BOXING SOUTHPAW VS ORTHODOX
The art of boxing has become one of the most popular forms of combat sports in the entire world. Boxing has become a multi billion dollar commercial enterprise, and has bred some of combat sports most iconic fighters like Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and Anthony Joshua. Boxing has also crossed over into the world of MMA, as many fight fans wonder which combat sport is more entertaining the UFC or boxing. There have been many boxing sensations in the UFC like Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, Nate Diaz, and Connor McGregor. Boxing was not always a legitimate combat sport, as its rough ride through history saw many obstacles facing the future development of the combat sport.
Before the Marquess of Queensberry rules was introduced, boxing was a bare knuckle event that was showcased by underground casino enterprises, which often ended up raided by the authorities. Once boxing had become a legitimate sport many athletes from all over America, England, and many European nations began training extensively to become professional athletes. Boxers would now weigh up different aspects like boxing speed vs power, and evasiveness vs accuracy. The nature of boxing saw athletes utilise a variety of different fight stances, which always made the difference between how an athlete could dictate the fight. The orthodox stance is the most common in boxing, with the southpaw stance not far behind. Some athletes would even utilise out of the box fight stances like the hands down stance, and the peek a boo stance.
What this article covers:
THE IMPORTANCE OF A FIGHT STANCE
There are some major elements that are extremely important for boxing athletes to think about, while they are mastering their fight stances. Power is vitally important, and when an athlete utilises the right stance, they will find it easier to use rotation in their hips, which will generate enough force through their midline, and up into their punches. Defense is just as important as power, and utilising a solid fight stance will help an athlete position their feet, and their arms in the right place, so they can be best served to defend incoming punches. Utilising range is one of the most important aspects of boxing, and this is how an athlete will know how close they can get to their opponents, and how far away they need to be in order to attack, or evade their punches. A good fight stance gives an athlete a heightened opportunity to step in and out of range at quick speeds, while using an agile frame to maneuver their way around their opponent.
Athletes need to think about their balance, and this means to stabilise themselves with the proper footwork, so that their centre of gravity is solid, and they are able to stand up to the rigors of professional boxing and martial arts like kick boxing, karate, and Mixed Martial Arts. Athletes will also find that this will inevitably help them with their posture, which is another great aspect about staying strong, and distributing power within their punches, without giving away any form of positioning. A good fight stance needs to be flexible, and athletes are going to be maneuvering fast in and out of range, so developing their flexibility, and their mobility is a crucial part of becoming a seasoned athlete. Almost everything that happens in a boxing fight is generated from their fight stance, so athletes need to make sure they are putting in significant time into standing the right way, which will give them a better look at attacking their opponent, while still being able to evade, and defend incoming punches.
THE ORTHODOX STANCE
The orthodox stance is one of the most iconic fight stances in the boxing game, and all athletes should master this position if they want to be successful inside of the ring. The orthodox stance consists of an athlete standing with their feet a shoulder's width apart, with their left foot slightly forward, and their right foot slightly backwards. Their left hand will be guarding their chin but slightly forward, and used as their jab punch, while their right hand is slightly backwards and is used as their power punch. This is an iconic fight stance that is utilised by most boxing athletes, so that they can utilise a strong right hand cross, or a straight right hand punch. Athletes will jab with their non dominant hand, and this is an extremely common aspect in the fight game, and is even more common when boxing vs mma fights take place inside of the octagon. Most boxers are well trained on both sides of their body, so they are capable of gaining significant power out of their left hand jab.
THE SOUTHPAW STANCE
The southpaw stance is basically a carbon copy of the orthodox stance, but just flipped in reverse. The southpaw stance is basically an orthodox stance to a left handed boxer, as they will commonly use their left hand as their power punch. The southpaw stance is when an athlete stands with their right foot forward, and their left foot backwards, while still guarding their chin as their right hand becomes the jab hand in its forward position. Their left hand is now cocked back as a power punch, and this will give a left hander the best opportunity to land more dominant strikes. This stance is also used by right handers, as they will commonly switch between the orthodox, and the southpaw stance to confuse, and to bewilder their opponents. The switch between these two stances can also significantly hinder the game plan of an opponent, as they are commonly struggling to anticipate what punch set up is coming out next.
OTHER BOXING STANCES
The hands down stance is another common stance that is utilised by many high level athletes. This stance is revered throughout the boxing community, and to some people is known commonly as showboating. Athletes like Roy Jones Jr utilise the hands down stance, as does Connor McGregor in the UFC. The hands down stance is when the athlete puts both of their hands down by their waist, and leans forward into their opponent. This stance is used as a way to bait an opponent into attacking, when they may not necessarily be ready to. Although this is a dangerous stance, and can end quite badly for an athlete, it is a good way to lure an opponent into an athlete's range, where they can attack with a barrage of punching combinations. This stance is not recommended for beginners of boxing, and is best left to the more experienced, and seasoned veterans that have extensive experience in the art of boxing.
