They say body punching is a lost art in modern boxing. Most boxers tend to go head-hunting in search of knockouts, and very few have employed a strategy that involves going to the body.
In boxing, going to the body is extremely important. By digging into the midsection, boxers are able to slow their opponents down, chipping away at their opponent’s energy while depleting oxygen reserves. It’s also a great way to deal with powerful punchers.
Every time a punch lands on an opponent’s midsection, it’s like the wind gets sucked out of them.
Imagine having to fight underwater, with the weight of the ocean bearing on your limbs — this is the effect body punching has on opponents.
Body punching should be part of every boxer’s strategy. The fact that not a lot of fighters focus on this particular aspect of their game is proof that training to go to the body is severely lacking.
Some boxers, however go out of their way to make body punching an integral part of their style. These boxers know exactly how body punching affects their chances of victory and make it a point to go to the body early and often in every fight.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five of the best body punchers in boxing.
1) Gennady Golovkin
Arguably today’s most popular boxer, middleweight king Gennady Golovkin is known as a fearsome knockout puncher, having felled 33 out of a total 37 opponents in his career.
Sheer relentlessness and volume power punching have caused many grown men to crumble under the pressure of his fists. While Golovkin has scored many of his knockout victories with his vaunted power, the reason for his success has always been the work he puts into going to an opponent’s body.
In fact, if you take a closer look at Golovkin’s handiwork, most of his knockouts were preceded by hard digs to the body.
The most interesting aspect of Golovkin’s body punching is just how dynamic it is. He has the ability to alter his angles on the fly, changing both the speed and target of his shots mid-punch.
2) Miguel Cotto
Recently retired but forever in the hearts and minds of every boxing fan for the past two decades due to his all-action style and never give up attitude, Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto is known as one of the fiercest body punchers in the history of the sport.
At junior welterweight early in his career and welterweight in the second half, Cotto made a name for himself with his vicious left hook to the body — his favorite punch and also his deadliest.
The way Cotto just thrusts his fists into an opponent’s rib cage is painful to even look at. He just executes with tremendous focused power that explodes on impact.
Although Cotto largely abandoned his body punching style in favor of a more defensive-style when he met late trainer Emanuel Steward, Cotto will always be fondly remembered for his relentless body attack that caused many opponents to hit the canvas.
3) Brian Viloria
Not many boxing fans know of Brian Viloria, but the man they call “The Hawaiian Punch” is known for his thunderous body blows that have sent multiple opponents to the canvas.
The Filipino-American former unified flyweight champion of the world burst onto the scene with a scintillating knockout of Eric Ortiz in 2005, on the undercard of a Manny Pacquiao headlined event no less, and has since wowed audiences with his earth-shattering body punches.
Sitting ringside, you can hear the distinct sound of synthetic leather slap against human skin as Viloria punishes his foes with his small but mighty fists. Opponents let out grunts to cope, but Viloria never lets them recover.
After a stellar career which has seen him rise to the top of the flyweight division, however, Viloria’s best days are behind him, but those who have followed his career will never forget his body punching.
4) Henry Armstrong
Fondly known as “Homicide Hank”, welterweight boxing legend Henry Armstrong’s style was all about getting within close quarters, digging his head into an opponent’s chest, and unleashing hellish body blows right to the breadbasket.
Armstrong is one of the few boxers in the history of the sport known for winning world titles in multiple divisions, and it is because of his solid work to the body that gave him the ability to handle opponents who were naturally bigger than he was. He is definitely one of boxing’s most dominant champions.
By the time his career was over, Armstrong had defended his welterweight title a total of 19 times.
The Ring Magazine named Armstrong Fighter of the Year in 1937, while the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) awarded him with the Fighter of the Year title in 1940. He was ranked as high as the second-greatest boxer of the past 80 years and is a consensus all-time pound-for-pound great.
5) Mike Tyson
Most fans know Mike Tyson for his bad boy image and his unbridled knockout power, but the very few who really understand Tyson’s style know that his success stems from a dedication to working his opponents’ bodies until they succumb to the constant pressure.
In fact, Tyson’s right hook to the body followed by his right uppercut to the chin has to be considered one of the best combinations in boxing history.
The former ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ competed between 1985 and 2005, reigning as a dominant, undisputed heavyweight world champion for many years. He holds the record as the youngest fighter in history to ever win the heavyweight title at 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old. He is also the first heavyweight to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles at the same time, and the only fighter to successfully unify them.
Impressively, Tyson won his first 19 professional fights in the first round either by knockout or by TKO. His tremendous work to the body is a huge aspect of his style and is one of the biggest reasons why he is a proven finisher.
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