What’s Your Fighting Style?

October 13, 2011 October 13, 2011 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Boxing Styles 95 Comments

What's Your Fighting Style?

The best fighters usually fight with their best fighting style. It’s as simple as that. Fighting with a style that fits your natural ability and skills makes you more effective and more successful in the ring.

I use to think developing a fighter’s style was easy until I spoke to a beginner the other day and realized many beginners are potentially using the wrong fighting style. Let me be clear, your best fighting style is PROBABLY not the one your favorite boxing champion uses.

For those of you ready to stop copying Mike Tyson, and start being *insert your name*, here are 4 easy steps to developing YOUR FIGHTING STYLE!


Figuring Out Your Fighting Style

1. Stop Trying to Copy a Style

By copying a style,
you sacrifice developing your TRUE fighting style.

I could go on all day about this. The most IMPORTANT step to finding your own unique fighting style is to stop copying others. It’s not about being unique or being original. It’s about being YOU, being 100% you. Too many fighters today are so busy trying to imitate their idols. They try to fight with Mike Tyson’s power or Floyd Mayweather’s defense or Ali’s hand speed. By forcing yourself to fight like somebody else, you risk becoming less effective than if you were to fight the way your muscles/skills were intended.

There are many fighting attributes such as power, speed, aggression, defense, etc. All these attributes are important and things you should be aware of. By TRYING to focus on one attribute, you lose focus on the rest. Your fighting style suffers because you’re only improving in one area instead of everywhere. The worst scenario is that you sacrifice your true talents by trying to be something you are not.

Mike Tyson is powerful because he is NATURALLY powerful. He punches powerfully without having to think about power. His focus and awareness is spread across everything else like defense, movement, and boxing strategy. He doesn’t waste all his mental focus on just thinking about power. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t THINK speed. He’s aware of speed, power, defense, everything. It just so happens that speed is his greatest attribute. It doesn’t cost Pacquiao any extra energy to be fast, he just is!

You have to stop looking at others and focus on yourself. Every day that you box, pay attention to yourself and see how your body responds. By focusing on yourself and figuring out what you do well, you will find new ways to respond and fight better without having to copy anybody else. Maybe you’re not happy with the way that you box. You’re still much better off figuring out the secret of how YOU move YOUR body and not how somebody else moves theirs.

2. Try to Hit Your Opponent

The purpose of your fighting style,
is to hit your opponent.

This is the most important aspect of fighting is to hit your opponent. Any, and I mean ANY TECHNIQUE that you learn should help you hit your opponent. If you learn a new punch, a new combo, a new way of movement, it must have the ultimate goal of helping you hit your opponent. If you learn a new defensive technique, a new evasive manuever, it MUST help you counter (hit) your opponent. If your trainer teaches you something new and it doesn’t help you at all, then it doesn’t fit your style! (Perhaps your style will evolve later and make use of it, but that isn’t the case now.)

It is through the goal of trying to hit your opponent that you will naturally develop better technique and ultimately a better fighting style. If throwing power punches doesn’t work, try throwing smaller lighter punches. If one defense doesn’t help you land counters, try another. Focusing on power just for the sake of being more powerful is silly if it doesn’t help you hit your opponent.

I once asked a great trainer, “How does my jab look?” He laughed and replied, “Just try to punch. Don’t worry about the form. Don’t worry about if your wrist looks right, or the elbow is straight, or the shoulder is rotated. Just try to hit your opponent. As long as you keep trying to hit your opponent, you will find new ways to make your jab faster, stronger, less telegraphing, etc. Your technique will become better in every way as long as you focus on the ultimate goal. Try to hit your opponent!”

3. Find the Easy Way

Your best fighting style is your easiest fighting style.

The best style for you is one that’s easiest to do. If you feel it’s easier to throw left hooks than right hands, then by all means throw more left hooks! If you find it easier to move backwards than forwards, then move backwards more! If it’s easier to land your light punches than your power punches, keep throwing those light punches! Why make things harder on yourself? Fight the easy way!

Mike Tyson is powerful because it’s easy for him to throw with power. If throwing power punches is too hard or too much focus for you, let it go. Don’t try to hang on to a style that feels unnatural to you. It hurts me to say this to fighters but very often, the reason why you admire a style so much might be because you can’t do it. Most people who don’t have power will admire power punchers. Many fighters that don’t have natural speed will admire speed fighters. It’s the nature of always wanting what you don’t have. It’s kind of like poor people admiring the rich.

