Top 10 Boxing Punching Combinations with Tips and Mistakes

Top 10 Boxing Punching Combinations with Tips and Mistakes

Boxing is one of the most popular combat sports, primarily because it not only helps practitioners defend themselves during unforeseen street attacks but also allows them to achieve their fitness goals. A sport that can be easily practiced at home or a gym, boxing requires very few training accessories to get started. Boxing majorly involves punches and clinch work as the attacking moves, while footwork, feint, parry, slips, bob and weave, and blocking are the methods of defense. Whether you train boxing for fun or to eventually compete at an amateur or professional level, it is of significant importance to learn to create a fighting strategy that involves both attacking and defensive moves. This article explores different punching techniques used in boxing, such as uppercut, hook, cross, jab, and counterpunching to help you improve your boxing skills and achieve knockouts in different fighting situations.

To widen your arsenal and take your boxing punches techniques to the next level, you must be aware of maximum punching combinations. Moreover, you should be aware of how to execute them. The best way is to use them whenever you want to catch the opponent off guard or they seem effective finishers. Below are some simple yet effective basic boxing combinations you should add to your arsenal. Here are the seven top punching combinations in boxing that help boxers gain an advantage and win their fights.

1. Jab-Cross (1-2)

In boxing classes, the first combination that you learn is the Jab-Right Cross. You can use it simply when your opponent is coming forward while you are on the outside. You can also make use of this when you are standing in the pocket.


Jab is one of the major weapons in boxing because you can use it to set up the cross and other powerful punches in multiple ways. This combo is incredible for causing distraction, blinding opponents, and finding a comfortable range for your KO strikes.


A fast jab can make your opponent lose their guard, and the right cross can land them on the ground. This combination can be your key to winning fights if you master it.

1.1. Execution

For performing this punching combination perfectly, the following steps can help you:

  • In the start, shift your weight towards your back foot
  • Throw a jab
  • Step ahead with your leading foot for extending the jab
  • When your jab moves back to the guard, start to extend your cross
  • Your rear leg should catch up with the front foot and must pivot into the shot while you focus on extending the cross
  • Step back into your stance

In this punching combination, we need only one step as we alternate the hands. At the time of performing this combo, go for the orthodox stance. This will help you throw a powerful cross as your body will have more freedom for rotation.

1.2. Some Possible Jab Cross Combos

You can throw many 1-2 combos at your opponents, including the following ones:

  • Jab to the head, cross to the head (1-2)
  • Jab to the head, cross to the body (1-2b)
  • Jab to the body, cross to the head (1b-2)
  • Both jab and cross land on the body (1b-2b)

2. Jab-Jab-Cross (1-1-2)

If you are looking for a way to trick your opponent, a double jab cross or 1-1-2 is the perfect punching combination to use. Most of the time, your opponents expect a 1-2. In that case, going with a double jab cross can be a surprising move for them.

By throwing two jabs followed by the cross, it becomes easier to cover the distance than 1-2 combinations. Most boxing trainers consider this punching combination the best and encounterable.

2.1. Execution

  • Start with your boxing gloves tucked in front of your face with elbows pointing down.
  • Twist your hips at the time of extending your lead hand to punch your opponent. Keep in mind that your punch should go straight from your chin level. Along with that, do not drop hands after the first punch.
  • Before your punch hits the target, rotate your fist so that your knuckles become parallel to the ground as your punch hits.
  • As soon as your jab hits, return it and go for another followed by a cross.

Going this way can help you execute your double jab cross combination in an impactful way.

2.2. Mistakes to Avoid

To throw a perfect 1-1-2, you should avoid the following common mistakes that many boxers make.

  • Transferring Weight Too much

Do not transfer too much weight forward in your primary boxing stance. Remain on your rear leg while throwing this combination at your opponents. Your jabs can miss the target and doing so will disturb your balance, which may end up leaving you open to a counter attack.

  • Dropping right hand

Many newbie boxers drop their right hand when they throw a punch. This is an open invitation for counter punches and jab-cross hits to your face.

  • Failing to turnover hand and snapping the punch

Many boxers fail to turn their hands over and snap the punch. Always turn your hand over and rotate your wrists and make knuckles parallel to the ground before your punch hits the target.

