Boxing Defence Strategies


A good boxer must not only hit his opponent forcefully but he also must prevent as many opponent’s punches as possible. Several defence strategies and techniques are used to avoid the opponent’s punches. The most common ones include:

Slipping. This boxing defence strategy involves rotating the hips and shoulders to turn the chin to the side for the opponent’s punch pass next to the head. Slipping requires good reflexes and speed as well as an immediate counter attack or return to the upright position because it does not work against multiple punches. Slipping also leaves the body vulnerable to the opponent’s attack.

Bobbing and weaving. This manoeuvres involve bending of the knees and leaning the body either to the left or right side in order for the punch to pass above the head. When the punch has been avoided, the boxer returns to the upright position, finding himself either inside or outside the opponent’s extended arm.

Parrying and blocking. In order to prevent the opponent to hit the head or the body, the boxer can also use his hands, arms or shoulder to either deflect the punch (parrying) or take the punch (block). But just like slipping, parrying and blocking do not work for combination punches and do not protect the body.


Covering up. This strategy is similar to blocking and involves taking the punch. The boxer protects his head, chin and the body by holding the hands in front of the face and torso, and rotates the hips in order for the guard to intercept the incoming punches. This strategy, however, makes the boxer vulnerable to the punches from below.

Clinching. Officially banned by the boxing rules and sanctioned with deduct points in amateur boxing, clinching is seen quite often in professional boxing where it is highly unlikely to be sanctioned with deduct points. It is, however, quickly ended by the referee because it establishes a stalemate position. Clinching is performed when the distance between the competitors is too short to be able to throw effective punches. It involves grappling the opponent around his arms in order to prevent him from employing a punch.

Footwork. In addition to using the arms and body rotation to deflect or block the incoming punchers, all boxers also heavily rely on footwork to both attack and defend themselves from the opponent’s punches. Good footwork allows the boxer to move away and avoid the punch while keeping him in range to employ a counter punch. It is especially effective strategy against slower opponents, however, it poses a risk of throwing the boxer off balance if he fails to evade the punch.

Since none of the mentioned boxing defence strategies provides an ultimate protection against the opponent’s punches, a boxer typically always uses them in a combination with a counter attack. Without an immediate counter attack or return to the upright position, the boxer is vulnerable to potentially decisive strikes.