Boxing Punch Types Explained

Boxers use the following four basic punching types (descriptions base on the presumption that the boxer is right-handed and uses his right hand as the lead hand and his left hand as the rear hand):




It is a fast and straight punch. It is thrown with the lead hand from the defensive position and involves a clockwise rotation of the torso. Rear hand is held at the face in the guard position. When the boxer makes a contact, he immediately pulls the lead hand back into a guard position. The jab is the most popular and most commonly used boxing punch because it does not give the opponent enough room to throw a counter punch. But due to the fact that it has a relatively weak impact, it is typically used to “measure” the distance, test the opponent’s defence or to make room for more forceful punches although some boxers have developed quite strong jabs. The punch may be added a half-step to generate more force.





It refers to a strong, straight punch which is thrown with the rear rather than the lead hand. This type of boxing punch is thrown from the guard position by crossing the body and hitting the opponent in a straight line. While the rear hand is thrown forward, the lead hand is retracted into the guard position in order to prevent the opponent from throwing a counter punch. For more strength, the torso typically rotates counter-clockwise. At the same time, the weight of the foot moves from the lead to the rear foot. The combination of the weight transfer and rotation give this boxing punch a major strength, especially if it is added a half-step. After the contact is made, the hand is immediately retracted into the guard position. The cross is often thrown as a counter response to a jab but it can also be used after a jab or to set the hook.




This type of boxing punch refers to a semi-circular punch which is thrown with the lead hand and targets the side of the opponent’s head. It is performed by drawing the elbow horizontally to the fist and clockwise rotation of the torso. From this position, the opponent is hit in a clockwise arc from the side. The rear hand remains in the guard position. The hook is typically aimed at the side of the opponent’s head but it can also be used to hit the side of the opponent’s body which, however, is known as the rip. It is a powerful punch which, if strong enough, can knock out the opponent.




This punch is thrown vertically with the rear hand from the guard position. It is accompanied by the torso shifting to the right and bending of the knees so that the rear hand is positioned below the opponent’s chin in order to allow an upward punch to the opponent’s chin. During the punch, the knees are pushed upwards, while the torso rotates counter-clockwise. This punch is used to throw the opponent out of balance and make room for more powerful punches.