Boxing fundamentals – what punches exist in boxing?

Table of contents

What punches exist in boxing?

Boxing have four punches overall – jab, hook, cross and uppercut.


The jab is a straight front hand punch and is the most frequently used punch in boxing, the jab have many roles which are the follow:

  1. starting a combination usually starts with the jab.
  2. score points by throwing and landing jabs.
  3. stopping the opponent from getting into close range.
  4. measure the distance between the boxer and his opponent for a long cross punch.
  5. keeping the distance between the boxer and his opponent, forcing the opponent stay on the ‘outside’.
  6. ‘stealing’ air from your opponent by throwing jab to the body.

As noted, the jab is frequently the opening punch for a combination but also a good punch to feint. feinting the jab can make an opponent move while a boxer is at a safe range.

boxer in blue lands a jab on the red boxer
long jab landing on the opponent’s chin
What is a good jab?

A boxer must stand in front of a mirror and view himself throwing the jab. A good jab would be with a fully stretched front hand, the chin should be down and between the front hand shoulder and rear hand fist.

how to practice on a jab?

Practice makes perfect, throw the jab on a heavy bag, make sure you use the full length of your front arm and spin your body and legs for maximum power in the jab. You can also ask your coach to hold the mitts for you to practice the jab.


Cross is thrown with the rear hand straight and is typically a power punch, it is thrown fast and viciously and is intended to hurt the opponent.

The cross roles are the following:

  1. make the opponent respect the boxer power.
  2. power punch from a distance, providing good exit from punch range.
  3. provide a boxer another variation to attack from a distance.
how to improve the cross?

Practicing the cross on the heavy bag and mitts would improve the boxer overall cross. It is also a good practice to view the cross with a correct stance in front of the mirror.

how to use the cross effectively?

To use it effectively, a good boxer would measure the distance between himself and the object with a jab and will only throw a cross if in range.


The hook is a punch thrown to the sides of the opponent and is used to get behind the opponent’s guard, it is usually used as a part of a combination or as a starting combination punch. A hook does not have to hit clean on an opponent to cause damage and is often used in medium and close-range distances.

The hook roles are the following:

  1. passing the opponent guard.
  2. opening punch or a part of a punching combination.
  3. moving the opponent with powerful hook.
How to improve the hook?

Practicing on the heavy bag and on a drum mitt with a boxing trainer will improve a boxer hook. It is also recommended to watch videos about professional boxers throw hooks and try to imitate the same technique.

How to use the hook effectively?

The hook should be used in medium and close ranges, usually as a part of a combination or as a start of a combination punch.


“It’s not the hardest punch that always knocks you out, it’s the one that you don’t see coming”

Uppercut is a punch thrown from beneath and is intended to be a sneaky but ferocious punch, providing a way to go through the opponent guard and surprise him.

How to use the uppercut effectively?

The uppercut should be used from medium-close ranges, as a part of combinations or as a single punch. A good uppercut could lead to a ferocious knockout and is one of the most vicious punches in boxing if thrown correctly.

What is the role of the uppercut punch?

The uppercut roles are the following:

  1. it is a key punch in close range fights.
  2. can knockout an opponent if thrown correctly.
  3. a good punch to throw in close fight combinations.
  4. a punch that can easily be overlooked and sneaked, making this punch very dangerous.
What boxers known for their uppercuts?

Boxers like Mike “Iron” Tyson, Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Lennox “The Lion” Lewis. It is recommended watching their uppercut knockouts and training.

How to improve the uppercut punch?

practicing on an uppercut heavy bag and watching videos of professional boxers throwing uppercuts is a good start. A more advanced boxer would work on how to combine the uppercut in different combinations and how to use it in fights by applying everything he learned in sparring.

What is the best punch in boxing?

There is no one single punch that is the best in boxing, every punch is a different tool in the toolbox. Every boxer should constantly practice all punches even the best boxers practice all the punches and learn constantly, there is no perfect in boxing and there will never be.


All four punches in boxing are different and unique. Each meant to be used in different situation in a fight, every boxer should practice them all the time, work on each individual punch as sole as well as in combinations to improve his power and overall boxing skillset.

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