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Unboxing Boxing: A Systematic Approach into Boxing & Its Origin Part 2

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Hook, Cross, Slugger, Southpaw and many more. These are terms commonly thrown out by boxing fanatics and to casual spectators or even boxing practitioner, those terms often confuse us more than anything else(me included!)

In the previous post, we looked at the history of Boxing and how the sport has come a long way on how it was governed. Check out our previous post if you have not, to learn about the history of the sport and the rules change along the way. ( In today’s post, we will be “unboxing” various boxing styles, stance so that you can not only know about them but also utilize them in the ring to knock your opponent down and out.

Boxers are typically defined and classified by 4 primary style in boxing namely Swarmer ,Out-Boxer, Slugger and Boxer-Puncher. It is however worth noting that it is not uncommon for a fighter to change their style over a period or when facing certain opponents.

The Swarmer – Getting close to close out matches.

Swarmers are classified as boxers who tries to overwhelm opponents by applying constant pressure and staying aggressive. Swarmers typically possess good head movement to get inside and negate their opponent’s superior reach. Once inside, swarmers unleash a flurry of punches(flashbacks of IP man anybody?) and uppercuts to unnerve and overwhelm their opponent. They also possess a good chin as this particular style requires them to get hit a couple of times before they can get inside where they are most effective. Swarmers are usually boxers who are shorter or have a shorter reach and thus need to get it close to be able to attack opponents. Examples of Swarmers are Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano, Henry Armstrong and Joe Frazier

Some Of the Best Swarmer Of All Time

  • Mike Tyson

  • Rocky Marciano

  • Henry Armstrong

  • Joe Frazier

The Out-Boxer - Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee

The out-boxer or commonly referred to as just boxer is the opposite of a swarmer. The out-boxer seeks to maintain a gap from their opponent and fight with faster, longer range punches. Out-boxers are known for being extremely quick on their feet, which often makes up for a lack of power. They are masters of both their defense and offense. They generally fight from the outside - come in to hit - and then back off again. Since they rely on the weaker jabs and straights (as opposed to hooks and uppercuts), they tend to win by points decisions rather than by knockout, although some out-boxers can be even aggressive and effective punchers. Muhammad Ali for example can be classified as a “out-boxer” as he is extremely quick on his feet and often can be seen easily dodging his opponent attacks.

Some Of the Best Out-Boxer Of All Time

  • Muhammad Ali

  • Tommy Hearns

  • Floyd Mayweather Jr

  • Benny Leonard

Slugger - Hitting Hard is an art.

If the out-boxer represents everything elegant about boxing, the slugger embodies everything brutal about the sport. Many sluggers tend to lack finesse in the ring, but make up for it in raw power, often able to knock almost any opponent out with a single punch. Sluggers usually have good chins and aren't afraid to take a few hits. They must because they are generally bigger and slower (not that you can't be big and fast). They throw fewer punches, but the ones they land are devastating. However, Sluggers often throw predictable punching patterns (single punches with obvious leads) which can leave them open for counterpunching. For casual fans, these are the matches they love to watch as it usually involves someone lying on the mat. Fun fact, the world record for the hardest punch is held by Francis Ngannou(not one punch man, unfortunately), a Cameroonian Mixed Martial Arts fighter who in 2017 recorded the hardest punch in the world, clocking at 129,161 units which is equivalent to the horsepower of a small family car.

Some Of the Best Slugger Of All Time

  • George Foreman

  • Vitali Klitschko

  • Sonny Liston

  • Bob Fitzsimmons

  • Saitama (When he’s serious)

Boxer-Puncher – Jack of all trade, master of none

The boxer-puncher is one possesses many of the qualities of the out-boxer: hand speed, often an outstanding jab combination, and/or counter-punching skills, better defense and accuracy than a slugger, while possessing slugger-type power. In general however, the boxer-puncher lacks the mobility and defensive expertise of the pure boxer. Boxer-punchers usually do well against out-boxers, especially if they can match their speed and mobility. They also tend to match up well against swarmers, because the extra power often discourages the swarmer's aggression. Their only downfall are the big sluggers because once again, it only takes one punch and the lights are out. The versatility however of the boxer-puncher makes them the worst matchup for their opponents as they can capitalize on all the weaknesses of the other styles.

Some Of the Best Boxer-Puncher Of All Time

  • Sugar Ray Robinson

  • Joe Louis

  • Joe Gans

  • Alex Arguello

Counter-Puncher - Defense is the best attack.

Sun Tzu’s book, “Art Of War” famously said this. “Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.” And this quote rings true for counter-puncher. Counter-puncher are the master of counter-attacking and they often do not be the aggressors, instead they wait for their opponents to make a mistake before pouncing on it. They use their well-rounded defensive skills to avoid or block shots in order immediately to place well-timed punches on opponents who have lost their guard. Boxers who use this style must have good reflexes, intelligence, punch accuracy and better-than-average hand speed. If one has bad reflexes or is not quick enough, it can lead to severe damage for them.

Some Of the Best Counter-Puncher Of All Time

  • Mike Tyson

  • Floyd Mayweather Jr

  • Bernard Hopkins

  • Juan Manuel Marquez

Southpaw - No “right” way to punch

A southpaw fights with a left‐handed fighting stance as opposed to an orthodox fighter who fights right‐handed. Orthodox fighters lead and jab from their left side, and southpaw fighters will jab and lead from their right side. Orthodox fighters hook more with their left and cross more with their right, and vice versa for southpaw fighters. Left-handed boxers are usually taught to fight in a southpaw stance, but right-handed fighters can also fight in the southpaw stance for many reasons such as tricking the opponent into a false sense of safety. Fighting in a southpaw stance is believed to give the fighter a strategic advantage because of the tactical and cognitive difficulties of coping with a fighter who moves in a mirror-reverse of the norm.

Some Of the Best Southpaw Of All Time

  • Manny Pacquiao

  • Pernal Whitaker

  • Marvin Hagler

  • Hector Camacho

We looked through every fighting style in boxing and we can conclude that no boxer is limited or constricted in any way to one style of fighting. In fact, boxers need and will continue to change up their fighting style either to keep their opponent guessing or to have the best matchup possible against them. In the next part of this series, we will be exploring and unboxing the different techniques in boxing such as jab, hook and many more and you would not want to miss the chance to pick those moves up! Check us out at The Jungle MMA to learn more about the different martial arts we offer! So, what are you waiting for? Book our classes now through Glofox!

Signing Out,


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