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Home Boxing Back to the Basic Punches: Naming The 6-Punch Boxing Numbering System

Back to the Basic Punches: Naming The 6-Punch Boxing Numbering System

Regardless if you are a beginner or a trained veteran, it’s always good to get back to the basics. Depending on the gym you’re training at, the numbering system, to keep it one of the most sacred, basic training guides, we’re going to hope is normally the same across gyms. The unwritten rule to keep the same numbers associated with basic punching combinations is to help the coaches coach and the boxers train, even if they are coming from a different state, city or gym.
The 6 Punch Boxing Numbering system is a good list of types of punches in boxing for basic punching combinations that you need to learn to progress further on in your training and be able to train swiftly and focus on the more important aspects, like quality and form. If you want to know the visuals behind the system, you can search for boxing punches diagrams or videos that can give you the visual low-down on what your form should like.
However, we’re here to give you the 4-1-1 on basic boxing technique. Each of these should be completely honed in on to where you’re doing them in all different directions at the flip of a coin. They should become second nature to you and are crucial for moving forward and learning longer boxing combinations. Whether you are boxing as an amateur or just doing it to keep in shape, you still need to fully master this memorization to get anywhere in the gym.
As the fundamental, first stepping stones in boxing punching, not only is it important to know which punch coheres to which number, you should also have absolutely no trouble with the forms of each either. A proper form is extremely important to have the basic technique.
With a good form, strength isn’t as needed and being able to execute the punch correctly rather than strong, is actually seen as much more important. A good form also means a proper boxing stance and footwork because they are also the foundation for throwing a good punch.
Giving each of these punches is extremely important for training purposes. They eliminate time and confusion when a coach is shouting out the number during a quick training session. In the heat of the moment, you won’t have to listen and understand the full name of a punch — simply just the number and then make the connection. Every coach and gym will have a slight variation to their numbers but if you want to learn the basics, you need to know the basic six.

