How to Beat a Taller Boxer

October 11, 2010 October 11, 2010 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Boxing Styles 138 Comments

Beat Taller Boxers

Learn how to cross the danger zone, get in range, and beat a taller boxer. You can only do that by fully understanding the advantages and disadvantages of their style and body shape.


I’ll never forget the feeling of being beat by a taller boxer. It is one of the most irritating type of fights you will ever experience. I really hate losing fights where the other guy is slower, weaker, and less skilled but wins only because he is taller.

Lucky for me I did in fact figure out their weaknesses over time and learned how to catch up to them and take them down.

There are 3 simple principles you must understand when fighting taller boxers:

  1. Stay out of the danger zone.
  2. Use his height against him. 
  3. Don’t forget to box him.






What Is The Danger Zone?

Taller Boxer's Danger Zone

The danger zone is the range where your taller opponent can hit you but you can’t hit him back. A really good taller boxer will can keep you in his danger zone for the entire fight and making life a living hell for you in there. So there’s your first step for fighting a taller boxer.

Get the hell out of the danger zone! Either move forward until you’re in range so you can trade punches or backstep just enough to get you outside of his range. A taller boxer will definitely force you to move a lot whether it be forwards or backwards. Be prepared to move a lot and have good cardio.


How to Cross The Danger Zone

So you’ve probably figured out by now that staying outside is much easier than getting inside. The danger zone is keeping you from bringing your cannons within range and forcing you out of the fight. If you ever want to beat this tall guy, you’re going to have to find out how to cross the danger zone. I’ve enclosed some tips of my own that’s worked before in the past.

Always remember that you have to cross the Danger Zone twice! You will cross it once to get within range and again after you land some punches and want to escape. Many guys forget this and so they eat punches to get within range only to eat a few more punches when they try to cross over the Danger Zone on their way out. Move cautiously when you move in AND out of the Danger Zone.


Come In Behind His Jab Or Under It

The taller guys usually fight behind a long jab. They rely on that more than anything else. It’s usually the only weapon they have that keeps you from getting through the danger zone. What you can try is timing their jab and coming in when they retract their jab. You want to make sure that you’re coming in under their jab or behind it so that their own jabbing arm is blocking their power hand from nailing you with cross. Don’t forget to throw a counter on your way in.


Follow Your Lead Power-Punch Inside

Throw a big lead left hook or lead right hand and let your body follow behind the punch to get inside. Sometimes, the taller guy will choose to block instead of counter and you would have crossed the danger zone for free.


Feint Your Way In

Let’s say the taller boxer knows how to counter everything you do. When you chase, he runs. When you run, he chases. When you jab, he jabs longer. The only way to outsmart this is to throw a feint. Whatever he does next will probably be ineffective since you didn’t do anything. By feinting, you hope to draw a punch or bait a movement out of him. From there, you can use the free opportunity to cross the danger zone and get yourself within punching range.


Good Defense Alone Doesn’t Work

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use good defense. I meant that having good defense alone will not help you cross the danger zone. Many people falsely believe that you can just walk down the tall guy by holding their hands high with a tight guard. This plan is faulty because the tall guy will just jab and throw punches at your defense all day while constantly moving away from you. Not only that, but the tall guy’s best skill is to jab you to death while running away. He’s been trained to do that for a long time and your tight defense alone will certainly not help you get inside.


Use His Height Against Him

This is an attack on his style. Every boxer has a weakness and taller boxers are no exception to the rule. I’ve used many of the tips with great success and have also seen them used by professional boxers.


Blind to Overhand Bombs

Many experienced boxers will use lead overhand rights to get inside on a tall opponent. Taller boxers are vulnerable to lead overhand rights because they aren’t use to seeing punches come down at them and it’s also not a commonly thrown punch. I think another advantage to overhand rights against taller boxers is that the punch starts from an angle BELOW the taller boxer’s head but lands from an angle ABOVE their head. From their field of vision the punch moves up and then down which makes it harder for them to defend against the punch. In contrast, the overhand right may not be as effective against shorter boxers because the punch only appears to move downwards and is therefore easier to defend against.


Go To The Body

One of my trainers has always stressed, “When you chop a tree down, you don’t start from the top.” Chop at his body. His long skinny arm will leave holes all over it and his midsection may be thin and vulnerable to body shots. His long torso will be harder for him to defend and also conveniently placed at a height you can reach. So go ahead, chop him down starting from the bottom up. Conventional boxing will teach you to attack the body to get him to lower his guard exposing his head.


Punch Through His Skinny Guard

Because his arms are skinny, his guard may also be weak up high. Assuming you’ve successfully crossed the danger zone and got yourself within punching range you might  be surprised to find that your taller opponent is not very effective at blocking punches up close. His skinny arms may leave holes around his neck where you can sneak some punches in and still be able to partially reach his chin. You might also be able to punch straight up the middle and split his guard from the center. He is definitely not as mobile as a shorter boxer and therefore unable to roll with punches, if you punch at his gloves he will still feel the impact through them especially if he holds them tight to his head.


Attack the Arms

This is something one of the trainers in my gym always suggested. Tall guys usually have long skinny arms. Try to throw hooks into his shoulder or upper arm when you slip his jabs and crosses. His arm travels a longer distance than your arms do, so it’s a good idea to bruise his arms and make it painful for him to throw punches.

Chase The Arms

Tall boxers have long lanky arms that take longer to recover than short arms. If you’re fast enough, you can chase down their punches and land counters when they’re pulling back their long arms. Once you’re inside, his long arms will be smothered to your advantage.


Go Inside

Everybody knows tall guys are usually at a disadvantage on the inside. Their long lanky arms don’t have room to punch and they can’t extend and deliver maximum damage up at close range. Taller guys are also not as agile and able to slip all your punches on the inside. If you get inside, you can rain shots down on the tall guy and force him to take a lot of blocked shots.

A very important thing to remember on the inside is NOT to get under your taller opponent. That can be an award thing to remember. Again, you want to get close but don’t get under him. By “getting under” him, that means don’t let him lean over you and crush you with his upper body. This will quickly sap your strength. It’s also easier for him to lay on you with his chest and rain down shots on you with his arms while you’re busy trying to push him off you! Get close but don’t get stuck under him! If you need examples, there are many videos of Mike Tyson being tied up by several of his taller opponents. Don’t let that happen to you.


Don’t Forget to Box, Not Brawl

For whatever reason, some people think fighting a taller guy is a license to brawl on the inside and do their best impersonation of Mike Tyson mugging people at close range. Just because he’s taller doesn’t mean it’s useless to box from the outside. You can still benefit from proper distance, good defense, and well-timed punches.

You don’t need to fight your way through the danger zone to get to him. You can still use your boxing skills. Keep your defense up, cut off the ring, slip & slide your way in and attack when you’re in range. Use your head. Don’t get frustrated. Try to keep your eyes on him instead of hiding behind your shell. Pay attention and you’ll notice his pattern and maybe some openings.


Best Examples of Shorter Boxers Beating Tall Boxers

  • Floyd Mayweather VS Diego Corrales
  • Shane Mosley VS Oscar De La Hoya 1
  • Nate Campbell VS Ali Funeka
  • Ray Leonard VS Thomas Hearns
  • Roberto Duran VS Iran Barkley


What if you’re the taller boxer? Learn How to Beat a Shorter Boxer

boxing ebook Advanced Boxing Techniques 30 Day Fighter's Diet Advanced Boxing Footwork Drills
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Benet October 14, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Good Article, just need to put it into practice.
Thanks for putting the effort to inform us about this article.
I’m 201 Pounds currently and 6,0ft.
My trainer wants me to fight in the heavy weights despite being relatively short in comparison to some of the Eastern Europeans we see nowadays. So often, much like Joe Frazier and a certain Iron Mike, I will probably be the shorter fighter.
Things I’m aiming to remember from this article:
•Utilize the overhand right
•Follow the jab retraction
•Work the Body


larry September 27, 2013 at 4:45 am

mike tyson was 5’10…6ft is heavywieght :p


Doyle August 24, 2016 at 11:29 am

Height has nothing to do with weight class


Rein Valdez October 26, 2010 at 1:00 am

The list is so great! 😉 All of the stuffs you mentioned looks like Pacquaio must have in order to defeate Margarito. The anticipated mega fight of this season. So, don’t miss to Watch Pacquiao vs. Margarito on Nov. 13.


