The Art of Counterpunching

The Art of Counterpunching

If you can’t throw a good counterpunch, you probably won’t get too far in your boxing career. A counterpunch is the mediator between offense and defense in the ring, and an effective one will ensure you restore the initiative in a fight.

And initiative is something you need to chase as hard as you damn well can. 

The counterpunch, then, is a weapon. It gives you momentum, control, and confidence. If you can perfect it, you’re onto a winner.

Let’s take a look at how to do just that. 

Keep Your Eyes On Your Opponents Hands 

Beginner boxers don’t always keep their eyes on their adversary’s hands. Instead, they lock eyes with them.

The problem with this is that he’s not gonna telegraph his next punch via his sneering eyes. So what’ve you gotta do if you wanna see what freight train is coming next? You watch his hands. 

Don’t let your opponent suck you in and hypnotise you with his eyes. Focus on his hands and you’ll what’s coming next.

If you’ve never done this before, it’ll be like someone’s removed a blindfold from your eyes. 

Take Mental Notes 

Before a match, an elite level boxer will watch recordings of their opponents fights and take notes. That way, they’ll be able to pick up on little nuances they would otherwise have missed. 

For example, an opponent might have this thing where he drops his hands before launching a punch. Call it a quirk, a tick, whatever you want. If you have prior knowledge of it, you can stop him. 

The problem you have is that you probably don’t have access to your opponents' previous fights. If you can get hold of DVD’s, or if some of his bouts are online, check them out. Otherwise, you’re going to have to record mental notes while in the ring with him. Watch him carefully, look out for any quirks and then use them against him. 

Don’t Back Up 

It can be really easy to back up, especially for new fighters. You might not feel so brave. And you might not have a counterpunch in your arsenal, which probably makes you feel like backing up even more. 

But try punching while moving backward. Try visualising it. You can’t, can you? 

If you can’t counterpunch while moving backward, then don’t move backward. Stand your ground, don’t give up - and fight!

You can practice this in the gym. Slip, then punch. Then feint and then punch. Weave and then punch. Do this over and over. Punches and combos are your friend here. Use them. 

Then think ahead to the ring. Imagine yourself in a fight where your opponent slams a 6-punch combo at you. If you’re backing off all the time, you might dodge the first 5, but the sixth will hit you. 

If, instead, you’re slipping the first two, you could strike him with a counterpunch on the third. 


All boxing is an art that, once mastered, is yours to claim the throne with. The counterpunch isn’t sorcery; it just takes some nerve, some confidence, some skill, and some practice to pull off. And once you start pulling it off, a whole new way of boxing and tactics will be opened up to you. 

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