Six (6) Basic Boxing Punches

Watching professional fighters showcase the pinnacle of their sport can be mesmerizing. It can also intimidate some beginner boxers.

What Are The Six Punches In Boxing?

Anyone just starting out boxing should remember that a powerful boxing prowess comes down to learning the six (6) basic boxing punches (6 Boxing Punches).

The 6 Basic Boxing Punches

These foundational moves are broken down into an easy punch number system that is at the core of all boxing punches and combinations.

1 = The Jab
2 = The Cross
3 = The Lead Hook
4 = The Rear Hook
5 = The Lead Uppercut
6 = The Rear Uppercut

What Are Different Types of Punches?

Although there are six (6) punches in the punch count number system, they can also be broken down further into four (4) main types of boxing punches.

These four (4) types of punches are:

1) Jab
2) Cross
3) Hook
4) Uppercut

The six-punch number system incorporates these main types of punches thrown, plus variations based on the right and the left hands, which require slightly different positioning.

How Are Punches Numbered?

The way these punches are numbered is by design. There is a formula to boxing punch numbers 1-6 that not only makes them easier to remember, but also helps create winning punch combinations.

This punch number system is based on an Orthodox boxing stance and is broken down like this:

  • All even-numbered punches are right-hand punches
  • All odd-numbered punches are left-hand punches

Boxing workouts often use punch combinations using the punch count numbers to identify drills. Here are a few of the basic combinations using the numbering system:

  • 1 - 2 = Jab – Cross
  • 3 - 4 = Lead Hook – Rear Hook
  • 5 - 6 = Lead Uppercut – Rear Uppercut

Beginners should memorize these numbers and be comfortable with these punch combinations as they will be used frequently throughout boxing training and boxing drills. Boxing punch numbers make it easy for trainers to call out combinations during a workout.

How Do You Do Basic Punches In Boxing?

Armed with a better idea of how this punch number system is designed, it’s time to get started learning the moves.

1 = The Jab

The Jab Punch

  • Assume fighting stance with your fists in guard position.
  • Extend your lead arm straight ahead, keeping your fist in line with its starting point.
  • Return your fist quickly back to your face.

The jab is meant to be more of a rapid movement than a powerful one, so keep this in mind as you practice (How To Use a Jab).

Tommy Duquette's Throw A Proper Jab Video

2 = The Cross

The Cross Punch

  • Assume the same fighting stance with fists in guard position.
  • You will pivot on your back foot as you rotate your hips, angling your body towards the front.
  • As you pivot and rotate, extend your rear arm forward using your shoulder as the source of your power.
  • Rotate your body back to fighting stance and return your rear hand to guard position.

3 = The Lead Hook

The Lead Hook Punch

  • Start in your fighting stance with fists in guard position.
  • Rotate your body into a forward position to transfer your weight on your lead leg.
  • Bring your lead arm up to shoulder-height with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pivot on your lead leg while rotating your body to follow your fist.
  • Your arm will remain bent at the elbow at a roughly 90-degree angle and your elbow should end up almost in front of your face as you follow-through.

Note: This can be one of the trickier (but most powerful) punches to throw, so don’t get discouraged if it feels awkward at first!

Tommy Duquette's Video On How To Throw a Lead Hook

4 = The Rear Hook

The Rear Hook Punch

  • Start in your fighting stance with fists in guard position.
  • Bring your rear arm to shoulder height with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pivot on your rear foot while rotating your hips and body.
  • Again, your elbow will remain bent and should be almost in front of your face as you deliver your hook punch.

5 = The Lead Uppercut

The Lead Uppercut Punch

  • Assume fighting stance with fists in guard position.
  • Bend your knees into a low squat.
  • Drop your lead arm to a 90-degree angle from your body.
  • Using the power from your legs and body, drive your fist upwards into a punch keeping your elbow bent.
Tommy Duquette's YouTube Video On How To Throw Uppercuts

    6 = The Rear Uppercut

    The Rear Uppercut Punch

    • Assume fighting stance with fists in guard position.
    • Bend your knees into a low squat.
    • Drop your rear arm to a 90-degree angle from your body.
    • Like the cross and rear hook, pivot on your back foot and rotate your hips and body as you drive your fist upwards for the punch, keeping your elbow bent.

    These six (6) punches represent the groundwork behind every great boxer and are fundamental parts of every great boxing match.

    Learning the six basic punches is the foundation of becoming an experienced boxer. Some of these punches and punch combinations may feel more natural than others at first, but beginners will get comfortable with practice. All boxers have their favorites and start to create their own go-to combinations. The important thing is to get comfortable using all the tools in your arsenal to really excel!

    To learn more about how you can enhance your boxing and kickboxing training and develop your boxing technique, visit the FightCamp YouTube Channel and blog to get pro tips, drills, and exercises to keep you in fighting shape.

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    The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years of experience training clients in boxing and fitness. Tommy is also USA Boxing Coach certified.