30 to 60 degrees. The target of this punch is the chin and lower jaw. The crochet is a kind of mix between a hook and an uppercut.
In the punch’s final phase, the punching arm’s elbow looks down. The favorite punch of Georges Carpentier (one of the first world champions from France) was the right half-crochet, with which he knocked out most of his opponents. This punch was a mix between a straight punch and a hook. From our days, the real fan of crochet punch was Vic Darchinyan (IBF, WBC, WBA champion).
The famous french boxer was throwing it so fast that his opponents had no time to see it coming. Carpentier diverted his opponent’s attention away from the dangerous punch before executing it. Then, at just the right moment, Carpentier took a quick sliding step forward with his left foot, followed by a quick straightening of his right leg.
Carpentier’s whole body straightened as if flying in one line. It started from the toe of the right foot and ended with a fist of the right hand, directed precisely to the opponent’s chin. No boxer before Carpentier or after him had such a quick right punch from a long distance.
Carpentier gave the surprise effect of this punch with some feint technique. The quickness came with pushing his right leg from the floor. He increased the sharpness of the punch by jerking his right leg to the left. He did it at the moment when his body weight shifted to his long-stepped forward left leg.
The cross-counter punch is a counter punch. It is thrown with the right hand to the chin when attacking the opponent with a straight left to the head. This punch gets its name from the crossed direction of the right hand going over the attacking left hand of the opponent.
By the look, this punch is something between straight and hook. It was made as a classic punch by Joe Gans, who knocked out Frank Hern in 1902 in a minute and a half. Today the cross-counter is very popular and is successfully used by many boxers.
Cross-counter is based on surprise and power. Execution of this punch is quite difficult and requires very exact timing. But also, the result of this punch is extremely effective. Also, the more aggressively the opponent moves forward during the attack, the stronger the effect of the cross-counter.
Half Hook/ Half Uppercut
Half hook/half uppercut are hybrid punches. They are the halfway point between the trajectories of classic hooks and uppercuts. It is a sharp, oblique punch, usually thrown in combinations. It is mainly directed at the head at an uncomfortable angle by the same muscle groups as in hooks and uppercuts.
But only here with less body rotation than in a side punch and with less rotation of the hip and body than in an uppercut. The half-hook is especially good in infighting. This punch was actively and successfully used by Mohammed Ali, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., and later also by Vitali Klitschko.
Short Straight Punch
A short straight punch is a very effective punch. The beauty of the technique is the same as short hooks or uppercuts. The effectiveness of the short straight punch is, first of all, in its unexpectedness. Few boxers expect a punch of such great force from a short distance.
A direct short punch may be executed in three different ways. First, the punch is made at a close enough distance to the opponent with a sharp bending of the punching arm. The second option is the same punch but with the movement of the shoulder forward, which adds power to the punch. The third is a short straight punch to the head.
It is performed in the following way (for right-handed boxers): bodyweight is transferred to the right leg. The body turns to the right by ninety degrees. Then the right leg is pushed off with a left rotation and a sharp throw of the arm raised at shoulder level into the opponent’s head. The body’s weight at the end of the arm movement is shifted to the left leg.
These punches are often used in defense to stop attacks. The attacking opponent is countered with a short hard punch. After this stoppage, boxers often execute their signature punch. Joe Frazier, for example, had a strong left swing after a right short. Jack Dempsey used to do the same thing.
A short straight punch to the body between the hands of the opponent is called a jolt. The jolt is powerful because the athlete puts his body weight into the punch when it is executed. The hand kind of shoots out at the opponent; the punch can be compared to the hammer hitting the anvil.
A well-placed jolt lands in the solar plexus. It brings the opponent’s breath down and makes him unconsciously open his defense. This allows the boxer to deliver a few more punches to the head. When this punch is executed by physically strong boxers like “puncher,” a jolt can be a knockout punch. With this punch, Bob Fitzsimmons knocked James Corbett out in their fight in March 1897.
A down-cut is a backhand punch, which is executed in a circular trajectory in a downward direction. The targets for the down-cut are the chest and stomach. The palm of the punching hand points to the floor. The ideal execution of the hand at the endpoint is slightly bent at the elbow, which gives more accent to the punch.
Erik Morales demonstrated an excellent example of a down-cut against Daniel Zaragoza. A down-cut is not the same as a straight punch to the body. The boxer bounces on his feet in a classic punch to get in line with the hitting target.
