5 Super Simple Boxing Combinations Drills

by Fran on December 28, 2013


To get good at throwing boxing combinations you need to incorporate boxing combinations drills in your boxing training session.

Forgive me for stating the bleeding obvious, but it appears to me that too many people feel that they have either a) a God given right to throw blinding combinations without any real practice or b) they can use some Internet-discovered gimmicky hoodoo to bestow upon them the magical art of boxing combinations.

I find both of these scenarios disappointing at best, downright irritating at worst! I have produced this article to provide you with some sensible structure and rigour for you to apply during your training. This will give you benefits whether you are using boxing training purely for fitness or if your goals lie within the ring in competition.

After working through this article, you will be able to:

  • Use 5 boxing combinations drills that will enable you to practice simple but very effective boxing combinations.
  • Understand why these boxing combinations drills are effective.
  • Provide you with the necessary core skills videos that form the basis of the boxing combinations.

No gimmicks. These drills are very simple and I have used them for many years with active boxers. If you incorporate these drills into your training you will get better at throwing solid and reliable boxing combinations. Using good technique will make you fitter and better!

Some Boxing Combinations Ground Rules

Firstly, I want to start with my definition of a boxing combination:

Boxing Combination (adjective) – A series of boxing skills deployed in quick succession and without a pause and containing at least two punches.

I say “A series of skills” because to my mind great boxing combinations incorporate not only punches but also body movement and footwork skills.

In their most simple form, boxing combinations consist of punches alone. However, you can really make boxing combinations dynamic by for example interspersing the punching with slipping or rolling, or using the pivot or explosive foot movements. So, I would not want you to restrict your thinking on boxing combinations by thinking punching alone. At the same time I am going stick with basic ‘punch’ combinations here so as not to try to run before we can walk.

OK, in terms of how we are going to work here the following should be noted:

  1. Each of the following 5 boxing combinations will consist of only 2 punches and will not incorporate other skills as described above (I want to keep things simple here).
  2. Each of these combinations assumes that you are at close or mid-range. Range is an incredibly important aspect of boxing and therefore is a vital component within the MyBoxingCoach training regime. After you have worked through this article, check out Range In Boxing – Fight Tactics Depend Upon It. It’s a detailed breakdown of the 5 ranges in boxing.
  3. These boxing combinations are isolated. That is, there is no coverage of getting into range and then getting out of range.
  4. Focus on getting the technique of the individual punches right. If each shot within the combination is thrown with technical precision then the entire combination will work.

Point 4 above is particularly important. If a boxing combination fails, that is the boxer cannot progress beyond a couple of shots without losing balance, this is absolutely the result of the individual skills within the combination not being executed properly. If you throw a 2 punch combination with technical excellence then there is no reason why you can’t throw a 22 punch combination. Keep this in mind and you will get the most from these drills.

The 5 Super-Simple Boxing Combinations

Below are the 5 boxing combinations that we are going to work on and then I’ll give you some tips on next steps.

Boxing Combinations #1 – Double Left Hook to the Head

‘Doubling up’ on punches is very common in boxing. It a very effective basis for a combination for 2 main reasons. Firstly, the first shot can ‘open up’ the defences of the opponent when it lands leaving an opportunity for the follow up shot to land. The second reason is based purely upon the logic that if the first one lands, why should the second one!

When doubling up on the same shot delivered to the same target area, put the power into the second shot. You can achieve additional power on the second left hook by incorporating an inside slip before it. Basically you use the first shot as the ‘pathfinder’ and you deliver the bang with the second shot.

One more thing, you can use a mid range left hook for the second shot as this offers a nice variation of angle.

Short Left Hook Head:

Mid Range Left Hook Head:

Boxing Combinations #2 – Left Hook (Body)/Left Hook (Head)

Our first combination in which we ‘switch attack’ from one target area to another, in this case from body to head. I often refer to this as ‘channel shift’ as you are changing the channel of attack. Incorporating channel shift into boxing combinations is highly effective. By striking with the body shot first, the opponent’s defensive focus is switched to that area and in some instances away from the head area. Maybe the elbow will drop and the body will lean into the incoming shot. The opponent’s response to the first shot not only causes an opening for the second shot, but by the opponent shifting weight toward that second shot it’s power will be increased.

Left Hook to the Body:

Boxing Combinations #3 – Right Uppercut (Head)/Left Hook (Head)

Following an uppercut with a hook is a very natural thing to do. I mentioned earlier that in great boxing combinations the punches complement each other. Well, this combination captures that perfectly. The right uppercut is a shot that require a significant range of movement to land it correctly. However once the shot has landed, the position of your body (following major rotation of the hips) provides perfect torque for that follow up left hook to land with great power. Great boxing combinations that each punch is complementary and that openings will be created and exploited.

