Boxing Styles Explained

Understanding boxing styles and strategies to defeat boxers with different styles is critical knowledge for every smart boxer and coach.  This begins by learning The Spectrum of Boxing Styles. Inside this training guide I'll teach you about each style throughout the entire spectrum. You'll also learn about the physical attributes and natural abilities that are advantages for each particular style.  I'll also share with you which styles can give other styles trouble to compete against.

Focusing on the style that matches your natural strengths and advantages will accelerate your skill development and competitiveness most rapidly. However your greatest strength will be to become a "Complete Fighter" who can adapt to any style and make adjustments during a fight in order to defeat any opponent no mater which style they have. 

3 Basic Styles: Spectrum of Boxing Styles Framework

Hybrid / Specialty Styles:

Becoming a Complete Fighter will take much more dedication and time commitment, but it will help you go farther in your boxing career than you would otherwise. We have some work to do! Watch this short video below to get an understanding of the general framework of the Spectrum of Boxing Styles. Let's Go Champ!


Boxer: A "Boxer" boxes long range from the outside.  They rely on their legs and footwork to dance circles around their opponent.  The'll "stick and move" (jab then circle out to the left or right) and get their opponent to come after them.  As their opponent moves towards them they catch them with shots, usually 1-2 punch combinations, or check hooks and uppercuts / "over and under" or "under and over", just as their opponent steps into their punching range.  After catching their opponent coming in they circle out to create space / distance to keep the fight long range. 

Typical boxers are tall, fast, and are not the biggest power punchers. They win by outboxing their opponents on "points" from the outside.  They are also known for having pretty good jabs and footwork to keep their opponents off of them and at long range. They typically prefer to avoid getting hit as much as possible (all smart boxers do no matter which style they have), and they don't like to exchange / "mix it up" too much with their opponents. They'ed much rather out point their opponents with fast, straight punches and dance circles around them, gradually building their lead throughout the boxing match on their way to victory. The best boxers, know how to "box" in the middle of the ring, staying off the ropes, out of corners and keeping plenty of space behind them to be able to use their footwork to escape the attack of their opponents.

Styles that "Boxers" May Have Trouble with:  "Boxers" who are one demential and lack power will have trouble with "pressure fighters" who are skilled at cutting off the ring, getting inside their long jabs, and forcing them to fight inside or getting them on the ropes. Getting trapped on the ropes or in the corner is the worst place a "boxer" can be and the place that all highly skilled "pressure fighters" strive to put their opponents. As mentioned above, "boxers" can do much better by learning how to "box" in the middle of the ring instead of dancing near the perimeter they dance smaller circles in the middle of the ring. It's like a matador evading the attack of a bull!

Physical Attributes:

  • Tall & Lean Build
  • Long Arms & Legs

Natural Ability:

  • Fast Hands and Feet
  • Good Reflexes
  • Great Timing
  • Change Directions Quickly

The most boring fight in the world to ever see is two "boxers" dancing circles around each other all night long! That's another reason you must develop your skills beyond just one style.  This will give you more options to make adjustments, especially if you're a "boxer" competing against another "boxer."


Puncher: "Punchers" / "Bangers" love to fight inside and throw power punches! They have true one punch knockout power and want to get inside to land their shots and "turn out the lights!" Natural punchers can crack! They have "heavy hands." They are explosive and when their shots land everyone knows it, especially their opponents! If their shots are placed in the sweet spot (on the chin or temple their opponents could already be out cold and on their way face first into the canvas!  "Punchers" have the best boxing style for selling tickets and growing fans quickly! Fans love it when they know that their fighter can land a single blow at any moment and knockout their opponent.

To go along with their true punching power, the best punchers have masterful head movement, know how to cut the ring off and get inside on their opponents. They also have exceptional timing and accuracy as well as technical execution of their power punches which adds to their natural power. If they're really well trained they'll also have a sharp jab they throw off the back leg and step in with to close the gap and set their opponents up for powerful combinations or single knockout punches.  These are the fighters who make the "highlight reel."

Great Memories! I myself, have some natural punching ability that helped me knock guys out cold, even on a national level of competition. My older brother was even more of a natural "puncher" than I was, with a very solid muscular build. I remember when we fought in the National Silver Gloves together, I was 10 and he was 15. He was dropping and stopping kids all the way through State, Regional, and then National Championships. He placed 2nd that year losing a decision in the finals and I placed 3rd in the Nationals losing a split decision in the semi-finals, my first year competing in the tournament. Great memories.

