Living with the philosophy “the best defense in the better offense” in boxing will get you knocked out faster than you can say ‘boxing’. Strengthening your boxing defense is the most important step you will take in your boxing journey.
When you go against elite level boxers, you can’t survive by just throwing punches.
You have to know how to stop, avoid or deflect punches. In a series of upcoming posts, we will explain how you can pull the right moves off at the right time.
We will begin this vast topic by talking about different levels of boxing defense.
Physical Boxing Defense
The first level of boxing defense starts with the physical defense.
This is where you have to use your hands, and elbows to protect your body and face from incoming blows.
This is why every trainer and boxing coach tells their trainees to keep their hands up.
At this level, you don’t require any extraordinary skills or moves. You just need to keep your hands in place and shield yourself.
No matter what type of opponent you are facing, you can defend against him/her by creating an arm shield.
But your view is compromised, as you are hiding behind your hands the whole time. And more importantly, you are not in a very good position to throw a counter.
- Physical defense can be learned by having your sparring partner throw punches at you when you are in your defensive stance.
- The punches have to be slow at first but you have to learn how to take punches and not fall over. Eventually, the training hits have to become harder.
Counter Boxing Defense
This level of defense isn’t you countering your opponent, it is learning how your opponent will counter your punches and how you can counter-counter the punch coming at you. Here are the basic rules for this;
When throwing a jab, a traditional opponent will likely counter it with an overhand punch.
An overhand punch will be countered with a hook and so on…
This knowledge will help you become better at defense because you will know exactly what might be coming your way when you throw punches. You will react quicker and be able to counter in a better way.
However, if your opponent is a bit tricky and uses feints and fakes then you will be in trouble.
You will be right where your opponent wants you if you fall for the feints.
This is why you need to have the third level of defense in place as well.
- Spar with beginner boxers. They tend to throw erratic unexpected combos and are perfect for this type of training.
- You can also have your trainer throw hits when you are working with the focus mitts.
Awareness Boxing Defense
Ever wonder how Floyd Mayweather Jr. avoids almost all punches thrown at him?
It’s because he is able to read his opponent and is hyper-aware when he is inside the ring.
Adding this level of defense to your overall defensive technique will elevate your skills to a new level.
You will need to learn techniques like bobbing and weaving so you can apply them when you are on this level of the defense.
Fair warning though, this will be more physically and mentally tiring because you have to alert and moving the whole time.
But you will be able to evade any attack that your opponent can throw at you.
- Work on your footwork.
- Workout with double-end bag.
- When you are training with focus mitts, you should ask your trainer to throw in surprise punches once in a while.
- Pick sparring partners with varied fighting styles.
Study different aspects of these boxing defense levels and soon you will be able to go toe to toe with elite boxers, defensively at least.
We will be back with some more defensive techniques that you can incorporate into these levels.