Another reason that the hook following the uppercut works well is a little more obvious. When the uppercut lands, it is very likely to lift the head of the opponent up and away from the guarding arms. This means that the head is very vulnerable to attack from a shot like the left hook. Hook after an uppercut goes like a sleep after a big meal 🙂

Right Uppercut to the Head:

Boxing Combinations #4 – Left Uppercut (Body)/Left Hook (Body)

This combination again is based upon a diversionary attack up the middle channel (into the solar plexus) with the uppercut to the body. Following this, and with the same hand, we launch a left hook behind the guarding elbow of the opponent and into the ‘soft’ area under the ribs. This will send shockwaves into the liver and has the potential to be a very hurtful punch.

Remember with the first shot we can aim to simply bring the opponent’s guarding arm forward to leave the opening behind it for the briefest of moments. So, speed with the left hook is vital. Also, whilst you need not ‘load up’ with the uppercut, it is worth ensuring that your placement is precise. Go for the area a couple of finger widths beneath the sternum. This has the maximum chance of achieving a grievous result unlike if the shot landed lower down therefore enabling the opponent’s abdominal muscles to better absorb the power of the incoming shot.

Left Uppercut to the Body:

Boxing Combinations #5 – Right Hook (Body)/Right Uppercut (Head)

For those Mike Tyson fans out there you will remember this little beauty from his 2 round destruction of Trevor Berbick (he followed this up with a left hook to the temple that left our Jamaican friend in enough of a legless stupor to fail to beat the count). Tyson often used this boxing combination precisely to capitalise upon the benefits of channel shift. Both shots are delivered with power as both are intended to do damage. Speed of delivery is key in order to minimise the risk of you taking incoming as deliver your shots.

This is the most strenuous of all of the combinations covered here. It requires massive rotation with each shot and there is no ‘bridge shot’ to prepare you for the uppercut. When I say ‘bridge shot’ I mean that if you used Right Hook (Body)-Left Hook (Head)-Right Uppercut (Head) you would find a ‘flow’ that is more efficient. Using the same hand for the two shots makes it more of a physical challenge to deploy. However, well worth the effort 🙂

Right Hook to the Body:

Boxing Combinations – Your Next Steps

In terms of how you can best use the information contained in this article, I would consider the following:

  1. After you have performed an appropriate warmup, work through these drills, one at a time and for a minute each. That’s 5 minutes in total.
  2. Be precise in the execution of each shot. Slow things down so that you can really nail the basics. If you have a full length mirror available then that would help considerably.
  3. Exaggerate the movements, especially those involving the back-hand. If you really focus on rotation here by exaggerating the drive from the back leg and the resulting rotation, this is more likely to translate into effective technique during shadow boxing, heavy bag work and sparring/competition.
  4. If you have a conventionally shaped heavy bag (i.e. the long cylinder), remember that you can still use uppercuts. Just put a little more length between you and the target so that the shot can land at a slight angle with your elbow being closer to you than your fist whilst still being on the same vertical plane.
  5. Be like a golfer. Practice, practice, practice. Do it slowly and mechanically to instil the muscle memory then feel it become more fluent as each training session passes.

Remember, great boxing combinations are built upon excellent technique. A little guy with great technique will hit harder and more accurately than a big guy with poor technique. Another thing in common with golf!

I would love to hear your thoughts/observations below.



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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Toby April 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Hi Fran
Love your videos and technical-based approach
I am right handed and my stance changes a lot – from Southpaw to Conventional while sparring/training etc
Just wondering if you have any way I can keep to one stance
And if so which one?



Darrin April 3, 2015 at 4:04 am

I have been using this site and information for about a year, excellent fundamentals and coaching. I have been boxing on and off for 15 years. I have recently began training more consistently and have used this site to tighten up my game and introduce some new elements. I also refer to it quite often because I teach boxing to some younger kids and friends. It is an excellent resource because everything is so fundamentally sound and precisely explained to the finest detail! Excellent job and thank you very much!!


Fran April 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Hey Darrin

Thanks mate, that is a really supportive and inspirational, especially the contribution it’s making to your coaching of the youngsters. As a coach myself I know how it always helps to have different paths to take on the training approach.

Any help I can provide you just let me know.

Thanks again Darrin


Dean February 20, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I love fight training, did a little Muay Thai for MMA but constantly picking up shoulder injuries in boxing, I feel like Im throwing brilliant KO punches but I know my technique is flawed and I know technique is everything. Just found this site and I’m grateful for the detail and explanation you put into all your videos. Makes a difference, Thanks.


Fran February 20, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Hello Dean

Glad the videos help. When the tech is right there is no reason why injuries should occur. Let’s see how it goes. I look forward to hearing about your progress, keep me informed 🙂


Victor May 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm

hi Fran
İ have been boxing for a little while now but am not happy with my level of performance.
Am still a novice in the game but İ wanna grow into a top daug in the game…
İ just need your help


Tim February 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Great stuff Fran,really enjoying your videos well done mate !