Johnny N October 27, 2010 at 1:11 am

I’m definitely gonna see the Pacquiao VS Margarito fight
I’m gonna be there live at Cowboy Stadium! Can’t wait.


Joey October 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

To me, Pacquiao vs Margarito was another example of a short man beating a tall man. Literally beating up a bigger man. I mean, seriously Margarito had a fractured orbital bone.


Pawel January 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

This is great. But I’m still in a hole. I can barely reach my opponent and he rains on the top of my head all day. Seems the only thing I can do is uppercut. Everything else is body shots which are great but I can’t reach a head shot! I’m losing motivation and really need to take down a taller guy. This is a life long problem for me. When I upper on his jaw my arm is more than 1/2 way extended and the distance is so great that he has time to avoid most of my shots. This is really getting to me!


Johnny N January 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

More overhand rights and try other things instead of punching. See if you can off-balance him. You got a stronger base, push him around or keep moving yourself to make him miss and swing off balance. Don’t jump around so much, it wastes energy and he only needs one step to re-align himself again.


4had October 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

im just 14 i’ve sparred a 17 year old kid the other day and i’ve done all the things that u mentioned he was about 6ft 3 me just about 5 ft 7 thank ‘s for the tips u’ve been a great help to me


dimar ortuz November 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

up n coming
benet dont be foolish i m currently 205 ive won the golden gloves in 2002 and iwas one of the shorter fighters at 6’1 boxer to boxer drop weight dont be a punching bag for any one im tuning to turn pro by next summer in chicago and no way am i going to do it at heavy weight get down in weight dude and become the bigger guy at a smaller weight the pros u mentioned r rare u might b one of them but ur coach isnt looking out for ur best interest maybe u should hope to see u in a tournment soon later


jesseboxing January 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

amazing tips i have next week a european cup boxing
but i am tired men from al those training i only have 1 week left
what should i do to fully rrest out?
and i must train from my coach this week (amateur)
am only 16 years


Johnny N January 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

1 week left till show-time
You should speed spar. Less power, more speed. Lots of stretching. Stay away from conditioning type exercises that build power, speed, strength, or endurance. Instead, try to stay warm, flexible, and relaxed. Shadow-boxing and some footwork drills.


Eric B January 6, 2011 at 7:45 am

What if you’re the taller fighter?
Great article, as usual, but it’s somewhat unpleasant to read a blueprint for giving me a beating. At 6’3, 175, maybe I’m a pretty extreme case, but what would you reccommend I work on to deal with a gameplan like the one you lay out? Rather than always backing up and reestablishing the distance, what can I do to be more effective and dangerous at close range?


Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Come forward, lean on him with your chest as you throw shots.


Graham June 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

I’m built just like you (6’5″, 170 lbs). And what works pretty well for me when shorter boxers try to rush me and come inside real close is i just wrap my arms under theirs, take a few seconds to rest, while putting most of my body weight on their frame, and when they put there head down, I throw really weird angled punches that are hard for them to see coming. An uppercut would be a good choice. I had a guy about 5’9″ one time trying to do this to me, and I did what I just described above. Granted, I missed the first few, but when I connected with a right uppercut, it made him back up.


Johnny N June 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Great tips, Graham and some that I’ve personally done myself.


Tall Guy January 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Yes – how about an article “How to Beat a Shorter Boxer”
Would be great! Still, it was interesting to think about things from the shorter guys point of view. Thank you!


Johnny N January 8, 2011 at 6:26 am

Eric B and Tall Guy,

Don’t worry you guys. I’ve got the beating a shorter guy article coming up real real soon. In the meanwhile, here are some basic tips:

– stiff arm the guy: keep your jab in his chest and use it to keeping him back. if you aim for his head, he’ll slip around it
– crush him: use your hips to crush his hips down, if he gets closer, use your shoulders and forearms to crush his shoulders and forearms down. when you crush him, you keep him from exploding up at you
– make him take a lot of forced blocked shots: don’t ever try to out-move the guy, throws lots of punches at his chest area and as he’s forced to block it, you calmly walk your way out of danger. don’t run around panicking.


monokol88 January 18, 2011 at 9:03 am

1. Respect your opponent’s longer reach and power due to his mass and length. Keep a safe distance. To penetrate the inside range and get a punch in, use the proper timing to parry (blocking and diverting your opponent’s strike) or slip his blow while shifting your feet forward (to compensate for your disadvantage in reach) finding an opening, and projecting the punch. (Dodge and weave so his punch misses and unbalances him) This is a relatively risky maneuver, but effective if properly executed.

2.Close-range fighting is advisable for smaller fighters. Proper timing is the key, because taller fighters prefer to fight the outside range. This makes sense because of their longer reach.

3.Stick and move, hit and run. As Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Move forward, move backward, sidestep, move in a circular path. Footwork is a very essential factor combined with the ability to hit with perfect timing. Never be in a flat-footed stationary fighting stance, a bigger opponent can easily own you if you let him catch you.

4.Slipping, bobbing and weaving before a snappy strike is a very essential and effective skill to develop. Being the smaller guy, you’re more likely faster than him. Take advantage of your lightness and know the fundamentals of evasive fighting. Bruce Lee (Chinese name: Li Xiao’long- “Li, the little dragon”) said that “evasive fighting is to hit without getting hit.” You, as a smaller adversary against a bigger foe, should identify with a bullfighter’s evasiveness and swiftness against the bull’s powerful rage.

5.Side-stepping and finding unusual awkward angles is also a good way to intercept the larger opponent’s inside range. Avoiding being in front of your adversary gives you an opportunity to seek for an opening and makes you less predictable. However, it takes a lot of training and practice to acquire this skill.

6.Capitalize on your speed, lightness and quickness. Volume punching (accumulation factor) favors small fighters. Training with a speed bag is an excellent training tool to develop your speed and rapid striking.

7.Speed doesn’t only refer to the rapidity and quickness of the strike but the quickness of the footwork. Possesing the ability to glide inside and outside the fighting range with ease.


monokol88 January 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

8.Study the art of counter-striking. Strike before your adversary strikes, as you tend to stop his attack or strike after you’ve slipped his strike.


monokol88 January 18, 2011 at 9:08 am

9.Practice combinations of blows to confuse your opponent. Don’t throw the same attack more than a couple of times in a row.

10.Feint. Throw a fake strike followed up by a real strike. Throw a fake left punch to the head then strike him with a real right punch in the solar plexus. Experiment with combination of strikes. The purpose of faking strikes is to distract the attention of the opponent, to deceive and divert his coordination, focus, timing, and concentration. Bruce Lee said, “When two fighters with equal skills spar, the one who has the more superior feinting skills wins.”

11.The “clinch and strike” strategy (a la Ricky ‘the Hitman’ Hatton) is designed for smaller fighters. By closing the gap and space (by clinching), the bigger opponent will be unable to throw their longer arm, while you are using your advantage by striking on the inside range, throwing short powerful blows.

