What basic guards exist in boxing?

The basic guards exist

In boxing there are three basic forms of guard:

High guard: The hands are positioned in the front sides of the head (temple), and the fists are in height with the eyes, leaving the body exposed, overall defending the head and face. This type of defense is usually used when fighting at long range.

The person on the right using a high guard

Medium Guard: The hands are positioned in the middle of the body, and the fists are covering enough of the chin, overall defending both the body and the chin. This type of defense is the most casual type of defense in boxing and is used most often.

Medium guard

Low guard: The hands are positioned in the lower part of the body, protecting the body mostly. This type of defense is usually used when not within range or in close clinch.

Switching to High guard: a high guard is meant to protect the head, leaving the body entirely exposed thus switching should only be done in unique situations, for example, long-range fighting.

From high guard to medium guard: Usually switching between high guard to medium guard will be needed when stepping from long-range fighting to medium or close-range fighting. 

From medium guard to low guard: Switching from medium guard to low guard is needed when protecting the body is in top priority, for example in situations such as close-range fighting, clinching or other.

Switching to low guard: Low guard defense is meant to defend the body entirely leaving the head exposed and thus this defense is not recommended to be used other than when in close-range clinch or when not within range.

Extra special guard – the Philly shell

This guard involves holding one hand near the temple and the other hand covering the body. This guard is effective at blocking punches to the body, and the head and allows counterpunching effectively. This guard requires high technical skill, control in the ring, and knowledge about when to switch guards in each situation. 

The most known boxer to master this guard is Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

The “Philly shell”


In boxing, there are different situations to adjust to and thus it is a must to know when and how to switch between each type of guard. Each defense is meant for a certain situation in the ring, the fighter should learn how to switch between them properly to improve his defense and become a better fighter.

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