The cross is considered one of the fundamental punches of boxing. It’s the perfect complement to the almighty jab. It’s fast, powerful, and throws straight down the middle. If the cross lands on an opponent’s chin, it can have devastating effects.
Every fighter needs a solid cross in their arsenal. Some of the biggest knockout punchers in the history of the sport featured a fast and powerful cross in their offensive toolbox. Former Boxing World Champion and Evolve MMA boxing instructor, Drian Francisco, is known for having an incredible right cross.
Francisco is a WBA Boxing World Champion, WBO Asia Pacific Champion, WBA International Champion, IBF Pan Pacific Champion, and more. Known for his unconventional fighting style, Francisco often turned to his right cross to knock his opponents out.
What Is A Cross?
The cross is a straight punch thrown by the rear hand. If you’re an orthodox fighter, that’s your right hand. If you’re a southpaw, it’s your left.
Usually thrown at eye level, the cross travels at distance from point A to point B, straight down the middle. It’s meant to puncture the glove guard, and connect on the bridge of an opponent’s nose or on the chin. If executed correctly, the cross is a knockout punch that can turn the lights off on an opponent almost instantly.
In the video above, Francisco demonstrates how to throw the cross and its many nuances. If you’re looking to add this punch to your arsenal, or even improve your existing cross, allow one of the Philippines’ finest boxers to show you how.
Today, Evolve University shares how to throw a cross in boxing, demonstrated by WBA Boxing World Champion Drian Francisco.
1) The Basics Of The Cross
The cross, in its essence, is a power punch. It has the ability to achieve a knockdown, and more often than not, it’s a knockout punch. Some fighters like to set the cross up with a jab, but others use it to lead a combination.
To throw a cross, Francisco demonstrates keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed, moving loose and flowing on the offensive end in front of your opponent. When you’ve decided to execute the cross, you must be explosive.
Keep the arm straight, and throw the cross right down the middle. To maximize power, don’t forget to twist your hips into the punch, and pivot your rear foot. Because your power comes from the base, this ensures efficient kinetic energy transfer. Your weight will come with the punch, and be transferred right to your fist.
Turn your knuckles inward. You want to connect with your two biggest knuckles on the target, the knuckles between your index and middle fingers. Avoid connecting with the smaller knuckles, as that part of the hand is comprised of a system of small bones that could be compromised.
Keep your hands open and loose when moving around, and only clench your fist just before you make contact with the target. Francisco says this is to ensure your cross is both powerful and fast. You don’t want to be tense and tight, as this will sap a lot of your energy and build up lactic acid in your muscles.
The cross itself is effective, most especially against opponents of the opposite stance, because they are vulnerable to punches that come down the middle.
2) Don’t Neglect Your Defense
According to Francisco, when throwing the cross, don’t forget your defense. Failing to defend yourself and leaving yourself open after throwing the cross is a common beginner mistake. As soon as you throw the cross, bring your glove right back to its original defensive position. You must be quick and accurate.
Speed is very important to this punch, not just to land with accuracy, but also in protecting your chin. This is why being loose and relaxed is important, so you can spring back on defense just as fast as you throw the shot.
Francisco reminds students not to overextend or overreach with the cross as it will leave them open to getting countered. This means you must ensure that you are within range before committing to a cross. If you’re out of range and your opponent is too far away, you need to cover the distance with your footwork.
There are a number of punches that can follow a solid cross. The short and compact hook is the most natural follow-up to the cross. Throwing the left hook behind the cross can reap incredible results.
If you’re willing to take more of a risk, you can come back down the middle with a left uppercut to the solar plexus or chin after throwing the hook. The variations are endless.
3) Common Mistakes
As with every technique in boxing, you have to avoid common mistakes with the cross. According to Francisco, here are a few reminders:
· Don’t just focus on the head. The cross to the body is also available, and you have to make the punch diverse to keep your opponent guessing.
· When aiming the cross at the body, don’t just punch downward. You have to dip and bend your knees slightly, moving your torso forward to change levels as you throw the cross to the body.
· Practice makes perfect. Because it’s one of the most basic punches in boxing, it’s often neglected in training. Train and hone the cross constantly to perfect it.
· It cannot be stressed enough, but overextending on the cross will leave you open and vulnerable. Not only that, it will also cause you to be thrown off balance. If you get countered when you don’t have your legs under you, it will be easy to knock you down, so keep it tight.
· Keep a low center of gravity and sit down on your punches in order to ensure a powerful shot.
· Don’t square your shoulders up too much with your opponent’s. According to Francisco, you want to stand at a slight angle. This is the natural stance, and will give you the proper momentum when throwing the cross.
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