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Boxing Terms

Below is a list of boxing terminology commonly used in the boxing world. If you have any questions about this boxing terminology send an email to service@docsports.com

Bleeder : A boxer who is known to have a propensity for cuts during a bout.

Blocking : Using the hands, shoulders or arms to prevent an opponent's punch from landing cleanly on the head or torso.

Bout: A match between two competitors that consists of a minimal of four three-minute rounds, with a one-minute break between rounds.

Break : A referee's command for boxers to break from a clinch. On the command each boxer takes a step back before continuing boxing.

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Caution: An admonition from the referee to a boxer, but generally not for serious infringements of the rules. After three cautions, a warning is issued.

Chief Second: The person designated by the fighter to provide advice and assistance during the bout, usually the trainer.

Clinch : When two boxers are holding, or leaning on each other, and not throwing punches. Plethora

Combination : Punches thrown in sequence, such as a left jab, followed by a straight right, followed by a left hook.

Covering : Holding the hands high in front of the face to keep the opponent from landing a clean punch.

Counterpunch : A counterattack, begun immediately after an opponent throws a punch. A "counter-puncher" typically waits for his opponent to throw punches, then blocks or slips past them and exploits the opening in his opponent's position.

Cut Man : The guy in the corner whose job it is to stop the bleeding of cuts (caused by head-butts, glove laces, or a good hard punch) or staunch the flow of blood from the nose; they use q-tips dipped in coagulant and vaseline. He also reduces the swelling around the eyes (so the fighter can see) by applying cold pressure.

Down: A boxer is considered "down" if he touches the floor with anything other than his feet or if he goes outside the ropes after receiving a punch. A boxer is also technically "down," even if he hasn't fallen but takes a serious blow or blows to the head and the referee steps in to stop the action.

Feint : Faking a punch to induce the opponent to open up into a vulnerable position.

Footwork : The way a boxer moves and plants his feet which enables him to be well-balanced for throwing punches and ready to switch easily between defensive and offensive boxing.

Foul : An infringement of boxing rules, including: hitting below the belt; hitting with any part of the body other than the knuckles; leaning against the ropes; head-butting; not breaking on the referee's command; hitting the back of the opponent's neck, head, or torso; hitting an opponent who is down; throwing a punch while in a clinch; holding; holding and hitting; offensive language; assaulting or acting aggressively toward the referee; spitting out the mouthpiece; passive defense (not trying to avoid a punch by covering up); tripping; kicking.

Hook : A short power punch in which the boxer swings from the shoulder with his elbow bent, bringing his fist from the side toward the centre.

In-fighting : Boxing at close range

Jab : A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand. It can be used as a set-up for power punches, as a way to gauge distance, to keep an opponent wary, or as a defensive move to slow an advancing opponent.

Judge: One of three officials who sit at ringside to score a bout.

Knock Down : A boxer is considered "down" if he touches the floor with anything other than his feet or if they go outside the ropes from a blow. A boxer is also technically "down," even if he hasn't fallen, if he takes a serious blow or blows to the head and the referee steps in to stop the action.

Manager : The person in charge of a boxer¹s business career. He arranges matches, and acts as an agent in negotiations. They are often notorious for taking advantage of young or gullible fighters.

Mouthpiece : A piece of plastic used to protect a fighter's teeth and prevent him from biting his tongue.

Neutral Corner : One of the two corners in the ring that do not belong to either fighter.

Promoter : The person or organization who organizes, advertises, produces and conducts a professional boxing match. The main promoters in the sport are the infamous Don King, of Don King Enterprises (who usually holds the main heavyweight fights), Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing, Inc. (who promotes Oscar De La Hoya), and Cedric Kushner.

Rabbit Punch : An illegal punch to the back of the boxer¹s head or body (usually kidneys in that case), usually delivered when the boxers are fighting "inside."

Ringside physician: The doctor who checks the condition of competitors before the bout and determines whether a dazed boxer can continue. The physician has the power to stop a bout at any time.

Saved by the Bell : When a fighter is on the verge of being knocked out, or is knocked out just as the bell sounds: so that the fighter does not lose and has a minute to compose himself.

Sanctioning Body/Organization : This describes one of the organizations that sponsor the belts for championship fights. There are three main, or so-called "legitimate" ones: The WBC (World Boxing Council), the IBF (the International Boxing Federation), and the WBA (World Boxing Association). There are a host of smaller organizations that have relatively little meaning and add to the ³alphabet soup² boxing has become, with names like the WBO or the ICBF.

Second: A person aside from the coach who gives a boxer assistance or advice between rounds.

Standing 8 Count : When a fighter looks to be in trouble (i.e. on the verge of being seriously injured), the referee stops the fight and counts to 8 so that he may determine if the boxer is able to continue. Sometimes fighters can be knocked down and get up but yet be "out on their feet."

The Commission : The state boxing commission, which is supposed to regulate professional matches.

The Sweet Science : Term coined by sportswriter A.J. Liebling to describe the sport. In the 18th Century, James Figg, the first British champion, coined boxing "The manly art of self-defense."

Third Man in the Ring : The referee

Tomato Can : A journeyman fighter, or "professional opponent," who is not good enough to be a champion but provides a good fighter with a good practice session without any real danger to himself. Also called a "ham-and-egger" (for the diner food once consumed on the road by these men), or "palooka."

Uppercut : A powerful, upward punch that comes up underneath an opponent's guard.

Warning: Given by the referee to the boxer who commits a serious foul, or receives three cautions. When the referee signals a warning the ringside judges can decide whether to give a point to the opponent. Three warnings in a bout means disqualification.

Weaving : A way of eluding punches by turning and twisting movements.

By Drew “King” James