I have written about George Benton numerous times on my site so he needs no introduction except to say he was a master at using the Philly Shell style of defence. Now one of the issues I see when I come across fighters using the Philly Shell is how they defend the hook followed by the cross and often those who aren’t fully versed in the philly shell fundamentals become unstuck here and caught by the cross after having defended the hook. Often the most noticeable problem I see is fighters staying too upright when defending the hook and cross which leads to them getting hit – in this article I am going to go over how George Benton used the Philly Shell to defend against the hook and cross.
Firstly, Benton always kept his chin tucked in tight behind the shoulder, so when he would block the hook with his rear hand and then roll against the cross, his stance was tight and compact making it more difficult to land the cross as his chin was hiding behind the lead shoulder. Another trick Benton would use against the cross after blocking the hook was bending at the waist, the right hand would have further to travel due to Benton’s stance and bending away at the waist giving it less chance to land.
Perhaps more importantly, Benton was always using his feet when defending, he wouldn’t hold his guard whilst blocking punches, he would be pivoting off the block creating an angle as he defended, again making the second shot much harder to land. Benton would not be standing upright leaning back on the ropes shoulder rolling the punches, he would block, turn and dip in to close the gap as soon as his back touched the ropes. This is very important, if you are a boxer who fights at a good level, it is a risk attempting to sit or lean back on the ropes trying to block and shell up against 4,5,6 punches in succession, one is going to slip in so it is better to do as Benton did, turn, pivot or dip to close the gap instead of waiting back on the ropes trying to look flashy in defence.
Now another trick George Benton used was to cross block – so Benton would block the hook with his rear hand and then as he was pivoting away from the right, he would use the rear hand to bring it across to the left side of his head to catch any right cross as he turned away, again his shoulder would be tight so now you would have the both the shoulder and rear hand protecting against the cross, other times you can also see Benton lift the lead elbow to defend the cross as he shoulder rolled, again giving him an extra barrier of protection because if you happen to land a punch on an elbow, it could do some serious damage to your thumb or inner forearm.
The video below shows George Benton using all of these techniques as part of the Philly Shell defence.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Author of: 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 *Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used for educational purposes and in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
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