Orthodox vs. Southpaw Stance in Boxing

In boxing, your stance and foot placement are two essential things to consider. In a nutshell, these factors determine the effectiveness of your offense, defense, and footwork.

When you start going into boxing, one of the things your instructor will ask you is if you are left or right-handed.

This is to determine the stance that will best work for you.

Why is it important to know your stance?

The best boxing stance for each boxer will be balanced between multiple important attributes for fighting.

The perfect boxing stance will give you power and defense, range and balance, flexibility and security, as well as stability and mobility.

Apart from the ones mentioned, the proper boxing stance will also give you reliable power in each hand.

Moreover, it will allow you to defend yourself in cases when you get counter-punched effectively. 

boxer training home with a punching bag

How to Find your Dominant Hand

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This means your jabs can be thrown by the weaker hand in the front.

Advantages of Left-handed Orthodox Fighting 

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The proper boxing stance gives you a good reach with both hands. This way you will not have to reach on an extended distance only to land your punches. 

Allowing this to happen also makes you vulnerable from getting pushed off balance.

Another thing about the correct boxing stance is that it allows you to throw a wider variety of punches without leaving you too exposed.

Too wide punches leave you open and vulnerable from punches.  

Most importantly, the correct boxing stance will enable you to stand firm on your ground without being stiff.

A good stand allows you to move away and around quickly.

What are the Different Types of Boxing Stances?

According to experts, there could be different stances you can use in boxing. There is orthodox, upright, crouching, and southpaw.

In this article, we will talk about the most common ones – orthodox and southpaw.

Orthodox Stance

To have an orthodox stance means to stand with your left foot in the front and right foot in the back. It is the most commonly used stance in boxing.

Since most boxers place their dominant food at the rear, this stance is common to right-handed fighters.

Southpaw Stance

To have a southpaw stance means to stand with your right foot in the front and left foot in the back.

The southpaw stance is when a naturally left-handed boxer uses the right hand as the lead punch or the jab, with the straight left hand as the apparent power shot.

This is the total opposite of the orthodox stance.

Typically, the hand you use for writing is also your dominant hand. However, this might not apply to a few people.


In cases like this, you just have to choose what works best for you.

 

Another way to figure this out is by finding your dominant eye. Stand so that your dominant eye is looking down your rear arm when your punch.

How do you find your dominant eye? The easiest way to see your dominant eye is to quickly hold your finger up into the air and cover an object with that finger.


Then, take turns closing one eye and leaving the other open. Your dominant eye is the eye that has the finger lined up perfectly with that object is. 

Steady Hand – Front or back?

Usually, boxers are initially taught to follow their dominant hand and use that as the power shot.


This is because the backhand has more room and distance to throw a stronger and harder punch.


On the other hand, the front side should be used to throw fast jabs to set up your bigger punches.

 

Some fighters prefer to stand with their strong hand in front. It may not be useful for all fighters because putting the steady hand in front is more likely to connect with punches.


At the same time, their weak hand is too far back, and they never get a chance to really land it.

 

These fighters would sometimes eventually tend to be just a one-armed fighter. Then, if you are going to be a one-armed fighter, you might as well have your steady hand in the back so that the most potent punch thrown is thrown by the strongest hand.


  

As mentioned, some fighters opt to use their dominant hand in front. Example of this is a left-handed boxer who uses the orthodox stance. Why do some boxers use this strategy?

Unpredictable Shots


This style throws off a lot of opponents. Most of the time, they will be suspicious of your power shots, most especially the right straight.

If you are in an orthodox position but are left-handed (meaning your left hand is stronger), your opponents will be surprised that your lead left hand actually carries more power than the right.

 

Among the famous boxers who used this style are Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. They are both dominant left-hand fighters who chose to maintain an orthodox stance.

Carrying power in both fists

In an orthodox stance, the right hand gives out the straight, heavy punches. Since this is not your dominant hand, you will have to train it to be able to deliver strong blows.

Keeping your opponents on the defensive and cautious of your knockout power is a considerable advantage in competition.

Jabs can knock out an opponent.


Using your dominant left hand in front to deliver your jab is also an advantage.

Commonly, opponents predict that the rear or right hand gives the most power. However, when you are using your left hand for quick jabs, these hits can also be substantial.

In some cases, you can even deliver a jab that could produce knockouts. Your jabs will not only be used as a deterrent, but also as a power shot.


Again, the unpredictability of your moves brushes your opponents off their feet. 

A great example which is a well-known triumph in this style is retired super middleweight great Andre Ward. His jabs were always connected with force and authority and retired undefeated at 32-0.

Can you switch stance while fighting?


Some boxers switch stance during a fight. This style may not be advisable for beginners. You should first be working on your form and perfecting your offense and defense from one stance first.

When you have mastered the basics, you can move up and advance your style.

Of course, finding the right stance combined with a good fighting strategy will not as easy as knowing your dominant hand.


You have to step into the gym and practice to know what works best for you.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • In making your stance, make sure that your shoulders and arms are relaxed. Elbows are down and in, hands are up, and chin is down. Your shoulders should only slightly be turned towards your opponent. They shouldn’t be squared so much that your stomach is open for hits.
  • To protect yourself from the hits of your opponent, see to it that your front arm is covering most of your body. Your rear hand should be at cheek or eyebrow level held at a diagonal angle to your chin. This hand is responsible for protecting the straight left jabs as well as the left hooks that come from the side.
  • Your back foot heel should always be slightly lifted off the ground. Being on the ball of your back foot gives you more mobility. On the other hand, your front foot heel can be planted on the ground but try to keep more weight towards the front of the foot. Your feet should be spread about shoulder-width or a few inches wider.
  • Keep your knees bent always. Doing this gives you more power, more balance, and more mobility. Standing still not only makes you stiff but also makes it hard for you to move around on balance.
  • Your hips should always be relaxed and heavy. This will give you even more balance and more power. Boxers who tighten up their upper body will usually carry their hips. This common mistake makes them fall off balance easily and also burns energy faster.
  • See to it that your weight is distributed about 50/50 between the front leg and the back leg. The common mistake is to put too much weight on the front foot. With this, it will be hard for you to step away quickly and it also takes power off your right cross.

Final Thoughts 

Different boxers make use of different stances depending on their style and ability. Some fighters do not follow the theory or the usual stands based on their dominant hand. Some techniques are not always the most fundamentally sound.

The guide above gives you an idea of how to start on your stances. However, as mentioned, you should practice and continue learning to check out which one works best for you.

The perfect stance gives you the most advantage because it brings out power and defense, range and balance, flexibility and security, as well as stability and mobility.



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