Uppercuts are one of your most powerful weapons inside the boxing ring. They are inside-range weapons and can be challenging to block since they come from below your opponent’s range of vision. The power an uppercut lands with can be even more devastating when your opponent ducks into it, something boxers often do to avoid hooks.
Your lead uppercut covers more distance than your rear uppercut, so you can use it from slightly further out than your rear uppercut.
How To Throw A Lead Uppercut With Proper Technique
Properly throwing uppercuts is one of the techniques beginner boxers often struggle with, but it will become second nature for you when you get the mechanics down. The uppercut is a crucial part of your short-distance tools in boxing when you’re right next to your opponent’s face.
The technique can put opponents away, and it forces them to bring their guard downward, leaving them open to your looping punches. The lead uppercut can also be a mid-range tool. It often leads your opponent open to body shots at that range since most fighters prioritize protecting their chin from their punch (rightfully so).
Your lead uppercut is thrown from the side of your forwardmost foot. That is your left uppercut if you’re fighting in an orthodox stance (left foot forward) and your right uppercut if you’re fighting in a southpaw stance (right foot forward).
Here are the mechanics for throwing a lead uppercut correctly:
- Get into your boxing stance.
- Shift your weight a little to your front foot and lower your stance by bending at your knees. Drop your punching arm as you lower your stance to generate maximum power.
- Keep your other arm up, so it keeps protecting your chin.
- Rotate your hips clockwise as you’re about to throw the punch for extra power and a more upward trajectory (anticlockwise if you’re in a southpaw stance).
- Continue rotating your hips as you drive your lead hand upwards with your palm facing your face. Pivot your front foot as you throw the punch. You can skip this step if the technique is new to you since it complicates things.
- Bring your lead arm back to your chin as you return to your boxing stance.
The lead uppercut is most effective when set up with a punch or used in a combination. For example, you can set it up with a jab or cross. It also makes an excellent counter for straight punches. You simply slip towards your front leg, removing your head from the centerline, so the punch misses. You then follow up with a lead uppercut.
A lead uppercut goes well with a rear uppercut, so you also want to work on the latter. You’ll need to be even closer to your opponent to connect with a rear uppercut. Here’s what the correct technique looks like:
- Get into your fighting stance and drop your rear hand about a foot lower than your regular guard. Your rear arm should be close to your beltline when you throw the punch.
- Rotate your hips counterclockwise and bend your knees slightly as you throw the punch.
- Make an arc-type motion with your hand as you uncoil the punch upward. Your rear hand should be covering your face at the end of the punch.
As with any other fighting technique, practice makes perfect, so you need to drill your uppercuts regularly to throw them effectively. Some of the most effective ways to improve your punching technique include:
- Shadowboxing: Shadowboxing is one of the most helpful tools fighters use to improve their technique. It doesn’t require any equipment, just an open space you can move freely in. The key to getting the most out of your shadowboxing sessions is to throw your techniques like you were in an actual sparring match. Imagine you have a real opponent in front of you and fight like you would against a real person, using footwork and defensive maneuvers while throwing punches.
- Heavy Bag: A heavy bag helps to improve your technique and punching power. You do need to do more than simply standing in front of a heavy bag and throwing punches though. Use your footwork to move about the bag and imagine it’s a real opponent. Work on your defensive techniques as you move around the bag as well.
- Pad work: Working with pads improves your technique, power, speed, defense, footwork, and coordination. Ideally, you should work with a trainer or someone who understands the sweet science more than you do. That way, they can point out the things you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing correctly.
- Sparring: Sparring allows you to practice your techniques against resisting opponents who are also looking to practice their moves on you. It’s the closest thing to an actual boxing match, and it’s a great way to gain more fight experience and improve your boxing IQ.
Countering The Lead Uppercut
As with any technique used in boxing, there’s always a risk of your opponent countering your attack. Understanding the potential ways your opponent might counter your lead uppercut improves your ability to identify the best times to throw it. There’s also nothing stopping your opponents from throwing uppercuts at you, so it’s prudent to learn how to defend against them.
Not being in a proper stance, which leaves your chin exposed, and overcommitting on your punches are two mistakes that create openings for uppercuts. Simply using a correct stance and keeping your techniques tight goes a long way in protecting you against uppercuts.
To counter a lead uppercut:
- Throw a jab as soon as your opponent starts throwing the punch. Many fighters take a step before throwing the lead uppercut, so try to catch them as soon as they take the step before their head moves off the centerline.
- You can also counter a lead uppercut by taking a step back or pulling back as your opponent throws the punch.
- A cross is another effective way to counter the lead uppercut if you and your opponent are fighting out of the same stance. The cross covers more distance than the uppercut, and you can throw it while pulling your head back to avoid the uppercut.
- A more advanced way to counter an uppercut is by parrying the uppercut with your rear hand and following up with a lead hook.
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