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Boxing Styles - Complete Guide

Boxing Styles - Complete Guide

What is the best boxing style? - Technical analysis

The question of which is the best boxing style does not have a definitive answer, since it depends on the subject in question. But that's not very useful. So in this article, we will break down the various styles within boxing and how to develop a style as a boxer depending on your particular circumstances and tendencies.

Personally, I think a solid boxer-puncher will perform better against most opponents. Many other styles can be tremendously successful, but this is just the style that I see being the most successful in the current era of boxing. This doesn't mean it's the best overall or the style you should develop. Rather, it is simply a recurring theme today.

These are the five main styles in boxing today. Some people use different names for them, but they are all easily recognizable by their characteristics:

  • The Out-Boxer – A long-range fighter who uses many straight punches
  • The Slugger – A tough, tough puncher with plenty of stamina
  • The Counter Puncher – A fast, technically sound fighter with great patience and intuition
  • The Pressure Fighter – Another fast but explosive and aggressive fighter with great offense and combinations
  • The Boxer-Puncher – A well-balanced fighter with immense power

Out-Boxer Boxing Style Explained

An out-boxer is a fighter who prefers to keep his distance. They tend to be quite tall and lean for their weight class, which means they will usually have a long reach that they will use. A quick jab is essential for an out-boxer. They need to establish distance so they can land stronger punches as the fight progresses. Out-boxers hate fighting dirty or in tight spaces. They don't want to be close in the clinch or against the ropes. They need space to be successful with their approach and therefore often opt for a larger ring.

The key to success with this style is establishing the jab . Using a lot of feints and awkward moves can make you extremely effective with this style. A good example of this is Dimitry Bivol; All of his punches are long and he has a fantastic jab that he used to defeat Canelo Alvarez. Even when Bivol is pressured, he maintains his distance and uses excellent strike selection to take full advantage of his physical advantages.

The disadvantage of this style appears in the clinch . If you are a tall, lean out-boxer, it becomes very difficult to generate power in the clinch because you can't get the necessary leverage and extension when you are that close. This can leave you susceptible to pressure fighters, who will make the fight grueling and push you in and land blows to the body. Who emerges victorious in these encounters often depends on how well the out-boxer can establish distance with the jab.


  • Dimitry Bivol
  • Wladimir Klitschko
  • Devin Haney

Profile – Who this style typically suits:

  • Tall with long limbs
  • Powerful
  • quick jab
  • Good footwork

Slugger boxing style explained

A slugger style is not predominantly used by strong, durable heavyweights with a big punch. They are often relatively flat-footed, lack technical finesse, and have a lot of natural power. This means that they are not well suited for amateurs, but can flourish in professional play.

The idea behind the slugger style is to use natural resistance and brute force to push your opponent back and put them on the defensive. By applying this pressure, your opponent will not be able to find a rhythm and will eventually begin to struggle with rhythm. As they are pressured, the slugger will land heavy blows to the body and head and continue advancing. However, this style doesn't work for many people because it requires being incredibly durable and packing a big punch. Usually, heavyweights will carry these traits, but sometimes you will find sluggers in lower weight divisions.

The most notable boxers with this style are probably Rocky Marciano and George Foreman. Both are great world champions and legends in the sport of boxing. However, although there are many great champions who use this style, it is not recommended for beginners. It is incredibly physically demanding and a style that not everyone can learn.


  • George Foreman
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Joe Frazier
  • Jack Dempsey

Profile – Who this style typically suits:

  • natural resistance
  • Strong
  • Good jaw
  • Good cardio

Counter Puncher Boxing Style Explained

A counter puncher is typically a very cunning and patient fighter. They do not like to engage aggressively and will usually throw their jab to get a response from their opponent. If they find a reaction, they will capitalize by setting traps and waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. Once they see that their opponent has been weakened, they will increase the pressure and start attacking aggressively.

Counter punchers are some of the most difficult boxers to face simply because they are so patient and calculated. You really can't afford to make mistakes against them, especially in a sneaky boxing match. Often, the best way to deal with counter punchers is with brute force and determination. Making the fight ugly is often the best way to gain victory. For example, Joe Frazier in his fights against Muhammed Ali or Marcos Maidana in his first fight with Floyd Mayweather.

On both occasions, the punchers had to take the fight to the boxers and exert immense pressure to see any kind of success. If you throw single punches and fight predictably, a good counter puncher will notice this and find an answer. For example, if every time you throw a left hook, you follow it with a right, a counter puncher will anticipate this and the next time you throw the combination, they will counter with a carefully placed punch.


  • Muhammad Ali
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Sugar Ray Robinson
  • Vasyl Lomachenko
  • Oleksander Usyk

Profile – Who this style typically suits:

  • Quick reflexes
  • Good balance
  • natural time
  • Patience

Pressure Fighter boxing style explained

Pressure fighters or swarmers are my favorite fighters to watch from a sports perspective. They have the power of sluggers but are typically much more explosive and use quick combinations and aggressive head movement to get inside. They also tend to have great technical finesse and boxing fundamentals. Fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Mike Tyson are prime examples of pressure fighters.

They have quick hands and feet and are constantly trying to win the battle of position and control in the ring. You will rarely see them back down and they always want to impose their will. This mentality and the physical attributes of these fighters result in exciting fights that often end in a knockout.

As with counter punchers, you need great reflexes for this style and natural intuition to fight. However, due to the forward movement, an additional layer of resistance is also required. This style is perfect for someone who is fast, aggressive and tough.


  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Mike Tyson
  • Isaac Cruz

Profile – Who this style typically suits:

  • Fast hands and feet
  • natural explosiveness
  • Typically lower

Boxer-Puncher boxing style explained

This is a fairly modern and refined style of boxing. Many great wrestlers have had their own adaptation over the years, but he has become a staple among the dominant champions of this generation. As the name suggests, the boxer-puncher style effectively consists of a fighter who has great boxing fundamentals and many of the characteristics of out-boxers and counter punchers.

However, they also have devastating power, meaning they have a decisive factor in all their fights. This means that despite their dominance, they can lose rounds throughout a fight as a sacrifice to get the knockout. In short, they are well-balanced fighters who can box and punch, and use both hand-to-hand skills to be as dominant as they are.

I think the most notable example of this in the modern era is Canelo Alvarez. Some people would label him a counter-puncher, but I think Saúl has evolved tremendously and, today, is definitely a boxer-puncher. He dictates the pace of fights and puts pressure on his opponents. Although he is a masterful counter-puncher, he doesn't just sit back and wait for his opponents to bring the fight to him. He trades blows, pushes his opponents against the ropes and unleashes massive body shots and uppercuts that have floored boxers like Caleb Plant and Billy-Joe Saunders.


  • Canelo Alvarez
  • Gervonta Davis
  • Tommy Hearns
  • Gennady Golovkin

Profile – Who this style typically suits:

  • Great hitting power
  • Finesse in boxing


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