Styles that "Puncher" May Have Trouble with:  Slick "Boxers" can sometimes give "punchers" a hard time. I myself sometimes had trouble competing against fast, slick southpaws in particular. Once I learned to "pot shot" I was able to make adjustments to compete against and defeat this difficult to deal with boxing style. My big brother, especially struggled with really slick boxers. Although he was much more of a true "puncher" than I was and much more one dimensional.  I was a natural counter-puncher  and worked hard to become more of a complete fighter throughout my career and had a really smart trainer, Bill Sangster, who taught me to "out wit" my opponents and not just be a puncher / banger. He used to say, "Any fool can get in there and trade punches...learn how to fight and how to out box smart."

True "pressure fighters" who rely more on volume of punches can sometimes give "punchers" trouble too, many "puncher's" don't know how to fight going backwards.  The footwork they rely on is picking angles inside to set up their power shots, not so much maneuvering away from their opponents attack. They are usually the aggressor and when a great "pressure fighter" with a solid chin to take their power shots, a sharp jab to get them backing up, and viscous body shots to break them down and drain their "gas tank" can create a whole new, and not so good, experience for the big "puncher." Stamina and endurance can be an issue for these muscular punchers, especially if they are not dedicated to really put in the extra work to condition their powerful bodies to go rounds. That's another reason solid "pressure fighters" can give them trouble.

Elusive counter punchers and aggressive counter punchers can also give them trouble, especially if they have the skills to keep them from getting set to land those power punches by fighting behind a sharp jab and feint and staying off the line (the "line of fire" straight in front of their opponents and in punching range). 

Physical Attributes:

  • Short Stocky or Really Tall and Big (for heavyweights)
  • Naturally Muscular / Powerful Build 
  • Fast Twitch Muscles

Natural Ability:

  • Natural overall body and grip strength and explosive power
  • "Heavy Handed" (natural punching power)
  • Love to "fight" on the inside and mix it up! Love the action!

Counter Puncher

Counter Puncher: "Counter Punchers" box mid range and have excellent head movement and ring awareness.  I myself was much more of a natural "counter puncher" than any other boxing style. I have knocked guys out with a single punch at the National level and was a bit "heavy handed," but those single shots were counters placed with precision and timing. Although at times I did "box" more and at other times was much more of a "pressure fighter" depending on what abilities my opponent had and the fight plan to beat them. I was more of an "aggressive counter-puncher" and we'll get to that style on the next page of the Spectrum of Boxing Styles, but right now I'll finish telling you about "counter punchers."

Counter punchers are very calculated with their punches. They set up their power shots and "catch" their opponents before, after, and during (pot shot) their opponents attack.

Styles that "Puncher" May Have Trouble with:  "Pressure fighters" who attack with combination after combination can give "counter punchers" the most trouble. Throw one, two, or three punches at a time and counter punchers will "pick you apart." Throws combination after combination and force them to back up and now they can't land those beautiful counter punches they are so effective with.

Slick "boxers" who dance the ring and never come in to initiate an attack can give counter punchers too.  or it can turn into a really boring fight, with the counter puncher "waiting" in the middle of the ring and the "boxer" dancing circles around them. BORING! That's why you must strive to become more of a "complete fighter"and learn how to adjust as needed to defeat any boxing style of opponent. 

Physical Attributes:

  • Medium Height for their Weight Class 
  • Lean Muscular Build 
  • Fast and Slow Twitch Muscles

Natural Ability:

  • Quickness: Excellent Reactions and Timing
  • Great Proprioception (spacial awareness of the position and movement of the body)
  • High Intelligence / Boxing IQ (Fast Learners)

Which of the three boxing styles in the Spectrum of Boxing Styles (Framework)  Boxer, Counter-Puncher, or Puncher, do you think most naturally fits your physical attributes and natural ability?  

Learn the Rest of the Spectrum of Boxing Styles

The hybrid / specialty styles of boxer-puncher, pressure fighter, elusive counter puncher and aggressive counter puncher are explained on page two of this training guide. Learn More...