Boxing is such a unique sport, and there exist many different styles. The art of ‘The Sweet Science’ is highly-technical with its subtle nuances and fluid movement. It is a martial art that takes years of practice to perfect.
If you’ve tried boxing, you’ll soon quickly discover that there is more to this martial art than meets the eye. While textbook technique is good, and it’s always great to learn the basics, sooner or later you will have to discover your own identity as a boxer. That’s why it’s extremely important to diversify your skills and develop your own style.
There is no doubt boxing is one of the coolest sports out there. There’s just something about it that produces unparalleled excitement. If you’re at that point when you’re starting to discover your unique offensive and defensive style in boxing, then perhaps it’s time to take a look at the different styles that have been prominent in boxing’s history.
While these aren’t all the styles that exist, here are some of the major ones. Today, Evolve Daily shares five different fighting styles in boxing and how each is effective.
1) Pressure Fighter
Being a pressure fighter is all about unleashing a good volume of punches on an opponent. Swarming with multiple combinations allows this type of fighter to overwhelm foes with punches in bunches, often keeping opponents on the defensive for long periods of time. Since a lot of boxing is centered on offense, maintaining a solid stream of output in each and every round also scores major points with the judges.
While defense is surely important, most judges in modern times favor the aggressor in boxing matches — or those who initiate the action. This is the trademark of a pressure fighter. Getting off first and often is the key tactic for pressure and volume punchers. Needless to say, this style requires tremendous cardiovascular endurance and supreme conditioning.
Each punch a boxer throws expends energy, and there’s only so much energy to go around in a given bout. A lot of emphasis must be placed on cardiovascular endurance training.
Pressure fighting is a highly effective style that is perhaps the most common in boxing. Well-known boxers in the history of the sport who were pressure fighters include Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Roberto Duran, and Julio Cesar Chavez.
While being a pressure fighter means throwing as many effective punches as you can for the duration of a bout, being an out-boxer is the opposite. It’s about staying on the outside, using the reach as a weapon and keeping opponents at bay with crafty technique.
Out-boxers usually have long wingspans and possess a height and reach advantage over their opponents. Utilizing a long, rangy, and effective jab, out-boxers like to pepper their foes with pinpoint accuracy, connecting with shots from the outside to prevent opponents from closing the gap and getting on the inside.
Out-boxers usually like to defeat opponents with technique. While the majority of an out-boxer’s victories come by decision, the truly skilled out-boxers can even score knockouts. By accumulating damage on an opponent, breaking them down with clean, accurate punching, out-boxers pick apart their foes methodically until a precise finish.
Notable out-boxers include heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, boxing legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., and the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali.
The slugger pays very little attention to strategy, if any, and would rather overwhelm an opponent with his strength and brute force. Most of the time, sluggers are also not afraid to take a healthy amount of punishment in order to deal their own volume of damage.
You’ll want to avoid trading punches with sluggers because this type of boxer cares very little about avoiding firefights. In fact, they relish in this sort of environment. These are boxing’s “action stars” and are usually responsible for giving fans the most entertaining bouts.
Sluggers aren’t mindless fighters, however. A lot of what they do involves a great deal of technique, although it isn’t immediately evident. Sluggers have a distinct ability to be able to force their way inside and trap opponents along the ropes or into corners. A key skill for sluggers to have is ring generalship or knowing how to cut off the ring.
Notable sluggers include Britain’s Ricky “Hitman” Hatton, the late Arturo “Thunder” Gatti, and “Irish” Micky Ward.
4) Counter Puncher
Counter punchers in boxing are the most surgically precise practitioners of the sweet science. Known for their incredible, high-level skill, immense talent, and near-flawless technique, counter punchers make opponents miss and then make them pay with damaging and accurate counter shots.
They have the ability to frustrate opponents to no end, often presenting seemingly hittable targets and then masterfully and gracefully slipping out of harm’s way while simultaneously delivering unbelievably accurate counters. The level of knowledge and skill counter punchers possess is unfathomable.
One drawback of being a counter puncher, however, is the lack of activity. Often, counter punchers are on the reactive side of fights, waiting on their opponents to commit to their offense so that they can operate with laser-like exactitude. This means that counter punchers are rarely the aggressors in a bout and can be outworked at times.
Fans and judges who appreciate the subtle but undeniable technique a counter puncher possesses usually give them the credit they deserve. Notable counter punchers in boxing include Cuban Olympic gold medalist Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux, multiple-division Mexican boxing legend Juan Manuel Marquez, and all-time great Sugar Ray Robinson.
This is the most dynamic form of boxer in the sport and one that combines the best of all worlds into a single style. The boxer-puncher can effortlessly switch between being a pressure fighter, to being a methodical out-boxer waiting for an opening to close the gap.
Boxer-punchers usually start from outside and work their way in, utilizing combinations from range to frustrate their opponents and force mistakes. They capitalize on the mistakes and take advantage of openings. When they have opponents hurt, boxer-punchers know exactly how to push the pedal to the metal and finish the job.
Boxer-punchers are the most difficult to deal with because their offensive style is so varied. They give different looks each round and are incredibly reactive to their opponent’s style. One area where boxer-punchers often lack however is on defense. Like most offense-inclined styles, boxer-punchers rarely pay attention to defense and are only looking to unload their combinations in the best possible manner.
Notable boxer-punchers include former heavyweight legend “Iron” Mike Tyson, retired Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto, and the blazingly fast Sugar Ray Leonard.