bolo punch
April 14, 2020
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by TheBoxingGear

The bolo punch originated in the Philippines, where the word “bolo” means “machete”. Since a machete is commonly used to cut sugar cane, it was a good descripton for this punch.

Anyone who wants to use a bolo punch effectively in their boxing must imagine themselves swinging a blade at waist level. They must do it as if they’re cutting those long sugar canes.

As you can imagine, turning the punch this way doesn’t require a lot of power or strength. Instead, it’s all about the proper technique. Cutting sugar canes with a machete under the heat of the sun does not have to entail much force either. Especially since the person cutting wouldn’t be able to stand the heat and humidity after a whole, considering that he has to cut one sugar cane after another. Not to mention the fact that they have to do it for miles and miles for days.

How to Use the Bolo Punch

A bolo punch is a waist-level whip punch that is usually aimed at hitting the liver. It looks like a hook and uppercut combined. Ideally, it has to be thrown at 4-5 o’clock from the perspective of an orthodox boxer.

If the cutter is right-handed, then the machete will be held by the right hand. The weight of the sword allows the side to be handed down. When hitting the cane (or opponent), the hips will turn first as the arm holding the machete swings forward. In other words, an easy twist must be done, coupled with a swing in an underarm fashion.

The Bolo Punch Back in the 70’s

Traditional boxing consists of four kinds of classic swings. However, a bolo punch is not one of these. In the early days, bolo punches were almost exclusively thrown using the left hand.  It is a low-level swing towards the opponent’s midsection.

If your swing type move is aimed at hitting your opponent’s head, then it could probably be considered an angled hook. Back in the late 1970s, there was not much confusion about what could be considered a bolo punch or not.

It was during this time that a bolo punch was recognized as low-level swing aimed at hitting the gut or the midsection. It’s a straight arm whip-like action.  Back then the realized that a bolo punch was found to work more effectively using the left hand.

It was also seen as more powerful when applied to target the opponent’s liver. It works as a body shot and is not useful when used to hit the head of the opponent.

The Modern Variations of Bolo Punch 

There days you will find a lot of variations of the bolo punch. Some people use bolo punches as a distraction. You drop your hand and make your wide sweeping throw apparent to your opponent’s eyes.

This means that your opponent’s eyes are on your side that is making a sweeping motion. Because they are distracted it will now be easier for you to throw a punch with your other arm. Others would choose to drop their right hand while also making circular motions.

Once the opponent’s eyes gravitate to the side that’s causing the flashy show-off punch, a stiff jab or hook can be thrown using the lead hand.

But, if the opponent’s eyes are on the side that is not making the sweeping motion, it will be your chance to follow through with a devastating full bolo punch.

Bolo Punch is The Most Effective Hand-Based Attack to the Internal Organ

fighters exchanging punches

Although there has not been any apparent explanation why a bolo punch can be so powerful, some boxing experts refer to it as the most effective hand-based attack to the opponent’s internal organs.

A bolo punch beats a long left hook directed at the liver. It can also beat a short left hook targeting the same spot. Its effect is likened to a hardback kick wherein the heel directly hits the liver.

When used with much expertise, a bolo punch can even be more effective than a left shin kick that is directed at the opponent’s liver. There is something about the bolo punch point of impact in which the brutal effect is not based on power.

If a bolo punch is not able to knock out the opponent, it can at least reduce his strength as much as fifty percent for a while. This makes a bolo punch so useful in making the opponent more vulnerable.

Read Also: Boxing Techniques and Tricks That Will Help You Win

How to Practice the Bolo Punch

You have to practice this kind of punch on the bag before deciding to use it in actual fights. Keep in mind that the entry can be too risky. It is an advanced technique that seasoned boxers use and it usually leaves you wide open.

Make sure you practise the move thoroughly. Keep in mind that if you find yourself using a lot of power, you could be doing it wrong.  A bolo punch requires speed and breath control. You have to work on your acceleration and fast whip.

Focus on throwing a fast yet loose strap as you rise a little and turn into the hit. When you breathe right and not much strength is exerted, chances are you are doing it right.

To reiterate, a bolo punch is a whip which means it’s a long fluid movement much like swinging the machete. Other boxers describe such move as a “slap” so it is not a power shot. Therefore, you don’t have to use all of your strength when throwing a bolo punch.

Famous Boxers Who Use the Bolo Punch

kid gavilan practicing with speed bag

Besides Kid Gavilan, there are also several other famous boxers who used the bolo punch. These are Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Calzaghe, Ceferino Garcia and Roy Jones Jr. If you keep practicing it, who knows? You could be among the people in this list.

If you have mastered the basic boxing punches, you can rehearse the bolo punch. But remember that it can leave you too open to your opponent.

Use it accurately, or it could go against you. One good thing about practicing it is that not all boxers use it. This means you might have a surprise weapon and become a formidable fighter if you master the bolo punch.

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