The boxer does not need to bounce his legs to execute a down-cut.
The punch is delivered on purpose from a straight stance. The secret of the effectivity of the down-cut is the downward movement. It is always easier to strike downward than to throw punches at an upward angle. The arm’s position, slightly bent at the elbow, creates an extra effect.
The down-cut in boxing is a non-standard punch. It cannot be used as often as the jab. A down-cut is helpful if you are taller and have a larger arm span than your opponent.
“Hammer” is a punch at a close distance with the right hand at the moment when it is between the hands of the opponent. It is executed in a short, sharp downward movement of the hand. Also, it directs the soft part of the glove to the opponent’s chin. It is a signature move by Tommy Burns.
Burns used this punch at close range with his right hand as it was between his opponent’s hands. He threw it in a short, sharp downward motion, pointing the soft part of the glove at his opponent’s chin.
This is an upward, lifting punch with an almost straight hand. The secret of this punch is that it is thrown as if from the bottom to the top. If you compare this punch to a usual jab, the hand flies along a straight trajectory into the opponent’s head.
At the same time, the boxer’s head and body should stay in place or lean slightly to the right side. The head and body lean in the opposite direction in an upward jab, and the punch is delivered with the inner glove facing upward. In other words, this punch is something similar between a jab and an uppercut.
Of course, the fact that the inside of the glove looks up is not a strict rule. Here each boxer can choose the angle that is most comfortable for him. It is also possible to perform this punch without bending the body to the side where the thumb of the fist will look up at the punch.
The legendary boxer Kid McCoy used a creative technique in his tactics. He pretended to attack his opponent with a straight left punch to the head. And without finishing the punch, he suddenly took a step back. The opponent weakened his defense by thinking that McCoy had stopped trying to attack him.
But at that moment, Kid delivered a solid right-hand punch to the head. The success of a returning punch depends on the ability to execute it quickly to surprise the opponent. It needed to be executed at the moment when the opponent thought that the boxer had decided to go back to a long distance.
To make the returning punch faster, it is essential to make it together with the step back. It means that you should stop after stepping back and move quickly forward. To do this, when stepping backward, bring the body to the starting position.
The body’s weight is transferred to the right leg from this position. And the body moves into a forward-falling position. The boxer uses this fall to move quickly back to his opponent with a punch, strengthening it with a push of the right foot off the floor.
Manny Pacquiao did something similar against Miguel Cotto in the second round. But here he did a fake step forward, that did step back, and threw left straight to the head.
The corkscrew punch gets its name from the rotational motion of the punching arm. Kid McCoy was a great master of counterpunches. He had an excellent sense of timing and distance. He also developed the corkscrew punch for the counterattack. Kid McCoy wanted to execute this punch; he began to act like a slow fighter.
This trick he tried to show with the slow footwork. His fighting stance seemed to be open, his head unprotected, and his arms bent at his chest. When his opponent saw this, he attacked him with a powerful straight right punch to the head. But Kid McCoy suddenly turned his stance back to the starting position and prepared for a counterpunch.
On the opponent’s attack, Kid McCoy threw his left hand forward. It was like he did an attack and a defensive movement together. The Kid McCoy tensed his arm, turning it on its axis from left to right. By this move, he pushed the opponent’s arm away from him with his forearm and elbow.
Also, he covered his chin with his lifted shoulder at the end position. The power of this counterpunch was, in turn, his body from left to right and moving his body forward by transferring his weight to his front left leg.
A lever punch is a combination of two successive swings that, for example, a right-handed boxer executes with his left hand. The combination has a different purpose at each stage of its execution. The first swing is like a deceptive punch and measures the distance to the opponent.
Also, it is thrown without accuracy and strength. After the first punch, the opponent expects the next punch to be from the right side. But the boxer executes the same left swing, but now accurately and powerfully. As a result of the lever punch, the opponent loses his balance.
As a rule, this combination is followed by an accurate right punch. It’s because the opponent opens the right side after two left punches. To execute the lever punch, the boxer must first have a good balance. The swing has a wide trajectory and requires good center of gravity work to repeat it a second time.
In the history of boxing, Peter Jackson’s lever punch is widely known. He was a late 19th-century Australian boxer and used a lever punch as his signature punch. Today, the “lever-punch” is rarely used by boxers, but there are quite a few versions and different modifications to it.