The peek a boo stance was iconically invented by the boxing coach of Mike Tyson, and was used predominantly by Mike during many of his famous fights. The peek a boo stance is an extremely defensive stance that makes it considerably hard for an opponent to land any significant strikes. To execute this stance the athlete will put both of their hands up in front of their face, with just enough room to peer over the top of their gloves. Their elbows will be pointing down, as to protect their ribs, and from here the athlete will be able to lean into their opponents, and begin to absorb punches, whilst still being able to land their own significant body hooks, or uppercuts. Mike Tyson made this stance extremely famous, as he peppered many of his opponents utilising this type of dynamic fight stance.
HOW TO TRAIN TO MAXIMISE EFFICIENCY
There are many different ways that boxers can train to maximise their efficiency inside of the ring. Just hitting the bags day in, and day out will not be enough to become proficient in boxing skills. Athletes will need to be extremely consistent with their training, and this means participating in at least four sessions per week, including skills sessions, strength and conditioning sessions, cardiovascular sessions, and sufficient mobility sessions to help with the recovery process, and to improve their overall range of motion. There are multiple drills that athletes can use that will inevitably teach them how to move in the most effective way. Shadow boxing is one of the most efficient ways that an athlete can build up a predominant skill set in boxing. It is important to set goals during a shadow boxing workout, and this can be to focus purely on evasive movements, or to focus on head movements. The smaller the goals are the easier they will be to achieve, and then athletes can work on the cohesion between all of these elements.
Practising combinations is extremely important in the fight game, and simply hitting the heavy bag will not be enough to enhance their capabilities. Athletes will need a good boxing trainer so they can hit the focus mitts, and work on good form while ducking, slipping, and parrying punches. A boxer needs to be quick on their feet, and being capable of absorbing punches, or slipping them all together is how they will develop the ability to use counter striking. Working through fast and accurate punching combinations will take an extensive amount of dedication, and athletes that have a good cardiovascular ability will have an easier time ingraining these systematic movements into their muscle memory. This is extremely important so that an athlete will become instinctive when they are inside of the ring, and this all begins on the training mats.
There are always questions asked like who would win a street fighter or boxer, or is boxing better than other Martial Arts, and the simple answer will always come down to how hard each individual athlete will train within their respective art forms. A great way to maximise an athlete's training regime is to engage in full contact sparring. Even though this may be a dangerous tactic, because an athlete can often wind up sustaining injuries, or can be stuck in a battle of egos between training partners. Training in full contact sparring is the only real way to gain valuable fight experience outside of competing inside of the ring. Athletes should be maximising their sparring, and using their training partners to adjust any aspects that need fixing.
WHICH STANCE IS BETTER
It is hard to say that one stance is better than another stance, because all stances to some degree have significant validity within the sport of boxing. What is more important than a better stance, is the stance that suits each individual athlete and their game style. Some athletes might be better using a southpaw stance, because they have an extremely good lead hook, whereas other athletes might be better off using the traditional orthodox stance so they can execute hard, and fast right cross punches. Whichever stance an athlete chooses to use they must put significant training time into this concept, and then it won't matter which stance they use, as their skill set will determine how good their stance actually is.
One of the most important aspects of a fight stance is not necessarily which fight stance they use to better their striking skills, but which stance suits their game plan. Different fight stances are warranted against different fighters, and all athletes should be doing their research on their upcoming fights. Some fighters have natural habits that they will commonly use, and an athlete can use this concept to determine which type of fight stance is going to be best suited to tackle that problem, and inevitably win them the fight. This is why many boxing athletes will switch between an orthodox, and a southpaw stance, and at certain times utilise the hands down stance. This is a great way to bait their opponents into moving forward, and inevitably trapping them in the pocket. Then an athlete can switch their stance, and give themselves the best chance of landing significant punching combinations.
WHY FOOTWORK IS A BOXERS KEY COMPONENT
There are many aspects that can help a boxer become extremely proficient within the striking arts. Of course punching accuracy, punching power, and punching fluency are all extremely important notions, but without a quick, and structured footwork skill, all boxing athletes will be well out of their depth inside of the ring. Footwork is essential to the success of a boxer, because they need to move in lateral, and diagonal directions to out maneuver their opponents. This concept will inevitably open up the angle for a boxer to land significant power within their strikes. Fast feet produces fast hands, and if an athlete can step into range quickly then they will land jabs, and crosses before their opponent can even think about defending them.
Evasive maneuvers are just as important as stepping into range, because an athlete that gets stuck inside the range of their opponent can eat counter strikes all night long. This is why using backward stepping, and diagonally backward shuffling will help athletes escape from their opponents range, giving them a significant momentum to come back into range, and land counter strikes. Some of the most successful boxers in the history of the sport have exceptionally fast feet, but more importantly than being fast on their toes is having an expert strategy to know exactly where to step their feet, so they can gain the most significant amount of power within every single punch. Developing an athlete's footwork skills is imperative for longevity in boxing, and being successful inside of the ring means they must have an incredible footwork ability, so they can maximise their punching potential.
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