Different Types of Boxing Stances, Punches, & Techniques
An effective boxing stance and strong technique are essential fundamentals for everyone involved in the sport, regardless of their skill level. And while you'll likely drift to a favorite with experience—one that allows you to move freely, maintain clear visibility, and strike hard—it's always beneficial to brush up on the basics or find new things to try adding to your style and techniques.
So take out your gloves as we get into some of the different boxing stances and types of boxing styles that you can utilize. Read on to learn more about them, how they can lead to different types of punches, and, ultimately, improve your performance in the ring.
Common Body Positioning
Starting with an overview of body positioning, it's important to remember that no one stance suits all boxers. Instead, an individual fighter settles on one that feels natural, maximizes strengths, and minimizes weaknesses.
In other words, what worked for Muhammad Ali may not work for you.
Still, somebody's positioning fundamentals, like your foot placement, are relatively consistent across all stances.
Foot Placement and Lower Body
While you’re not required to maintain one type of stance in this martial art, your foot placement arguably comes the closest to having defined right and wrong ways to execute. This is because boxing footwork determines your:
- Punching effectiveness
- Ability to pivot
The bottom line is proper foot placement determines your personal boxing style’s effectiveness from the ground up. Keeping yourself primed for quick movement and core rotation is crucial, which bears similarities to a spring under compression. If it's already compressed, it's ready to extend and exert force rapidly. But if the spring is fully extended already, it takes additional time first to compress it.
To get started, try out these tips:
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, then take the foot opposite your dominant hand and move it forward about a half step. Your weight should feel balanced.
- Keep your knees slightly bent for better balance.
- Your front foot can be more planted to help transfer power to your punches but lift your back heel off the ground.
Many punches require throwing your hips behind them and twisting your core, which involves pivoting on your feet. If you let your weight settle on your heels instead, it will delay your movements or prevent effective pivoting because you'll need to transfer your weight into position first every time.
This is the proper boxing stance, from which every style is modified.
Upper Body and Arms
With your upper body, positioning should stay loose and relaxed. Here are key principles for maximizing the effectiveness of your upper body:
- Tuck your elbows to protect your body.
- Keep your lead hand in front of your body. This will allow you to block incoming punches.
- Position your rear glove in front of your chin and cheekbone. Make sure this glove doesn’t impair your visibility.
- Tuck your chin into your chest. You can clench your jaw if this helps you maintain your position.
Orthodox Boxing Stance
Of the different boxing stances, the orthodox boxing stance is a common starting point for most beginners. Utilized by fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Tyson Fury, this stance occurs when a fighter stands with their left foot out front with their right side positioned behind. The left arm is the jab hand, while the right arm serves to protect the body. This boxing style suits most right-handed fighters.
Because the right hand is held back to deploy powerful straight punches, the orthodox stance allows fighters to utilize a wide variety of punch combinations to land hits on opponents. For example, one of the most effective punches from this stance is the cross, which lands with full power on the opponent’s chin. Additionally, since orthodox fighters are more popular, it’s easy to learn the basics and identify how to attack and defend yourself.
Southpaw Boxing Stance
The southpaw stance is most commonly used by left-handed boxers. It basically mirrors the image of a boxer who uses the orthodox stance. As a result, it can create all kinds of problems for an orthodox fighter. One famous southpaw fighter is world champion Manny Pacquiao, who harnessed this technique on his way to 12 major world titles.
Southpaw fighters can leverage the same variety of punches that orthodox fighters can; they’re just performed using the opposite hand.
The crouch stance—favored by Mike Tyson—utilizes a constantly crouching position to surprise and lunge at an upright fighter. Instead of standing up straight, the fighter hunches over. Additional elements to this stance include:
- Keeping your feet more firmly on the ground.
- Both fists are raised high to better protect the face.
Who should utilize the crouching stance? Mainly shorter boxers. Adopting a crouching stance will allow you to keep your head low, avoiding otherwise-devastating blows if you're smaller in stature.
Finally, the wide stance is an effective position for dodging blows and weaving in and out, rather than forward and back, more quickly. It was practiced by fighters including David Haye and Ken Norton and is often seen in use by those with martial arts backgrounds, like Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
Using a feet-apart approach can help you deliver more intense hits. The wide stance can be adapted by right and left-handed boxers alike and will allow you to get into position for a powerful strike.
However, one downside to this fighting stance is that it sacrifices forward and backward mobility along with some balance. For this reason, it's often practiced by more advanced boxers who can more easily switch stances without compromising their effectiveness.
Become a Better Boxer with Hayabusa
Looking for how to get faster punches, dance like Naseem Hamed, and knock out your opponents? Your better boxing technique begins with a lethal, balanced fighting stance. Experimenting with different stances will make you more comfortable in the ring, allowing you to better anticipate your opponent’s moves, and help you find your unique style.
But boxing is more than good footwork and fast jabs; you’ll also need great boxing gloves and gear. At Hayabusa, we consider all the technical elements, like wrist support and knuckle padding, to create incredible products that provide proper fit and protection.
Head to our site to learn about our technical approach to sports equipment and get familiar with our range of gloves today.
MixedMartialArts.Life. Boxing Footwork | 5 Reasons Why It’s Important To Learn About it First.
Quartz. What to look for during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
Evolve Daily. 3 Of The Most Effective Knockout Punches In Boxing.