Boxing Terminology You’ll Need in the Gym

Boxing Terminology You’ll Need in the Gym@aousphoto

Whether you’re just starting out in the ring or have been training for years, an understanding of basic boxing terminology is always important to have. So, to get a handle on some of the unique language you’ll be hearing in the gym, be sure to browse these fundamentals.

Amateur Boxing: Matches that typically do not pay their boxers, such as in the Olympic Games or at the provincial and collegiate level. Bouts are shorter in length when compared to professional matches, and fewer in total.
Backpedal: The action of avoiding an attack by retreating backwards in the ring, while still facing your opponent.
Below the Belt: Punches that reach below the belt or waistline.
Bob and Weave: A defensive technique usually done through quick, side-to-side maneuvers, to avoid an opponent’s hits.
Body Work: Attacks, mainly in offence, that are directly targeted towards a boxer’s midsection. Body work’s intention is to push back and break down the opponent, with hopes of a knockout.
Bolo Punch: A punch used for distraction purposes. It involves the combination of an uppercut and a hook.
Bout: Another term for a boxing match or a round in the ring.
Brawler: A more forceful fighter, who relies primarily on punches rather than strategy.
Break: Called out by the referee in order to stop a match and break apart two fighters. Could be used in the instance of a foul or an injury.
Check Hook: A technique used against more aggressive fighters, in which their punches are caught in a hooked maneuver and strategically timed.
Clinch: A move often used when a fighter is injured to avoid further confrontation, which involves locking onto their opponent and preventing another exchange.
Corkscrew Punch: This punch typically causes a cut on the receiver and is enacted in a twisting motion.
Counterpunch: A form of offence that counters a preceding hit, or a punch that is returned.
Cover-up: A defensive technique wherein the fighter chooses to hide behind their gloves to avoid an oncoming attack.
Cross: A rear handed punch which is aimed across the opposite boxer’s body.
Dive: When a boxer fakes a knockout.
Duck: The act of dropping below the opposing fighter to avoid contact.
Feint: A method of disorienting the opponent by feinting a throw to get an unnecessary reaction, effecting the boxer’s performance.
Flash Knockdown: A quick knockdown which does not result in a loss or unconsciousness, characterized by being briefly caught off guard.
Hand Wraps: Tap-like bandages that warp around the wrist and hand in order to protect the fist whilst sparring or training.
Hook: A punch, with a semi-circular motion and rotation of the body, which makes contact with the unguarded side of the head or face.
Jab: An offensive move, done by striking the opponent straight on.  
Knockout: Typically refers to a boxer who has been made unconscious or unable to continue fighting due to physical limitations, resulting in an automatic loss.
Outpoint: Used to describe a fighter who has the highest number of hits per round.
Overhand: A downward arching punch.  
Parry: A term used to describe the block, and subsequent redirect, of a boxer’s intended hit.  
Pull: The action of avoiding an attack by pulling back from the opponent.
Rabbit Punch: A hit that is targeted towards the back of a fighter’s head, which is illegal and automatic foul.
Shadow Boxing: A type of warm-up. Typically done to review a boxer’s current technique by imagining an opponent and countering their moves.
Shifting: Refers to the shifting of weight between feet, in an offensive motion, to increase power over an opponent.
Shoeshine: Punch’s thrown in rapid succession and in close proximity but lacking in strength and damage.
Spar: The term spar is typically used when describing training in a gym. Heavier protective gear is involved, distinguishing it from a judged match.
Sucker Punch: A blow which is unexpected.
Throw in the Towel: The term for surrender, involving the fighter’s trainer throw down a towel to call off the bout.
Tying-Up: A technique used for defence which entails pinning an opponent’s arms to their body, effectively limiting their movements.  
Uppercut: An upward directed punch, aimed directly up a fighter’s middle and towards the chin. Usually thrown from a crouched position to allow for better movement and power.
Weight Class or ‘Class’: A weight class is the division of boxers based on their weight in professional and amateur boxing matches. This helps in levelling the field, which allows for a more equal fight.

Taylor Villa is a Queens University undergraduate student in a dual major program of political studies and sociology, and a freelance editor/writer specializing in Fitness, Health, and Wellness.