Boxing How To Guide – Left Hook to the Body

by Fran on September 5, 2011

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The Boxing How To Guide - Left Hook to the Body

This is one of a series of 5 video articles which together constitute a basic 'Boxing How To' guide for body punching. There are 4 'Boxing How To' videos on hooks and uppercuts to the body and one on straight shots.

In boxing, most fighters really enjoy the left hook to the body.  Let me rephrase that.  Most boxers really enjoy throwing the left hook to the body, none enjoy taking one!  Knowing how to throw this shot properly will really broaden your boxing horizons and may well lead to an increase in your capability to end a confrontation quickly and brutally.

If you know how to throw a left hook to the body then what you have in your arsenal is a punch that can end a boxing match with startling abruptness.  Knowing how to deliver the shot to the perfect spot, just below the bottom rib into the liver, and knowing how to deliver power to the target at the same time can leave the toughest of opponents helpless.

Even after the initial impact, surge of pain and breathless incapacity, supposing your opponent finds a way to remain upright, their problems are far from over.  The residual effects of the shot can continue to be felt for a considerable period of time, hampering the efforts of the opponent who is desperately searching for ways how to get themselves back into the boxing match.  Basically, a period of 'body shot fallout' ensues during which you can build a commanding lead due to your opponent's relative inactivity.

Before we look at how to throw a left hook to the body, it is worth understanding one thing.  When throwing a left hook to the body, we will use the short range left hook.  This is true even when we are at 'mid-range'.  Rather than 'turn the fist over' to produce a true mid-range left hook, it is far better to extend the length of the short range left hook and use this instead.

Oh yes, knowing how to deliver the perfect left hook to the body of an opponent is boxing gold.  Check out the video and then read on to find out more about the mechanics and common faults.

Boxing How To Guide - Mechanics of the Left Hook to the Body

In order to learn how to deliver a left hook to the body, we need to know how combine 2 boxing skills; the duck and the short range left hook.  The steps in the process are:

  1. From the boxing stance, the first action is a bend (or 'drop') of the knees.  This is covered in the article on ducking.
  2. As the duck is taking place, there is an explosive thrust from the ball of the front foot.  This explosive thrust generates a clockwise rotation of the hips and upper body.
  3. As the rotation of the hips is taking place, the lead arm is accelerated toward the target.  The arm should hold a given form depending upon how far the fist must travel to the target.  So, if the target is at true close range, then the arm should undertake only minimal movement.  If the target is at mid range, then the arm will 'arc' more and result in an 'L' shape at point of impact.
  4. The rotation of the upper body must deliver plenty of torque to direct the most power possible to the target whilst remaining totally in control.  At the end of the rotation the fist clenches and impacts the target.
  5. After the shot has landed, the arm returns to the guard position and the boxing stance is returned to normal (rising from the 'duck' position).

Boxing How To Guide - Common Faults if the Left Hook to the Body

There are 3 common faults that you should be aware of.

  1. There are occasions where you may not duck when throwing the left hook to the body, for example when an opponent is leaning forward with their head down and is providing no threat.  However, a general rule of thumb is that you should lower your centre of gravity by bending the knees.  This can add power but more importantly reduces the amount of time that your arm is away from the guard position.
  2. Don't lean forward as the shot goes.  This is a recipe for disaster as a) your body weight moves towards possible incoming shots and b) you will be less able to deliver additional punches after the left hook.
  3. Don't 'arc' the shot too much, especially when up close. This is a real waste of energy and leaves a major gap in your own defences.

There we have it, a 'boxing how to' guide to throwing a left hook to the body.  There are a number of possible variations in how and when to throw this shot, including the position of the opponent, the stance used (southpaw or orthodox) by the opponent and the physical characteristics of the opponent, for example their height.  To prepare for all eventualities though, this method will give you a good baseline to continue your education in how to throw the perfect left hook to the body.  Boxing gold!

You might be wondering how to defend this shot.  Check out the article titles Boxing Tips - Defensive Inside Fighting to find out more.

