BBC Sport boxing

Related BBC sites

Guide to boxing

Clinton Woods' punching guide



The jab is the most basic but also the most important of all punches.

It is more than likely it will be the first punch any coach would teach a beginner.

Most of the great champions, past and present have relied heavily on the jab.

It is the setting-up punch and the point scorer and helps you control a fight.

It can be used as a form of attack or defence.

It is very useful for keeping your opponent at bay to set up bigger blows.

Aim for the point of your opponent's chin with the back knuckles.

Rotate your arm so that the punch lands with your thumb making a small clockwise turn.

Slide your left foot forward before impact and snap your hand back along the same path as the delivery.

Hold your other hand, the guarding hand, high to pick off any counter punches.

Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali had great jabs.



This is another punch, like the hook, which can catch your opponent by surprise.

Because it comes up and underneath his jaw or body he can't see it coming.

The uppercut can be delivered with the left or right hand.

At it's best it can look very dramatic and bring your opponent crashing to the canvas.

The only snag is once you've thrown an uppercut you do leave yourself open to counterattack.

To make a right uppercut, transfer your weight onto your right foot and twist your shoulders and hips hard to the left, bringing your right forearm up into the target.

Try not to lean back as you do this or you will be dangerously off balance.



It is quite tricky to learn the hook because you have to arch and turn your body into the punch.

But if done properly it is very effective because it appears out of your opponent's vision.

This means he can't see it coming.

From the basic stance twist your body sharply to the left at the waist, shifting your weight onto your right foot.

Bring your left elbow up, keeping the wrist rigid with the arm.

Pull the fist round into your opponent's side..

Hooks can also be made with the left arm.

Evander Holyfield had a good left hook in his prime.

Central American boxers love using the left hook punch to the body.


Straight right & left

This is the most powerful and damaging punch.

But it is tiring and should be used sparingly.

It may leave you open to counterattack if you miss it or if it is successfully blocked.

Straight right

It is a counter-blow or a follow-up punch after the target has been opened up with the left jab.

Drive off your back foot and pivot your hips and shoulders into the punch.

Straighten your right arm so that it is at full stretch just as the blow impacts.

If there is room, you can also lean your bodyweight forward onto your left foot.

Keep your left hand in a guarding position.

Straight left

This is the best way to force an opponent to keep their distance.

From the basic stance simply straighten your left arm and twist your hips and shoulders into the punch.

Your fist will automatically twist so the knuckles are up and the palm downwards just before impact.

If you have room, slide your left foot forward for the blow.

But remember to quickly bring up your right foot to recover your balance.

see also
Find a boxing club
25 Apr 08 |  Olympics

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.