3. Jab-Cross-Hook Cross (1-2-3-2)

Jab-Cross-Hook-Cross is another basic, yet important boxing combination. It is simple to throw as you have to go with a left-right-left-right punching combination. You start with a jab to open your opponent’s guards, and follow it with three power punches: cross, left hook, and cross.

If you are able to land these three punches accurately, you can beat any opponent you want. When throwing this combination, you must ensure that your first two punches are quick, followed by two powerful punches.

3.1. Execution

You need a strategy even if you are going to execute something as basic as this. Here is a scenario for efficiently performing the 1-2-3-2.

Set It Up with a Jab

Jab is a primary and a long-range punch that can be a perfect start for any combination. The right way to use a jab is by throwing it straight at the rival's face, as it will create openings for the rest of the punches in this combination. You can throw a jab at any part of the body and even feint opponents to make them shift or lose their guard.

Do the Damage with a Cross?

Always throw the cross with your dominant hand. This is a b punch that follows the jab in a 1-2-3-2 combination. To make it efficient and not to let the opponent counter, throw it right after the jab to cause maximum damage.

You can throw this punch on the body and the head according to the situation to do the most damage to your opponent.

Open the Side Angle with Hook

The left hook is the first power punch that you throw following the right cross. This punch is dangerous as it comes from a tricky side angle and is hard to predict. This punch can have a concussive effect as you can rock the opponent’s head with it.

If your opponent has blocked the initial two punches, it can open them up. You can target this punch to the opponent’s head or body.

Complete The Combo with a Cross

You must finish up all of your punching combos, including 1-2-3-2 with a cross. As you are looking to attack your opponent, the right way is to end up in the combination with a right-hand power punch. If you like, you can also add different punches to this combo to make it more effective according to the fight conditions.

4. Cross-Left Hook-Cross (2-3-2)

Most of the punching combinations are long-range and performed from a distance. For example, you cannot throw a jab when your opponent is right in front of you. In close quarters situations like these, the cross left hook cross is a perfect combo that you can use to make the opponent pay the price for entering your close range.

This is a power-based combo that does not start with a jab that boxers use to test or get the opponent’s reaction.

4.1. Execution

To execute this punch correctly while keeping yourself safe from the counter, keep your left hand up to guard your chin when you throw a powerful cross with the right hand. From here, you will be in the best position with loaded hips to throw a hook to the jaw of your opponent.

Always make sure your right hand is in the face guarding position. Without wasting time, follow the hook with a powerful right-hand cross. When throwing this 2-3-2, you have to be closer to your opponent. This combo will not work if you try it from a distance.

5. Jab-Cross-Left Uppercut-Cross (1-2-5-2)

Another top and effective punching combo in boxing is the jab-cross left uppercut cross (1-2-5-2). This combination is much similar to 1-2-3-2, except you use the left uppercut instead of the left hook.

Using the left uppercut can surprise your opponent as it comes from below. In case you find your opponent hiding behind their guard with their head down or coming to charge into you, the left uppercut can help you pop their head followed by a right-hand finish.

5.1. Execution

To throw this mid-range combo effectively, start by throwing a jab at your opponent, whether on body or face, followed by a speedy cross. After using the cross, to be in a position to throw a left uppercut, you should lean slightly outside your lead foot. That should also be quick and powerful.

Then rotate your body to a position from where you can throw a cross from above and behind them to land it on the target effectively. The right time to go for this combo is when your opponent is shelled up in a high guard stance.

This will allow you to make the most with this 4-punch combination.

6. Right Uppercut-Left Hook (6-3)

If you are too close to your opponent and are unable to throw straight punches, combining the right uppercut with a left hook is an excellent way to go. This powerful combo is exceptional for making opponents pay the price for coming too close.

6.1. Execution

The perfect execution of this combination requires you to load your hips and get some power in your uppercut before pivoting to throw a shot. Also, keep your left hand close enough so you can go for a hook in quick succession.

Throwing an uppercut knocks the opponent’s head upward, allowing you to make a quick placement of the left hook.

7. Jab-Cross-Hook (1-2-3)

Adding the left hook to your basic jab-cross combo can also be a great technique to hurt your opponents. In this combination, your main attack is the left hook, as it always helps you catch the opponent off guard. Before using this combo, make sure you are within the range to hit your opponent.

