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A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand from the guard position. The jab is accompanied by a small, clockwise rotation of the torso and hips, while the fist rotates 90 degrees, becoming horizontal upon impact. As the punch reaches full extension, the lead shoulder can be brought up to guard the chin. The rear hand remains next to the face to guard the jaw. After making contact with the target, the lead hand is retracted quickly to resume a guard position in front of the face. The jab is recognized as the most important punch in a boxers arsenal because it provides a fair amount of its own cover and it leaves the least amount of space for a counter punch from the opponent. It has the longest reach of any punch and does not require commitment or large weight transfers. Due to its relatively weak power, the jab is often used as a tool to gauge distances, probe an opponents defenses, harass an opponent, and set up heavier, more powerful punches. A halfstep may be added, moving the entire body into the punch, for additional power. Some notable boxers who have been able to develop relative power in their jabs and use it to punish or wear down their opponents to some effect include Larry Holmes and Wladimir Klitschko.
A powerful, straight punch thrown with the rear hand. From the guard position, the rear hand is thrown from the chin, crossing the body and traveling towards the target in a straight line. The rear shoulder is thrust forward and finishes just touching the outside of the chin. At the same time, the lead hand is retracted and tucked against the face to protect the inside of the chin. For additional power, the torso and hips are rotated counterclockwise as the cross is thrown. A measure of an ideally extended cross is that the shoulder of the striking arm, the knee of the front leg and the ball of the front foot are on the same vertical plane.Weight is also transferred from the rear foot to the lead foot, resulting in the rear heel turning outwards as it acts as a fulcrum for the transfer of weight. Body rotation and the sudden weight transfer is what gives the cross its power. Like the jab, a halfstep forward may be added. After the cross is thrown, the hand is retracted quickly and the guard position resumed. It can be used to counter punch a jab, aiming for the opponents head (or a counter to a cross aimed at the body) or to set up a hook. The cross is also called a straight or right, especially if it does not cross the opponents outstretched jab.
A semicircular punch thrown with the lead hand to the side of the opponents head. From the guard position, the elbow is drawn back with a horizontal fist (knuckles pointing forward) and the elbow bent. The rear hand is tucked firmly against the jaw to protect the chin. The torso and hips are rotated clockwise, propelling the fist through a tight, clockwise arc across the front of the body and connecting with the target. At the same time, the lead foot pivots clockwise, turning the left heel outwards. Upon contact, the hooks circular path ends abruptly and the lead hand is pulled quickly back into the guard position. A hook may also target the lower body and this technique is sometimes called the rip to distinguish it from the conventional hook to the head. The hook may also be thrown with the rear hand. Notable left hookers include Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson.
A vertical, rising punch thrown with the rear hand. From the guard position, the torso shifts slightly to the right, the rear hand drops below the level of the opponents chest and the knees are bent slightly. From this position, the rear hand is thrust upwards in a rising arc towards the opponents chin or torso.At the same time, the knees push upwards quickly and the torso and hips rotate anticlockwise and the rear heel turns outward, mimicking the body movement of the cross. The strategic utility of the uppercut depends on its ability to lift the opponents body, setting it offbalance for successive attacks. The right uppercut followed by a left hook is a deadly combination employing the uppercut to lift the opponents chin into a vulnerable position, then the hook to knock the opponent out.
Slipping rotates the body slightly so that an incoming punch passes harmlessly next to the head. As the opponents punch arrives, the boxer sharply rotates the hips and shoulders. This turns the chin sideways and allows the punch to slip past. Muhammad Ali was famous for extremely fast and close slips, as was an early Mike Tyson.
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