12.Always keep in mind that size really does matter. A bigger opponent can inflict much damage because of heavier, stronger blows. But having a strategy and brains is much more important. There is an old boxing adage that “a good big man will always beat a good little man “. If that’s the case, if you’re the smaller one, you should not only be good as he is, but be better. If he is bigger than you, you must be wiser than him. The main prerequisite is to be sure that you can surpass his skills and possess better fighting techniques. Having skills equal with his is not enough, because he has the edge and advantage.


monokol88 January 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

13.You must have the proper range adjustment against a taller opponent. It’s a matter of closing-in or getting out the distance. It’s either be farther, beyond his reaching range or get inside. Taking advantage of your shorter range and to lessen, neutralizing his leverage by closing the gap. Never be on his reaching range.

14.A heavyweight championship boxer of the earlier part of 20th century named Sam Langford popularized the adage, “Kill the body and the head will fall”. He only stood 5’7″, but defeated almost every larger person who challenged him. Body striking is very important to remember in fighting. It favors smaller fighters because they’re more likely leveled on the body area of their bigger foe. You can strike the head as a follow up if you’ve thrown a solid straight punch or uppercut to the solar plexus or kidney area.

15.The solar plexus is a vital target. A smaller person’s uppercut towards it will cause an opponent to experience excruciating pain, and possibly death. Because of the upward direction of the blow, the visceral sensitivity to pain will cause a very great damage and shock. When it is injured, it delivers a painful signal to the brain which causes partial paralysis, shortness of breath and unbearable pain.


Johnny N January 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Great tips, monokol88!


Vik M March 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

short and heavy
Thanks for an informative and well written article. Is there anything you would recommend by way of technique and training for a short (5’7) and heavy built (200 pound ) beginner? I easily overpower anybody my height due to mass, but taller guys – who I typically spar with – have 3 to 7 inches on me and pick me off with a jab. At this stage the sparring is light, which negates a typical strategy of closing in and landing power hooks and uppercuts – I also don’t like this type brawling, and would prefer a more technical approach that doesn’t involve walkin through jabs all day. Any suggestions?


ht April 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm



Johnny N April 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

@Vik M – 5’7″ and 200lb is a very tough size. At this point, you need to build a ton of leg strength and quickness of feet. I suggest lots of sprint-work, lower-body plyometrics, and at least 30minutes of jumping rope everytime before you work out. Your footwork is going to be the different in closing the gap and being explosive when you’re in range. You should be doing footwork all day. Nothing else matters at this point, in my opponent.

Actually, you would work on slipping and parrying the jab as well.


ollie June 10, 2011 at 5:01 am

fat arms?
what do you do if they dont have skinny arms?! the guy im supposed to be fighting is built like a tank! his arms are pretty fat and he’ll be able to block all of the body shots (unless theyre low) just by taking them on the arms, and tips on how to get round this but still work the body and not just stick to the head?


Johnny N June 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm

@ollie – If he’s taller and has thicker arms than you, this probably means he’s a bigger fighter…which is a totally different story. Without knowing anything about his fighting style, I would guess that you have to figure out a way to get him to lift his arms. Hit him in the head and bait him into countering so he lifts his arms. Also, there’s nothing wrong with working a guy’s body while his arms are down. You can pin his arms down all day and mix in a few free shots to his head.


adnan June 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

so the way i see it to prevent my self from being crushed by my opponents body weight i should go in and throw jabs at my oppponent when i get in range right??

secondly how do i prevent him from leaning on me and crushing me with his upper body when i go inside???


adnan June 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm

secondly how do i prevent him from leaning on me and crushing me with his upper body when i go inside??? any other ways to prevent it.?


Johnny N June 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm

@adnan – the easiest way for you not to get crushed is not to come in too close. And if you do, try to push him off balance without losing your own balance. When you slip or lean in, make sure you keep your legs under you. The moment your head is leaning over too far, it will be easy for him to crush you. You also have to use your footwork to cut around him on the inside. Throwing jabs to get in a range is a must, regardless of who you’re fighting.


Mac July 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hey i was wondering what your thoughts were on counter fighting against a bigger guy?


Johnny N July 11, 2011 at 7:16 am

@Mac – yikes! Haha…I’ll have to write a guide for that. I wrote some tips for somebody else a while back but can’t find it right now. I think it’s in one of the mailbag articles.


Mac July 15, 2011 at 3:26 am

haha alright thanks man im looking forward to reading it


pritom July 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm

hey man nice article. really like it. end the u mention about boxing an opponet from the out side. maybe u do an article about it??


Johnny N July 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

@pritom – yes, I will!


pritom July 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

thnks man looking forward to it! howeveer u please give me some tips and ideas about how to box a taller guy from the out side??? i would really appriciate it;-)


Johnny N August 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm

@pritom – don’t stand in front of him. stay to his front left or front right. wait for him to attack, and then you pivot or cut around to the other side and attack. he will swing over, which means you can duck under cutting again to the other side, and attack on the other side. it will require RELAXED head movement & footwork. Otherwise, you get tired easily using these tactics.


adnan August 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm

i tried it. i usually use the bob and weave motion of mike tyson but instead of stying inside like he did i usually come out. it works for me ( a bit tiring but better then losing!!)


adnan August 31, 2011 at 7:57 pm

i am talking about boxing a taller guy from the outside


Johnny N August 31, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Good job, Adnan. Boxing the tall guys is tough. Now the next thing you want to do is bob & weave less. The moment you slip once, come in with 3 punches. Much more efficient and less tiring. And when you finish punching….try making one small slip motion to get out cleanly. The key is to use as little energy as possible… or else you won’t be able to keep this up all day against an aggressive tall guy.


adnan September 1, 2011 at 8:35 pm

oh and plz give me some tips on clinching taller guys. they keep on tying me up which is really tiring. i wonna tire them out with cling ching how can i do it


Johnny N September 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm

@adnan – whenever their long arms come around your waist. Bring your elbows down to pin their arms under your arm pits and then hang your weight on their arms to make them carry you.


Latim September 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Quick question. What would you say is more important: Reach or Height? At 5’10 I’m not necessarily the tallest but I have some unique ape arms and my reach is that of someone much taller than me. Also, would you have any tips for using such an advantage against a taller opponent?

Thanks in advance, Latim.


Johnny N October 1, 2011 at 1:24 am

Watch videos of Shane Mosley, he made good use of it against De La Hoya. Watch how Floyd Mayweather fights De La Hoya and Diego Corrales. If you got long arms, focus on that. I have long arms too and I use it to throw lots of annoying flicker jabs, wide hooks that converted into clinches. Lots of body punching and long right hand leads with a slight arc.


Smiling Assasin January 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Is there a good way of training the defense for the orthodox right hand?


Johnny N January 3, 2012 at 2:04 am

Have a trainer chase you around the ring and throw the 1-2 at you non-stop. 1-2, pause, 1-2, pause, walk around…repeat.


curtis c January 3, 2012 at 4:38 am

how taller does my opponent have to be then me for me to go on the inside and land those power house rights to the body?


Johnny N January 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

It doesn’t matter how tall or short he is, the body is always in range. In terms of reach, it can be easier to punch to the body than to the head.


Gordon January 19, 2012 at 12:07 am

Johnny, I’ve heard that a good gauge for infighting is to touch your forehead on his chest, but not to lean into it. Do you think this qualifies as getting underneath him? Is this too close? Thanks.


Johnny N January 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Yes… putting your head on his chest is definitely one way to get into him. It may or may not be “too close” depending on what you’re trying to do. It’s a common tactic preferred by many inside fighters. I wouldn’t worry too much about the head and the chest. The key is to try and be the fighter on the outside. When you get close, you should feel like you are an outside ring surrounding your opponent.


jack January 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

jhonny does a shorter boxer need to have be more powerfull than his opponent to fight effectively on the inside


Johnny N January 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

As long as you can outbox your opponent, you don’t need anything else. It helps to have power but it isn’t necessary. If anything, I’d say strength and endurance is more important than power when it comes to inside fighting.