7.1. Execution

Firstly, set up a jab followed by a cross with low power to create a distraction. While doing so, ensure that your head is not in the middle but is leaned slightly outwards to your lead foot. This will help you avoid any kind of counterpunches.

After throwing the cross, pause, so that your opponent thinks that you are not following up with the next punch. The cross might also cause the losing guards of your opponent. Sensing vulnerability, throw a left hook when your opponent does not expect it. You can throw a hook to the jaw and body where you see it appropriate or when you find the opponent off-guard.

8. Lead Uppercut, Cross, Left Hook (5,2,3) Combo

This boxing punching combination is a variation of Lead Uppercut, Cross (5,2) combination and requires the boxer to add a left hook at the end. The left hook is a highly effective punch to throw at your opponent after you perform the uppercut punch. The lead uppercut, cross, left hook (5,2,3) combination will cause your rival to change their defending position to protect their chin from the attack. Oftentimes, the opponents do not anticipate this move, and enhances a fighter’s opportunity to dominate.

This punch should be performed with precision and purpose as it leaves the right side of the rival completely open. The boxer performing the left hook must also anticipate and prepare to slip or avoid any counterattacks or punches that the opponent might throw as retaliation.

Boxers learning this punching technique/combination should learn and master how to throw lead uppercut punches at maximum speed. However, the cross must be executed at a much slower pace than the lead uppercut. This change in speed will allow the opponent to block your cross. In an ideal situation, you would be able to easily manipulate your rival to slip past the cross. This instinctive move of your opponent will allow you to perform the left hook. 

8.1. Execution

The correct stance is crucial to execute the 5,2,3 punching combination effectively. Start with your dominant hand as the main hand and position your less dominant hand at the back. To assume the correct boxing posture, be sure to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. First, perform the lead uppercut by slowly shifting your body weight onto your front foot. Use your hips for the forward propelling force, and rotate your dominant foot, shoulders, and hips simultaneously. Use your dominant to punch your rival’s chin in a short but powerful strike.

Next, switch to the cross punch, and remember to reduce the speed of the strike. For the cross punch twist your shoulders and hips back, use your back foot to propel forward, and extend your back arm. Then, rotate your fist and target your opponent’s chest or face. Contrary to the lead uppercut, the cross punch is performed with the backhand and foot. As you withdraw your less-dominant hand after throwing the cross punch, rotate your dominant foot, along with your hips and shoulders. Keeping your forearm in alignment to the ground, arch your elbow at a 90-degree angle, and throw a punch at your opponent’s head or chest with your dominant hand. 

9. Jab, Step Back, (1-2)

The jab, step-back, 1-2 sequence is a widely practiced punching combination that allows boxers to create adequate distance between themselves and their partner as they come up with a counter attack. The technique involves striking with the dominant hand, springing out with the feet, spring back, and immediately executing the 1-2 punch combo, which means striking with your dominant hand and quickly following it by striking with your backhand. 

9.1. Execution

Just like many other punching combinations mentioned in this list, this particular combination also starts with a jab. To perform this basic boxing punch, use your dominant hand to strike. Boxers can also position their left hands for the orthodox and the right hands for the southpaw position. The effectiveness of a jab lies within the boxers’ speed and aim. If targeted quickly in a straight line at the rival’s face, head, or chest, it can cause the opponents to lose their footing. A jab punch is also used to measure the distance between the boxer and his opponent and should be executed at a time when you want to influence your opponent to throw punches.

Once you perform a jab, quickly step back with your dominant foot and then quickly slide back in, again with the dominant foot. Be sure to keep your hands positioned in the same manner as you did to execute the jab. Quickly stepping back will give you time to calculate the power and speed of your next move, plus, when you quickly step back, your opponent will not be able to retaliate to the jab. Slide back in to land 1-2 punch combinations, which involve striking your opponent’s face or body with your dominant hand and rear hand one after the other. If performed at a correct pace, 1-2 punches can help you achieve a knockout. 

