What is the soviet boxing style?

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What is the soviet boxing style?

The soviet boxing technique style is all about keeping the distance between you and your opponent, keeping him on the outside while controlling the distance. Soviet style boxers avoid getting hit and always control the distance, they rely on footwork and they know the right moment to hit without getting hit back.

The soviet boxing style is also composed with another component which is high quality combinations. High quality combinations is the second most important component in the soviet boxing style.

The third important component of the soviet boxing style is the jab, the jab is the key to maintain the distance from the opponent. The jab is also forcing the opponent to focus on your front hand while a boxer is able to sneak a cross shot without the opponent noticing.

What famous boxers use the soviet boxing style?

The most famous professional boxers that use the soviet boxing style are Dmitry Bivol (beated one of the greatest boxers today Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by unanimous decision in may 2022), Oleksandr Usyk (Undisputed heavyweight champion), Sergey Kovalev and Wladimir Klitschko.

The most famous amateur boxers that used the soviet style were Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, Oleksandr Usyk, and Wladimir Klitschko, The most known amateur boxers to use the soviet boxing style today are the Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukrainian and Russian national boxing teams.

How do you practice the soviet boxing style?

To practice the soviet boxing style it is recommended to:

  1. Practice your distance on the heavy bag, making sure your arms are fully stretched on each punch you try on the bag, the jab, cross and hook.
  2. Practice your footwork, constantly move while working on the heavy bag and combine a footwork drills inside your boxing trainings.
  3. Practice your jab to perfection and constantly using the jab is key, a lot more than the other punches variations you throw.
  4. Practice high quality combinations while maintaining the distance. First practice on the heavy bag with straight punches, a three punch combinations would be great and make sure you always check that your arms are fully streched on each punch so you will maintain the full distance from yourself and throw the punch with a good power.
  5. Make sure you are applying everything you practiced in a real sparring match, remember the bag doesn’t hit back, doesn’t move and does not simulate a real fight, the closest thing to a real fight is sparring.

If you follow these practices and do them correctly overtime all of your shots should sound and feel like a whip, you should take advantage of your entire body momentum and arms length so that your punches would have a good power. A good example could be seen in Dimitry Bivol training on the heavy bag and mats.

Fully stretched jab, chin down and closed by the right hand.
Combinations that are used in the soviet boxing style

Usually the soviet style boxers would throw 1-2 and 1-2-3 combinations, combining jab-cross ,jab-cross-jab, jab-cross-hook and a jab-hook-jab after these combinations the boxers will generally make a step back and maintain the distance from the opponent.

There are also times when the boxers will throw more then three punches but that depends in many factors and they will usually stick to 1-2 and 1-2-3 combinations.

Who is the soviet boxing style good for?

The soviet boxing style is good for tall and long armed type of bodies, of course compared in their weight category.

But wait, if I am not tall, this technique is not for me?

Not exactly, The soviet boxing style is really good for practicing and getting a good grasp on your distance, taking full advantage of your body amplitude and punches power and improving your footwork. So it is also recommended to practice it even if you are not using this style overall.

How to counter the soviet boxing style?

Usually used by taller boxers, to counter the soviet boxing style a boxer must move at angles, use feints and footwork. The boxer must dodge the jab while paying attention for a cross in order to get closer to his opponent than take advantage and keep the distance close while using punching combinations in a close range distance.

While in close range, a boxer must maintain the close distance using his stance, body and foot to block the opponent from running and maintaining distance.


Boxing rely on experience, that’s not a secret, no matter if you are willing to use the soviet style or not, it is a style you have to try and practice, you will get a better understanding of your distance, It will improve your punches, footwork and overall skillset, you will know how to think and react to an opponent that uses the soviet boxing style and of course it is a style that proven itself with many great olympic boxers and champions throughout history.

Special thanks to Aiba Boxing for letting me use their photos.

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