Fran February 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Thanks Tim, glad you like them mate.


Paul Cloney February 10, 2014 at 2:35 am

really good explaining stuff ..very great boxing site


Fran February 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Cheers Paul, thanks for the comment.


Matt January 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Hi Fran

I want to optimise my strength and conditioning training to make me a better boxer. I have been getting a bit stale doing the same old routines, so started doing 4-week cycles to prevent adaptation. However, what I have not been able to find out on the internet or fitness magazines, is a 6-12 month periodisation programme, based on the 4-week cycle, specificaaly for boxing.

How would you reccomend goimg about categorising periodisation training for boxing? For example, I do the circuit format of high reps, high intensity for a full body workout using the tabata format which mirrors the boxing structure of 3:1 work to rest ratio. But of course, that structure only really deals with conditioning and endurance. How do you structure conditining workouts for power, strength and speed?

Also, how should a periodisation programme be structured?

Should it go
Cycle 1 – strength
Cycle 2 – Endurance
Cycle 3 – power
Cycle 4 – speed

Any advice would be much appreciated.
You can always find general advice on these 12 week periodisation programmes for general ‘fitness’ or ‘strength’, but as we both know such general aims won’t cut it for boxing. Greater specificity is required alongside specific boxing sessions.


Fran February 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Hey Matt

Apologies for the delay in responding.

That’s quite a wide area of discussion, but I’ll try to be concise.

In boxing we tend to aim for macro cycles and micro cycles, all dependent upon when the next fight is scheduled. But, in the first instance we prepare at the start of the boxing ‘season’ (roughly October to May, but this varies) and we start with endurance (heavily focused on aerobic fitness), then strength and finally speed (with the latter two focused on anaerobic fitness).

When preparing for the fight, we repeat this but based upon whatever time we have left until the date of the bout. 4 weeks is great, but it can often be shorter than this. So, in the first week we focus on the core endurance and in the last week it’s all about speed. Activities are geared specifically with these principles in mind. At a very simple level we would have 3 minute rounds in week one, and would build speed and anaerobic capacity in the final week with high-intensity 1 minute rounds.

There’s lots more to this, but in very basic terms this is the approach.

Hope this helps.


BillHicks420 January 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Hello, Sir!

I found this site by searching for something else;

I’m looking for a way to analyze pro boxers – their categorical styles and sub-styles (swarmer, puncher, brawler etc.), weaknesses, if they can move weight classes effectively / figure out their natural weight. Basically, I want to be able to improve my skills in picking a winner for broadcasted bouts.



Fran January 26, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hi There – Love the name as I am a massive Bill Hicks fan 🙂

I have a load of articles that demonstrate how to analyse boxers and boxing styles.

Here is the link that you need, there’s a good number of them within the analysis category!

I hope that these help.


Doc January 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Great stuff as always, Fran. How about a similar article for those of us who are Southpaws? Best regards, Doc


Fran January 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Hey Doc

I’ll give that some thought, thanks for the suggestion.


mick December 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

Happy New Year Frans,
Another great Video selection which shows simple variations of common combinations.
What I like most is that these can be easerly linked and put together to make 3 & 4 punch combinations or behind a double jab to get inside.
Keep up the great work Frans and have a successful new year.


Fran January 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Well spotted Mick. From small acorns great Oak Trees grow! Linking this stuff up, especially with some neat footwork and body movement, is amazingly effective.


James Morgan December 29, 2013 at 1:06 am

Excellent stuff Fran, really appreciate this as usual! Have a great New Year!


Fran January 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Thanks James, same to you.


Pete Clark December 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Hi Fran
Great article as usual. Will practice these drills.
Happy new year btw


Fran January 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Thanks Peter. Happy New Year to you too.


Peter Dawkins December 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Hi Fran
I am really enjoying the videos and advice you are sending. You break things down into easy steps and as a newbie coach it makes it much easier to pass on to the kids in the gym.

Sometime ago I told you about a boxing charity called BoxupCrime run by this black guy called Steven. Its aim is get black kids off the street and gang culture in East London and give them a positive outlet in boxing. This guy has just won a top London Charity award and Boris Johnston presented him an award and a load of funding so the sessions can still be run free. If you google Boxupcrime there is a short video about it which you may find interesting.

Thanks once again for all the advice subscribing the boxingcoach.com was one of the best things I have done.

Happy New Year mate

Peter Dawkins


Fran January 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Cheers Peter

Just watched Steven’s video, a really rewarding 12 minutes. He’s obviously doing great work there. The kids are fully engaged and there sure are a lot of them. Also great that funding has been secured to enable him to maintain the work rate. In the current economic climate it’s very easy for these initiatives to go out of existence. That financial security must be a big puckup for STeven and his team.

Cheers Peter. Happy New Year to you.


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