The easy way is the most obvious way. The easy way takes less effort, less energy, less thinking. Sometimes, the easy way is the boring way. Hey look, this is fighting. You don’t owe anybody the responsibility of making things more challenging on yourself, that’s your opponent’s job! Sometimes the easy way is all you know how to do and all you can see. Suppose you only know the jab and only see opportunities for the jab, that’s fine, stick to it.

With time, you will develop more skills and find EASIER ways to fight. I don’t slip to be fancy. I slip punches because slipping is actually EASIER than blocking for me. Slipping takes less damage and I’m so well trained at it that feels more natural to stay in constant motion with slipping than to stand still and block punches. Slipping is easier than blocking because I don’t have to spend energy keeping my hands up all day. Slipping is easier because I’m not covering my eyes with my gloves. For those of you who aren’t as well trained at slipping, that’s ok, stick to blocking. Ultimately, your style should make it easier for you to fight, not harder.

4. Work on Everything

Learn all fighting techniques.

People always ask me, what should I do for my style? What techniques are best for my body type? The answer is easy, WORK ON EVERYTHING! Learn every technique, every style. Want to develop your best fighting style? Learn everything, starting with what feels easiest and most natural to you, then work your way towards skills that feel more difficult and more unnatural.

Just because you started boxing with one style doesn’t mean you will retire with that same style. As you improve your boxing skills over time, you will naturally find new AND EASIER ways to box. You might become a more slippery defensive fighter because your new skills make it EASIER to slip punches than to block. You might become a more powerful puncher because your technique makes it easier to throw power punches. You might become a more busy fighter because your conditioning makes it easier to stay busy the whole fight. As your fighting ability improves, so will your fighting style.

Many boxers start out with an overly aggressive or overly defensive style because they don’t know any better. Over time, they all naturally throw more punches with more power, fight more aggressive yet more defensive, and improve their fighting style in every aspect. This total improvement happens because they are aware of EVERY aspect of their fighting ability instead of limiting themselves to only one fighting quality.

At the end of the day, the word “style” is overrated. It only refers what you do the easiest and most naturally, in other words–what you do best. Just because I have a power style doesn’t make me the best power puncher. I bet even the weakest-punching professional boxing champion punches harder than me. He punches harder than me because he focused his boxing skills on everything and improved his technique in every way to make it EASIER for him to HIT HIS OPPONENT. He didn’t waste his training time trying to be a harder puncher than me. In fact, I’ll bet he hits harder, faster, more accurately, and throws more than I do. He’s not just more powerful than me, he’s better than me in every way!

What is a Fighting Style

Your fighting style is the way you adapt to situations.

Don’t think of your style as the way you move, but rather the way you ADAPT (respond) to things. Imagine how a boxer, muay thai kickboxer, and grappler might counter a right cross differently. The boxer would slip and throw a left hook. The kickboxer might block and counter-kick. The grappler might duck and shoot for the takedown. Their styles trained them to adapt differently. The most important observation is to see that they are responding their easiest way possible. Imagine how crazy it would seem if the boxer tried a takedown. Believe me, it looks just as ridiculous to see a boxer TRYING to be a power puncher.

Your best fighting style is the most adaptive one.

As you become more well-rounded, you style becomes more flexible to adapt to a wider range of opponent’s styles. Your fighting style should become more dynamic over time. It is not just one attribute, but can adjust in several areas to compensate for your opponents. For example I like to jab and outbox from long distance. If my opponent gets too close, then my style adjusts by using my long arms for clinching and digging wide hooks on the inside.

As you face better opponents, you will have to fight with multiple styles and to force the fight to a style where you have the advantage. I can punch, I can box, and I can brawl on the inside. The problem is that my opponent can do the same. So I have to force the fight to a style where I have the advantage. Suppose I’m a better inside fighter so I’ll go inside more. He MIGHT try to out-brawl me on the inside or he might switch to his long-range boxing style to keep me away. You never know what’s going to happen. The point is, just let everything flow. Let your body learn everything that feels natural and easy to do. Later down the line, you will need more than one boxing style to be successful.

Having the best style means you can adapt to more things. It doesn’t necessarily mean being the most defensive or most powerful.

“Have no way as Way; have no limitation as limitation.”
– Bruce Lee

Having read this, how did you change your fighting style?

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Mac October 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

This is a really good article. I’m a fairly short guy a 5’6, but im 157 pounds, and i always like to counter, but my trainer is having me work on in-fighting because i already counter fine, and if i can in-fight good too, then i feel like i could be very well rounded.


