Bob Foster was one of the fighters I featured in my book Forgotten Legends of the Ring. Foster was mostly known for being a ferocious puncher and is considered one of the best ever to have campaigned at Light Heavyweight. Something else Foster doesn’t get enough credit for is his jab. Foster of course also competed as a Heavyweight, back then there was no Cruiserweight division so Foster would struggle to add on weight and come in against the Heavyweights whilst still only weighing around 180lbs himself so would often be outweighed by 30 or 40lbs. Bob Foster also fought Muhammad Ali, another known for possessing one of the greatest jabs in history but it was Foster’s jab which was causing problems in the fight between the two and his jab opened up a cut on Ali’s eye. Foster once said he would go running and use hand weights to pump out his left jab whilst jogging and that was one of the reasons his jab was so strong.
In this article I look at how Bob Foster would use the Up Jab. Foster was 6’3 which no doubt contributed to the effectiveness of his up jab. The up jab is commonly used to stall an aggressive opponent who is always coming in because of the trajectory it is thrown at, coming from under the eyeline so an opponent can sometimes lose sight of the up jab coming his way which means an aggressive fighter will walk into the up jab.
Bob Foster would use the up jab from a slightly crouching down position, bending the knees and then shoot the up jab at his opponent. Now what Foster would do differently to others I have seen using the up jab is that Foster would then throw the lead right from the straight position as his up jab. Boxing at the top level requires a lot of feinting and trickery and Foster expertly used this with the up jab. From throwing the up jab with the knees bent and slightly crouching, the opponent may think an up jab is coming, instead Foster would then catch them out with the lead right hand. Foster could then combine the two as we see the video below, the up jab followed by the right hand which caused the knockdown. The up jab is also great at getting under the chin of the opponent, hitting the head back up in the line of your incoming right hand.
Foster would also use other methods to disguise the up jab, for example Foster would use his lead hand to control his opponent by blocking their hands to prevent a punch coming back at him, from there he would turn this hand control into another up jab. Because Foster was crouching down when throwing the up jab this also meant he could instead throw a jab to the body with little change of position, so once again the opponent is thinking up jab but instead Foster throws the jab to the body. Foster could also stall the opponent by feinting the up jab with his foot and then throw the right hand lead off the foot feint. Watch the video below to see Bob Foster mastering all the nuisances of the up jab.