Steven Iavarone January 30, 2015 at 12:53 am

Johnny N, just came across your site via googleing fighting against a taller fighter. YOU are an incredible teacher! At 5′ 7″ my opponents would be taller. I’m a former welterweight who was a sparring partner for a man who eventually won 2nd place in the Golden Gloves. I now weigh 200lbs and will go down to 185lbs. But my fighting days are over.

Just interesting to read your tips and especially your competence and sensitivity towards those asking for advice. Thanks much for your patience and ability to help others.

All the best,

Steven I.


Johnny N February 2, 2015 at 2:54 am

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, Steven. Good luck to you in all your endeavors outside the ring.


curtis January 22, 2012 at 7:37 am

calculative movement knowing how to postion ones self in the most compertent and apt of ways. pivot first then weave to the side, roll the shoulder counter clockwise, and etc, this is aparantly smart movement used by the worlds top boxing advocates or so i’ve been lead to belieave. what do you think about it? I think it revolves around trying to gain a postional advantage to launch your punches and stay away from your opponent power hand getting him onto your right side and facing him at a perfect angle by turning your shoulders away from him. what’s your opinion?


david February 11, 2012 at 4:47 am

how to come in behind the jab and counter?


Johnny N February 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Place your head in one position, then move it to another place as you come in with a step jab.


Hayden Lyon February 17, 2012 at 1:35 am

Hey my names Hayden this is the first time i’ve read your articles and it’s because of this reason. I am 16 i weigh 70 kilos and i’m 6 ft 1. I am only used to fighting and sparring shorter fighters which is where i am most dominant. I am quick on my feet a hard hitter and got good technique i love to keep them at range and as they try and get in range i use my footwork to keep them away as i’m constantly hitting them. The other day though i had a gym spar with a taller oponant, I was quicker, stronger better technically and my evasion was incredible compared to his. Yet he was still easily beating me. Is there any PERSONAL tips you can give me from what i have told you? (this is why my message is so long sorry)


Johnny N February 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

You’ll have to tell me how he’s beating you and then I can give you some ideas. Sometimes people will beat you on style, it happens.


Hayden Lyon February 19, 2012 at 1:32 am

well i was trying to fight on the outside (which i knew was wrong) i kept waiting for him and then was getting bombarded by punches. My landing punches percentage would have been heaps higher because i made him miss a lot. Could me waiting for him and being kind of lazy be what gace him the edge over me?


Hayden Lyon February 19, 2012 at 1:33 am

i would wait for him and when i was trying to get away i was getting hit with heaps of little punches as i was trying to get away, should i have been more aggressive and jumped in and out more?


Johnny N February 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

You can try being more aggressive. If he’s more physical than you, you’ll have to rely on better technique and also increase your conditioning to keep up.

Austin Hartery February 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Hi I’m 96 kg fighting a guy next week who is 100 kg he is taller than me and has a long jab, we sparred a few times and he has come out on top everytime…he hits hard but when I do catch him I see I can hurt him..any tips would be great as this is my first amateur fight and don’t wanna get a pounding !!! Thanks, Austin


Johnny N February 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Have you tried the tips above, Austin?


Austin Hartery March 1, 2012 at 5:59 am

I’ve tried countering his jabs and getting in close but when I do he throws lots of punches on top of me and I get quite flustered, I’m sparring him again in a few hours and would love to be able to try something new that will take him by surprise !! When I stay outside he rushes me and I end up on the ropes eating shots…


Johnny N March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

When he gets on top of you, explode up with your shoulders (keep your hips under you) and lift him off his balance. Fighting tall guys is always a nightmare. I would also attack his body more by throwing some shots to his head first.


Austin Hartery March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Well Johnny things went well tonight I even dropped him
in the 2nd wit a nice jab feint and a big right hand body shot…I gased in the 3rd but I done a lot better than before and would prob got a draw if that was our fight, all in all pleased with my performance. The articles are great thanks for the help


Johnny N March 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

WOW! Good job, man!


Austin Hartery March 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thanks, I’m feeling a lot more confident about our fight next week now…bring it on !!


Jannis May 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I read the article and like everytime great analysis who comes out from experience. Have a few questions. Have my first sparring fight yesterday in the heavyweight. I am 1.84 and weight 88 kg. My opponent was maybe 1.88-1.89 and looked more powerful in his construction than me. He has already some sparring fights. Everytime I try to get inside in the area of mid and short distance I was bombarded with combos of 3 punches a time. Dont know where they come from. The punches was strong but they was ok for me to take them after keep moving. He was waiting for me to make the first movement, to be honest I land maybe one jab.
The good thing is I know that I can absorb with my head heavy weight punches 😀 and go on. Other mistakes I see was that after I go in and one quick and hard punch comes from him I dont see the other 1 2 he throws. My other mistake was that I dont throw the correct jab like my trainer show me before, was a jab which the head, little bit the body and the hip make a turn to the right. I was dissapointing and dissapointed of what I do. But I am happy that I know what I must make better and to fight in two weeks again.
1. In order of this experience can you write some things I can train, try and learn?
2. Is the heavyweight ok for me? The most of the opponents I meet there in future be stronger and taller. I have power in my punch too and quickness, the problem was I didnt land any clear punches in the time he was bombarding me and even before :0). In the gym I make sparring with one super heavy guy he is much taller and heavier and I see that I can. Fighting an guy in gym sparring who is 2m and weight 97kg is something else go in the ring and spar with an experinced heavyweight who is not much taller but of strong construction.


Johnny N May 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hi Jannis,

You’re a beginner so no matter what you do, you will always feel too slow or too short or to hit a more experienced opponent. Here’s what you can work on:

– a sharp jab
– a sharp jab with 2-inch forward foot movement
– slipping the opponent’s jab while moving your head as little as possible (you can bring your head under or inside or outside of his jab)
– relaxed blocking defense (make sure you don’t fall back when you block punches, but don’t fall forward either!)
– learn to walk around the ring when you are not punching.. relax yourself

Your fighting weight should be whatever you feel comfortable at. Train hard and lose all the fat weight from your body and you will know your true fighting weight.


Jannis May 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm

P.S: sorry for the long writing, I take boxing very serious and want in two weeks make the difference. Thank you!


Jannis May 6, 2012 at 12:04 am

another mistake I remember was that I dont move and punch everytime with a step and from angles.


Anonymous May 6, 2012 at 2:03 am


I think being 88 kgs in the heavyweight division is a bit too light. Amateurs might be doable considering that it often turns into a game of tag and then your height and relative fitness (I assume this because your mass is quite small for heavyweight. By contrast I’m the same height as you and 100 kgs) would be good, but if you don’t have much punching power, you might be knocked down quite often.


Jannis May 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

@anonymous its amateur boxing goes at maximum 91 kg, all over 91kg is super heavyweight. I dont knocked down and take much hard combos, I dont have experience and most of the time I start training was I train a totally different stance, friday I go after 3 weeks to training make sparring and Saturday was the fights. This day shows me my trainer the right stance for this situation and corrects me. At all I was bad mabe my movement was acceptable but nothing else.


Eric May 6, 2012 at 7:34 am

A lot of light heavyweights pro and amateur probably “walk around” at about 190-195lbs in relatively good shape but just not fighting shape. But if someone is about 195lbs and in fighting shape they should have no problem competing with someone a mere 5lbs heavier especially if the 200-pounder is just carrying around useless weight. When you get to the heavier weight classes a mere 5-10lbs isn’t a big of a deal as say a bantamweight fighting a featerweight. A super fit 185-190 pounder could easily beat someone in the 200lb range, even if the guy is more like 210 by fight time. Look at Rocky Marciano or Jack Dempsey.


