Breaking Down The Brawler Boxing Style

In boxing, the brawler boxing style is often used to refer to boxers with a limited understanding of the fundamentals of the sweet science. It is an aggressive fighting style that prioritizes attacking over defending in hopes of overwhelming opponents and scoring knockouts.

A more accurate way to describe the brawler boxing style would be to call it the style used by fighters who have mastered the art of fighting on the inside. The reality is some brawlers, like Deontay Wilder, show glaring holes in their understanding of boxing’s fundamentals, while others, like Joe Frazier, were as technically savvy as any of the opponents they faced.

The brawler boxing style is a boxing system that prioritizes walking opponents down and throwing many powerful punches. It’s one of the most entertaining styles in boxing, and you’re always in for a show when you watch an excellent brawler compete. Think of Mike Tyson during his prime.


Understanding The Brawler Boxing Style

While the brawler boxing style has earned a negative reputation as a system used mainly by inexperienced boxers or those yet to master the fundamentals of boxing, thinking that way could get you in lots of trouble inside the ring.

The best brawlers are often defensive masters at inside range, with iron chins to protect them if any punches get past their defense. These fighters are typically adept at moving their heads out of the trajectory of incoming punches, cushioning their impact with their guards, or rolling along with them. Landing clean punches on some brawlers isn’t as easy as it seems.

Some of the main characteristics of the brawler fighting style include:


1) Mastery Of Ring Positioning

Boxers who use the brawler style often force opponents to engage with them at close distances. Unlike range boxers who constantly circle away from opponents to create space, brawlers look to cut off the ring and trap their opponents against the ropes or corners.

Brawlers typically don’t have the fastest footwork since they prefer to keep their feet firmly planted on the floor so they can throw bombs on opponents. Still, they often have an uncanny ability to feel where their opponents will move next as they look to cut off the ring.

Keeping opponents moving backward is an essential part of the brawler style since that could be mentally and physically draining. Most boxers aren’t moving backward the entire time during their sparring sessions, and many haven’t conditioned their bodies to backpedal for the entire duration of a fight.


2) Rock Solid Defense And Chin

The brawler style might not be optimal if you have a glass chin or poor defense at close range. Opponents will naturally try to keep you off them with their distance weapons like jabs and crosses while you close in on them, and they’ll throw power shots like uppercuts and hooks at you once you’re at phone booth distance.

Your defense needs to be good enough to avoid the bulk of the punches thrown at you, and your chin needs to be up to the task when a punch inevitably gets past your defense.

Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history because of how impenetrable his defense was because of his typical peek-a-boo style. Tyson would use his head movement to evade punches meant to keep him at bay before landing powerful hooks and uppercuts once he got close enough. Most of the opponents Tyson defeated during his prime couldn’t land meaningful punches on him while he walked them down. Those who could back him off with their punches, like Lennox Lewis, gave him much more challenging battles that often didn’t go his way.


3) An Ability To Dirty Things Up Inside The Ring

Brawlers typically aren’t looking to keep things clean inside the ring. On the contrary, they look for ways to make their matches look much more like a street fight within boxing rules. Brawlers often use their heads, shoulders, and forearms as weapons inside the ring.

Brawlers also mix up their targets better than boxer types since they aren’t necessarily trying to score points with their strikes. Instead, brawlers look to wear down opponents by hitting them anywhere above the waistline that’s legal. This includes punches to the shoulders, back, hips, and anywhere they think will slow down their opponent. The goal of the brawler style is always to break down opponents with strikes until they can no longer continue the match.

Fighters who are successful with the brawler style are typically natural-born fighters who don’t mind taking a punch to land one. They are often highly comfortable in wild exchanges where both fighters unload their most brutal punches on each other.


Why Every Boxer Should Learn The Brawler Style

As we mentioned earlier, the brawler style is often viewed as a fighting system for less technically savvy boxers, but that couldn’t be further away from the truth. Learning to use the brawler style is essential for any boxer who plans to dominate opponents inside the ring.

Even the best counterpunchers and outfighters often struggle when matched against fighters who use a brawling style. Boxing might be about getting hit without taking punches, but you sometimes have no choice but to fight your opponent. Some of the best boxing coaches teach their students how to brawl before focusing on more advanced stuff like fighting at outside range or counterpunching.

Floyd Mayweather‘s success inside the ring is one of the best examples of why all boxers must learn how to brawl. Mayweather’s distance fighting skills were lightyears ahead of anyone he ever faced, and, for years, many boxers and experts thought the blueprint for defeating him was to force him to brawl.

Fighters like Oscar De La Hoya, Marcos Maidana, and Manny Pacquiao were able to corner Mayweather against the ropes many times during their fights, but they weren’t able to do anything with the positioning because of how good Mayweather’s brawling skills are. He could take a punch as well as any boxer who ever laced up his gloves, and he was highly comfortable fighting at phone booth range, despite his preference for distance fighting. You’re not really a boxer if you don’t know how to brawl.


There’s Nothing Wrong With Brawling Once In A While

Learn how to use the brawler boxing style even if you don’t intend to make it your primary fighting style. It will give you the tools you need to compete with aggressive opponents who won’t give you much space to operate.


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