Nobody can win consistently by being a one-punch wonder. The easiest thing your opponent can do in boxing is to make you miss your punch. So, you need to throw your punches in combination if you want to be able to actually hit anyone who has more agility than an octogenarian.
What characteristics are shared by all the best boxing combinations?
It’s no good simply throwing some unrelated punches one after the other. Odds are, it won’t do you any good.
Instead, you need to construct your combinations out of punches that are related in some way. Without going into it in too much detail, I’ll just say that you should be able to shift your body weight naturally with each punch. Pay attention to the combinations I recommend and you’ll begin to see how each punch leads into the next with no wasted movement.
Since the jab is your most important punch, every combination that I recommend will start off naturally with a jab.
A list of good boxing combinations
Here are some classic boxing combos, in no particular order. I assume that you are an orthodox fighter — one who jabs with his left hand. If you’re a southpaw, simply reverse these combos.
Jab — Straight Right — Left Hook
This is the classic 1-2-3 combination. It is one of the most famous — and most popular — combinations in boxing.
You’ll get your range with the jab, then throw out the straight right to get him to cover up in front of his face. As you throw the straight right, you’re shifting in towards your opponent while shifting your weight onto your lead left foot. Then, you should be able to land the left hook to the side of his head because both his hands are still in front of his face.
It’s a mistake to try to land the left hook from the same distance that you can land the straight right. You need to be closer to land a proper left hook. Therefore, the right hand is just a set-up punch. It’s not thrown with knockout power; rather, it’s just there to get his hands out of position and to allow you to shift your weight in preparation for throwing the left hook.
Jab — Straight Right — Left Hook to Body — Left Hook to Head
Like the previous combination (the 1-2-3), this combo relies on getting your opponent’s hands up and in front of his face by peppering him with your straight right hand.
But this time, you go to the body first with your left hook.
In this case, the body shot isn’t a true left hook because you don’t really shift your weight from your front foot to your rear foot. It’s actually more of an upperhook which is a blend of an uppercut and a hook. That is, your weight remains on the lead leg like it does when you throw a lead-hand uppercut, but instead of punching straight up, you’re punching in more of a rounded, hooking motion. Some people refer to this punch as a dig, a shovel-hook, a bodyshot, a liver shot, or even a rip.
After the body shot, follow up with a true left hook to the head. Use full power and make sure to shift your weight and pivot. You can even step back a bit during this punch. The left hook is a good punch to end your combinations with because you can step back to clear yourself out of danger while simultaneously guarding yourself against a counter right hand.
Jab — Right Uppercut — Left Hook
This is a close-range combination. You use the jab to get him to put up his guard while you move into range.
The right uppercut is designed to get his head up. If it lands, that’s fine, but you really want to use it to set up the left hook.
While it’s possible to throw the right uppercut without shifting your weight, to make the most of this combination it’s best to let your weight shift to the front leg so you are in position to throw a powerful left hook.
Once you get his chin up with the right uppercut, knock him out with the left hook.
Jab — Left Hook
This is a deceptive combination.
Your opponent will probably expect you to follow up your jab with a right hand punch. This is especially true if you’ve been throwing Jab — Right Hand combos at him; he should already be used to the pattern.
But instead of throwing the right hand, you simply dip over to the left without moving your right, then throw a powerful left hook. The movement you make while preparing to throw the left hook should fake him out if everything goes well. He’ll assume you’re throwing the right and he’ll bring his hands up to block his face. But the left hook will come instead.
Some people refer to this combo as “Hooking off the jab“.
Jab — Right Uppercut — Left Hook — Short Right Hand — Left Hook
Here’s one that’s a bit longer.
Again, you want to get his chin up with the uppercut, then clip it with the hook. But the short straight right hand will hit with a lot of power if he’s covering up against your left hook and not trying to throw punches back at you.
If you manage to land something, use the final left hook as a knockout punch. If not, use it to clear yourself out of danger and regroup back into your boxing stance.
Ways to modify these boxing combinations
A great way to increase the effectiveness of these combos is to add a double-jab or a feint at the very beginning. Or, jab (or feint) to the body and try to get your opponent’s hands down before you launch into your combos.
I hope you get something out of these basic boxing combinations. They should give you some things to think about, and if you master them you’ll be well on your way towards learning an effective offense. Let me know what your favorites are!
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