10. Slip Inside, Hook, Cross, Hook

The slip-inside, hook, cross, and hook an excellent punching combinations in boxing, allowing you to have a strong attack and defense strategy in a single combination. Though this combination can have a variation that starts with the jab and cross before the slip move. But here, the slip inside, hook, cross, hook punching combination starts with a defensive move. If you want to learn how to start the slip, hook, cross, and hook with a jab, be sure to watch the video provided above.

The boxer is required to slip in the cross punch with the dominant hand, and then perform the hook, cross, hook similar to the (1,3) punching combination, which is also called jab, lead cross. In the hook, cross, hook, the fighting concept is also the same as the cross, hook, cross. You shift the weight on the legs, move your elbow up on the hook, and rotate the core to generate power. Be sure to throw your striking hand straight right down the middle to make your opponent slip.

10.1. Execution

As mentioned the slip is the defensive move in which a boxer moves out of the opponent’s way to avoid the punch. In this technique, slip inside means that the boxer’s head should move towards the inner side of the rival’s punch. If the opponent throws a punch with the right hand, move your head to the inside. Next, follow up the opponent’s attack and your slip with a hook. A hook is a punch thrown in a circular movement with the striking arm bent at the elbow. Based on your opponent’s stance and the overall situation of the match, you can perform the hook with either your dominant hand or your backhand. So long as you take advantage of the space created by your slip and strike your opponent’s head or body, which hand you use for striking is of little importance.

After the hook, throw a cross, which is a straight punch with the backhand. While performing the cross, specificity is important; therefore, do not use your dominant hand to throw a cross. Be sure to use all your power to perform the cross and preferably aim for the opponent’s face or chest. Using maximum force for a cross will help you quickly follow it up with a cross, otherwise your opponent might quickly recover from the strike, making it difficult for you to execute another hook at the end. To repeat the hook, execute the move just like you did earlier before throwing the cross, but this time, focus on hitting a different area or using a different striking angle. The final hook can be performed with either your left or right hand, depending on your own stance and the exposed targets available to you. 

11. Develop Your Combinations

Do you want to know more punching combinations to surprise your opponents? You don’t have to learn any additional combinations, but you can innovate these combinations in the way you want. The following are some innovative combinations that you can develop from the basic ones.

11.1. Double The Cross

Do not always go for throwing any combination in the same way, as this makes it easy for opponents to predict your next punch. Make some variation. For example, when you go for a jab-jab-cross after the first jab your opponent expects a second jab. Here you can surprise him with a double-cross.

Going that way will make your boxing moves unpredictable for opponents and can provide you the opportunities to find them off guard. This will happen because they try to block your punches on the wrong side, and you hit them on the open side.

You can use this approach with all of the combos to develop some new ones.

11.2. Lighten the Hand

Numerous newbies attempt to throw every punch with full power. That is not the best strategy. Variation in punching power is crucial in terms of lasting the whole bout. For example, throwing every jab or hook with full power, you can lose balance if you miss.

You can use light punches for distracting opponents or to catch them off guard for big punches.

11.3. Faking the Punches

Faking or feinting your punches can also give you a window to land deadly punches on your opponent. For example, if you are aiming for a double jab-cross combo, you can throw one or two fake jabs to make the opponent defend on the wrong side before you hit a cross.

Similarly, faking out the first, second, or even third punch of a combination can also create a distraction to provide you the opportunity to cause real damage.

11.4. Change The Target

Always aiming for the same target while throwing any combo during a boxing match makes you predictable for your opponent. You can be left open for counters if opponents predict your attacking areas or if they’re able to successfully block or slip your attacks.

Always change your target area for your punches while developing your combos. If you aim jabs to the head, surprise your opponent by landing it on the body.

11.5. Throw Speedy Punches

It is recommended to keep your punches light. But it does not mean to keep them slower and provide your opponents any opportunities. Lowering the power of your punches allows you to throw them quickly and land the maximum number of strikes on your target.

Another way to get an advantage over your opponent is mixing speedy yet light punches with some powerful ones. Low-power punches will distract them, while high-power punches will wreak havoc.

12. Takeaway

If you want to be a good boxer, these punching combinations are integral to understanding, countering and beating your opponents. Keep adding more combinations to your arsenal to stay at the top of your game. There are several other famous combinations as well as your imagination and creativity to explore and advance in the sport.

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