Jannis May 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

Ok thank you, what you write makes me happy cause I want stay in the heavy, at time I beginn training my trainer say I can try 77 or 81 kg kategory, I was this time at 80kg thats why I practice more a taller and open stance, know I am 88kg and not real fit, have big stomach and the other parts of the body are athletic :), but I have flexible and limby body and movement. Think need practice and go every day to train. I try to study the style of this legends. My trainer has experience he comes from former Sovjet Union school of boxing was Ukrainian champion and start there coaching, he is aa real boxing teacher, the bad thing is we have training with him only two times the week.


james patterson June 4, 2012 at 11:27 am

yea what about if your a taller fighter extreme case like me…5’10 108 lbs! the guys in my weight class are so short 99% of the time…like 5’3


Johnny N June 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

I already have a guide for this, James.


Mike June 21, 2012 at 5:16 am

I just wanted to thank you 🙂 Thanks!


Jannis July 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm


thank you for your tipps. I stay and continue training, the only thing that holds me on the ground is my age, in some months I be 25 but I feel very good and want really learn boxing not only in sparring and the gym but in the ring. I work my jab, and this with the 2 inch forward jump jab I like cause I like jump arround and jabing. I see stay on the ground and waiting to conter is also important, must find the golden rule of my game between this two. My movement is good but its to much and often unneseccary, I read your articles, train, look boxing matches and understand some things more everytime.
I have another question, we train 2 times a week with a trainer who grows up and learn boxing in the Sowietunion, his techniques and this boxing style is amazing for me. Its sad thats only two times the week and only for beginners, before one year was starting, we are some people who train often and as I see he systematically build us. Not so fast as grupps who are with many competition and real hard training 3 – 4 times a week, but is a clear up to see in all of us. The most trainers here in Germany except them who come from the Ex Sowjetunion or them who are old trainers from east Germany have the west German style, who personally I dont find so impressive, its more statical and not with much body movement and counters. To my question, I find a link with east european style technics, can you look and say what is to note for me, in 91 kg kategory, things like the stance, exampe I see that his right food is not much behind the front and even his stance is not so wide to feel presure at the hipps. This is very similar to the style we train at the gym. As I note american style is also interesting cause you have old influences, experiences and many different techniques and solution for every punch and situation.
Here the link:


Johnny N July 7, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I really do not like the demonstration shown in the video. The style might be ok for a beginner but not recommended for the advanced fighter. I also don’t recommend the way he moves for beginners. If it feels good for you then great but I think you can find better examples to mimic.


Allan K August 23, 2012 at 2:12 am


I’m thinking about taking up boxing as a way to get in shape, and a way to have some fun doing sports.
But i’m not sure if my size is an advantage or disadvantage in a boxing ring.

Im around 6.4-6.5 feet and my weight is atm at 275 lbs. When I am in the right shape, its somewhere around 230 lbs.

so my fear in this matter is, that the only guys I would be matched against is guys who look somewhat like tyson, due to my size/mass.

So could it work for me?


Johnny N August 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

Use what you have and make it work! There have been great fighters of many different sizes and shapes.


Spenser September 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

What do you think. How to fight against Nikolay Valuev?


Johnny N September 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Get into range and move a lot.


Fred September 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

hey Mr. Johnny i finally found this column, I’m sure this will help me a lot, after reading your column about how to beat a smaller fighter i now know my opponents advantages over me and things that i should avoid,this How To Beat a Taller Fighter is really something that i should do, right now I’m kind of mixing some things from this website to help me win my scheduled fight on October 19. any tips from you would be very great. Thanks a lot..!


Nick September 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Boxes for a few years. All this is true. My method was simply let him fall to rythm in round 1 and use footwork to get out of range, then it was about picking the right time to engage. Sometimes you can have them chase you then work so you can step in as they’re leaning forward to catch them unaware.

The other times you take a frustrating points points loss. 🙂


Pawel January 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

I’m 5’9 and 180 lbs. Trying to get to 190-200 this new year but I’m short. I need serious advice on taking down a 6’4 240 lbs. Is it possible? Or am I getting into real injury trouble. I’ve always been intimitated by taller fighters because it seems so hard to reach the head. I use lots of body shots and have good strength but I always end up lumped up with shiners on both sides and he just complains about his ribs. Maybe a fat lip if it’s big enough. Someone tell me what to do exactly please. I read all this but easier said than done. I just need to take down someone much bigger than me and I’m sure my confidence will heal but till then I het nervous about what I’m getting into. My fear drives me to make mistakes because I don’t know what I’m doing. How do I get my confidence and put fear aside. I used to be so brave as a youngster and now I’m 30 and more fearful than ever. This really sucks. I want courage and I had it but injury now seems to be more than pain. Time lost, money, recovery and loss of strength, speed and endurance is holding me back. Should I just walk away and find something else? Just need some good words to put me on track. Every one on here seems so great and good guys but in the ring it’s all for yourself. Were all alone in the match. No one but you can fight for you. I’m sorry. I think isaid too much crap. I think my days are over and I need to walk away. Thanks guys. This site is great! I wish I found it sooner. I’m not much of a gym fighter rather local underground because I don’t have much $ and I work bridge construction so time is not on my side. Wish I could be a member at a boxing gym and get all the right stuff trained. Maybe in another life. Till than, I’d love so advice before a quit and start simply lifting for “keep in shape” reasons. Thanks again! You all seem like great fighters and I wish my upbringing got me to be on your level.


Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Take a break and respect your abilities. Don’t let other people beat you up and don’t beat yourself up. Rest and fight again when you’re stronger.


Pawel January 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

JoKnut N
Great advice! Thanks! How can I “set him off balance” tho? I do run around alot and he really does barely step to get to me.


Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

You have to move in a way that makes him move, then rush him when his feet are in motion. Or you have to learn how to throw a hard jab to the body that can push him off balance.


Shay March 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

When your fighting a taller person do you try and reach for their face or do you basically stick to body shots?


Johnny N April 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I hit everything I can. But face shots are my ultimate goal.


tako June 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

What is mid-range boxing? How do you fight in it


Johnny N July 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

I imagine mid-range to be somewhere between being at full extension of the arms and inside-fighting. Basically a comfortable range where you can land all punches (jab/cross/hook/uppercut).


Vlad July 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hi Johnny, I’m new to boxing (been doing it for about a month and a half) and theres this guy I spar with at my gym, he has even less experience than me but beats me every time because hes agresive, were both about the same height and hes a bit heavyer than me, but when we spar he comes in with a non stop flury of hooks. how do i beat him?


Johnny N July 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Finding a way to defend and counter those hooks would be a good idea. It’s also a good idea to practice your techniques on someone less intense so you can refine your technique without constantly getting pushed around.


unexperience fighter July 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm

jonny I’m 5 feat 5.5 inches.
damn. I’m always in trouble …
there are so many taller and big
guys. what are the techniques i
should practice more.. ? what
your height jonny…? ha ha ha


Johnny N July 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Yes, keep practicing.


Ripon patgiri July 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

thanks …… after reading this article I am able to beat my elder brother ….. he is 6.2 and I am 5.8 thanx again sir


Vlad July 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for the advice


Justin January 19, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I happened to take notice to the fact that the How to beat a shorter boxer guide is 10x longer and more detailed than the How to beat a taller boxer guide. I guess the taller fighters need more help with their “disadvantage.” In other words WTF!?