Learning2box December 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Im light af and only around 5’2 and I mainly rely on kicks and combos (I’m a kickboxer…)


TGP October 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

when developing my style would u just suggest listening to what my trainers are saying and then giving them feedback after i spar….and then change according


Johnny N October 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

TGP, when developing that style you don’t have to think about it. You just box as you normally would and be sure to discuss new options that come up. As you get better, you will see more things and do more things. Your trainer can suggest some ideas but so can you. And yes, always talking and having feedback helps.


Rod72 October 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”

Bruce Lee

Yeah, I’m a fan.


King Lion October 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Nice article Johnny.
I love that pic of Bruce Lee flying hiiiiigh to kick 7’4″ Kareem Abdul Jabar – right in the face! AWESOME!!!
Now, that’s what I call No Limitations.


Johnny N October 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

I love crazy pictures!


dayne October 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

hey..can a boxer beat a strreet fighter..(weapons away)..i think there will be a kick advantage for them..!..i really do love boxing..and i hope they win the street-hooligans..too!!


Mac October 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Hey man, in my opinion, anyone can beat anyone. The boxer definitely has the advantage in the striking game. Also, if the boxer becomes aware of things like kicks, and takedowns he would have a huge advantage against any chump off the street. Im also assuming by street fighter, you mean some random chump, and not an actaul trained fighter who just doesn’t follow any rules.


Johnny N October 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

Dayne, boxing is a nice advantage for street-fighting. Against the other arts, I really don’t know. But I would have to say only knowing boxing leaves you at a high disadvantage when you’re facing kicks, holds, throws, and other things that boxers aren’t trained to react to. And of course, it depends on how skilled your opponent is.


dayne October 16, 2011 at 1:44 am

thanks man…tats a nice answer


John taylor york October 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hey johnny I was wondering why most of the pros hit the heavy bag low? At my gym they teach me to jab high and throw all my head punches high. But then I see pros hit the bag nearly at the bottom Haha.your input will be greatly appreciated


Johnny N October 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

JTY, the reason why pros hit the heavy bag low is because they’re working on punching rhythm and endurance. They’re treating it more as a workout than punching technique. Listen to the rhythm of their punches. Watch this video of Floyd Mayweather hitting the heavy bag. Look at him relaxing and just working the rhythm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WheQ9sAx2-Q&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLE51769407073E92D


jack October 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm

the way i understand this is that what ever our style is should not effect our balance , technique, awareness am i right?


Johnny N October 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Jack, I think another way to look at it is that your style should MAXIMIZE your balance, technique, and awareness.


Alejandro October 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm

You know something Johny – you’re the best! I use to be an amateur a while back (1990’s). A recently went back into the gym to get in shape (I felt to heavy and lethargic) and found out I had to “re-train” all over again. I started toying around with imitating Tyson/ Duran styles. As a result I felt lost and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t be as secure as I use to be. I was dreading trying to even think of sparring again – I somehow knew I was going to suck. This article, as well as your other articles have opened my mind to the coolest ways of doing things right, having fun with it, and hopefully having success in the future! A BIG thank you to you and this site! I mean you’re teaching me a lot! I never had a place to get this much insight before. Its the coolest and craziest thing in the world that you are coaching me on the net! I read all your articles and so far they have helped me get better each week! Johnny’s the man!


Johnny N October 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thank you, thank you! Doing things right and having fun…that was always my goal. Awesome work, you’ll be back bigger and better than ever.


May17 April 10, 2015 at 8:22 am

Reminds me Bruce Lee changes style half way through the fight with Chuck Norris in order to adapt.


Connor MacLeod Farley October 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I train jiu jitsu and kickboxing off and on. I’ve naturally been good at takedown and i have a really solid base. As far as stand up i have good kicks and a medium amount of power. Boxing has always seemed natural but i’ve spend countless hours working on high kicks and stretching for flexibility. Reading this makes me realize i’m never going to be a cro cop or a lee. I’m really going to focus on slipping and throwing hands now. Time to stop making things hard for myself.


jack October 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

jhonny a question out of curiosity. is good reflex a natural talent or is it honed by hours of practise?? i ask this because some fighters have exceptionally good reflex compared to the others. is it because they are naturally talented or is it hrs of practise


Johnny N October 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Natural reflexes are an ability to sense action and then make a reaction. But that’s it. The reaction isn’t trained, the reflexes aren’t trained to be fighting reflexes yet. All that really matters are fighting reflexes. Just because you jerk your head doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.