Sullivan’s Right Swing
The secret of John L. Sullivan’s extremely effective right swing was in his tactical preparation. In Sullivan’s tactics, this punch was always followed by a direct left punch. Also left punch didn’t reach the target purposely. This fake attack distracted the opponent’s attention after that, following a solid right punch to the head.
Corbett’s Left Hook
James J. Corbett signalized to his opponent the beginning of his left hook as a straight punch. He deliberately accented the direct punch’s technical accuracy. By doing so, he forced his opponent to protect his head with the palm of his front hand.
But at the last moment, he changed this punch to the hook and threw it precisely into the lateral part of the opponent’s chin. Corbett executed this punch very efficiently, using the angle of his fist by the punch.
This is a straight right-hand punch to the heart area, thrown from top to bottom in a straightforward downward way. This straight right-hand punch became famous because of the legendary Jack Dempsey. He used it to defeat such boxers as Jess Willard, Louis Firpo, and Georges Carpentier.
Descending this punch was named by Dempsey himself because he delivered it from top to bottom in a straight downward way. According to Dempsey, he used this punch when he could not reach his opponent with a clean hook.
He crouched, looking for an opportunity to deliver this punch, slowly moving closer to his opponent. When the opportunity appeared, he delivered the punch with a step forward of his left leg and a strong turn of his body, putting all the weight of his body into the punch.
Nelson’s Left Half Scissors Hook
Just a quick side punch that Battling Nelson liked to use. This punch is delivered from above to the liver. It is never expected and is so painful that it almost paralyzes the opponent. When executing this punch on the way out of the clinch, the left hand is usually taken out from under the opponent’s right hand. Exactly at this moment, it is time to throw a half-scissors hook.
Instead of hitting with knuckles, make a short punch with the thumb and forefinger from above to the liver. To test this punch on yourself, ask a friend to hit you lightly below the right armpit and slightly forward. Even more exactly, you have to hit the two lower ribs. A light punch on this point will cause pain down your spine.
An inside uppercut is a counterpunch delivered from underneath the opponent’s hands. Inside Uppercut is a punch to the hands of the opponent from below with the fist turned palm up. The boxer puts all his power into the punching area. It is lowered a little bit and pulled back.
Then it cuts his opponent’s hands sharply from underneath. In other words, the punch goes between the gloves of the opponent right to his head. When the executed inside uppercut reaches the target, it becomes difficult for the opponent to keep his balance.
It is usually followed by a series of strong punches, after which the opponent often falls to the floor. Not every boxer can continue to fight after that. For example, one of the best boxers in history, the 1964 Olympic champion and multiple world champion Joe Frazier used this punch.
He won many fights using an inside uppercut, after which his opponents lost their balance and were in a very dangerous position.
“Tour De Valse” Punch
A complex and tricky but highly effective technique. It came to boxing with the french boxer Georges Carpentier (acrobat in the past). The punch required exceptional agility skills. Probably that is why it was good only for Georges, who was familiar with flexibility and balance exercises.
The others at that time were not able to do it. Carpentier made a deceptive move with his left hand and moved backward, causing his opponent to go forward. Then with the right hand, he pushed him to the left shoulder. At the same time, he stepped with the right foot to the right, thus being behind his opponent.
Next, it was a spectacular situation. When his opponent turned to face him, he received a powerful hook to the head. The “tour de valse” is quite similar to the technical “circular” defense element. It is one of Vasyl Lomachenko’s favorite tricks.
A series of fast-followed jabs to open the opponent’s defense (“postman’s knock on the door”). Afterward, a powerful right jab (” delivery of mail”). This name was given to a straight punch to the head because of its original execution technique.
The direct right punch in this technique is followed by a series of quickly followed jabs to open the opponent’s defense. The name jab refers to the letter carrier knocking on the door to “open it” and deliver the “mail.”
The best example of this punch was Gene Tenney (undisputed world champion).
First, he used to jab with his left hand at the head from a long distance. Gradually, he got closer to his opponent and punched directly with his right to the head after being sure that his punch would reach the target.
A stopping punch is a counter punch delivered simultaneously as the first moment of the opponent’s attack (the lead punch) or ahead of it. Direct punches to the head serve as stopping punches. The most used stopping punch is a straight left punch to the head, which is used in all kinds of opponent attacks.
