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Punches (Sidebar)
A Guide to "Legal" Boxing Blows
© 2012 James LaFond

This is a very brief catalog of punches, described in terms of fist orientation, the prime target and leverage, which is the means of applying body weight and leg strength to the punch. Punches thrown without leverage are ‘arm punches’. All punches can be thrown as arm punches with reduced effectiveness. Some trainers use punch numbering systems up to a 16- count, often with specific targets. The 4-count is the oldest and most widely used punch count. The punches are numbered from most to least common in each list.

The Standard Punch Count:

  1. The jab, or straight lead, the only punch not classified as a ‘power punch’
  2. The straight rear-hand punch
  3. The hook, usually with the lead hand
  4. The uppercut, usually with the rear hand


  1. Blind jab [palm down to the eyes, with a step]
  2. Power jab [palm down to chin, with step, step & push, or push]
  3. Sneaky jab [thumb up to chin, with same leverage as 2.]
  4. Posted jab [palm-down to chin, with half pivot]
  5. Up jab [palm up to eye, with half pivot]
  6. Push jab [palm down to any target, without leverage]*
  7. Corkscrew jab [thumb down & palm out to eye, with half pivot]

*Listed here as an intentional technique. Poorly thrown blind & power jabs may land like this.


  1. Straight [palm down to chin, with push]
  2. Cross [palm down—over opponent’s low lead—to chin, with push]
  3. Overhand [palm down to jaw, with push]
  4. Sneaky [thumb up to chin, with push]


  1. Shovel or Dempsey or Mexican [palm up to liver, with pivot]
  2. Philadelphia or Frazier [thump up to ear/jaw, with pivot]
  3. Cutter or Detroit [thumb down to ear/jaw, with pivot]


  1. Uppercut [palm up to floating rib, with pivot]
  2. Bolo or Cuban [palm up to chin without leverage]
  3. Old-time or Fitzsimmons [thumb up to solar plexus, with step]
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