The Basics

When you hear all the even-numbered punches, you’ll be using your right hand. The odd numbers dictate all left-handed punches in boxing punches 1-6.
The punch boxing numbering system couples out the numbers. The boxing punches types gives you a relationship between the punches correlating from 1&2, 3&4, and lastly, 5&6.
The similarity between these pairings is that they are similar — the same punch, really, just differing in the hand you’re punching with. One will use the left and one will use the right.
These basic and simple combinations of boxing punches names are strictly shortened out to boxing punches numbers.
Instead of boxing punches 1-8, boxing punches 1 2 3 4 or four basic boxing punches, here are six.
Here are some names of boxing punches:
1. Jab
The basic jab is the first punch that you’ll learn to throw and it’ll be perfect for a foundation to throw together when trying to master your first combination. The jab, No. 1, is seen as one of the most natural of the punches, which you’ve probably been doing before you even realized that it had a name. The jab is the motion that your fist normally punches in.
If you think it’s too basic for you and won’t be proven effective, you might want to re-check your groundings. These basic punches can be just as effective, if not more when done correctly. For example, having a strong or fast jab in your combination can really be the punch that sets you apart in your style from other boxers out there. Since you’ll be throwing that jab often, you might want to know that you have perfected it and this basic punch can be your secret weapon.
Not only when done quickly can the jab be effective, it also sets you up for other punches or kicks. Since it is thrown on a continuous basis with your left hand, it will always keep your opponent ready and on defense. As you move forward with your boxing skills, you can use the jab strategically to be able to feel your opponent out on his or her safety strategy and how far they are keeping their distance. It can also make your opponent feel more vulnerable to attack and countering them when they attack.
How to do it:
The jab is performed in a direct line, jutting from the chin. The power you use is generated from the shoulders and radiates through your fist. When you are throwing the punch, relax the hand until right before it meets its target. Then tighten it quickly. Once you hit your target, quickly withdraw so you are not left with vulnerability.
2. Cross
Thrown with your right hand, the name of the basic punch is pretty self-explanatory. In other words, this punch is thrown right across the body in a diagonal direction. It is perfect to throw into a combination to trick your opponent. For example, once you master the original punch you can put it in combinations that throw your opponent off. When you are throwing a 1-1-2 (jab, jab, cross), your opponent might be expecting a quick 1-2 (jab, cross). Especially since they are also in the moment it’s simple to make this mistake and can happen to even the best of boxers. However, even if your opponent an immediate cross, you can throw an extra jab and then land your giant cross with your right hand. It is the finisher after endless jabs and 1’s thrown.
This must also be so trained that it really is your bread and butter of basic punches. It is also known as your knockout punch. Since it is right-handed (most people are right-handed) and comes across your body, the cross gives you the additional angle you need to really bring force down on your opponent.
How to do it:
To throw the cross, rotate your upper body towards your opponent, all the while pivoting your back foot and rotating your hips so you can use your entire strength and throw it into the punch. The arm should be fully extended at contact like a coil spring. Use your left hand to guard your chin while you’re throwing the punch.
Since you need to use your angle and coming from across the body to really land the punch, you’ll be able to really invest in that torque that comes from your shoulders and hip while you’re turning. When your arm is overextended when you’re throwing this certain punch, you’ll need to be aware that you’re leaving yourself really vulnerable with a cross. Therefore, that’s why you should leave this punch as your last. Make sure you throw this punch as a lasting one so that it won’t leave your opponent open for more.
3. Left Hook
Since it is an odd number, you know that this is also thrown with your left handed, appropriately named with your left hand. The first two punches were your basic tutorial punches, needed for all kinds of combinations. The third punch is when boxing gets more interesting.
The left hook is used when you need power and speed, effectively thrown in one punch. When you throw the left hook, your opponent should be in really close distance, which lets you get the leverage you need to really catch your opponent by surprise. Since it is a popular punch because of its results, a left hook is often used at the end of a combination, so save it for the opportune moment. It is most effectively used as a surprise and throws your opponent off balance completely only by catching them on the chin.
Used only when the opponent has exposed him or herself, you should then throw the left hook. Best thrown right after a right cross because of the way your weight is then shifted, the punch is then thrown to be aimed higher— at the opponent’s jaw or lower — on his or her stomach. Sometimes, even if you don’t land the cross before your hook, you can distract your opponent with the cross and then really nail them with the hook.
How to do it:
This punch is thrown with the left hand as you transfer your weight after a right cross, for example. This weight transfer, however, has to be subtle so your opponent doesn’t suspect a thing. Especially since you are in such close distance to your opponent, you need to keep them from knowing what’s going to happen next.
To throw it, your left foot should pivot you back, towards the right at a lean, where you then raise your elbow you can hit your target blatantly in an across movement at a twisted, 90-degree angle.
Once you throw your punch, retract, don’t let it overextend it, and as always, protect your chin with your other arm.
4. Right Hook
The right hook is used, obviously with your right arm. Also used as a finisher, the right hook can be highly dangerous and can catch your opponent off guard. Especially since it can be used after the past three other combination throws, your opponent might not even think it’s possibly coming because of the large line it’s trailed. It’s easy to think that the right hook isn’t even coming at all, but should be left at the end to catch your opponent by surprise.
Punch number four should be thrown after a long combination. For example, it should be the last punch thrown in a left-right-left-right combination. However, if you are a beginner you might want to try and get your form and technique right before you throw them into these long-winded combinations. These punches, when landed with the right timing can be deadly and finish your opponent off. As we mentioned before, you might have thought that knowing how to throw these punches seemed to be elementary school tactics but they really have power behind their knowledge and technique.
How to do it:
The reversal thrown as a left hook with your right hand is challenging in the way it is performed. In other words, the way that your body is set up can even throw yourself off, so that’s why we emphasize your footwork, as well. No matter how hard or correct you throw these punches in training, if you don’t have your footwork down right, you can’t pull them off in the ring.
The right hook emanates from your rear side at a slower pace than other punches, which makes it perfect for a close-ranged attack. The same as in the other punches, you need to protect your chin with your opposite hand and be ready for a counter.
5. Left Uppercut
This is the punch that you often see in most movies that make you truly wonder how the actor even made it possible. The punch comes from an angle that normally, the opponent and you as a viewer weren’t even expecting. The left uppercut is a perfect combination punch to throw in there to be able to surprise your opponent not just in your speed and strength but throwing that punch from a downward angle that normally wouldn’t even be an option.
The left uppercut is perfect when you are facing an opponent that guards his face really well, or that you just can’t seem to hit your target. If your opponent consistently hides his face behind a high guard with his or her head down or if you two are constantly in close range from one another, you can use the uppercut to reach up in there from underneath and go past his or her guard. This punch will pop his whole head upwards so that you can follow through with the right-hand hook finish.
Since it is usually done at such a close range and done directly to the chin, the left uppercut is a perfect knockout punch. However, it comes with risks. When done correctly, it can also leave you vulnerable as well. Therefore, once you throw the left uppercut, make sure you are disciplined and controlled enough to be able to get back into form. Also, make sure that punch counted so you don’t have to be ready for a counter.
How to do it:
When throwing this punch, it will need to be done as quickly as you can manage. As for form, you should have a slight dip in your waist and swing it a bit to the left. Use your raised back heel, pressure on your front foot, and your fist at a rotated, upward angle to really contact your opponent from underneath.
Once that fist is rotated, explode it upwards sharply, gathering the strength from the front foot to be able to convey that strength up into your opponent’s chin. Be wary of where the punch lands. If you punch too low or too high, you won’t meet that sweet spot and it will lead you exposed.
6. Right Uppercut
The final punch in the 6-punch boxing numbering system is the right uppercut. Instead of just throwing the original combinations, you can throw in the final right uppercut to really throw your opponent off balance, catch them by surprise, and possibly even knock them out.
Regardless of how your opponent blocks and how well he anticipates, throwing a right uppercut can also pop his head up and do a whole mess of damage, which will throw down the defenses that he so conservatively placed. Your No. 6 can be thrown right at the body or at the head, either way is just as effective. Once that head is propped up and vulnerable, you can hit him or her with a deadly hook or another uppercut that will finish them.
If your opponent really knows how to anticipate or is starting to get to know your first few punches and combinations well, make sure to read them on how they guard their own faces. This will tell you a lot about how to defeat them. In some cases, a right uppercut can make all the difference.
How to do it:
Just like No. 5, the right uppercut is the same movement as the left one, except just in reverse. Destabilizing your opponent, whether it is their body or their face, you should throw the uppercut when you are really close range and when your opponent is high-guarding his or her chin.
The uppercut should be thrown at a high speed, as quick as you can since it also leaves you completely vulnerable. This last punch can be the last punch you need to throw since it sets you up for the full-on knockout on your opponent. Once you throw your punch, make sure you move quickly to defensive guard to be able to avoid the exposing form and vulnerability of your position.