Some fighters have better reflexes because they’re born that way and have that mindset. Other fighters do it through practice. It starts with having the right mindset, and trying to sense things. If you spend more time thinking about yourself than thinking about your opponent, you will never have fast reflexes. You need the right mindset, the right technique, and constant drills to maximize those. This much is certain…EVERYONE has room for improvement. Try your best to improve in every single way and eventually, you’ll realize it doesn’t matter if someone is natural or not. It’s all about TRAINED reflexes.


Boomerang October 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I think, whatever you instinctualy/natrualy do when hurt in the ring the first time is probebly the closest you’ll ocme to getting a peek at what your natrual style is, people are overthinking the whole style thing, heck, when I started I looked up to ali and leonard(still do), and wanted to fight just like them, ended up more like Hagler or Chavez.

It’s just more of a natural thing for me to want to fight it out then to try pitter patter my way to the final bell. key word being natural; caus it’s not what I want, I want to play RJJ (who doesnt), but that’s just not who I am inside, and I only understood that after fighting for a while.


Johnny N October 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

It’s so true how so many fighters try to copy someone only to end up like someone else.


Jonathan October 26, 2011 at 1:41 am

I found the section af the article marked ‘try to hit your opponent’ very helpful because often I spend so much time working on my footwork and head movement while sparring that I forget that at the end of the day it’s about hitting the other guy. This is where I’ve personally been falling short and it’s hurt me against agressive fighters. I’m going to make the next months focus, purely on that even if I get hit a bit more myself. I also like the bit about fighting easy, I’ve seen guys who are unfit go many rounds with fitter opponents just because they were ‘fighting easy’.


Johnny N October 27, 2011 at 1:42 am

Great realizations, Jonathan. “hit your opponent” and “fight easy”, that’s the way to go.


Matty October 26, 2011 at 10:10 am

I loved this article Johnny, thanks again 🙂 I’m pretty short and have a small reach and I also just though that because I was trying to box smart I had to throw lots of jabs which leads to me getting countered by taller (sometimes much taller) opponents.

Next time, I’ll try get inside more and throw lots of hooks because I land most of my hooks and they seem to be more effective. Sometimes I’ll do that but then I’ll try throw jabs again because I think that fighting inside and throwing hooks is brawling.


peter October 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

great like always


don November 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Im just wondering if its ok to intergrate wingchun style punches in my repertoire, so i can improve on with my style? is it allowed in boxing in the first place?


Johnny N November 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Hi Don, some wingchun movements (like hand trapping) or striking on any part other than the knuckles of the gloves are prohibited in boxing. You can integrate it to be a better fighter on the streets but do know it’s not allowed in boxing competition. Nonetheless, incorporating and learning from other styles can only benefit you and expand your mind as a fighter. I would also recommend learning other styles of boxing, as opposed to shifting to an entirely different fighting art with different fighting attitudes.


J November 19, 2011 at 3:10 am

Do you feel that gaining knowledge of different types of martial arts will convert your style into a more unique style? obviously wing chung hand-trapping seems like a bad idea in boxing, but rather to use the knowledge of different martial arts to take more unique angles and throwing punches in a more unique way to make your style even more different than others?


Johnny N November 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Excellent question, J. Ultimately, you have to expose yourself to as many styles as possible to learn more. The key is not to let the styles limit you. It should open your mind and make you think of new ways to approach fighting, but when the style doesn’t fit the situation you have to be willing to let it go.

Regarding martial arts and different striking styles, I suggest you learn all the different styles of boxing before you go into entirely different fighting arts. Other arts have alternative mindsets and combative objectives that are vastly different if not entirely conflicting with boxing. Either way, a true student always seeks more knowledge. You’re well on the right path.


saber khan November 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

i resent the intro to this article! im a huge tyson homer myself! and tyson is fundamentally the most correct puncher since larry holmes. but i agree, people should develop their own styles 🙂 go tyson


Johnny N November 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I’m not sure I agree that Mike Tyson is the most fundamentally correct puncher since Larry Holmes. There are so many boxers out there with solid technique but I imagine they wouldn’t have gone as far as Mike Tyson did without his natural punching power. Some have the same technique & power but lack the chin to survive in the pro’s. Regardless, there are so many talented guys that deserve to stand with Tyson in terms of punching form AND power.


