Below is a list of boxing terminology commonly used in the boxing world.
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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
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
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
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
By Drew “King” James