In boxing, the uppercut is an advanced punch that is often taught further in a fighter’s development. Many boxing coaches teach the uppercut and overhand punches last, letting their fighter develop their straight punches and hooks. This is partly due to the refined mechanics and myriad of details that must be kept in mind to throw an effective uppercut. Even Tyson Fury, who is one of the best boxers in the world, has punched himself in the face with an ill-timed uppercut. However, when mastered, the uppercut is a powerful tool that can give any fighter the advantage. Today, Evolve University is pleased to share a guide on how to throw a stronger and more powerful uppercut.
A powerful uppercut must be built on the foundation of a solid fundamental boxing stance. This is where your body is angled forty-five degrees and your rear heel and lead big toe are in line with each other, often called the half-a-man stance. You should have sixty percent of your weight on your back leg and forty percent on your front leg. Having more weight on your back foot allows you more agile movement and loads your rear side to add power to your punches.
Throwing a rear uppercut from your fundamental boxing stance has the same hip rotation and weight transfer mechanics as a rear cross. One of the advantages of this type of boxing stance is the ability to throw all types of punches with the same starting movement, which prevents you from telegraphing and being countered. Your rear uppercut begins with an inward rotation of your rear foot, with your heel coming off the ground and rotating outwards. This naturally rotates and pushes your rear side towards your lead side. To release the uppercut, rotate your thumb outwards as you extend your arm outwards, keeping a ninety-degree angle at your elbow. Your index and middle knuckles will make an impact on your opponent’s chin or body if done correctly.
The lead uppercut can also be an extremely effective punch. To maximize your power on the lead uppercut, shift your weight from your back leg to your front leg before throwing the punch. This can be done by slipping your head to your lead side, or more subtly by simply redistributing your weight. For both of these options, your rear heel will be lifted off the ground before throwing the lead uppercut. Once your weight has been shifted to the rear side, rotate the thumb of your lead hand outwards as you shift your weight back to your rear leg with an explosive twist and hip thrust, keeping a ninety-degree bend in your lead elbow. If you practice the correct biomechanics, your lead uppercut can be almost as powerful as your rear uppercut!
Uppercut variations can help you to mix up your punches to land more effectively. Each of these variations has the potential to be a knockout shot or a setup for another punch.
The first variation is called the bolo punch. It can be most recently seen in MMA from Conor Mcgregor in his fight against Marcus Brimage. Mcgregor used the bolo punch multiple times during the fight to score a knockout!
The bolo punch was coined and popularized by Cefarino Garcia, a middleweight boxing champion from the Philippines. It is often said that the bolo punch originated from farmhands using a bolo machete to cut down sugar cane. The punch resembles the motion of swinging a machete, only without the blade. Although this can be a powerful punch, most coaches would advise using it sparingly, as its wide range of motion can leave you vulnerable to a counter punch.
The second uppercut variation is the walking uppercut. This variation has been used by boxers Jersey Joe Walcott and George Foreman. It is a versatile punch that suits many fighting styles. The punch is surprisingly powerful and difficult to block, as it comes from an odd angle due to the stepping footwork. Unlike most punches in boxing, the walking uppercut has you step with the leg opposite of your punching hand. Jersey Joe Walcott and George Foreman often threw a lead uppercut while taking a step with their rear leg, allowing them to punch between their opponent’s hands on the centerline. Above is the video of Jersey Joe Walcott executing the walking uppercut.
The next variation of the uppercut is a punch called the smash. The smash is an unorthodox lead uppercut with massive knockout power and was used by former professional boxer Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. The smash was created to be a knockout blow. Ruddock was frustrated by his opponent’s abilities to shell up and prevent him from scoring a knockout, so he devised a punch specifically to circumvent his opponent’s guard. The smash starts by lowering and straightening your lead hand as you square up and load all of your weight onto your front leg. Ruddock would often lean his body so far over his front leg that he would need to cross-step with his rear leg to maintain balance after the punch. Once you have your weight loaded and lead arm in position, use your legs to explode upwards snapping your lead arm to ninety degrees while explosive shifting all of your weight to your back leg. The biomechanics of your hips and legs closely resemble a gazelle hook. Like the bolo punch, this uppercut variation can leave you vulnerable to counterpunches; although the risk is high, the reward can be a highlight reel knockout of your opponent.
Heavy Bag Training
The heavy bag is one of the most effective tools you can use to increase your strength and power on your uppercut. Although a traditional heavy bag can be used, an uppercut or aqua bag will give you a more accurate target for angling your punches. The lead uppercut can be set up using a jab or cross, while the rear uppercut is best set up using a jab or lead hook. One way to incorporate uppercuts into your style while also working on your power is to mix in uppercuts with other power punches while you do bag rounds. For example, you could start a round by practicing your jab, cross, and lead hook combination. As the round progresses, or even in the next round, you can vary the combination by replacing the cross with an uppercut or adding an uppercut at the end.
The double-end bag will indirectly help you throw a stronger and more powerful uppercut. No matter how much power you have in any punch, it has to land to have an effect. The double-end bag helps you practice setting up the uppercut by stepping into range using head movement and tracking the bag to time the punch. A simple, but effective way to practice landing the rear uppercut is to start by establishing a rhythm with your jab. For example, you can throw a double jab, slip the bag towards your rear side as it comes towards you, and then throw your rear uppercut on the bag’s second rebound. For the lead uppercut, simply slip towards your lead side after your double jab, then land your lead uppercut on the bag’s second rebound.
The uppercut is a versatile punch that any fighter should add to their arsenal. It is used less frequently and therefore makes it an effective way to land a punch on any opponent. It can be thrown to the head or body, from various angles and ranges. Incorporate the above technique and try the variations in your next sparring session to take your boxing to the next level!
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