J November 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

say johnny when you say mindset do you mean strategy? i believe all athletes should have a confident and postive mind set, as well as hungry and humble


Johnny N November 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm

J, when I say mindset…I think I mean the overall mental attitude and approach to things. I agree with your thoughts about being confident, positive, hungry and humble.


saber khan November 22, 2011 at 2:25 am

ur right coach, theres old toney. but a philly shoulder defense is more awkward. who else in the last 3 decades ? im probably forgetting someone, and i dont think of old JCC and barrera as punchers more pressure fighter and swarmer. my point was, tyson without just punching power had a phenomenal defense high guard good elbow blocks slipping ducking bob and weaving quick footwork great balance fantastic in close counterpunching and accurate combos. he could throw that jab correctly tho he was at a reach disadvantage and had great power shots to body and the top countering and leading. he got good angles, he did a wonderful job of making opponents miss and used his opportunities tactfully. his biggest faults clearly were not being able to fight going backwards, lacking heart and after d’amato died, little control over his life. i also feel he didnt use his jab enough, was very lazy in clinches and his stamina was untested. in my opinion he was a better defensive fighter than an offensive one. so copying tyson is like copying james toney it works and is correct but-its an odd style and needs a specific body type and gifts.


- December 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

hey man, im an inside fighter but i have trouble going to my opponent, because he jabs me before i get to him, is there a trick to get to the guy before he hits me


Johnny N December 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm
jack December 20, 2011 at 2:20 am

hey johnny i use the boxer-puncher style.
usually i am the shorter guy in my fight.
how do i up my game??

secondly do u have any example of boxer punchers that i watch??


Johnny N December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Boxer punchers are like Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Yuriorkis Gamboa.


collin March 9, 2015 at 7:21 am

you should use the peakboo style upper cuts work on shorter guys


Bubba December 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I have been boxing 9 months now. I’m in the USAF and am stationed in Korea. I train offbase with a korean teacher. He seems to know his stuff. Right now he has me working on uppercuts and hooks and using my knees when delivering those punches. I know that he taught another boxer to defend by slapping punch and he taught me to duck to defend punches. I am not sure if he is grooming me for a certain style or not. I’m 5’11 204 pounds.


Johnny N December 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

He might be but it’s your responsibility to absorb as many styles as you can.


- December 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

is it a good idea to shell up and slowly go to your opponent, because i am more effective fighting inside#


Johnny N December 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

A lot of guys do that. Me, too when I fight someone with weak legs. But you’ll need more than one style if you want to beat different guys.


- December 28, 2011 at 6:40 am

yeah thats why i use the peek a boo style too
i dont use that style often because, i don’t want to copy styles like you said

and thanks for the reply 😀 i will now shell up and PUNCH some ass 😛


JaketheSnake December 27, 2011 at 3:28 am

Hi Johnny, What do you think of those pure boxing stylists like Gerry Penalosa? I think he’s one of the most underrated filipino fighters out there. His foot and hand speed is not extraordinary, neither is his power, but his boxing technique and ring IQ are peerless. By the way, can you do an article of the simple head pullback as a defensive technique? You’ve covered slipping, blocking, and rolling, but does the pullback have a place in your arsenal? Gerry, in particular has a very nice one where he does not pull straight back and does not return his head to the same position. It’s more like a lying down V shape and I think this is one of the reasons he’s so hard to hit.


Johnny N December 28, 2011 at 6:22 am

Penalosa is solid. The head pull back is simply the 3rd slip in my 3-point slipping method. Many fighters leave their head in at first so that they have room to pull it out. Miguel Cotto is another guy that does it alot. It’s a common tactic for short guys who need to give themselves extra room to slip and create angles to counter punch. Tall guys don’t need to do that because they can easily lean back or step back out of range.


JaketheSnake December 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Went back to the slipping article and now I get it. It’s not really a pullback or lean back but more of straightening your body so that the head goes back and up to go over the right hand. That slipping article is one of the best on your site by the way, very clear explanations and lots of videos. But the discussions take it to another level because you take the time to answer the technical stuff and newbie questions that are in everyone’s minds but are afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid. Peace and looking forward to your book! Is it going to be an ebook with videos incorporated?


Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:44 am

Ebook with video! You got it! I just finished an almost-final draft today. I can’t wait to release this thing already.


JaketheSnake December 29, 2011 at 3:21 am

By the way there’s a very good breakdown of Ali’s “phantom” punch that knocked out Sonny Liston. He calls it an Anchor Punch and it appears to be off a no. 3 slip as you term it. It’s over at an mma website but has nice videos:



Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:43 am

Good video. The move Ali does is actually the “pull counter”, that move Floyd Mayweather does all the time, but many of the younger fans today forgot it was being done a long LONGGGG time ago.