The stopping punch aimed to destroy the opponent’s attack. It must be delivered with power and aggression. If stopping is successful, the opponent will be confused for a while. This moment can be successfully used for a counterattack. Gene Tunney used such a technique in 1926 in his first fight against Jack Dempsey.
When Dempsey tried to attack him, Tunney threw a sharp left punch to the head. After that, he attacked him directly with a one-two combination. With this technique, Tunney avoided close-distance situations. He fought in the long distance, in which he had an advantage over Dempsey.
A double navy punch is a series of two quick successive hooks. The first is directed with the right hand to the head and is followed by a left hook to the body. The famous American coach Spike Webb, training the boxing team of the US Naval Academy in 1920, noticed the excellent efficiency in the execution of this technique by the sailors.
As a result, it is called a double “navy” punch. Before executing these punches, the opponent’s attention is first diverted by various feints. Then a short right hook was delivered to the head with a body twist and without moving the legs. This body turn is also a preparation for the next left hook.
It also works as a feint for the opponent. It causes the opponent to raise his arms to protect his head and thus leave his body open for a strong left hook.
Rocky Marciano’s Phantom Punch
He is the first heavyweight champion with the title, and he has never been defeated in the professional ring in his 49 fights. Of course, such a legendary fighter has his signature punch. Rocky performed it in the following way: Looking his opponent in the face, he would get close to him with his front foot, heel to toe.
He would shift his gaze to his body. Then he squatted low, dropping his fist to his right thigh as if to punch his opponent in the body. Then his legs were sharply straightened, and his right arm was thrown to his opponent’s head in a circular motion. In the final step of the punch, the fist turns out horizontally.
The punch is executed at the moment when the opponent comes forward on you. The check hook is a very dangerous punch as it is a defensive punch with an escape from the attack line. It is so dangerous because it is used when the opponent attacks and thereby opens his defense.
This punch uses the effect of surprise when the opponent’s body is not focused on the defense. Thus there is a very high probability of knocking out the enemy.
Back Step Hook
As you can already understand from the name of this punch, it is used at the moment when the opponent moves to close the distance. And when that happens, the fighter must take a step back or jump back with a counter-attack hook. In simple words, this punch is executed at the moment when the distance between the fighters is broken, on the step back.
Pull Back Hook
A Pull-back hook is executed when a boxer defends himself and wants to attack his opponent simultaneously. The punch is delivered from a position where the body is slightly leaned forward, and the legs are slightly bent on the knees.
When using it, it is essential to give impulse to the legs and twist, shifting the body weight from one leg to the other. Remember not to lean too far forward or lean too much to the back.
This punch is also called the Shovel hook. The punch is something between a classic hook and an uppercut. Its trajectory is from your liver to your opponent’s left shoulder. Usually, the shovel hook is delivered with the leading hand. Its moves at an angle and is aimed at the opponent’s chin or the solar plexus.
This is a very dangerous punch. It can be an excellent weapon against constantly moving opponents who are not so easy to catch with regular punches.
Leaping Lead Hook
It’s a side punch on a jump. It is the jump that gives the punch extra power. By doing it, it is important to have excellent order to keep a fighting stance. To successfully execute a jump-leading hook, you must be fast, accurate, and have good timing and footwork.
Your opponent must be out of range, and you can push off with your front foot to jump up and throw the hook simultaneously. This is a risky move because if you miss, you can instead jump right into a counterpunch.
A “hatchet punch” is a chopping punch. By doing it, the punching arm is bent at 90-degree angles and pressed tightly against the body. The punch is made with a twisting motion. In this case, the thumb looks up, and the punching surface is the knuckles of the little finger, ring finger, and middle finger.
The main thing in the punch is the correct position of the hand and a sharp body twist. This is because this is what makes it possible to make not sticking but a chopping movement. It can be quite effective in breaking the opponent’s defense or in delivering punches to the already opened liver or stomach.
After a series to the body, a punch is thrown into the opponent’s face. The punch is especially powerful and effective with the change of attack levels. It is usually used at a close distance. Do not try to reach the opponent from a long distance; it is better to do it from a medium distance. Joe Louis used to use this technique in his fights.
I hope this article was helpful for you, and you can now use some of these punches in your boxing technique. Good luck in boxing!