The uppercut punch can be one of the effective ways to get the knockout
- It’s a powerful punch if thrown with the right technique since it comes from the rotation of your entire body.
- It comes from an angle that is out of your opponent’s eyesight so not only will it catch them off guard, but it’s also more damaging as they won’t see it coming.
- It’s a great punch to set up other punches resulting in quick and powerful combinations.
- It’ll leave you open for counter-punches and ‘same time’ punches as the uppercut requires you to temporarily drop your guard.
- Unless you’re super-fast and accurate, the uppercut must be thrown mid-range to close-range.
- If you miss the uppercut then it usually leaves you off balance and even more susceptible to counter-punches.
Here’s the two basic forms of a hook punch before we get started.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced boxer, it’s important to focus on the fundamentals of your technique. It’s important for beginners to practice the basics before going any further, but it’s also important that experienced boxers don’t neglect these basics or you could be losing time, energy and power by skipping over basic technique.
- Keep Your Guard Up: Unless you’re using the shoulder roll to set up a counter uppercut, then you should always keep your free hand to guard your chin when throwing the uppercut.
- Bend Your Knees: To get maximum power, you must bend your knees, rotate your body and throw the uppercut from the waist. Like with other punches, bending your knees helps to provide balance, from which you can generate more power.
- Rotate Your Body: Where the power of a hook comes from rotating of the hips, the power of an uppercut comes from rotation of the shoulders – turning your whole body in to the punch, around the rotation of your shoulders can generate serious power.
- Go to the Body: Don’t always aim for the head. An uppercut to the body can be just as effective, if not even more because it rips upwards into the solar plexus.
- Throw Combinations: Although a perfectly executed uppercut can knock out an opponent, you shouldn’t expect it to. But when you strike an opponent from underneath their chin, it forces their head out of their guard for a moment – giving you an opportunity to capitalise with follow-up punches.
- Drop Your Guard (1): You should never drop your guard, especially when throwing an uppercut. This punch should be thrown from close-range, which is where you will be most succeptible to a counter hook or uppercut. So keep your rear hand up to protect your head.
- Reach / Lunge (2): If your opponent is out of range, then don’t reach with your uppercut. If you do, then you can end up damaging your arm, being off balance or getting caught by a counter. A good rule is that your head should always be behind your front foot.
- Don’t Wind Up: You have to stay tight in your guard, find the power and momentum in your legs, hips, and shoulders, then punch at the last moment. If you load up your punch, not only will your opponent see it coming, but you will lose power and leave yourself exposed.
- Over Commit: Once you drive force up to your opponents chin level, bring the punch back to guard. The main purpose of an uppercut is to force your opponent’s head fom his guard so you can follow up with combinations. So don’t get complacent, or desparate for the uppercut KO.
- Stand Straight Up: Your knees should be bent every time you throw a punch. If you stand straight up, you will more open to counters and you will be significantly off-balance.
To elaborate on some of the things you shouldn’t do when throwing an uppercut, here’s a video of some common mistakes that boxers make.
I’d recommend this YouTube channel, and Shane’s website fighttips.com – for both self defence and martial arts advice.
How to Throw an Uppercut
Thrown with the rear hand and usually set up by using the jab, the rear uppercut is also a great counter-punch.
When thrown, you must use your lead hand to guard your chin (which Marquez shouldn’t, but drops as he throws the uppercut in the clip).
To throw the lead uppercut, you should dip your head to the outside of your lead foot and lean in slightly, twist your hips and rotate your body in an upwards motion while throwing the punch at the same time.
The dip of your head is very important because not only can it be used as a feint, but it’s necessary for slipping a punch as well.
The lead uppercut can also be set up with a straight punch, but don’t forget to use your back hand to cover your chin. The clip on the right shows Juan Manuel Marquez setting up his lead uppercut with the straight right. Although he connects, the punch has little impact because he’s throwing it from too far out.
Pull Back Lead Uppercut
Of all the different ways to throw the uppercut, the pull back lead uppercut is the safest to execute. This is because it’s usually thrown as your opponent is coming in, and you’re pulling back as you’re throwing the punch. This means that you’ll reduce the chances of getting hit, or at least minimizing the impact of an incoming punch.
The uppercut to the body is deadly and can leave your opponent folded over in pain. You should aim for the solar plexus which is directly at the center of the stomach.
The uppercut to the body is safer than throwing an uppercut to the head because it leaves you less exposed and is quicker to reach the target.
The most effective method is to duck under your opponent’s punch and then immediately shoot the uppercut to their mid-section.
Using the Counter Uppercut
You’ll find that boxers who utilize the shoulder roll effectively such as James Toney and Floyd Mayweather, they usually counter with the rear uppercut after rolling a cross or an overhand punch.
This is because they’re in the perfect position to do so. You can also just dip your body to the inside to slip a punch then come up with the uppercut as seen.
Another way of countering with it is by ducking an incoming punch and then coming up with the uppercut to the body or head. This requires good timing but when thrown correctly, it’s often very damaging because your opponent will usually be leaning in as he misses his punch.
There is a lot of practice that must go in to mastering the uppercut punch, but a lot of reward can come once you have every variation perfected and in your arsenal.
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