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Boxing Footwork: Full-Body Fighting
Your instructor will teach you to punch, but also to use your other limbs to win. Learn why your feet matter with Groupon’s look at footwork.
Boxers don’t fight with just their arms; they use their whole bodies, especially their feet. The way a boxer moves his feet determines how vulnerable he is to punches—standing with one foot forward and the body turned slightly makes him a smaller target. And, of course, it can give his punches power. By pivoting the back foot and turning the hips and torso, a strong boxer can put upwards of 800 pounds of force behind a punch. The problem is that the same forward momentum that gives the punch strength can also throw the fighter off balance, so an opponent fleet-footed enough to sidestep the attack may be rewarded with an opportunity to counterpunch an unstable target. In a sense then, the object of footwork boils down to two conflicting goals: get your feet set so you can put power into your punches, and keep your opponent moving so he can’t do the same.
Smart boxers are able to use their footwork to support their overall strategy. Rocky Marciano, a power fighter who scored 43 knockouts in 49 victories, kept his feet closer together than many boxers do, which cost him mobility but gave him might. By contrast, Floyd Mayweather, who’s won 43 fights but only tallied 26 knockouts, relies on a wider stance. In this position, he can dodge punches with speedy lateral movements and then unleash flurries of quick counterpunches, which means he may not throw as many knockout blows, but he is likely to impress judges and win by decision.