Boxing Styles

Boxers must recognize and use their strengths if they want to optimize their potential in the ring. One boxer may have a natural knack for defense while his opponent may have exceptional hand speed. Over time, every boxer develops their own style that utilizes their particular strengths.

Styles originate mostly from instinct rather than coaching, but can be improved upon through training. Although everyone has their own approach, it’s helpful to learn the benefits of various boxing styles. This guide examines prominent boxing techniques, and analyzes how boxers apply their respective styles in the ring. Various training partners display various styles that can make you a more well-rounded fighter.


Out-fighters are often referred to as “Pure Boxers.” Their approach is technical and disciplined rather than chaotic and aggressive. Out-fighters tend to:

  • Use effective footwork when moving around the ring.
  • Maintain a longer range from the opponent.
  • Use the jab to score points and set up punches.
  • Merge offensive and defensive skills into smooth sequences.

Many boxing fans bore easily when they watch a bout with two out-fighters because both boxers are cautious and the fights seldom end with a knockout.


In-fighters are skilled and precise boxers, but they exchange blows at a closer distance than out-fighters. Normally, in-fighters rely on head movement to close in on their opponent. From a close distance, they throw quick combinations to their opponent’s head and body.

Hooks and uppercuts are most effective from a close range, because they are powerful punches and come from unpredictable angles. Many boxing aficionados consider in-fighters to be among the most exciting boxers to watch because of their ability to blend skill and power in a fast-paced match.

Fun Fact:

Arthur Susskind, known as “Young Otto,” holds the record for most first round knockouts in a career with 42. Although he was a lightweight, his record spans all weight classes, and he is considered one of the most devastating punchers of all-time.


Brawlers are also referred to as “Sluggers,” because they exhibit a warrior’s approach upon entering the ring and rely on sheer power rather than technicalities. A bout between two brawlers transforms into a battle of toughness.

Brawlers usually have a “good chin,” meaning they are difficult to knock out due to their uncanny ability to sustain blows to the body and head. They do not always move well on their feet, and prefer to back opponents up against the ropes. Smooth combinations are less common with brawlers, as they prefer to throw single, powerful punches.


Swarmers are relentless fighters that apply constant pressure. Their objective is to simply overwhelm the opponent. Swarmers tend to:

  • Be tremendously conditioned in order to maintain a fast pace.
  • Constantly move forward.
  • Land powerful punches.
  • Throw quick combinations both on the inside and on the outside.

Swarmers are fun to watch because they are aggressive, push the pace of the bout, and constantly try to dictate the fight. Swarmers force their opponents to respond and react quickly in order to remain standing.

Faces of Boxing: Ricky Hatton

Nickname: The Hitman

Height: 5 feet, 6.5 inches

Weight: Junior welterweight, Welterweight

Place of Birth: Stockport, Greater Manchester, England

Getting to know Hatton: Ricky Hatton stands as one of Britain’s great boxers, having earned titles under each of the major sanctioning bodies. He has won nearly 50 bouts in his professional career due to his ferocious style. Hatton can certainly be classified as a swarmer; he pushes the pace of the fight while always trying to trap opponents in the corners of the ring. Many of Hatton’s opponents struggle to last the entire fight at Hatton’s pace. His punches come from odd angles and he constantly pushes his opponents backwards.


Counter-punchers are defensive-minded boxers. They tend to display incredible defensive prowess and have an innate ability to react extremely quickly to their opponents’ vulnerabilities. Counter-punchers allow their opponent to throw the first punch – a unique strategy that most boxers shy away from. Most other styles encourage boxers to land the first blow. Counter-punchers sit back and bait opponents to throw wild punches, looking for openings so they can return with accurate punches of their own.


Hybrid boxers blend various skills to form an unorthodox style of their own. A “Boxer-Puncher” is a well-rounded, hybrid boxer that commonly integrates both a long-range game with tremendous power. In general, hybrid boxers have excellent skills on both the inside and the outside, and they are capable of adjusting to the style of the opponent. Hybrid fighters tend to confuse opponents by using their unique and unpredictable technique to their advantage.

Styles Make Fights

Certain styles match up better against others, but boxers should remember to create their own style. Boxers should mold their technique around their strengths rather than adopting an unnatural style.

Some boxers are naturally quick on their feet, so they should use this ability to their advantage. Others are slower, but can punch with accuracy and power. Boxers should analyze their personal strengths, and use these assets to their advantage in the ring. Skilled boxers should always work to improve weaknesses as well, because a balanced and well-rounded boxer is a tough opponent.

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