Having a proper stance is by far the most important part of boxing. You want to keep an upright stance, while maintaining your balance. Always remember to leave your body loose. If your body is tensed, it will hamper your movement, and your punches won’t be as effective. The distance between your legs should be about the width of your shoulders. The lead foot (the opposite of your rear hand) is about half a foot in front of the rear foot. Both the feet are tilted a little inward, with the rear heel lifted just a little above the ground. The lead fist is held up just about 6 inches away from the face. The rear fist is held closer to the face at chin level. The elbow is held close to the ribcage to keep out the blows directed at the body. The chin is held a little low, to shield the jaws from the punches.
While there might seem to be a lot of punches, they are merely variations of the four main types of punches, namely the jab, the cross, the hook, and the uppercut. For a right-handed boxer, his left hand is his lead hand, and the right hand is his rear hand, used to deliver the more powerful punches (it would be just the opposite for a southpaw). To throw in an effective punch, your body should swivel in the direction of the punch, while maintaining your balance all the while.
The jab is one of the most important, and frequently used punches. It lets you feel out your opponent, while maintaining maximum guard against a counterattack. It is executed by the lead hand, and is a straight punch, usually delivered in quick succession. The fist rotates 90 degrees from its original position, and ends parallel to the ground (closed palm facing the ground). The torso and the hip twist a little, in the direction of the punch. As you complete the punch, the lead shoulder moves upwards to shield the chin, while the rear hand guards the jaw. This maneuver leaves little room for a counterpunch.
A powerful tool in the arsenal of every boxer, the cross is a very effective punch. This punch is thrown by the rear hand, and is normally preceded by a series of jabs, or is used as a counterpunch. The lead hand moves to guard the chin, as the rear hand follows a straight path from the original position (guard position) toward the opponent’s face. This packs quite a punch, as the entire bodyweight is transferred from the rear foot to the lead foot, and the hip and the torso swivel in the direction of the punch. The hands are then brought back to the guard position, where the punch can be followed by another series of jabs.
The hook is another potent punch that can beat the living day lights out of your opponent. To throw this punch, the rear hand is moved along an arc toward the chin or jaw of the adversary. The body turns on the lead foot, while the heel of the rear foot is slightly raised, and turns toward the outside. This punch can also be thrown by the lead hand, but doesn’t have the same power in it. The turning of the body, and the shifting of the weight adds to the power in the punch, but at the same time leaves you vulnerable to a counterpunch, as you get back to the guard position.
The uppercut is one of the classiest punches, which often delivers the coup de grâce, resulting in a knock-out. To deliver this punch, the torso shifts in the direction of the rear hand, as it raises from around the chest level of the opponent. The rear hand moves along a diagonal arc, as it moves up toward the chin or jaw of your contender. The knee is kept slightly bent, in order to help generate more power in the punch, as you move up while delivering the blow. The body swivels on the rear foot, and the heel moves outwards.