I’ve been asked for southpaw guides so often that I’ve decided to enlist the help of a true southpaw, one of my fighters, and a great friend: Van Truong. This will be his first post of many to come for ExpertBoxing.
These are some of the simplest and most effective southpaw tricks I’ve used to land punches on orthodox fighters. All you need is a little movement, a slip or a feint, and of course some basic punching technique. Being that you already have a southpaw advantage simply because your stance alone, it doesn’t take too much to confuse the right-handers.
Here are 5 of my favorite southpaw boxing tricks:
1. Straight Lead Lefts
A very potent weapon against any opponent. Lead lefts can be fast, strong, and tricky to deal with. The key to landing lead lefts is to throw without hesitation. Don’t over think, just throw. Keeping this mindset will make your leads fast and unpredictable. Don’t hesitate to think, because when you stop to think your opponent is thinking. Give your opponent no time to think. Be unpredictable and throw for the sake of strategy.
How to throw the straight lead lefts:
- You can throw this punch in virtually any position and stance. For power it’s key for you to keep a solid stance with your legs planted, throw without leaning your head forward, keep your torso straight, rotate your hips and shoulders. For fast leads: square up your shoulders, and throw it almost like a jab.
- Throw this punch STRAIGHT down the center between his gloves. This will occupy his attention as your punch comes straight down into his line of sight.
- If you’re worried about getting countered to your head, you can tilt your head forward or to the side as you throw this lead left.
When to throw the straight lead lefts:
- You must keep your eyes on your opponent. When he’s not looking, you can throw as much as you want. I tend to throw lots of power leads when my opponent puts up a high guard. I break his guard by mixing up my leads. I work the body, feint low, and throw up top.
- Against an opponent with good footwork, you will need to walk him down with patience and speed. I like to mix up my lead lefts with jabs. I make him fear both hands. I walk him into a corner, I set my feet fast, and fire. Don’t stop to think against a slick opponent. You gotta be first unless you want him to get away, or counter you.
- Against an aggressive opponent, the lead left will be your counter and needs to have a little power to keep him off.
2. Stiff Arm Jabs
This is a strong weapon against fighters moving forward. If a boxer wants to charge you down like a bull, make him run into a wall. Catch him coming in with a stiff arm jab. The trick will immediately immobilize his actions. It also keeps him an arm length away, which will create space for your left hand.
How to throw a stiff arm jab:
- You can fire the jab from the southpaw stance. Activate your forearm, triceps, shoulders, and lats into the punch for a solid and strong stiff jab. For a longer range jab rotate your shoulders fully, and shoot the jab straight out like an arrow.
- The main focus for creating the stiffness is to activate your lat muscles. Many fighters only activate their shoulders and it feels more like an arm punch than a wall when you do this. (Note: it’s harder to throw with your lat if you’re leaning your head too far forward. Leaning forward usually makes it a shoulder jab.)
When to throw a stiff arm jab:
- The instance your opponent moves forward, plant your feet, and release the jab. You can land the jab and move or pivot to be defensive.
- For offense: catch him with the stiff, work the combinations, and you’ll land every-time. Practice the stiff jab on a heavy bag and fortify it into a strong weapon.
3. Slip the Jab, Right hook
This move will take some reflex and timing. When used successfully, this trick can create a lot of mind games and potentially disarm your opponent’s jab.
How to slip the jab and throw the counter right hook:
- If you can’t see or slip jabs, then this trick won’t work. Practice slipping jabs with a friend. First have him throw jabs at you as you catch them with your glove. Once you’re able to see all the jabs coming in, now you can start moving your head. You can slip your head to the inside or outside of your partner’s jab.
- Then start working in the counter hooks. It helps to visualize your counter right hook going over your opponent’s jab shoulder. Drill the basic movements down, and apply it in sparring.
- Sometimes you may have to get in closer as you slip or else you might be too far to land the counter right hook.
When to slip the jab and throw the counter right hook:
- The best time I like to apply this trick is after I bait the jab. If I know the jab is coming, following up becomes real easy. If he’s not throwing, I’ll fire jabs to activate his offense. Once I get him active and throwing: I slip, and land a counter hook to the body or to the top. I like to mix it up and make my opponents think. Plant a few hard hooks to the body, and I’ll set a strong hook up top.
- Be careful of his counter left hook, and be aware of his right hand when you’re inside. Keep your left side protected and be safe. If he starts feinting jabs to throw you off, then add feints of your own.
4. Jab, Pull, Straight Left
A very good trick to counter an opponent. I’ve won fights using just this trick. It’s also a good counter against right hand leads.
How to jab, pull, and straight left:
- To do a small southpaw pull, you can lean your upper body away slightly. Or for a big pull, you can take a back step with your left leg. It’s best to make it short when pulling away. You only need enough space for your opponent to miss and fall through. A short pull allows for a faster counter straight, which can be more devastating.
- When pulling back, try to pull straight back or even towards your back left leg if you can. This will make it easier for his right hand to miss in front you.
When to jab, pull, and straight left:
- You need to time your opponent with a pull. I use jabs as bait to activate an offensive attack. I just want my opponent to throw something. Once he makes a move, I pull away and come back with a hard straight. If he’s coming in a lot as he throws the punch, I’ll take a left back step and to make room as he falls into my left hand counter.
- You can pull away from any attack. If you are getting tagged: pull and then weave, duck, or roll away. Work fast and be sharp.
5. Fake Straight Left, Right Uppercut
Feints are a tactical move used by many pros to throw opposing fighters off guard. Incorporating feint shots into your combinations will make you a very unpredictable and tricky fighter. Even the most basic feints can be effective in high-speed situations using clever movement.
How to fake a straight left, and throw a right uppercut:
- The main part of this trick is to create a reaction from a false movement. Different opponents will respond to different parts of your body movement. Some opponents might react to just the glove moving forward. Some might react to your upper body rotation. The one I like most is flashing the shoulder movement as if I’m throwing a straight.
- Feinting with the shoulder movement on the inside, can make him jump back and open up space for your powerful uppercut.
When to fake a straight left, and throw a right uppercut:
- Make the opposing fighter react and pick his openings apart. The moment you see a response, throw an uppercut.
- I like to fake the straight because if the opponent tries to block the straight, he might open himself up for the uppercut.
- Once you get a hang of it start following up the uppercut with combinations. Keep that defense in mind by pulling away, or duck and weave after your uppercuts. Keep safe and stay away from counters.
Want to see more southpaw boxing guides? Request them in the comments below and Van will have them as soon as he can for you!