Johnny N January 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm

If you paid close attention to the articles, you might notice that I wrote them during different eras of my life. Unfortunately when I wrote the one for shorter fighters, I didn’t have as much free time on me. Perhaps one day, I can do an update and include more tactics for the shorter fighter.


Justin January 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Also, I happened to notice that the How to beat a shorter fighter guide contradicts everything you said about the how to beat a taller fighter guide. In this guide it says there’s 3 zones and the objective is to get into the firing zone, well in the other guide it says there’s 3 zones and in one you can hit them and they can’t hit you and in the other two it says to clinch them.

I don’t mean to sound rude, and I know boxing favors the taller fighter, but us shorter fighters need the most help and I don’t think anybody can honestly disagree. Or we could drop weight, of course, but I have a large frame and being the in the average weight class for my height (5’7) I would probably die from malnourishment.


Justin January 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Also thanks for the advice. I’m grateful.


Justin January 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Thanks again, Johnny. I apologize for being so rude I just have a lot of trouble sparring taller boxers. Being short sucks in general.


Martijn February 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

Being 175 cm and 73 kg, I sparred this saturday against a guy 196 cm and 95 kg. At first he hit me like hell , making me kiss the canvas for 2 seconds or so. Then I got up, took a few more hard punches and then I chose to close the distance. I continued to counter his lead jab by ducking it, curling myself up and pressing my head against his chest. Then I gave him a few hard hooks to his body and head, and he hugged the floor. Although we are both amateurs, I believe that when a guy is much taller, the best way to give him a good fight is to bomb him with hooks and uppercuts from up close. My arm span is just 170 cm, his was 202 cm. Believe it or not, but tall guys find it quite intimidating when they fight a stocky guy who moves for their chest like a bull to a red scarf. It incapacitates their punching ability to zero, while you can hit them with the hardest hooks you can throw.


Johnny N February 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I can definitely agree. I’ve definitely been troubled before by smaller stockier guys coming straight in on me with a low stance and then swinging huge bombs around the sides.


Mike March 1, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Just a quick question about your section on using your opponent’s height against him. A lot of that section is predicated on your opponent having skinny, lanky arms. Unfortunately for me, I’m 6’2, 240 pounds with a shorter than average reach and thus end up having to spar with taller, rangier fighters who also happen to have think, muscular arms, and thus less holes in their guard to exploit. Is there a more effective way to expose the holes they leave, or just a different way to go about attacking their tighter guard?


Johnny N March 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

You can do both. Bombard their shell and also time your counters to come in right as they’re trying to throw punches.


Jose April 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Ugh jonnhy . I hate boxing taller people . Especially if they go back because I cant reach them & I always end up getting off balance. Please help me johnny . Im getting really fustrated because im always used to fighting on the outside but when I fight taller people I feel like I can never land a punch !


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 9:59 am

Well yeah, it’s a common feeling. Fighting taller guys is going to force you to sharpen up and really have to work hard to get into punching position. They’re a nightmare for anybody, really. Me included.


Harry G October 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

Hey J if I’m fighting a taller fighter and I want to go to his body but his elbow is blocking both side n he is covering his face as well what do I do? Love your vids n articles btw.


Dmoney October 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Not to be disrespectful towards your work expert
But for those wanting some more tips, watch mayweather vs tony pep, mayweather bob and weave like it was magic and dominated pep with the jab to the body also as a counter as well.


Johnny N October 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Not at all, my friend. Thank you for sharing more helpful resources. You’re doing everybody a favor. 🙂


elio October 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Bonjour Johnny!!
Thanks for articles, really they’re perfect.
But ont day this article “How to Beat a Taller Boxer” in french or spanish?

Courage et Bonne chance


iqbal October 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

I wanna start boxing,but my height is just 5feet 5inch,I know its short but can I be a pro boxer


Clarence January 31, 2015 at 11:16 am

How do you come under the jab?


Wahaj April 23, 2015 at 3:55 am

Good article as it not only emphasises on how to beat a tall opponent it has also helped me realize how my height fails sometimes. Iam quite tall for my weight as I stand 5’7″ at a weight of 110 pounds.I usually tower over my opponents who are like 5’4″ so I just out box them until the last round when the get tired and then move in for the kill.For the few guys my height I tend to counter their moves. However I have no plan of action against guys taller than me and I will be fighting 5’10” guy soon enough and this article gave me good idea of how I will handle the situation.


Frank Peterskin May 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm

I am 6’2″ at 150 pounds. I was really good at fighting short guys and even tall guys. I fought guys who were taller than me and they told me they still had a hard time getting in on me. I was not scared of fighting inside and even preferred it, but I knew that my specialties lied on the outside. I had lots of people just try to take a few hits and come in and do some damage to my body. However, that is exactly what I wanted them to do I would blast them with a few when they were trying to come in because I knew they were taking a couple as a sacrifice, if I saw them going for a body shot I would let them and strong counter as they continued to come in. My body was so well condition that I could take shots easily, albeit they were throwing after they took a few to the face while moving in. And if they did come in I felt comfortable fighting inside. There was one guy at the gym that had this great bob and weave, and he would mimic me sometimes and it would totally throw me off.


Tabaristio August 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

Hello Johnny,

I have a really important question that has never been addressed for me. It is a question that is making me reconsider whether I should continue being a boxer or not because I am at a very big predicament and feel almost helpless and seemingly running out of ideas to solve this problem

Before I describe the problem, let me first give some of my details in terms of my size. My height is 5 foot 4. My weight is 170 pounds naturally. I am very heavy relative to my height but I can assure you that is my natural and my most comfortable weight. I have a very big frame, have big bones, have a very broad physique and I am very stocky. All of this without any additional exercises. If I were to do just calisthenics alone, I could easily find myself above 200 pounds as I am able to build muscle very easily. People have told me to drop weight and fight at lower weight divisions as a solution to the problem I will describe, but that is out of the question. This is because previously I was over 180 pounds, but I had to work hard to drop to 170 pounds by dropping a little more fat and muscle mass. If I reduce any more weight, then it’ll be at the expense of severely draining myself of water and other elements, reducing immense amount of muscle and thus leading to decreased boxing abilities such as speed, stamina etc. I won’t be at my natural weight below 170 pounds so I’d like to say in advance that I can’t accept losing weight as a solution to my problem.

Now, to the problem that I am facing whilst in the ring. I am easily one of if not the shortest boxers around in my gym during sparring and competitions. So far, 100% of all my fights have been against taller opponents. Usually, I am able to do pretty well against some of my opponents. Half of it is down to me being able to make use of my abilities and advantages and the other half of it is down to my opponents not fully being able to use their own abilities and advantages properly against me. So I have won my fair share of bouts. Whilst every loss I’ve had were very close bouts.

However, recently I’ve met a dude who happens to be very tall. Near 6 foot. Although I’ve met opponents like that in the past, nobody ever boxed like him. To describe this opponent so that you could best understand him, he is reminiscent of Wladimir Klitschko for the last 10 years in terms of how he boxes inside the ring, especially against me (given my relatively shorter height). He is virtually a shorter and a sub heavyweight version of Wladimir Klitschko. Every single thing Wladimir Klitschko has been doing in the ring against pretty much all his opponents for the last 10 years that has made him what he is today, a successful undefeated heavyweight that has barely lost rounds in a decade of boxing whilst his opponents can barely even reach him, my opponent does virtually the same thing to me. In other words, what Wladimir Klitschko’s opponents face when they fight him, such as the problems involving predicaments and getting to him, I am facing virtually the same thing.

I’m assuming you already know how Wladimir Klitschko fights and his advantages that he uses to dominate all his opponents for the last 10 years as he has, based on your excellent knowledge of boxing. However, I will still state those problems specifically to make it easier for you to help me solve this problem.

