Boxing might seem like it is purely a game of punches but the offense is not always enough to win fights. Few can maintain a barrage that can overwhelm and incapacitate their foe throughout a match. You need to sharpen your defensive moves to prevent the opponent from scoring points and reduce the damage to your own body. For this, you will have to use your arms, your feet, and your torso. Various tactics can be employed depending on the situation. Smart defense often provides openings for offense so it really is a vital tool for fighters. The following are examples of common defensive strategies in boxing:


The start of every fight is always tense with both fighters feeling each other out. After a while, however, they will get a sense of their opponent’s timing and tendencies. They can formulate the correct response to different attacks. They will know how to move when the aggressor comes forward. They could, for example, slip and slide to the other side when they are thrown a straight punch. This requires quick lateral movement, side stepping to avoid the blow while getting into a position to throw their own punch where their adversary is now vulnerable.


This technique requires boxers to bob their head up and down, as well as side-to-side, to confuse their opponent and make themselves harder to hit. They simply wait for the punch and time things perfectly such that they lower their knees enough for their head to go under the punch while moving slightly to one side. Once the arm is in full extension, they can extend their legs and go upright in a better position to throw their own punch. It is usually advisable to bob to the outside of the arm instead of the inside where a second punch may be lying in wait.


This is one way of minimizing the damage from an incoming punch. A boxer may use his hands to block the attack, carefully protecting the face and the upper body with one arm while using the other to deflect a blow. The opponent’s hand may be redirected to the side so that it misses its target with a sharp punch to the wrist. The force will dissipate and the balance may even be thrown off. If there is a barrage of punches, then this is a good way of neutralizing each one as they come.


If a fighter is dealing with an opponent who has fast hands, then it may not be possible to anticipate each shot. This is especially true for those who are using awkward angles. Instead of trying to guess where the next attack is going to come, he may simply cover himself up in an impenetrable shell using both arms. The gloves will be protecting the face while the forearms shield the torso. Direct blows can still be quite painful where they hit. The impact force can be minimized by turning the hips to one side such that the blows are deflected. If the elbows are not held firmly together, the opponent may try to break the shell from below using an uppercut.


This type of defense is suitable for those times when the two fighters are getting too close together. The person under attack may simply grab a hold of the aggressor from the front, looping the arms to lock them behind the shoulders. The goal is to incapacitate the other’s arms so that they can no longer be deployed for short-range punches. Sometimes boxers use this when they are already tired late in the match to give themselves a brief rest. Referees usually step in right away to break things up so that the action can continue. Beware that the heads can clash when fighters are this close.


Fighters can also use their footwork to evade punches and get into a good position to launch counters. This is more popular in the lighter weight divisions where the boxers have less trouble bouncing on their forefoot, though some heavyweights are known to have great footwork as well. They can dance around their opponents, circling them while frustrating their efforts to connect. Showmanship is crucial to keep the audience entertained with this tactic or else they might get bored with the lack of action and accuse the defensive fighter of running all night.

Pulling Away

Boxers can simply pull away by stepping back or bending backward so prevent the punch from reaching them. One arm can be placed on guard to block or deflect the attack while the other is used to launch a counter while the opponent is open. For instance, a straight punch can be dealt with by pulling away while launching a counter hook to the head or the body. Everything must be practiced hundreds of times in the gym to enabled split-second decisions when needed. Just be sure to use the right boxing gear. Click here to get yours.