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Guide to boxing

Clinton Woods' guide to outfighting and infighting


Outfighting is the term used to describe the techniques adopted by boxers fighting at a distance to each other.

These include arm's-length punches and nimble footwork.

Skilful boxers work hard on developing their outfighting techniques because it's the best way to tire out and attack an opponent.

Keeping your distance also lessens the opportunities for your opponent to counter-attack.


Infighting is the term used to describe boxing at close range.

It makes greater demands on a boxer's strength and stamina than the more skilful techniques of outfighting.

This is because it inevitably involves receiving blows as well as giving them.

If your opponent has a longer reach it is essential to move in close where a wide range of short hooks and uppercuts can be used to cancel out the reach advantage.

Infighting is an important part of any serious bout and to be a competent boxer you must master it.

Getting in close

Getting in close

The best way to get in close to your opponent is to parry or sidestep an opposing jab.

Then you can move inside his extended left arm.

Keep your guard well up and crouch slightly as you move in.

Try to keep both of your opponent's arms outside of your own.

Also, try and trap your opponent in a corner or against the ropes.


Close range punches are not very powerful.

But they can be delivered in rapid succession and in a variety of combinations.

They can sap your opponent's strength and throw him onto the defensive.

Use short hooks and uppercuts.

Breaking away

Ideally you should be able to get in close to your opponent, deliver a quick succession of blows, and then move out to arm's length before suffering too much damage yourself.

To break away from an infighting situation, put your gloves on your opponent's arms and push yourself backwards.

This has the advantage of preventing him from delivering any punches as you move back.

Getting in close

Another method is to sidestep, letting your opponent's momentum carry him forwards.

Then turn him away from you with your right hand and push yourself away with your left.

You need to work hard in the gym on your footwork to become good at slipping a punch.


During infighting arms can get tangled up so that nobody can deliver a punch.

This can happen especially when the boxers are getting tired.

This is called a clinch.

When this happens, the referee will call 'break!' and both boxers must let go and take one pace backwards.

It is a foul to hit your opponent on the break.

see also
Find a boxing club
25 Apr 08 |  Olympics

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