1) Everything starts with his lead hand. Apart from constantly jabbing me, he semi extends his lead left
hand in front of his body and keeps it there for the whole fight. So when he does jab, it has a very
short distance to cover until it hits my face. He doesn’t bring his lead gloves back to his face to cover
his face. He doesn’t need to as his defense is primarily the use of distance by not letting me get to
the distance where I am even able to land punches on his face in the first place. So the arms are
always semi extended.

2) He also uses his lead left hand to control my head. For example, sometimes when I am moving my
head laterally or bobbing and weaving to help me close the distance, he’ll fully extend his lead left
arm and control my head, occasionally pushing it to the side whilst he sidesteps away, pushing me
out of range and then creating distance for himself. Sometimes he’ll control the back of my head,
pushing it towards him then he’ll clinch me. Thus smothering me and not allowing me to get my
punches off. Other times, he’ll throw a type of jab that I consider as a push jab. It is not like your
standard jab that has a snapping effect which snaps the head back. Instead, think of it like a push
with the fists closed from a short distance. It is not even a proper punch. He does that to create
distance as well. The final variation that I’d like to say he uses is he fully extends his arm and just
paws with it. Basically following the movement of my head. In other words, he moves his lead fists
wherever my head moves without throwing any punches. Essentially disrupting my rhythm over and
over again. Making it nearly impossible for me to close the distance at times. It is basically a stiff arm
technique with multiple variations.

3) Clinching: The rare times I do manage to get into punching range, he’ll immediately clinch. There
are multiple variations of this. Sometimes he’ll tie up both my arms so I can’t throw any punches.
Sometimes he’ll lean on my back until the referee breaks. All of it is very frustrating. Sometimes he’ll
clinch when I’m moving my head, i.e. slipping or ducking his punches so he doesn’t get countered
by my own punches. Sometimes he’ll clinch if he finds that I am moving my head too fast and he
can’t follow my head movement with his eyes and his lead hand. In other words, a typical example of
an overly cautions safety first boxer. Not willing to take any risks at all, giving me very few chances.
This a huge predicament for me, because the times I do manage to get into punching range so I can
land my punches on him after using good movement, of head and foot, he clinches me. In other
words, the effort I used to close the distance was all wasted. On top of that, clinching me has a
negative effect on me. I start to get tired and weaker as the bout goes on a lot more quicker. Or if I
move my head to make him miss his punches, he just clinches. In other words, him clinching me has
almost the same effect of him punching me. As both wear me out. However, suppose I do the
opposite of what I’ve already mentioned as a predicament, which is to not move my head, not close
the distance and get into range where I can land punches, then I’ll just get jabbed to death from the
outside the whole bout. Eating tons of jabs along with occasional power punches which will have
huge effects on me. So it seems whatever I may do, I’ll be negatively effected. If I do the former, then
I’ll get clinched thus resulting in losing energy and strength. If I do the latter, I get punched from the
outside with straight jabs and right hands and hooks thus getting my face and body damaged. So I’m
not too sure what to do now.

4) Footwork: Last but not least, he has superb footwork. Especially when it comes to distance creation
and maintenance. He takes half a step back or full step back whenever I attempt to close the
distance, thus in the end, I end up not being able to close the distance and find myself exactly where
I was before I attempted to close the distance, which is me being in my opponents punching range
and my opponent being out of my punching range. He uses this with the addition of extending his
lead arm and controlling my head with his lead hand whilst backing away. He’s also good at side
stepping whilst backing away instead of moving only in a straight line. Thus making my punches
land short of the target and disrupting the rhythm of my offense where I have to start my offense all
over again because by the time I’ve finished throwing my punches, I’m off balanced whilst my
opponent has created distance again ready to take control of the ring once again. Sometimes this
leaves me with no other option but to lunge in wildly with my punches leaving myself off balanced.
Sort of what David Haye did when he faced Wladimir Klitschko. Sometimes lunging or jumping in
even with both feet of the ground throwing wild punches whilst off balanced. Apart from the excellent
use of distance, my opponent is also really good at controlling the ring by staying in the center whilst
backing me away with his lead hand and jabs. Also using good lateral movement.

Some final information I’d like to give you is that some of the things my opponent does can be penalized by the referee. Such as stiff arming. I’ve also seen some boxers losing points for doing those things sometimes but never Wladimir Klitschko though. The thing is my opponent does those things very subtly. Thus not easy for the referee to spot. I’ve complained before about these things and the referee is usually OK and finds nothing wrong with what I’m complaining about. Thus complaining to the referee is not an option. My opponent has decent power too, in his jabs and power punches. So they can knock me down when I’m hit cleanly. He rarely defends against punches the conventional way. Such as blocking with his arms. His primary defense seems to be the use of distance, done by using footwork, control me using my head, which enables the creation of distance and when everything else fails, he clinches. The thing is, he finds most success fighting like that against me. Against other opponents who are more closer to his height, he fights slightly differently. Although his ability is still good. Such as his footwork, jab and athleticism. He still fights well even against opponents his own height but adjusts his style slightly against them and has to work more harder against them unlike against me. This has led me to thinking of quitting boxing altogether in case if other boxers started to use the same tactics against me. I’m sure they could considering my height deficiencies. So one of my last resort is to ask for help as I couldn’t solve this problem on my own and my trainers haven’t taught me anything new to overcoming this problem. You seem like the kind of person that could help me overcome this problem or at the very least, give me some solutions if not all based on your knowledge you have shown on this website. So please, kindly help me solve as much of the problem as possible that I’ve mentioned


Johnny N August 20, 2015 at 12:53 pm

All I gotta say: Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

Boxing is an art in figuring out how to make things work. It’s up to you to do decide if this art is fun for you or if it’s not worth the time, that life is unfair, etc and etc. I’ve had a friend in the gym at 5’6″ heavyweight state champion. It’s not easy, nothing ever is. I think you’re smart enough to follow the conventional advice so I won’t say any of that. Without seeing how this guy moves, it’s hard for me to suggest ideas that would work well against his style. In my opinion…the best thing you can do is trade punches with him. Not in a brawling style but in a precision counter-punching style. Slip his jabs and then come in fast with your right when he throws his right. And set the rest up from there. It also helps to have a few awkward tricks. Some weird movements (anti-style/anti-technique) that can help disrupt the smooth flowing rhythmic boxers and start making them uncomfortable/awkward. The more herky-jerky the fight, the better chance you have of landing something in there. If you don’t have any awkward rhythms…it’s time to do some film study and pick up stuff that pros do. Work more on your catch-and-shoot skills. Also work more on using that long left jab to the body to push him around. Work on your tricky left hook skills. Throw jabs to the body, and then next time throw a hard left hook to the head, it works. Try going southpaw every now and then if you need to create some angles…especially when you get inside (also useful for breaking clinches).


Tabaristio September 14, 2015 at 12:00 am

Thanks Johnny for the short but helpful response!

Dwight Muhammad Qawi is one of my all time favorite boxers as I can relate to him better than many other boxers. Now I realize that boxing is an art requiring one to form strategies and tactics and whatnot. Boxing is also something I really enjoy. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that because I enjoy something that I can’t come across problems that are virtually unsolvable based on my conditions. E.G. I could really enjoy sprinting as someone with bionic legs due to amputation, doesn’t mean I could ever beat Usain Bolt in a 100m race. Thus I should accept realistically that I wouldn’t ever be successful in 100m racing at the highest level with my shortcomings. My aim was to find out whether the current problems that I’m experiencing in boxing is solvable or if it’s unsolvable despite me loving boxing. I’ve tried other things, but nothing so far truly solved that problem I’m facing that I’ve described in my previous post. So the last thing I’ve done is turned to you for advice, due to the sufficient knowledge you’ve shown on this site.

