The 5 Basic Yet Effective Combinations All Boxers Need To Know

So you’ve gotten the feel of the ring, and you’re growing more confident in your boxing abilities after every session. You’ve been training for a few weeks now, and you’re loving this new addiction to martial arts. However, you’re still a little too awkward with your punches, it seems. As such, you are probably looking to upgrade your skills a bit to get you to the next level.

You’ve practiced the jab, the cross, the hook, and the uppercut. You have the basics locked down. The next logical step would be putting your punches together in combinations.

In a real boxing match, you’re never going to get anywhere throwing single punches. It’s too predictable, and your opponent will easily be able to telegraph your offense. Which is why it is best that you mix it up a little and throw multiple shots. Combinations are the most effective way to land your best shots in boxing.

But you can’t just put your punches together randomly. There’s a method to all that madness. After all, it isn’t called ‘The Sweet Science’ for nothing. As you are introduced to combination punching, your offense will undoubtedly diversify.

Let’s start off with a few simple ones though. Today, Evolve Daily shares a few of the most basic but effective punch combinations in boxing.


1) The “1-2” (Jab-Cross)

The “1-2” is the most iconic punch combination in all of boxing. It’s the very first combination you learn in the gym, pairing together the discipline’s two most basic punches. Not surprisingly, it is arguably the most effective boxing combination of all, despite its simplistic nature. Every boxer should have a good jab-cross in their arsenal before progressing to more advanced combinations.

Firing off a lightning-quick jab followed by a cross from your strongest hand right down the middle is a great way to break through an opponent’s guard. The jab sets up the cross perfectly, offsetting an opponent’s defense with its quick and unpredictable nature. The straight punch that completes this combination is thrown with force.

This combination, although uncomplicated, has tremendous impact if executed properly. In a lot of cases, the 1-2 can severely daze an opponent and sometimes even score knockdowns and knockouts. It’s simple but extremely effective.


2) Double Jab + Cross

A slight modification of the classic 1-2 combination is the double jab-cross. By doubling up on the jab, your opponent is forced into the defensive, thus opening up the body or breaking the high guard to sneak in the cross. It’s also one of the best ways to throw an opponent off rhythm.

The slight technical variance in the jab technique lies in the first punch. Instead of fully extending the first jab, it’s used as a range-finder or as a feint. This is essential to the combination because the first jab in this series sets the pacing for the following punches.

By using the first jab as an effective half-jab, the combination is fired off much quicker, and your opponent has less time to react. Some of the greatest punchers in history have used the double-jab, cross combination, fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera.


3) Jab + Cross + Lead Hook

The most natural follow-up to the classic jab-cross combination is the all-important lead hook. In the orthodox stance, it is the left hook that is thrown to punctuate this awesome punch sequence.

The lead hook is arguably the most powerful punch in boxing. It is a compact punch that packs all the power generated from your base, concentrating the full impact of your weight and momentum. After breaking through the opponent’s guard with the 1-2, the lead hook is the perfect strike to complete the combination.

One of the best lead left hooks in the game belongs to Puerto Rican boxing legend Miguel Cotto. Cotto has showcased mastery of the jab + cross + lead hook combination throughout his career, and sometimes even targets the body with his hook.


4) Body Jab + Cross (Head)

The best way to confuse your opponent and catch him off-guard is by mixing up your offense between head and body attacks. This is again a modification of the classic 1-2 combination. Instead of throwing the jab to the head, it is aimed at the body instead, in order to bring the guard down.

Once the guard is breached, a clear path to the head is opened up, and your opponent becomes susceptible to the straight punch. Perform this combination enough times during a match, and your opponent will have no idea when you’ll be digging to the body, or going upstairs.

Conversely, this combination can be performed in reverse, with the cross coming in first as a lead punch to the body, followed by a jab or hook to the head. A perfect example of this body attack comes from the handiwork of American light heavyweight legend Andre Ward.


5) Jab + Rear Hook

When an opponent’s guard is too high up and difficult to penetrate, sometimes not even your jabs and feints can break through the defense. This is when you have to improvise and attack around your opponent’s defense.

The jab, rear hook combination is one of the more underutilized boxing combinations but is as effective as any. Sometimes, boxers can tend to become overly defensive. In these cases, it is best to capitalize as an offensive fighter and turn up your own aggression to force a reaction from the other side.

One of the greatest examples of the jab, rear hook combination is seen in the Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto bout in 2012. Cotto, a boxing legend in his own right, is known for keeping his guard up high, with his gloves on his cheekbones in a somewhat peekaboo defensive style.

Realizing his opponent’s guard was difficult to get through, Mayweather made an adjustment and began to close Cotto’s guard with his jab, and immediately throw a looping rear hook right behind it. The change in tactic worked to near perfection as Cotto went on to eat a whole lot of clean hooks to the head.

The next time you’re in the boxing gym, try these simple yet very effective boxing combinations!

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