3 types of Boxing defense explained

Boxing is an excellent way to, improve fitness, lose weight and learn self-defense skills. While we might automatically associate boxing with learning the different punches, ask any boxer and they’ll tell you, DEFENSE will keep you safe and minimise unnecessary damage. Boxing defense is not just about covering your head up with your gloves however, there are several different ways you can effectively use boxing defense.



Using your feet to create distance between you and your opponent is the quickest way to get yourself out of a jam. Sharp footwork should be the first line of defense when you’re learning the sport of boxing. It’s as easy as taking a step backwards (with your hands up ofcourse) and you’re immediately out of danger.

Using your footwork to change your position inside the ring will take practice and conditioning. Move too far in one direction and you’ll end up on the ropes. Move too slow and you’ll get caught with your feet in the air. Your feet will need to be conditioned to keep up with the new demands so make sure you get your skipping in everyday!

To effectively use your footwork to keep you safe, step back by pushing off your front foot. Your back foot will travel first, followed by your front foot. Ensure that the front foot travels the exact same distance as your back foot to immediately return to your fight stance.



If you’re engaging your opponent in a shorter range, you might choose to use your gloves to block your opponents punches by holding them up in front of your face. This is also known as your ‘Guard’. Your guard is not designed to eliminate damage, rather it is designed to minimise damage. Use your guard if you want to keep your boxing defense solid while remaining in range to land counter punching opportunities.

To effectively use your guard, bring your gloves up and lock the knuckles into your forehead. This will eliminate the possibility of you punching yourself when you opponent makes contact. Make sure you brace your shoulders on impact to create a ‘roll cage’ around your head. Tuck your elbows into your ribs to protect any shots directed towards your body. Tuck your chin in and look up at your opponent through your eyebrows. This way, if any punches manage to sneak through, you’ll wear them on your forehead keeping your nose and jaw from danger.


Head movement

Once you’ve gotten a bit of experience under your belt, and you’re finding yourself comfortable in the pocket, you’ll want to find more efficient ways to make your opponent miss. Head movement is a type of boxing defense that requires quick reflexes and supreme confidence in your movements. ‘Slipping’ (tilting your spine and moving your head off the line of the punch) and ‘Rolling’ (lowering your head under the incoming punch) are just two ways to avoid a punch. These movements, used in combination with your footwork can help set up some great counter punching opportunities where you’ll be able to make your opponent miss and make them PAY.

Head movement drills are best practised at slower speeds at the beginning to maximise your success rate. Give your body the time to adapt to the new movements while it learns to maintain balance. It’s also helpful to use pool noodles to minimise damage as you steadily increase the speed of your drills.

Defense is key

You probably get it by now, having a system of defense to support your offense is key to your boxing game. Practice your footwork, guard and head movement to keep you safe and you will no doubt get your hand raised everytime you climb between those ropes.