Now you said without seeing how my opponent that I struggle with moves, it’s hard for you suggest any ideas that will work well against his style. I can respect that point. However, to make things a little more easier for you to understand my opponent, since I haven’t any videos of him, I’d like to ask you three questions:

1) If you were a trainer of one of Wladimir Klitschko’s top opponents (David Haye, Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers etc), what advice will you give them to overcome some of the problems that Wladimir Klitschko gives out? Which are the same problems that I face from my opponent as well. Noticed I named ‘top’ Wladimir Klitschko’s opponents with actual abilities and skill set to actually beat Wladimir Klitschko such as David Haye instead of unskilled opponents who simply don’t have any skills to beat him irrespective of how good of an advice that can be given. Such as Alex Leapai.

2) What are some clinching techniques that can be utilized as a counter response to the clinching maneuvers used by tall opponents like Wladimir Klitschko to nullify the shorter opponents offense at close quarters? Such as leaning on the back of opponent, locking the arms, controlling and grabbing the head etc. If possible, can you please make a full article on clinching? I’ve been through the internet researching and haven’t found a single comprehensive article that deals with clinching in boxing. I haven’t even seen a clinching article in your website either. If you have, can you give me a link to it. If not, could you make an article sometime in the future? If that’s not possible, then at the very least could you outline some tips on how to overcome the problems faced with getting clinched by taller opponents at close quarters?

3) Are there any others boxers apart from Dwight Muhammad Qawi who were short but were able to perform well against good tall opponents that also knew how to use their long height and reach? In fact, do you know of fights were a shorter boxer with a shorter reach beat a good tall boxer with a longer reach but also knew how to fight tall and utilize his jab? I don’t mean tall boxers that don’t use their height and reach despite being tall and cannot fight tall. Such as Antonio Margarito or Paul Williams. Tall boxers that can’t fight tall don’t count. I’m talking about tall boxers who also fought tall with a long jab and clinched a lot in the inside but were still beaten by a shorter boxer. Or if two boxers are of the same skill level, the taller boxer will almost always win? When people say good big boxer beats a good small boxer, are they referring to just weight or also height? If they are referring to height as well, does that mean if I face a boxer taller than me but of the exact same skill level, then he is almost guaranteed to beat me? Does that therefore mean that the only taller boxers than myself I can beat are boxers that I have an immense skill advantage against overcoming my height? I just wanted to know if having a taller and longer height and reach is that important in boxing to the point where a shorter boxer will be helpless when fighting taller opponents of similar skill level.

Looking forward to your response!


Rachel January 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm

I’m one of the few girls in my gym and I’m 5’4″, so I’m usually sparring with guys who are stronger and taller than me haha I find just being quicker and timing are the only advantages I have, but this article really helps, thank you!


Alfredo Avila April 4, 2016 at 8:11 am

The thing left out for competing against a taller boxer is

What worked for me in 45 amateur bouts

Catching the Jab and ducking the right
Catching the taller boxers straight punches will have him thinking twice…u get it.


Beginner June 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

Beginner here. What kind of stance should I use? I’m a short guy, 5’7. I have short arms and short legs. I’ve tried the bladed stance out, but I feel weird and unable to move well laterally. Exactly how should my shoulders be placed and how should my feet be angled? I keep reading a bladed stance has more balance, but when I spread my feet outside the toe heel alignment I feel much better balanced and able to move laterally and just better period. I also feel I have more power this way and it just feels more natural. For some reason pointing my lead shoulder at my opponent makes me stiff and feel awkward when trying to move in a bladed stance. Is my body type just better suited for more of mike tyson’s kind of style of boxing? I have pretty much the exact same body type as him.


shamsul June 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm

You should use either orthodox which is your left foot forward, and left lead jab (a straight jab), and southpaw which is the right foot forward, and right lead jab. Use which one suits you best in terms of balance and practice basic defence. If you are short and fighting taller opponents, you should be better at bobbing and weaving like Joe Frazier, and practice slipping like Mike Tyson to be able to land strong hits inside. Before you do any of this you should work on balance, practice footwork, get boxing boots because they are designed for the movements within the sport, and do a lot of skipping and running for leg strength and cardiovascular endurance (stamina)


Beginner June 15, 2016 at 2:46 am

Hey thanks for your answer. I already know about the orthodox/southpaw, I was asking about my feet positioning and and shoulder positions. I’m orthodox so exactly what angle should my lead and back foot be pointing? How far should be lead shoulder be crossed over? Should it be literally directly in front of my opponent? How bladed should my body be exactly? If I stand almost sideways my defense improves, but offense seems to lack. Opposite if I’m more squared. Feel better offense, but I eat more shots. Right now I really want to find the stance for me. Some videos say align back heel with lead toe, but then Freddie Roach says leave some lateral space between about 2 inches. It feels more natural to square my shoulders more, but I get hit more. It also feels weird trying to blade my body though. How much bladed should I be. Where exactly is too much squared and where exactly is too much bladed?


shamsul June 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm

front left foot pointing forward, knee slightly forward and bent, keep your distance from opponents, the main aim is to get in and out to land shots while avoiding getting hit, 3 minutes is a lot of time and you should never be wreckless and stay at a steady pace without going all out unless you are able to last 8-10 rounds while still being able to knock someone out. Don’t eat shots do what ever it takes, be difficult by slipping- practice head movement, bobbing and weaving like Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson and what ever you are comfortable with without losing balance. Skipping and running comes in handy because better endurance prevents you from being wreckless. Never get used to keeping your hands down, throw a punch, let the hand come back and then throw another. There is no rush because boxing is all about rhythm- ” Rhythm is everything in boxing. Every move you make starts with your heart, and thats in rhythm or your in trouble.”- Sugar Ray Robinson.
Balance is a problem for many people, expert boxing have great ways to improve balance try them out. Sometimes footwear will stop your maximum performance- boxing boots make a big difference!


Beginner June 16, 2016 at 3:55 am

Anyone have an answer?


shamsul June 16, 2016 at 4:27 am

Take a lok at Joe Frazier and Jose Torres, people short for heavyweights. Use ducking and squat and pivot often, stay active!


Doyle August 24, 2016 at 11:34 am

I love this. I used to think that being short (5’7″) was a bad thing, but paired with my broad shoulders, and and size 12 feet, I’m built for combat. I have a great base and low center of gravity making in nearly impossible for anybody over 6′ to take me down, and I can pack on so much more muscle. I’m currently 155 pounds but I was 180 not too long ago and at any weight in between I’m capable of handling myself against a taller opponent. Put my size together with my speed and toughness, my strong core, and my skill, I’m almost unstoppable against antaller opponent of the same weight


Bacon November 25, 2016 at 11:38 am

Hi Johnny, I have two question for you. For my height, I have relatively short arms which makes sparring at long range not so fun. Should I focus on closing the distance by making myself smaller and then once I’m in range, make myself tall again and just throw hooks around my opponent guard? Secondly, I also remember you mentioning that a taller person has an advantage on inside against a shorter person, due to my short reach should I concentrate more on boxing at mid range? Thank you.


Johnny N November 29, 2016 at 1:01 am

Bacon, for sure you have to fight at the distance where your hands can reach your opponent. You’ll need to develop better head movement. I wouldn’t recommend to “stay compact” so much because that can sometimes feel awkward and impede your agility. Learn some basic counters and spar more and you will develop the right reflexes and coordination with time. Very often, a beginner may feel like he is too short or too slow or too little endurance and in the end, it has more to do with his skill and trained reflexes rather than his perceived weaknesses.


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