What is the cuban boxing style?

credit on the photo in the title to “Harvey K” in here.

The Cuban boxing style is a very highly technical style, it involves a lot of footwork, pivots, leanings, dodging and slicking punches, a “hit and not get hit” style, and considered by many as the best style in amateur boxing.

Why it is called the Cuban boxing style?

It is called the Cuban boxing style because this style often used by Cuban national boxers and characterize them.

Why is the Cuban boxing style is so notorious?

There are many boxing styles but non of them has excelled as much as the Cuban boxing style in amateur boxing.
Often compared to “dancing” in the ring, Cuban boxing style has brought Cuban boxers to enormous achievements in amateur boxing.

Many say that the Cubans are the best amateur boxers in the world and this has made the Cuban boxing style even more famous.

Why does Cuban boxers only excelled in amateur boxing?

There is a particular reason for that, In Cuba, it was considered illegal to participate in a professional boxing match since 1962.

But that didn’t hold Cuban boxers, many of them tried defecting to other countries in pursuit of their professional boxing dreams. If failed, these boxers would’ve been thrown to jail for weeks.

That hasn’t been changed until recent, in April 2022 it is not considered illegal anymore to Cuban boxers to participate in professional boxing matches.

Today famous Cuban style boxers:
  • Julio Cesar La Cruz
  • Guillermo Rigondeaux
  • Arlen Lopez
  • Roniel Iglesias
  • Andy Cruz

and more.

The Cuban Julio La Cruz is known for his unique Cuban style, he often fights with hands down which increases the risk by exposing the chin. He is The most known boxer for that, he is a double Olympic gold champion and 5 times amateur world champion and is considered by many, the best Cuban amateur to master the Cuban boxing style.

Toronto 2015 Pan American Games
And legendary Cuban style boxers:
  • Teofilo Stevenson
  • Kid Tunero
  • Kid chocolate
  • Jose Napoles
  • Kid Gavilan
  • Luis Manuel Rodriguez

and more.

Key principles of the Cuban boxing style

Cuban-style boxers are known for their deep boxing foundation, they have mastered the fundamentals of boxing and apply the main skills of the style which are:

  • defense
  • distance
  • footwork
  • jab
Team Cuba training in Doha

Cuban style boxers putting their defense in the highest priority, as its one of the core principle in the style. They will always look to avoid punches and apply “hit and not get hit” strategy. Their defense involves leaning, ducking and slicking to avoid punches in a way that seems like a dance.

Cuban-style boxers have a great defense, which makes their opponent be very frustrated by not being able to land a punch. This makes the opponent do mistakes that are taken advantage by the Cuban-style boxers.


Maintaining distance is one of the strongest attributes of the Cuban style boxers, they move outside and inside punch range easily so that they will be able to hit without getting hit.

They will often work on long-range jabs and crosses on the heavy bag and mitts to improve distance maintaining and overall distance perception.


An essential skill for the Cuban style boxers is a good footwork. A good footwork lead their entire skillset and non of their skills can exist without it. Cuban boxers train their footwork first since the beginning of their boxing journey, leading to a good foundational footwork.

The Cuban boxers, rely on footwork to go ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of range, lean, pivot, duck, dodge and use gaps to dodge punches quickly which always make an incoming punch thrown at them look “close” to hit but that what they were train for since the beginning.

The elite Cuban boxers trains their footwork all the time, and many believe that without their footwork skill, They wouldn’t be where they at.


The main punch of the Cuban boxing style, the jab makes the Cuban style complete. It is a fundamental punch in the style but the most important one, helping the Cuban style boxer adjust and measure the distance from the opponent.

A good strong jab makes the Cuban style boxer an “all around” boxer, help them frustrate the opponent from getting in range as they will throw it as soon as their opponent trying to get close. Its the most thrown punch in every one of their fights, making it the leading and most important one.


The Cuban style boxing has brought many accomplishments and acknowledgments to the Cuban boxing, It is considered one of the highest quality boxing styles because of the skills needed to master it. Many opponents describe a match against a Cuban boxer as “fighting a ghost” since its hard to land a punch against them and finds it a very hard fight.

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