Mike B. January 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Hey Johnny! My name’s Mike and I just started boxing about 8 months ago. Ok, today I was sparring and, because of my height, I was told to stay on the outside and use my jab and cross often. I mean, I understand that having reach over an opponent is a big advantage! Problem is I really can’t fight too well dancing around the ring and jabbing. I’m better at going in, getting shots off , and getting out! I don’t want to seem insubordinate to the coaches at my gym but, from me watching past videos of myself sparring I’ve realized I’m a MUCH better fighter when fighting MY way instead of just jabbing. Its like when they tell me to do that I’m too focused on staying on the outside and jabbing instead of fighting instinctively…Does this make me a one track minded fighter??


Johnny N January 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Mike, everyone performs well when they are doing something instinctively.

Your trainers are trying to teach you new skills so that they may one day become part of your trained instincts. YOU WILL have to accept performance difficulties any time that you practice new skills. It’s a normal aspect of learning.

The way boxing works, the jab is the most important punch. It’s a result of our body anatomy and body mechanics. The way fights are fought naturally makes the jab the most important punch. As time passes, you’ll soon understand why. Start sparring better fighters and eventually you’ll have to evolve your style to beat them.


Ty Hostettler January 26, 2012 at 5:19 am

What would be the best style for someone who is medium height with not alot of power but good speed?


Johnny N January 28, 2012 at 12:31 am

I don’t know, Ty. I say he needs to master all the basic punches and regular boxing strategy and keep sparring. You don’t get to choose a style, it comes out naturally as you try to fight your opponent.


Richard February 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

Like this article! Keep up the good work!


Jonathan T March 20, 2012 at 3:45 am


I was talkin to my coach about styles he said to me that i should learn to counter punch because im a short fighter so i want to learn how to slip, bob and weave In the article you wrote you said you where better at slippin than blockin is there anything i could do so i could be better at slipping is there any exercises you could reccomend?

Would floor to ceiling help?


Johnny N March 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

Spar slowly and make sure both guys keep punching. Practice slipping without coming off balance. The floor-to-ceiling ball helps your awareness but not so much the slipping motion.


Joaquin March 21, 2012 at 6:23 am

Good article for sure. I’m more of a rythym fighter myself but I totally agree that one has to learn all the styles to adjust. I have fought guys that could beat me at my own game so I don’t necessarily copy styles but I do STEAL a move or two that I can do like James Toney countering move or Winky Wright shell defense walk you down style depending on the opponent or whatever I’m working. When I was younger I tried stealing Roy Jones’ six hooks in a row with negative results! Ha Ha!


Johnny N March 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

6 hooks in a row? LOL. I can’t even get away with 3.


Shakeel May 27, 2012 at 6:48 am


Could you please write an article on Mike Tyson’s style, like what attributes he had to his style from his height, weight etc. I would just like to see what makes Mike Tyson’s style so unique and how it fits him so well. I would also like to see if someone had a very similar style to Mike Tyson’s, how would they adapt to Mike Tyson’s style and what key elements they should work on.


Johnny N May 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I haven’t written it because the peek-a-boo style is so hard to win with. You have to know that it is a defensive style! There are other fighters with similar peek-a-boo styles in recent times such as Winky Wright, Arthur Abraham, and Joshua Clottey.

This style isn’t unique at all, although Mike was very good at it. It’s basically a peek-a-boo position that many fighters (even average amateurs) will do when they’re fighting passively. I’m guessing the reason why Mike had to use it was because he was so small compared to his competition and he didn’t have the slickness to slide his way in. So instead he waded/jumped in with a high guard and exploded with huge counters.

It’s a horrible style for amateurs or beginners. You will get out-punched and easily lose a fight because your hands are busy defending instead of punching.


Robert M October 4, 2012 at 12:56 am

Great article. One should always do what comes natural. But when working with a good trainer thing that didn’t feel natural at first quickly become second nature. I train at cus d’amotos gym ( Mike Tyson Floyd Patterson Jose Torres all came from here) and I’ve learned the peeka boo style. One of the main things I’ve learn is that you train and practice untill it is natural. With the peeka boo style short fighters (like my self) learn to keep there gard up work the jab and get in close will keeping your hands moveing with both speed and power. I myself need to work on my jab a bit more but it is quickly becoming a fast and effective part of my arsenal. But I’m 5 foot 6 and 174 with a natural bulky build so I will face much taller fighter and have to get in close but speed , power and head movment it the key with this syle. Slipping and bob and weaving is taught as the most important parts of the style. I always hear Kevin yell ” more your head after the last punch” when I’m on the bag. There are other technics to get in close called springing. You can adapted a style to suet you self but it takes a lot of work training and a trainer teaching that style and only that style.


