Boxing Stances and Guards

In boxing, it is about the obsession of getting the most from yourself:
wanting to dominate the world like a hungry young lion.

The truth is the stance and guard of every boxer is different – but the underlying principle remains the same.
Every stance, written in a boxing manual or displayed by any boxer, is or was designed to emphasize a particular offensive or defensive point or to make the most of a particular fighter’s build.

What is Classic Guard in boxing?

  • Picture yourself standing on a clock face.
    Left lead fighters stand with their left foot at 11 o’clock and their right foot at 4 o’clock.
    Right lead fighters stand with their right foot at 2 o’clock and their left foot at 8 o’clock.
  • Your feet are approximately shoulder width apart with the weight carried equally between the two feet.
  • Your toes face forward with only the slightest inside turn of the toes of the lead foot.
  • You feel your weight through the balls of your feet without actually being on your toes.
    Your knees are slightly bent for fluid movement.
  • Hands are up. The rear fist touches the rear side of the jaw.
  • The lead fist is held at the level of the lead shoulder, extended approximately one foot in front of that shoulder.
  • Keep your elbows parallel and not flared into an inverted letter V.
  • Keep your chin down toward the sternum.
  • Keep your shoulders up for jaw protection.Noted proponents of the classic guard style were Gene Tunney and Sugar Ray Robinson.

“I was not athletically inclined. I was very quiet, introverted, non-confrontational. My three older brothers were athletes – basketball, football – but I was kind of a momma’s boy. Then one day, my brother Roger encouraged me to go to the boxing gym with him. I tried the gloves on, and it just felt so natural. “

– Sugar Ray Leonard

What is Peekaboo Guard in boxing?

  • The crouch is a bit deeper to shield more of the body. The parallel forearms are raised higher to better protect the head.
  • The fists are left unclenched except when punching.
  • Defense from the peekaboo guard is primarily shelling up and picking off incoming punches with slight inward and outward parries.

This is a variation of the classic guard made famous by trainer Cus d’Amato and Floyd Patterson.  

“It’s less about the physical training, in the end, than it is about the mental preparation: boxing is a chess game. You have to be skilled enough and have trained hard enough to know how many different ways you can counterattack in any situation, at any moment.”

– Jimmy Smits

What is Crouch guard in boxing?

This is a peekaboo guard variant favored by aggressive body punchers.

  • It is ideal for upstairs/downstairs punching.
  • This is a strong stance for hooks and uppercuts but calls for lots of head movement and bobbing and weaving because the deeper stance makes swift footwork more difficult.
  • To assume the stance, maintain the peekaboo hand position and widen the clock face, which lowers your body’s center of gravity.
  • This stance was used to great effect by Jack Dempsey, Tommy Burns and Mike Tyson (early career).

What is  Jeffries crouch in boxing?

  • This crouch uses the widened clock face principle, but the hands are carried more forward than in the classic guard hand position.
  • It is a good guard for short straight body punching and hooks to the body. Its limitations are reduced foot mobility and lack of head coverage.This stance is named for its major proponent, Jim Jeffries.

What is  Philly Shell guard in boxing?

This interesting guard variation calls for carrying the lead arm in a shoulder roll position. It is excellent for body protection and for delivering hooks. It is a somewhat poor guard from which to throw jabs.

  • To assume the stance, turn your lead shoulder to face the opponent — toward noon on the clock face.
  • Your rear hand moves to cover your lead jaw by placing the back of your rear hand against the lead jawline.
  • The lead arm is carried low with the glove covering the liver/solar plexus. The lead shoulder is carried high as additional jaw protection.This guard has been utilized to great effect by many great boxers from Philadelphia, notably Joe Frazier.

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”

 – Muhammad Ali

What is Cross guard in boxing?

This is essentially a hybrid between a crouch guard and a Philly shell.

  • Assume the widened clock face position. Move the rear hand across your face as you do in the Philly shell. Then cross your lead glove to protect the rear jawline. This hand position can be reversed with your rear forearm resting on the outside.
  • Be aware that although this variation is an effective defensive guard for shelling up, the crossed arm position traps an arm rendering you unable to respond or initiate with optimum speed.
  • This unusual guard was used to great effect by Freddie Mills and Len Harvey.

Well, these were the different guards usually practiced at boxing.
Choose your stance and guard wisely. It is one of the single most important factors in determining your success – adjust it according to your body posture.

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