Over at the Ringsidereport.com where I work as one of their featured writers, we’ve just welcomed IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jnr to the club. He joins a number of pro boxers both former and present as part of the ringsidereport.com forum including one of my favourite boxers from the 1990’s, former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. So to celebrate Errol Spence Jnr’s arrival, today’s article will be about body punching, something Spence Jnr is extremely effective at, most notably in his win over our very own Kell Brook last year which won him the IBF title. Spences systematic and sustained body attack on Brook eventually broke the Sheffield fighter down and wore him out as the fight went on. Brook eventually lost after deciding not to continue due to an eye injury, which turned out to be yet another fractured eye socket for the fighter.
WHY IS BODY PUNCHING SO EFFECTIVE?
Head shots get all of the headlines, but anyone who’s taken a hard body shot or suffered a broken rib from a body shot will tell you they would rather take a shot to face than to the body. A well place body shot will suck the life out of you, slowing you down, making it harder to recover and if you have the misfortune of taking a shot to the liver, well the body will pretty much temporarily shut down and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The main reason why body shots are so effective is because they slow your opponent down. Getting punched in the gut over the course of several rounds will have a detrimental effect on your cardio system. it will tire you out that much more quicker. If you ever come across a boxer who is faster than you, arguably the best way to slow them down is to attack their body. You must work the body, faster boxers tend to have a high work rate, they can usually overwhelm you just through sheer volume of punches and speed of combinations. If someone is constantly firing out punches, you must attack their body, preferably with the jab or cross to disrupt their rhythm. Body punches add up, you might land and think it hasn’t effected your opponent, but believe me even if it doesn’t appear to, it adds up and shots delivered to the body slow your opponent down. As mentioned landing body shots effects the cardio system, so a high work rate or volume puncher will end up slowing down as a result. If you are fighting inside, speed tends to be negated somewhat as a fast boxer needs space to throw his arms so you can consider throwing hooks and uppercuts in close range. Only once you have fully adjusted to their speed should you try slipping in hooks and uppercuts. Remember, when fighting inside you don’t have to load up on your punches, shoot everything in quickly and snap your punches back too, even better if you can throw these punches with minimal shoulder movement(loading up requires a recoil of your shoulders and your opponent will see your shoulders recoiling as you load up so they will be able to anticipate and defend your shots. This is because when fighting inside you cannot see your opponents eyes so the eyes focus on the shoulders)
Body punching is also a great tactic because it enables you to be unpredictable, if you go head hunting your attack will become very easy to defend against, your opponent will know every punch is coming to their head and defend accordingly. If you can switch levels then it can confuse your opponents defence. By switching levels this means to punch to the head and the body in the same combination ie jab to the head, right hook to the body, followed by left hook to the head. Or jab to the body followed by right cross to the head.
You can also punch off the slip – jab, slip inside, left hook to the body(aim under your opponents elbows).
Attacking the body also manipulates your opponents guard, if you land a heavy body shot, watch as your opponent gradually begins to the lower their guard and drop their hands in an effort to protect their body. This then allows you to feint a body shot but instead attack the head. An example of this was Saul Alvarez vs Amir Khan. Alvarez was able to manipulate Khan’s guard having landed a few body shots after his jab. Khan reacted to this by dropping his hands in an effort to protect his body, Alvarez noted this and set the trap, faking his shot and landed the knock out punch on Khan as Khan’s hand came down thinking he was protecting himself from a body punch, leaving him sprawling on the canvas.
‘Canelo’ Alvarez also loves to use the left hook feint to land his left hook to the body – tap the opponents guard with a fast left hook to the head, follow it up immediately with a hard left hook to the body.
KILL THE BODY AND THE HEAD WILL DIE
If you want to view boxers who were or are great at body punching then the following boxers are great examples to study.
Mike McCallum – incidentally his nickname was ‘The Bodysnatcher’.
Ricky Hatton – England’s very own hitman used to love attacking the body when his opponent was on the ropes.
Julio Cesar Chavez Snr – Arguably the greatest boxer to ever come out of Mexico.
Naoya Inoue – Current WBO Junior Bantamweight champion named ‘The Monster’ for his vicious body punching.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Writer for the Ringside Report Boxing Author of: (Available for download on Amazon) The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle