20 Southpaw Punch Combos and Counters

January 29, 2011 January 29, 2011 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Punch Combinations 54 Comments

Southpaw Combos

My favorite southpaw punch combinations and counters for left-handed fighters and boxers.

Here are some basic punching combinations for southpaws. These are specifically design, AND TESTED by me, for effective use against your orthodox opponents. Even though I’m an orthodox fighter, I have a very powerful left hand and consider myself to be somewhat left-handed (I also happen to be left eye and left leg dominant). I’ve fought many rounds as a temporary southpaw and also learn from other southpaws. These combos are guaranteed to be truly effective against right-handers. Remember: it’s not the combos you throw, it’s how you throw them!

If you haven’t read my original southpaw guide, check it out:


Southpaw Combos VS Orthodox

Jab-Cross, Jab-Hook

  • This is a right jab, straight left, followed by another jab, and finished with a big overhand left. The first 3 straight punches, even if they don’t land, they’ll make him concentrate his guard to the front which allows your big left hook to sneak around his guard. You can do this the entire fight and he will never know whether the left is coming straight or around.

1-2, step in, Hook to the body

  • If your opponent starts to go on the defensive and hide behind a high guard with his elbows concentrated in front, you can step in a little deeper (so his punches are smothered) and hit him with wider shots that he can’t see. Throw a fast jab and left cross, if he blinds himself with a high guard, step in quickly and follow up with a wide right hook around his guard to the body or the head.


  • Throw a jab, followed by a hard straight left to his body (aim for the solar plexus, followed by a big right hook and left hook. If the left to the body lands, it’ll surprise him and even knock the wind out of him allowing you land the right-hook left-cross follow-up. Even if he blocks the left hand to the body, his elbows will be pulled forward concentrating this defense to the front allowing your hook a chance to still land around his guard. If your hook lands, he might shift his defense again which allows your straight left finish come straight up the middle. Again, just remember that the orthodox fighter is will have to keep shifting his defenses if you keep throwing punches from different angles!


  • Many orthodox fighters have been taught to throw lead right hands against southpaws or counter southpaw jab with a right hand. You can beat this by throwing a cautious jab and then pulling your head out or parrying his right hand, and then follow up with a left hand counter.


  • This is for your opponents that like to throw a counter rights after you throw your left. What you’ll do is throw a jab-left cross, then pull your head back or backstep as you anticipate his right hand counter. Right as his right hand counter misses, you come right back with a big left hand counter. This combination will be very useful when your opponent is backed up along the ropes. He’ll most likely throw a desperation right hand to try and get you off him. Try to bait his right hand by throwing some fast & light 1-2’s; wait until he counters, then throw a hard counter left. You can also try another variation which is 1-2-back-1-2

3p-2, follow up

  • This combo works amazingly well in just about any situation. You can use it when he’s being aggressive or when you want to be aggressive. Whenever you see an opportunity, just throw a lead right hook to the head as you pivot counter-clockwise on your right foot. It doesn’t matter if your right hook lands, you are now out of harms way because of the pivot and can throw a big straight left. If he blocks the right hook, his left hand will have moved over to the side exposing the front of his head. Even if he blocks both punches, there’s a good chance your left hand can still punch him through his gloves. The alternate variation is to throw the left down at his body. Whatever happens, feel free to follow up with more punches–he can’t block them all!

1-2-1-1-1forever, pivot or escape

  • This combo takes advantage of the fact that the southpaw fighter can practically jab an orthodox opponent to death as long as the southpaw is cautious of the orthodox right hand counter. So here’s what you do: throw a 1-2, followed by a final jab or endless jabs. The jabs don’t always have to be hard, they can be a bunch of fast tap-jabs or pushing-jabs.
  • This combination can be used offensively or defensively. If he’s wide open, your counter jabs will land. If he’s closed up, you can keep pushing him around with your jabs while you move around him or pivot out of the corner. The fact that his guard is up means you bought yourself a little time to improve your position. As long as you pay attention to his right hand, you’re pretty safe from any counters.

Lead Left anytime

  • Yes, it’s that simple. Throw a lead left anytime you feel like it and follow it up anyway you want. The lead left is something a lot of orthodox fighters just can’t see. It’s a devastating punch and comes from a devastating angle they’re not use to. Be slick about it and watch out for their right hand!



Southpaw Counters VS Orthodox

If the orthodox opponent throws a ___: you ___. (Fill in the blanks.)

JAB: Slap Down & Counter Jab

  • Slap it down quickly with your right glove and throw a counter-jab. Follow up with a straight left if he’s not paying attention. According to the race advantage up above, your straight left always has a big chance of beating his straight right. (The slap down is actually just a small downwards parry, don’t drop your right hand so low that you expose yourself.)

JAB: Pop Tall & Jab

  • You set this up by bending your knees and dipping down just a little lower than you normally do. Right as he jabs, you relax the knees lifting your head up (so he misses) and jab him in the face right over his jab. Follow up with a hard left to his face or his body if he looks surprised.

JAB: Tap-Block and Counter-Left

  • Quickly stop his momentum by tapping his jab with your right glove and then shoot a straight left hand up the middle. This counter has the rhythm similar to a fast 1-2 but instead of a jab, you use a tapping block.

JAB: Split & Left Hand

  • As soon as the jab comes, you quickly slip your head outside to the right of his jab while simultaneously throwing a straight left counter up the middle. I call this the “split” because your head is one one side of his jabbing arm while your left hand is attacking on the other side. You can throw the left hand counter to his head or to his body. If you do it right, you’ll drive him crazy every time he tries to jab you. You can also throw a speedy left hand just to make him yank his defense into place, and then you throw a big right hook on top.

JAB: Double-Left on the Outside

  • Step forward and creep up closer to him behind his front right leg (putting yourself in the T-off advantage) and throw 2 lefts. it can be whatever you want–2 left crosses, 2 left hooks, 2 really wide left hooks. 1 high, 1 low, or both high. Whatever you want, really. My personal favorite is to throw 2 wide left hooks. Usually, they’re so busy look at me move on one side that they don’t notice my wide hooks attacking from the other. You have to try it on an opponent to see what I mean.
  • After you throw 2 lefts, follow it with a huge right hook to his head or body–whichever he’s not blocking. If he’s hiding behind a high guard, you can even pause for a second, look for an opening and then throw the big right hook. If you do this move right, he will have absolutely no choice but to block. This is a textbook Pacquiao move. You can see it in many of his fights. (Especially against Oscar De La Hoya who uses the jab a lot.)

JAB: Right Hook Over The Top

  • Exactly what you just read: throw a right hook over his jab, follow it with a left uppercut to the head or body and repeat with another right-hook left-hand if you can. You can keep using this combination over and over if you see that he’s helpless against it.

RIGHT: Parry & Counter Left

  • Parry his right hand inwards with your left hand, and then throw a counter left. (Parrying the right hand inwards means to use your left glove to push his right hand inwards to your right (his left) when he throws a straight right at you. If he’s throwing a right hook, just lean out of the way.)

RIGHT: Lean Back & Counter-Left

  • Lean back out of the way of his right hand, and throw a counter left to his head or body. If he’s the sort that likes to throw the 1-2 a lot. Keep blocking his jab to see if you can bait his right hand for this counter.

WIDE-RIGHT: Straight Left

  • If you see that he loves to throw wide right hands, you can intercept it easily with straight lefts. Make sure you lean your head in a little with your straight left so that your shoulder is protecting your head. You can also finish with a jab or jab-push to keep him out of range in case he tries to follow up with a wide left hook.

LEFT-HOOK: Lean Back & Counter Left

  • When he’s swinging that left hook, just lean back or pull your head out of the way and then throw a left hand counter. Your front foot placement makes it hard for an orthodox fighter to step in close enough to land left hooks.

LEFT-HOOK: Block & Jab

  • This counter works especially well if he’s throwing a left hook to your body. Simply pull your elbow down to catch his glove and then shoot your right arm back out for an easy jab score. If you’re fast and close enough, you can land a counter-right hook. Don’t forget to follow up with with a straight left because his right hand is probably on the way by now.


The best way to practice these combos are on the mitts with your trainer, and NOT on the heavy bag. You need a trainer to stand in front of you so that you can get use to seeing an orthodox opponent and how their feet and body position are lined up. Let me know which combos worked the best for you. Feel free to recommend some of your own and I’ll add them to the next list. Southpaws need love, too. đŸ™‚

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Khalaf January 30, 2011 at 6:53 am

Awesome article. What about uppercuts?


gonçalo February 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

great!your articles have helped a lot!!when countering the left hook what about block(roll a little with the shot) and straight left cross? it works for me!:)


Johnny N February 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

That works too, gonçalo. Or I just lean back a little out of the way and then throw the cross.


Johnny N January 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

Good question, Khalaf:

Left uppercuts..hmm… let’s see ok. Here are some ideas. When the opponent throws a right hand, you can lean to the outside and throw a long left uppercut to the body. The one Lucian Bute uses is beautiful. He did it several times to Librado Andrade in the rematch.

You can also throw lead right uppercuts under your opponent’s left jab. What you’ll do is pull your head down as you throw some jab fakes. The moment you see him try to jab your head, move it to the outside and throw that quick lead right uppercut up until his chin. It’s great for guys who like to lean in with their head when they reach with their jabs.


edoh March 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

that right uppercut trick is a great tip. esp for someone like me who likes to throw a lot of feints to bait opponents into the inside. thank you!!


JaketheSnake January 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Awesome article
Hi Johnny,

This website is the best there is in terms of consistent and clear boxing instruction. Now, we southpaws have finally a good resource instead of trying to work out the combinations from a right-hander’s point of view. I might also ad that its pretty hard getting someone to hold your mitts when you’re boxing southpaw. Most trainers train righties and when they switch they are not as fluid and their footwork is messed up.

Thanks a lot and I’ll be sure to practice these in my shadow boxing over the next few weeks!


Johnny N January 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Thanks, Jake! I totally agree about trainers trying to train southpaws. Such an awkward experience. I’ve held mitts for southpaws before and it totally hurt my wrists.


khalaf January 31, 2011 at 12:49 am

Thanks, but I meant counters for the orthodox uppercuts.


Johnny N February 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Beating uppercuts. Just hook him as you pivot out of the way. Or throw a wide hook as you lean back out of the way. You can also extend your front arm and push him back so that his uppercut misses, then follow it up with a hard left.


DJ February 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

What about creating angles against southpaws.


Johnny N February 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Hi DJ, I’m sorry I didn’t understand your question. You want to learn how to punch in different angles against southpaws?


Myles Sadler February 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Hi Johnny what about orthodox counter left hook after southpaw jab. Best move to avoid this.
Thanks for the combo’s.


DJ February 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Yes exactly.


Johnny N February 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

DJ – My favorite angles against southpaws are lots of right hands. Straight rights, right hooks, right uppercuts. Aim at the head, chest, and body. Also use the jab to the head and to the body. You have to constantly change levels against a southpaw, as in bending and unbending your knees as you bring your head up and down. Until I write a guide on this, I hope this helps.

Myles – Let him throw that hook, just lean back from it. You can also lean away from it but leave your jab arm there to push his head away if it gets to close. A straight arm is longer than a hooking arm. You can also try to make sure your front foot is on the outside, this takes away the range of his left arm.


cole May 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm

fluent with all combos
I literally use all of these combos and counter methods in most of my fights.. they all serve me well against many clueless orthodox fighters


ALI September 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

southpaws own noobs!


curtis c January 16, 2012 at 2:56 am

www. bing.com/videos/search?q=manny+pacquiao+counters+cotto’s +jab&qpvt=manny+pacquiao+counters+cotto’s+jab&amp ;mid=EEBD2A91FA51D4BA7372EEBD2A91FA51D4BA7372&FORM=LKVR# what do you think of this counter jabbing?


Bagyo January 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Awesome article bro! this will definately come in handy!


Mike March 26, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hey johnny,

I’m a southpaw and have been boxing for about six weeks. Thanks for this article, I use a lot of these combos and counters. I’m having trouble incorporating left hooks into my combos, everytime I throw a left hook, I get interrupted with my opponents jabs and overhand lefts. Am I just too slow? Or is there something i’m missing.


Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hey Mike I just want to verify that you are talking about left hooks from southpaw stance?


sebastian October 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

great article.i’m waiting for the release of all the articles in an e book or the next video,thanks


Satpal December 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Very nice articles,awesome. But what about the hooks?


Johnny N December 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

They’re referenced several times in this article.


Satpal December 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I am a guy of 13 years, and i am newly join boxing thats why i don’t know about anything can u help me for some good professional teqniques and a diet prescribe


Satpal December 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

Hey tell me something ,please help me, i shall want to win in the compitition
So, please help me


Johnny N December 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Read all the articles on this site and watch all the videos on my channel. Keep training and then ask intelligent questions one by one as you start to discover things naturally on your own.


Tom January 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hi Johny!

I particularly like the 3p 2 combo where you lead with a right hook as you pivot.

I can use this as I go backwards or when im standing still, and it works a treat, BUT you said it can be used aggressively offensively as well as defensively, so how do you use it coming forward?

Like I cant hook AND PIVOT at the same time coming forward and im afraid I might get countered with a jab or cross if I just lead with a hook.

Can you explain how to use it coming forward?

Cheers mat superb article!


Johnny N January 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

If you’re doing it coming forward, it’s more like you’re circling around your opponent than to think that you’re pivoting around your front foot (which only works if your opponent is coming into you). If you simply pivot and he’s not coming in, the only that happens is that you turn your back to him.


Tom January 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for getting back so fast Johnny!

Is there anyway to use the lead hook coming forward?

Would x2 jab forwards then lead right hook, be a viable combination?

What about a half hook half jab punch? So like the cubans throw a jab which has a slight hooking motion to it?

What about jabbing then at the end of the jab when it reaches full extension turning your hip over so it turns into a hook at the last minute would that work?

What about jumping in with the lead right hook good idea or bad idea?

Is it ever ok to lead with a hook for a southpaw?

Ive got tagged really hard by someone that leads with a long range russian style casting hook all the time he uses instead of a jab to set up his cross is that a good idea?

Im obsessed with lead hooks atm because mine is very powerful and ive been caught by someone elses powerful lead hook before so Im wondering if its effective!?

I love this article btw thanks for it and thanks for replying to my questions!


Johnny N January 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Yes, of course.
Yes, this is common.
Yeaup, I’ve seen it and it works.
Yes…this is a possibility although it doesn’t need as much focus on the arm as you think.
When used at the right time in the right way for the right purpose, it’s a god idea.
Leading with hooks is a common tactic. To do it by default is not a good idea.
It’s a good idea when it works.


Tom January 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

“When used at the right time in the right way for the right purpose, it’s a good idea.

Leading with hooks is a common tactic. To do it by default is not a good idea.”

Could you explain when its a good idea to lead with a hook and when its not?

Sorry to ask so many questions this will be my last one.

Kind regards!

Johnny N January 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

It’s a good idea when it works. It’s a bad idea when it doesn’t work. I can’t give you an example formula for WHEN to do something. That depends on a huge list of variables. Everyone does things differently, and more importantly, they do what works for them. The only for you to learn the same is to build your experience.

Sam April 4, 2013 at 11:14 am

Awesome as article johnny!!! Its pretty hard to find good boxing stuff for southpaws, and this really helps. Thanks so much!


Wayne August 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Great article Johnny! What would you say is the most effective way of landing a liver shot for a southpaw against orthodox? I know orthodox guys usually use the shovel-hook after a cross or slip, but how does the southpaw get to that position?


Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 10:21 am

Throw a wide left hook or left uppercut when the opponent leans in to you with his right hand. You can watch Lucian Bute setup left uppercuts for an idea. He’s very good at that one.


Azza11 April 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Great article , I’m a southpaw mma fighter do you have anyway to incorporate this for mma ?


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Well…I wouldn’t know of any special adaptations because I have very limited experience in the realm of MMA. Try the combos as is and see how they work. Let me know if you have tips for other MMA fighters.


Leonardo Lorenzo May 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

These are great and very useful combinations! But what do I do If I face another Southpaw? (Southpaw VS Southpaw)


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Then apply the typical combinations that orthodox fighters use against each other.


Damien May 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm

As a southpaw i love to counter the orthodox straight right hand by steping my back foot to the outide left and hooking with my right hand (lead hand). It leaves my left hand go either go to the the jaw or the body for a follow up and i am outside his right hand (danger hand)


Angel_King May 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I recently got back into sparring and I always have issues with my right jab since I am naturally left-handed. I normally just shoot my left cross down the pipe and it works fine but I have a lousy right jab and I often get countered either by his left jab or right cross. Should I just paw with the jab to set up other shots to the body/head.


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Work on your jab. It takes time to develop the less dominant hand. But you have to do it. Everybody does.


Andrzej June 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

hello Johnny my question is the mix of boxing and language.
could You please explain me what does it mean “a lead right” or ” a lead left ”
I know english on the basic level and do not understand what it means ?
dictionary gives me so many options , and would like to know .
Best Regards Andrzej


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm

A lead right means “throwing a right hand without throwing a left hand before it”. They say “lead right” because the leading punch is the right hand instead of the usual left jab. “Lead left” will be used when referring to southpaws who throw a left hand punch as the first punch.


Andrzej June 1, 2014 at 11:20 am

Will You do a movie about this things for southpaw ?
that will be great.
You know we often hear just do the same but like in the mirror and it is not always working .
B.R. Andrzej


Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Yes, that could be helpful.


Andrzej October 27, 2014 at 6:27 am

Hello Johnny
you said that it is never too late to start.
I am 47 and am just starting.
I am southpaw , and at club I am training with orthodox mostly , the first punch is jab and the adwice from the trainer was to turn my upper body to the right , to be outside save from his (my exesise partner ) stronger hand, is it right ? how to do that ?
You know even with slower speed I just can’t do that ,
eighter my position is wrong, eighter this is not for me . I am always to slow too late .
If I wait and begin my reaction when the jab is camming it is too late .
can You please do some mooves for us ?
and plese explain it step by step, what I as southpow shall do and when.
I mean wait wait , for his punch , when you see it is comming you shifting your balans from middle to the front , pushing you back (left) foot to the ground turning your upperbody to the right , by ….

B. R. Andrzej


Ali November 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

hi thanks
I use a combination that always works and I think you’ve already listed it up there…
it is a jab to the face, then a left cross to the solar plexus and right hook to the head and then a left hook to the ribs.
it confuses the opponent because you’re going up and down and he’s just taking the shots… đŸ™‚

also for a right cross, I lean leftwards, then throw a left hook to the ribs or the jaw…


sss April 22, 2015 at 3:16 am

Hi johnny, Do you think the right hook works as a counter against orthodox straight right ?


Don L December 19, 2015 at 4:01 am

A favorite of mine is to slip the lead with a shovel hook right over it then the straight left and follow it with a right upper cut…. In fact a straight left follwed by a right kidney shot and a right uppercut has always been my bread and butter


DANO April 4, 2016 at 7:51 am

Johnny, you mentioned that you fought many rounds as a temporary southpaw. Is it actually possible to completely acquire southpaw stance even if you are a natural orthodox fighter? I’ve seen Tyson Fury switching his stance a lot against Dereck Chisora 2 and Christian Hammer even though he is a natural right-hander. He also beat Wladimir Klitschko with his quick slick footwork and frequent switching to southpaw. Which styles can be beaten by stance-switching and when to use it? I think it would be a great idea to write an article about fighting as a temporary southpaw.

Good work, Johnny. Keep it up.


Anthony July 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm


You can choose whatever stance just practice during bag work, mitts, shadow boxing and sparring (light so you can get a feel for it). Terence Crawford switches all the time, so did Marvin Hagler. I am right handed but I fight as a SOUTHPAW; personally I don’t recommend it but it works for me. Sometimes your natural ORTHODOX habits come out during hard sparring if you are in a SOUTHPAW stance. Then that is when you revert back to what you know.

Good luck my friend, hope this helped!


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