Robert M October 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Also mike used the peeka boo style because that was style cus taught and it still remains the only syle that is taught in the Catskill gym.


dylon February 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Is it a problem to throw almost only long range shots ( jabs and straights) if you have a significant length advantage over all your opponents? It just seems like there’s no point for me to try and move into range with hooks and uppercuts when I can just stay at long range, move in to land distance shots and then just move out again.


Johnny N February 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

Exactly. And that’s what a lot of tall guys do, keep their opponents away all night with long shots. Likewise if you’re the more powerful guy, you’d be tempted to overpower your opponent with every punch.

Whatever it is that you have, use it!


Bry February 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Should i classify my style as a hybrid boxer type since i don’t really lack in speed,power or range. Just wondering cause i usually train myself to focus on power and speed or sometimes one or the other to see what i can improve on and one of the pros who trains with me gives me well rounded drills. Is there anything i should change?


Johnny N March 7, 2013 at 12:47 am

Everybody is a hybrid. Everybody should be flexible and adaptable…but of course, you adapt using your strengths. And your strengths can change depending on who you’re fighting. Power and speed going hand in hand. You can focus on one, then the other, and also both at the same time.


Coconut March 18, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hello Sir Johnny,

I am a Muay Thai practitioner. Aside from Muay Thai, I also practice boxing in order to address agility, speed, reflex, and most of all, footwork.

I’ve been watching Joe Frazier fights, and I really want to imitate the Smokin’ Joe’s fighting style: the usual bob-and-weave along with swarm-in body shots. Moreover, I find this Smokin’ Joe bob-and-weave extremely useful especially when sparring with bigger or taller opponents (I can actually slip and evade efficiently and get in their combat radius). However, I still need a lot of tips regarding this. I mean like I want to fight like Frazier, but I want to fight at a more original or unique style that is good for my age, height, and etc.

What is your opinion towards this method, Sir Johnny?


Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:47 am

The best way is to find your style. And to do that….I wrote this entire guide up above.


Coconut March 18, 2013 at 7:54 am

Oh by the way, I’m just 5’3 and 17 years old.


Tran Bronstein March 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Another great article, Johnny. One of the more interesting aspects occurring with the people I currently train and spar with in Muay Thai is that right now they have no understanding of the concept of styles to the level that I do and are just winging it and developing their own style as they go. Yet, there are some things that they are picking up naturally much better than I do even with my knowledge and advantage experience.

So how am I staying ahead? As Johnny says, adaptability is the key. When we first started sparring, I used the running/dancing away style which befuddled them. Then I would suddenly switch into a forward pressure style and charge at them and overwhelm them with straights and hooks.

Then they started using Muay Thai foot sweeps because our instructor showed it to them to help them not get overwhelmed. Classic example of learning something new to add to your repertoire, but they don’t have a style yet. Why? Because when I caught on to what they were doing I switched my fighting style to a counter-striking style which negated the foot sweeps because I was no longer dancing away but baiting them in with traps.

And then they were befuddled again because counter-striking is not part of their style. Yet. So they haven’t been able to recognize what I am doing to them. And so the circle begins again. They learn something new to deal with what I am doing and then I change what I am doing to survive. Thus, we both develop our styles even further.

I assure everyone I am not bragging on myself either. I remember the days when I first sparred in both Kung-Fu and boxing and I got MULCHED! LOL It’s a natural evolution. If I could only have recorded my face the first time I ever received a hook to my ribs. Ouch. I learned how to deal with certain situations and my style developed which forced my far superior partners to adjust as well. It was tough but a great learning experience. How interesting to now be experienced enough to be on the other end.

One last thing — while I 100% agree with the above that you have to do what comes naturally, I also agree that some techniques will come to you naturally and others you will have to MAKE into a natural move through tons and tons of practice.

However, doing one or the other exclusively is a sure path to frustration and devastation. If you only do what comes naturally, it may actually be indicative of your being unwilling or unable to do new things. If you constantly try to force yourself to practice techniques which seem alien to you then your discomfort and frustration will only magnify and sooner or later you’ll give up. So really we should be doing a combination of both to advance and evolve as fighters. That way you’ll be happier picking up new things and finding what’s natural and feeling alright with it when you know to let certain techniques and moves go because, well, they’re just not your moves.

Best of luck to everyone training here. From what I read above, the hunger to learn more is there and no matter if what you’re learning now at your gyms end up being for you or not, you’re always learning.


