Learn How To Throw An Uppercut Like Mike Tyson With Legendary Trainer Teddy Atlas
Ever since boxing pioneer Dutch Sam Elias first threw one of these back in the early 1800s, the uppercut has gained a nasty reputation for causing maximum damage to those who are unfortunate enough to get caught with one. An uppercut can be thrown two ways—under the chin or to the solar plexus and either way is sure to cause devastation.
Iron Mike Tyson was probably one of the best to ever throw an uppercut in the squared circle. The peekaboo boxing style—the style Tyson learned from his original trainers, the late Cus D’Amato—utilizes the uppercut to its fullest potential, so it’s no surprise Kid Dynamite was an expert in its delivery.
You don’t need to learn how to fight in the peekaboo style to throw an uppercut like Iron Mike. In this video, hall of fame trainer and D’Amato protegee Teddy Atlas shares the same knowledge he taught Tyson years ago about his signature punch.
Set Up Your Punch
“There’s always the delivery system. Yeah, there’s the punch, but there’s the setup to the punch,’ Atlas said. “It’s sort of like if you have a bomb, you have to have a missle to get it to the target.”
The trainer said his mentor frequently used this bomb/missile metaphor to explain why a good punch is only as good as the method used to deliver the blow. D’Amato wasn’t necessarily referring to a certain style of fighting, but the way a fighter sets up his punch, according to the trainer. The fighter should watch for their opponent’s weak spots and capitalize on them while not giving an opportunity for them to discover your weak spots, said Atlas.
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An easy way to find the chinks in your opponent’s armor is to watch the way they slip punches. For example, if you’re fighting a boxer with an orthodox stance watch which side they finish their head movement on. If it’s the right side, you may have an opportunity to pop them with your dominant hand. If you’re close enough to deliver a strong uppercut to the chin, the blow might result in a knockout.
“You don’t finish [your slips] on the right. You finish on the left. So if you see somebody finish over [there], or you force them into a position by throwing the jab where you know where they’re going to finish their head movement,”Atlas said. “You feint the jab to get them over there and boom. See?! You had a method. You had a trick. You had a strategy. It’s the sweet science.”
Fight On The Inside
While Tyson may have been dubbed the baddest man on the planet, he wasn’t the average height of a typical heavyweight fighter. Atlas said he and D’Amato knew their fighter needed to be well-experienced fighting on the inside to compensate for his 5’10” stature. Tyson’s ability to find ways to get inside of a taller fighter’s reach leveled the playing field against towering boxers.
“What we taught him [Tyson] was to get on the inside,” Atlas said. “We knew we wanted to be on the inside because he’s short and has short arms. He is not going to be as effective outside as he would be on the inside.”
By slipping your opponent’s punches with good head movement, you should be able to make it to inside your opponent’s striking distance, said Atlas. This doesn’t mean they can’t hit and/or hurt you (they can), but when you fight on the inside your opponent is unable to hit you with their maximum power because you’re closer than the full extension of their arm when punching.
Ultimately, good defensive position means keeping your center of gravity low while staying on the outside your opponent’s right hand, said Atlas
Delivering The Uppercut
Once you’re on the outside of your opponent, try to feint a left hook to the opponent’s liver area so they move their elbow back to block it. When they move their elbow to block the potential livershot, they will expose their chin area, said the trainer. Now, you want to throw your uppercut by pivoting on your left foot and rotate your hips into the punch. You have successfully set up your opponent to deliver a devastating blow they never saw coming and those are the worst kind.
“You want power, but you also want to be able to keep your balance,” Atlas said. “You throw the left hook around their elbow. You get them to move a little bit. Now, that’s the set up. WHAP! The uppercut.”
Should you get on your opponent’s inside but are unable to get outside their elbow, Atlas advises to throw an uppercut to the opponent’s side, instead of a hook. Learning to quickly read the situation, adapt and set your opponent up for the knockout should be your goal, according to the trainer.
Who Is Teddy Atlas?
Hall of Fame boxing trainer and longtime commentator Teddy Atlas is well known throughout the boxing community for working under Cus D’Amato and helping develop Mike Tyson in the early 1980s. Atlas also served as head trainer for Michael Moorer who triumphed over Evander Holyfield to win the IBF and WBA title belts in 1994.
Later in life, Atlas worked as a commentator for ESPN for nearly a quarter-century and has served as NBC’s Olympic boxing commentator since 2000. The trainer was also inducted into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in the early 2000s. You can catch Atlas’ weekly podcast, The Fight, where he gives his take on upcoming and recent events in boxing and MMA.
Want to learn how to throw jabs like the all-time boxing greats? Check out “Keys To The Door 14 Signature Jabs By Teddy Atlas” and other great Atlas instructionals available at DynamicStriking.com!