As always, if you have any questions or observation, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Doc April 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Great stuff as always, Fran. I’m a southpaw. Do you have anything hooking off the rear hand for we lefties that you would consider an equivalent of what you did for the orthodox guys in this piece?

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Fran April 29, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Doc

Not sure I am understanding. Here is a link to the back hand hook to the body video – left hook for a southpaw 🙂 The technicalities of the shots are the same, just reversed. It’s really tactics that are the true separator of the southpaw from the orthodox. Hope I haven’t misunderstood

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Raquel Toledo May 24, 2014 at 10:39 am

I love it! Left hook to the body! Great video!

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Fran May 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Thanks Raquel 🙂

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Bill November 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Fran,
Would it be correct to say that you should try to land this punch under the edge of the ribcage, but also enough to the side of the abdominals to avoid the muscle mass? It seems to me that too high up the ribcage, even if under the edge, would be in the more muscled area. Thanks as always for your time.

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Fran November 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Bill, you’re right. The ribcage is an incredibly tough structure, so aiming slightly below it is key. Likewise with the uppercut to the body (or indeed the hook thrown from an altered angle due to the use of a pivot) should aim above the abdominals, focusing on the Solar Plexus. That’s gonna slow a guy down! Thanks for the question Bill.

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Peter June 30, 2014 at 12:16 am

Landing the shot as Bill mentioned is precisely how the shot was demonstrated on the video, with particular emphasis on this point.

I agree Fran, the uppercut to the solar plexus is a nice shot if delivered properly and is a littler easier than finding the liver with the left hook to the body.

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Jamie December 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hey Fran,
Thank you for your responce to my kickboxing related question earlier. This question I have is somewhat similar since I am still full of questions as a crossover combat sports fan. I was wondering if in boxing, since you said that the stance is less square on than kickboxing (as with MMA as well), is placing your lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s to land lead hooks to the head or body important? Or does the boxing stance make that not much of an issue?

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Anonymous November 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm

very good…..homie,its nice to see some good moves!!

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Dave Waterman September 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

All the while I watched this I thought of the comment I would make: slipping rather than ducking in order to provide the positioning and torque for the hook. And then you mentioned it at the end.

Drat!

The fine difference between the two skills is a nice one to highlight and one I don’t believe I have made enough of when coaching. Thanks for my next lesson plan, Fran!!

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Fran September 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Hey Big Dave! Good to hear from you and I hope that you are well.

You know something, I didn’t have you specifically in mind when I mentioned the thing about ‘comments’, but, I should have known :0)

I always find it useful to distinguish between these things as it’s often the subtleties that make the differences.

Cheers mate and good luck with that next lesson.

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Ivan September 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Fantastic shot. Effective and beautiful to watch and a nightmare to be hit with it. If I had to choose, I’d much rather take an ugly smack on the jaw rather than this stylish pathological intervention. Ducking with the punch works well for me because I feel I can get more weight behind the punch when the shoulder line is lower. Slipping to the left before the punch is not a must, it adds a little power but affects precision and most people over-commit and lean forward and to the side tempted to make it a big one.
An orthodox boxer is supposed to throw a lot of straight rights against a southpaw but southpaws expose their liver with every jab. It may be worth to try catching them with this thing of beauty while their right glove is flying, preferably without taking the jab on the face, but even that would be a deal if you can push the button in return.
Looking forward to the rest of the body blows. I am also expecting an answer from a TV commentator, who may or may not want to debate on the borderline issue of hook vs. uppercut to the body.
Thank you for this enlightening demonstration.

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Fran September 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Great comment Ivan. Some really insightful observations there, particularly the southpaw/liver thing. People really underestimate the effectiveness of the left hook against a southpaw (and indeed a southpaw right hook against an orthodox). So, going for a double-up on the body/head and including say a pivot can reap big rewards.

In terms of the uppercut/hook thing (I know that you have raised this before), I’ll post the video on the right uppercut to the body later in the week.

Thanks Ivan, really good to get your contribution.

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