Johnny N April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Great post, Tran. You couldn’t have written it any better. Learning is definitely about adapting over and over to new things. And while we strive to fight naturally it will take much time to unlearn and relearn new habits which may not seem natural at first.

Thank you for sharing.


Lin September 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I have been boxing for 6months or so, after a few sparring sessions my coach told me to learn shane mosley’s style, but watching his fights over and over, I have learned nothing, could you give me some tips and advise Johnny?


Lin September 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

All I know is that he has an upright stance and he brawls up close


Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Start with learning how he stands, how he jabs, how he throws the right hand, how he throws the left hook, mimic his style of footwork. I suppose you could start there.


Lin November 14, 2013 at 5:46 am

Hey Johnny I noticed Shane Mosley’s left hook, and am having some trouble mimic-ing it, it looks like it really hits hard!


Johnny N November 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Well…I would recommend you give that up for a moment. Take your time and develop your skills and techniques and build some experience in the ring. When you’re good enough, you’ll be able to understand how he throws his hooks because you’re more aware of certain details and you’ll be able to mimic it better.

Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This is hard. You have to talk to him and talk to his trainer or whoever taught him that in order to really understand his style. 6 months of boxing is not enough to really understand styles from watching. I’ve watch Floyd Mayweather for over 10 years, and I still don’t understand it. Even his opponents who have been trying to beat him can’t understand it.


Lin September 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thanks Johnny!, i’ll do that, really appreciate it


Capella September 6, 2013 at 6:58 am

My style is based on the kusarigama weapon, i use the detroit style stance snd imagine my left as the iron ball and my right as the scythe(changes depending on the fighter) i use my footwork to keep distance and throw some jabs and flickers,and i use my right when i see an opening. It is very close to mayweather style 😀


blaine February 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Great article johnny, i was just thinking would doing mayweathers mitt work improve my defense?


Whitefang April 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

Johnny can you tell me my boxing style
Im really fast in the ring able to slip through punches
and counter easily but, I dont really like countering punches
sometimes, I get close to my opponents and somtimes
when, I feel like im in danger, I stay away from them
I have powerful punches and very fast hand speed
They said my jabs felt like straights
and some people said im a boxer puncher
to be sure, I researched about the style and Its pretty similar to my style
But the only problem is my chin because it said in the description that
boxer-puncher’ is a hybrid style used to describe fighters who possess good all-around boxing/punching skills and capabilities. They possess the technical skill and grace of an out-boxer and also the devastating power of a slugger. Boxer-punchers usually do well against out-boxers, especially if they can match their speed and mobility. Their only downfall are the big sluggers because once again, it only takes one punch and the lights are out. This would depend on the boxer-puncher’s defense, chin, and mobility. They make for interesting fights and throw a sense of the unknown into some
I don’t have a very strong chin so that is why i prefer slipping than guarding
and I really don’t like getting hit in the face like an “Out boxer”
but I also like putting immense pressure to my opponents by always charging forward to them
and if they use jabs to stop me I just slip past through them,
But if they throw a big punch I would slip and counter it easily
I do that sometimes because im confident of my punching power, My left jabs are enough to put an expirienced “in fighter” down and if I use hooks on them I easily knocked them out
But my weakness is really a lack of stamina, Because nobody has ever last 1 round againts me
because I always rush to finish them after i Knock them out with only my left
I would get really tired and sweat a lot
Could you tell me my boxing style

by the way I have never use my dominant arm in all my boxing matches.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

Keep training…all those issues you saw as flaws. Now that you know that, try working on those things. It’s great that you’re able to reflect honestly to yourself on your own abilities.


ryen moore January 6, 2015 at 5:44 am

I don’t use any of these steps just don’t think how badly I can hurt my opponent then your strength and speed increase quite a lot but for most people this doesn’t work I guess its just the way I fight I fought a black belt in taekwondo and kerate and I won I just didn’t think about anything then my mind becomes much clearer by the way I’m a nerd and have never worked out so what does this mean


owais April 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm

what advise can you give to 16 year old whos been boxing for a few months


8limbdestruction September 15, 2016 at 2:15 am

Loved your article, I am a 5,3 100lb muay thai male practitioner. Ive tried mike Tysons peek s boo style and got kneed in the face by my 5,11 sparring partner. Learned my lesson and my nose looks a bit weird now lol. Now I just use more boxing foot work and get in and out of range and working angles and seanchai moves or what every feels fluid. I’m still the gym badass for sure tho


K.O November 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm

This is real confusing for sure…i supposed i gotta try out in a real situation so i can know better of myself.


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