Boxing is a full-contact sport that had its fair share of drama and success throughout history. Nevertheless, it helps you build up character, improve your body condition, push your limits and work on your punching skills, as long as you wear a pair of protective boxing gloves.
There is little you cannot do once you pick up boxing as your favorite training sport but you need to always be aware of the injuries that might occur while training or fighting. Thus, it would be best to find the perfect boxing style for you and learn as much as possible about it in order to perfect it.
If you’re looking to find out more about the subject and how to determine which boxing style suits you the most, here is everything you need to know.
What is a boxing style?
A boxing style is kind of your signature moves and techniques, a personal touch that you bring that makes people recognize you in the ring. Sooner or later you will develop a personal boxing style that will make you different from the others, as much as you will try to copy another professional boxer.
In the beginning, everyone will be studying some of the worldwide legends of boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, trying to identify as many boxing moves and combat styles as possible.
In time, after hours of practice and identifying your own strengths and weak points, you will be able to find a fighting style that suits you, your personality in the ring, and which helps you score the most points. If you’re not sure what to look for, the four key-points that will ultimately define your style are aggression, personality, quickness, and aggression.
What are the main boxing styles?
Based on these criteria, specialists identified four main boxing styles, each coming with its own perks and downsides – the swarmer, the out-boxer, the slugger, and the boxer-puncher.
Swarmers don’t hide much when it comes to their fighting technique – everything is out in the open and they are all out aggressive. Boxers who opt for this style live in close range near their opponents and want to be all over them every second of the match.
Sometimes, they may seem reckless for launching in massive attacks, opening so much in the process and leaving the guard down. However, most of the times swarmers understand that force is their main advantage and want to make the most of it in order to score points and win the game.
They are trying to break their opponents on a physical level and striking from the first seconds of the game is their most popular technique. Swarmers are power punchers who can put an end to a fight through a KO in under ten seconds, and they are constantly looking for that one final punch.
Apart from the punch strength, swarmers are known to be in the perfect fitness shape. Their bodies are worked to the max because this is the only way they can put so much pressure and effort on their opponents without losing their breath or getting tired. Moreover, they know how to take a punch.
Defense is not one of their strengths but they are able to take punches once their opponents take over the initiative.
Statistically speaking, the career of a swarmer doesn’t last too long as this style will eventually wear out and they will be put down by the opponents who took their time and studied this combat style. They also put on a lot of pressure on their bodies constantly, and won’t be able to sustain this high level of physical endurance in the long term.
The out-boxer is the opposite of a swarmer, practicing a safer boxing style, mainly focused on defense. Unlike the first, the out-boxer knows how to keep a safe distance between him and his opponent and doesn’t rush his moves.
These boxers often rely on longer range punches to compensate for their lack of spark and power. However, they learn how to be quick and focus a lot on their legs to run from their opponents and try to maintain control of the game as much as possible.
Being in the ring with an out-boxer is tiring and seems more like an endurance test as they will wear you down with their constant movement, trying to escape from you and your punches.
They aren’t impulsive and don’t rush when it comes to their offense, preferring to calculate the punch and only strike if they see an opening in their competitor’s defense.
Out-boxers prefer playing a more tactical game and wait for the perfect time to attack. They feel safe and comfortable by keeping a respectable distance from their opponents and they’re in for the long run.
Since they cannot rely on aggressivity to take down their opponents, these boxers learn to throw effective long-range punches in time. The more they are in the ring or training, the better they will become and can live to have long and successful careers. Some of the most famous boxers fighting in the out-boxer style include legend Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes.
Sluggers are known to be mainly aggressive but also work on their defense pretty well. They usually are big but rather slow, so they need to compensate with an aggressive punch if they want to dominate in the ring.
Sluggers are not as impulsive as swarmers and prefer not to engage in a cascade of punches unless they are sure they can cause maximum damage to their opponents. In a way, they act as if they would have a gun in both of their arms but only with a limited number of bullets, so they are waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack.
They don’t take too many chances and usually know how to defend themselves well. However, sluggers get worn out and tired fast, which is obviously a weak point in the long term. Another downside of this boxing style is predictability. Since sluggers are slow, their patterns are easy to pick up by their opponents, so they lose most of the surprise element.
On the bright side, they are known for their hard punches and, once you get hit by an unleashed slugger, it’s hard to recover and continue the game. Max Baer and Riddick Bowe are probably the most famous boxers of this fighting style.
The boxer puncher
Finally, the boxer-puncher seems like the perfect combination of an aggressive and defensive combat style. This type of athlete generally has enough experience and power in the ring to take down his opponent, so he is also the most dangerous.
Boxer-punchers are similar to hybrids as they possess the power of a slugger, the speed of the out-boxer, and the aggression of the swarmer. However, since they focus on these three fields, they won’t be able to master any of them perfectly. They are not invincible and, once you pick up their weaknesses, they can be defeated.
The success of a boxer-puncher often relies on his emotions and personality. If he’s more fiery, he can engage in a cascade of punches like a swarmer which will leave his defense weak. Among the most famous boxer-punchers we can remember Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, and Archie Moore.