Boxing is often referred to as “the sweet science” because it requires the athlete to master several skills at one time. While knockout punches get the most attention, new fighters quickly realize that they need to learn how to block a punch. To be successful in the sport, a boxer needs to understand how to block and evade punches. The best fighters in boxing are able to block punches and then quickly counter with an offensive attack.
Blocking a Jab
A straight jab is the punch used most often in boxing, so it is essential to know how to defend against that punch. Joe Frazier advises in his book "Box Like the Pros" to keep both hands up in front of your face at all times to defend yourself. In this position, you can block punches without even trying. When your opponent throws a jab, your gloves and forearms absorb the impact of the punch.
Parry a Punch
In boxing, a parry is an effective way to block a straight punch. USA Amateur Boxing coach Alan Lachica says that you can parry a right cross with a small slap of the left glove. By doing this, you deflect the opponent’s punch and expose him to a counterpunch.
Catching a Punch
This technique is often used to defend against a jab. Lachica advises to avoid catching a power punch because of the speed and momentum. To catch a jab, place your right hand in front of your face and “cuff” or “catch” the incoming punch. Ensure that your chin is tucked in and that your glove stays close to your face; do not reach out to catch the punch. Pivot your back foot to maintain your balance.
Blocking an Uppercut
Blocking an uppercut differs from the defenses against other punches. Your opponent will usually throw an uppercut when you are in a crouched position. To block an uppercut, keep your right glove under your chin with the palm of your glove facing down. In this position, you can catch the uppercut. Keep your chin tucked toward your left shoulder.
Stances and Sparring
The boxing training manual of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point explains that the foundation of proper blocking is a tight on-guard stance. In addition to a correct stance, frequently rehearse the various blocking techniques; you can do this with situational sparring, in which your opponent throws punches while you work on defense only. Shadowboxing is another effective way to improve your blocking skills. Use your imagination to defend against incoming attacks. With frequent practice, blocking can become second nature to a well-trained boxer.