In boxing defence and offence are achieved via the padded fists. Generally four types of punches exist. All other punches are basically variants of the below. If a boxer is right handed, his lead foot will be his left, and vice versa – the leading hand providing faster punches, the rear conversely used for power punches (more power is employed with the rear hand through weight distribution and greater momentum).
The modern boxing stance is a reflection of the current system of rules employed by professional boxing. It differs in many ways from the typical boxing stances of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s been stated that Americans adopted a more upright vertical armed guard (as opposed to more horizontally held, knuckles facing the ground guard as seen when looking at early 19th century boxers such as Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, etc.) due to the Americans’ confrontations with the Filipino natives as a result of the Philippines Spanish-American war. When engaged in hand to hand combat, the Filipinos would slash the wrists of the American soldiers, the Americans adapted by changing the guarded stance and is thus just one example of a boxing technicality evolving.
The boxer must stand with the legs shoulder-width apart. The boxer places the lead foot (the left foot for a right-handed fighter, the right foot for a left-hander (southpaw) more forward than the back foot so the front foot’s heel is in line with the back foots toes. The toes point straight forward, towards the opponent. The lead fist (the jabbing fist) is carried in front, half a dozen inches in front of the face at eye level (both arms should always be held straight and vertical – in line with the shoulders). The back fist is held against the chin and the arm lies in place against the body to protect the rib cage.
Knockouts are usually scored with punches to the chin. Modern boxers can sometimes be seen “tapping” their cheeks or foreheads with their fist in order to remind themselves to kept their fists up in this defensive position (which becomes difficult during long bouts). The torso is kept straight and the chin is tucked into the lead shoulder (which is often kept tense to further protect the chin).
Modern boxers are taught to “push off” with their feet in order to move effectively. Forward motion involves lifting the lead leg and pushing with the rear leg. Rearward motion involves lifting the rear leg and pushing with the lead leg. During lateral motion the leg in the direction of the movement moves first while the opposite leg provides the force needed to move the body.