How To Fight Against Southpaws With Youssef Boughanem
In combat sports, especially striking based ones, there’s something known as the southpaw advantage. It’s exactly as it sounds, in most fights, fighters who use a southpaw stance have an innate advantage. At least that is the case for southpaws fighting against orthodox fighters.
This advantage is why you see so many high level fighters that are southpaws, despite only around 10 percent of the world being left handed. Even a lot of fighters that are considered legends of their sport are southpaws, like with Manny Pacquiao in Boxing, Saenchai in Muay Thai and Mirko Cro Cop in MMA.
But why do southpaw fighters tend to have such an advantage? The reason comes down to one thing and that’s experience. Since most people in the world are right handed, most fighters in the gym are going to be othodox fighters. This means that southpaw fighters are going to more often than not be training with orthodox fighters in an open stance scenario. An open stance scenario being when the fighters are in opposite stances.
The opposite is the case for orthodox fighters, since they are usually training amongst each other and probably rarely ever train with southpaws. This means that while southpaws have a ton of experience fighting against orthodox fighters, orthodox fighters have nowhere near the same amount of experience fighting against southpaws.
There are certain intricacies when you are fighting in an open stance scenario that aren’t there in a closed stance scenario. This is why if you’re an orthodox fighter, you can’t fight as if you are fighting another orthodox fighter if you're going up against a southpaw.
In this video, Youssef Boughanem goes over a few things that you need to know next time you’re sparring or fighting a southpaw. Youssef Boughanem is a Moroccan-Belgian kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter who is currently reigning as the WBC Muay Thai world middleweight champion. He is also a former Rajadamnern stadium and Lumpinee stadium champion, the highest championships for Muay Thai in Thailand.
The video is very simple, with Youssef going over how your ability to land strikes changes if you’re fighting a southpaw. Youssef’s first tip is that if you're an orthdox fighter fighting a southpaw, you are going to be using your right side around 70 - 75 percent of the time. This differs from orthodox vs orthdox bouts where both of you are using your left hand, which is your lead, more of the time. This is for two reasons. Youseff says that it is because of the way your opponent is standing, it will be harder for your opponent to see strikes from that side coming. The other reason is because with your opponent in a southpaw stance, they are more lined up with your right hand and rick leg. This will make it an easier target.
This means that you should rely on your right more than your left and even throw it without set up. This might be hard for most orthodox fighters, since most fighters are generally used to setting up their rear hand with the lead first.
The thing that you need to keep in mind is that this is the opposite for your lead hand. Landing your lead hand against a southpaw is harder. This is not only because their lead shoulder is in the way of your hand but also because it is easier for them to see your strikes coming.
This is why instead of using your lead hand for strikes against southpaws, you should try to use it more for fakes and hand trapping.
If you’re a southpaw watching this video you can also use it, as essentially the tips for orthdox fighters fighting southpaws is the same vice versa.
If you like this tutorial and want to see more from Youssef Boughanem, then check out his complete video series “Thai Boxing Fundamentals By Youssef Boughanem” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.