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The 5 best guards in English boxing (complete guide)

The 5 best guards in English boxing (complete guide)

The 5 best guards in English boxing (complete guide)


Boxing is perhaps the purest form of conflict known. There is nothing simpler than fighting with just your hands. Although boxing is inherently simple, there are a number of styles and strategies that a boxer can use to influence the outcome of a fight. This article examines the different guards to consider, as well as their distinctive advantages and disadvantages in the ring.


1. The traditional boxing guard


As the name suggests, the traditional position is the most common guard. The hands are raised high enough to protect the chin, deflect hooks and straight punches. The elbows are also low enough to deflect blows to the body.

Additionally, the position of the hands allows enough flexibility to move the head with relative ease. If the hands are raised, it becomes difficult and tedious to move and dodge. Head movement is easier and blocking takes a little longer when your hands are low. Of all the boxing guards, this is the most used.

Anthony Joshua and Gennady Golovkin are good examples of modern boxers using a traditional stance. It's a very classic style that is well established and covers all the bases. The disadvantage is that it can be easily exploited since it is the most used guard in boxing . Therefore, the traditional position does not provide any surprises.


2. The Philly Shell Guard


Originally called the "crab shell," the Philly Shell is a unique guard that, when used correctly, offers great protection. The lead hand is kept low to protect the stomach from body blows, while the right hand is kept high to catch jabs and block hooks. Also, with the left hand low, it is harder for the opponent to see straights coming.

The Philly Shell has been used most frequently by Floyd Mayweather . The problem with this guard is that it is very difficult to use effectively and often takes years to master. Legend has it that even the mighty Floyd took his share of hits in the gym before perfecting this style. His 50-0 professional record suggests those efforts were not in vain.

When using this guard, it is very important to keep your front shoulder high to protect your chin. Crosses can be deflected thanks to shoulder movement, giving the opportunity to throw a cross in response. This tactic is one of Floyd's signature moves. She is more dangerous against an opponent in the opposite position, as it opens you up to her main hook and crosses in the middle.


3. The guard up


The high guard is known to have been used by the legendary Ronald "Winky" Wright, and is often used by fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Vasyl Lomachenko. This guard keeps your hands in an ideal position to block straight punches. The parry and cross combination is particularly effective when the opponent throws a straight from the opposite position.

It is important to keep your elbows together to defend against uppercuts. If you use this guard, you need to be in good physical condition, as you are essentially inviting body attacks. Another disadvantage is that the straight punch has a greater distance to travel and is easier for your opponent to see coming.

A tight high guard is very difficult to break and obscures vision. It can also be seen as a signal to the opponent that you are in survival mode. In fact, many boxers resort to this to buy time and recover when they are injured. The best way to deal with a boxer pressing with a high guard is to keep your distance, attack the body, and stay away from the ropes.


4. The Peekaboo Boxing Guard


The Peekaboo guard is the creation of coach Cus D'Amato, you may know it best as the position used by his protégé, "Iron" Mike Tyson. The Peekaboo is the perfect position for short and big fighters. Emphasizing head movement and constant forward pressure, this position is a nightmare for taller fighters.

The main difference between the Peekaboo guard style and other guard styles is that the toes are pointed forward and not to the side. This improves head movement from left to right without throwing you off balance. It is essential to keep your hands close to your cheeks when performing the Peekaboo. In this way, the chin is protected by the gloves and the arms protect the body.

The downside to the Peekaboo style is that it relies heavily on timing and reflexes, making it predictable and restrictive. It's no coincidence that Mike Tyson began losing fights as his reflexes slowed, although partying probably didn't help. His only style was the peekaboo, so he couldn't modify it and adopt a different strategy.


5. The cross guard


Of the boxing styles discussed, the cross guard is perhaps the most unique. Archie Moore, Ken Norton and boxing heavyweights like George Foreman used it to great effect, despite its rarity. Joe Frazier also used a cross guard form, but combined it with constant forward pressure and frequent movements.

The cross guard is exactly what its name suggests. You create a cross with your arms in front of your body. Sacrifice offensive efficiency in favor of a strong defensive stance, as it is difficult to land powerful, straight punches when holding a cross guard.

Although the cross guard protects you from uppercuts, the ribs and liver are more exposed, keep this in mind if you decide to try it. However, this guard lends itself to an interesting boxing style, but it takes training to use it effectively.





Any style you choose has its advantages and disadvantages, none are inherently good or bad. In order to provoke their opponent, fighters such as Roy Jones Junior and "Prince" Naseem Hamed sometimes chose not to wear any guard. It all depends on the risk/reward ratio that suits you best in the end.

Try some of these boxing positions and see which one suits you best. There are no hard and fast rules, so it may be wiser to learn several different guards rather than focusing on just one.


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