Not All About the Types of Punches

Since there are so many different types of punches and from gym to gym or different coaches, there also might be variations in numbering. One of the most commonly differing numbers comes from the numbers originally associated with hooks and uppercuts. There are also other numbering systems that give a variety of different numbers that include jabs which target the body and head.
However, regardless of the variety of different types of punches, there are also more important concepts that you need to focus on. For example, every single time you extend out for a punch, you are leaving yourself vulnerable, which means that you need to retract quickly and not overextend. Which brings us back to reiterating that form really is everything. Not only can your opponent hurt you if you overextend, you can also hurt your elbow, as well.
To throw a successful punch, sometimes it’s not exactly about the types of punches you throw but how you throw them. Learning proper boxing punches techniques is just as important as learning the various punches, themselves.
Here are a few tips that you should make sure to implement in your punches to make them as effective as possible.

Take the Pedal Off Your Left Hand

When you first start boxing, you might feel like you need to really throw all your power into your punch. However form takes up a majority of the percentage of effectiveness when it comes to throwing most of these punches. Save the power you have to throw your body weight into that final, power punch — like the big right hand. Therefore, when you are jabbing with the left hand, you should lighten it up, focusing on accuracy rather than strength and force.
Lightening the left hand can also save your energy and help you keep your balance. If you are constantly swinging in left-hand jabs for power, you’ll not only get tired but you might also throw your body off balance as well if you miss. Focus on your accuracy when throwing those jabs with the left hand. Keep it as light as possible.

Fake ‘Em Out

Fakes can also be your best friend. When you have really got the basic punches down, you can start to throw in some fakes. Knowing the proper forms of each punch can help you with throwing fakes. Since your opponent will be trying to anticipate your next move, it’s important that each punch will look realistic and in good form — especially if it is a fake-out.
Throwing these fakes will get your opponent to try and defend themselves with a guard. Therefore, once your opponent has defended improperly, you can hit her or him where it hurts — throwing in different boxing punches to land the final attack.
Fake throws can really keep your opponent guessing and on his toes, which is always to your benefit, making you really unpredictable with your combinations. This is perfect to implement when you think that your opponent has really begun to figure you out.

It’s Not All About Switching Hands

Throwing in the same hand punch and not switching from right to left will also throw your opponent off and catch him or her by surprise. These left-right punches are way too predictable and very easy to defend. Don’t be afraid to switch up the attack with two left punches in a row or two right punches in a row. This strategy not only catches your opponent by surprise, it can also give your other hand a break if needed.
Once your opponent is blocking the other side because he or she is already anticipating the switch of hands, they will be leaving the same side vulnerable, which gives you your opportunity to land your hit.

Speed Over Strength

As we mentioned before, punching isn’t always all about the strength and power of a punch. It is about technique, speed, and combinations. Of course, the pack of a punch is also very important but being able to actually land your boxing punch can make the difference between actually hitting your opponent and hurting yourself or leaving yourself vulnerable.
Don’t load power into every boxing punch. Once they are less packed with power, they will be able to be thrown faster. Once you have that speed, your chances also increase of being able to connect your boxing moves punches. Beating your opponent can mean that you have to save your power for the final punch or when he or she is tired later on in the fight.
When it comes to balancing speed and power, mix your punches up, switching from speed and power to make your moves less predictable.

Go To The Body

Although it would be fantastic for your score or knockout probability, landing head shots shouldn’t always be your go to. Not only will they become less effective as you go on in the fight, your opponent will easily begin to predict where you’re going.
Also, let’s do the simple math here, the head is much, much smaller than the rest of the body. This bigger target can not only allow you to be able to make contact with your target but will also force your opponent to constantly be on guard and switch behind blocking high and low. A good thing to know is that all boxing punches can do enough damage.


We hope that this guide has helped you, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced boxer. Either way, the 6-punch boxing numbering system and basic boxing techniques will help you at any stage.


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