Boxing 101: Slip And Rip

Slipping and ripping is a popular strategy in boxing. Fighters like two-time heavyweight champion Mike Tyson have enjoyed lots of success with the technique inside the ring. 

The slip and rip is a fundamental technique in the boxing world and it’s one of the few techniques that’s as defensive as it is offensive. Master this technique and you’ll be able to simultaneously defend against an opponent’s attacks while putting yourself in position to fire off powerful punches. 


Everything You Should Know About The Slip-And-Rip

To give you a proper understanding of how the slip and rip works, let’s take a more detailed look at how the different movements that constitute the technique work individually. 



Slipping is a defensive maneuver that involves making a slight lateral movement of your head and torso to avoid an incoming punch. A boxer can slip to their left or right to avoid straight punches, and they can slip backward to avoid a looping attack. 

Properly executing a slip should be a minimal movement that’s just enough to make your opponent’s punch slip past your head. The key to properly executing slips is swift movements that are dictated by excellent timing. There’s a sweet spot every fighter has to figure out for themselves when it comes to slipping. Slip too much and you leave yourself off-balanced; don’t slip enough and you end up eating a punch. 



The term ripping refers to the counterpunch that is thrown immediately after successfully slipping a punch. The idea behind a rip is to exploit vulnerabilities in your opponent’s defense before they get a chance to bring back their arm to their guard. 

Many boxers tend to favor hooks when it comes to ripping punches after slipping an attack, but uppercuts and straight punches can also be used, depending on factors like the distance and angle from the target. Successfully executing a slip and following up with a rip is what boxers term the ‘slip and rip.’


The Mechanics Of Slipping

Now that we’ve gone over the idea behind slipping and ripping punches, let’s take a look at the mechanics required to execute the slip:

  • Start in your boxing stance with your knees slightly bent and shoulder-width apart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between your legs.
  • Move your head laterally to the left or right when you see a punch coming toward your head, depending on the direction the punch is thrown from. Engage your hips and torso during the movement and make it as swift as possible.
  • Keep your eyes the entire time as you slip past their punch. Losing sight of your opponent makes it harder for you to capitalize on counter-punching opportunities.
  • Practice slipping punches until you’re confident about your ability to evade punches thrown at full speed. Start your slipping drills with a training partner or coach throwing slow punches at you, and gradually increase the speed. The best defensive fighters in boxing’s history, like Floyd Mayweather, practice slipping drills to the point it becomes an instinctive movement for them. 


How To Rip

Here are some important things to keep in mind when trying to launch a counterattack after successfully slipping a punch: 

  • Timing is everything when it comes to ripping after a slip. You want to launch your attack the instant you slip the punch. Waiting too long gives your opponent a chance to recover and defend themselves.
  • Choose your counterpunch wisely based on factors like your distance from your opponent and the type of punch you’re countering. For example, an orthodox boxer should fire a cross after slipping to the outside of a jab since it’s an effective counter for it.
  • Engage your hips and legs to generate more power when you rip. Counterpunches often land the cleanest during boxing matches, so throw them with bad intentions. A perfect example of this occurred during Gervonta “Tank” Davis’s fight against Ryan Garcia. Davis scored his first knockdown of the night after slipping to the outside and firing a vicious hook to Garcia’s head.
  • Keep your non-punching hand in the proper defensive position while throwing your counter. A savvy boxer might try to counter your counterattack.


Mastering The Slip-And-Rip

Some of the things you can do to improve your ability to slip and rip inside the boxing ring include:

  • Shadowboxing: Practice slipping and ripping during your shadowboxing routines, visualizing incoming attacks and countering them with appropriate punches after successful rips.
  • Focus Mitts: Here’s another tool boxers often use to refine their defensive moves and counterpunching ability. Your boxing coach or training partner can throw punches for you to slip and rip during your mitt sessions.
  • Sparring: Sparring is when you get the chance to slip and rip at full speed. It provides you with realistic scenarios that help you to refine the timing of your slips and the accuracy of your rips while dealing with an opponent who is trying to land punches on you.


Mistakes To Avoid 

Some of the mistakes you should avoid while trying to master the slip-and-rip include: 

  • Try not to move too far off the centerline when slipping since doing so leaves you off-balance and vulnerable to follow-up punches.
  • Try not to telegraph your intention to slip. That’s harder said than done since seasoned boxers will pump out feints to see how you plan to defend against their punches. Become too predictable and your opponent will simply throw the punch where they expect your head to be.
  • You should never neglect your defense when performing techniques like the slip and rip. Keep your hands up when slipping and bring your punching hand back to your guard immediately after ripping.
  • Make it a habit to always keep your eyes on your opponent when slipping and ripping. This makes it easier for you to exploit vulnerabilities in their defense while making it easier for you to defend against counters or follow-up punches.


Add The Slip-And-Rip To Your Boxing Arsenal

The slip-and-rip is equally effective in self-defense situations as it is inside the boxing ring. Fighters in other combat sports like Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts also use the technique often. 

The slip-and-rip technique allows you to seamlessly blend your offense with your defense, and it’s an extremely effective way to close distances on opponents. You’ll be a lot harder for opponents to deal with if you master this technique. 


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