The Check Hook


Check Hook

The hook is one of the most explosive, if not the most explosive punch in boxing. Left hook knockouts(or right hook if you happen to be a southpaw) provide many a highlight reel and the greatest exponents of the hook are celebrated in boxing. Who had the greatest left hook for example? You might hear names such as Smokin’ Joe Frazier, whose left hook famously felled Muhammad Ali in their fight of the century in 1971. Then there is Roy Jones Jr, whose nickname was Captain Hook, Jones could reel off three left hooks in quick succession! Other names include the greatest boxer of them all Sugar Ray Robinson, the gone too soon heavyweight Tommy Morrison and keeping with the heavyweights, who could forget Joe Louis and Mike Tyson – all had very dangerous left hooks.

But there is more than just the devastating left hook in a boxers tool bag. There is more than one way to throw the hook and there is more than one use for the hook. This article looks at the check hook, an under used variation of the hook that can often be the surprise punch in your armoury.

As a boxing coach I can teach at least four variations of the hook. Now a regular hook is usually thrown with just the pivot of the front foot, the range of the hook depends on how open your forearm is(close, medium or long). Power depends on whether you drive through your opponent, snapping the hook involves immediately recoiling back to your guard/stance after throwing the hook and if you want to add direction to your hook simply pull your wrist in towards you.

The check hook has slightly different mechanics, whereas the regular hook is used mostly when being aggressive, the check hook is used to try and nullify an aggressive opponent. With the check hook you are hooking whilst pivoting so the action of the punch should move you to a different angle. The lead foot will pivot and the back leg will swing around which enables you to move position. It is most often used when backing up towards the ropes and you want to get your back off the ropes because that is where you least want to be, if the opponent is charging in then a well timed check hook will catch them by surprise and allow you to change position whilst still being a threat to them, the hook is a heavy shot and even the check hook can be delivered with game ending power, so it gives the opponent something to think about for the rest of the fight, they know they cannot just lunge in pressuring you if a check hook may be coming back at them.

It doesn’t always have to be delivered off the ropes, it can be used to bait your opponent in when using the middle of the ring too, this would be better set up by drawing your opponent in with lighter jabs and as they come forward and you have figured out the range with your touching jabs, then use the check hook – this was best demonstrated by Joe Louis in the video below.

Use the check hook and make it a part of your boxing, use it off the ropes or use it off the hook, having multiple ways to use a heavy shot such as the hook will instantly make you a more dangerous fighter.

About the author 


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.


boxing coach, check hook, hook, left hook

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