Boxing Tips – Defensive Inside Fighting!

by Fran on November 2, 2010

About Defensive Inside Fighting

The boxing tips that you get within this article and the two videos (that’s right, one article, two videos!) will help you become a deadly exponent of fighting on the inside.  Successful infighting demands a variety of skills from short range punching, subtle footwork, even more subtle upper body movements and as importantly as anything an ability to block incoming punches with your arms.  When up close, fighting on the inside, the shots that are used are short and medium range hooks and uppercuts.  Upper body movement is effective, but because the punches being thrown are travelling such a short distance (if they are being thrown correctly that is) the best method of defense is to use arm blocks.  The reason that arm blocks are most suited during inside fighting is that they require minimal movement; allowing the defender to always create attacking options.

There are 2 videos contained within this article; one relates to blocking hooks coming in to your right side, and the other video deals with blocking hooks coming in to the left hand side.  I’ve decided to put these two videos into one article (not the usual format) because both are so complementary that it makes sense to join them up and provide a complete overview of blocking hooks up close.  These blocks are a similar in principle to Knights of old using a shield as an integral part of their fighting approach, combining it with the sword in the same way that the boxer combines the block with devastating short and mid-range hooks and uppercuts!

Boxing tips on something like blocking punches during inside fighting are invaluable as they often are overlooked in favour of the more flashy skills.  In my mind though, blocking punches in this manner perfectly defines the essence of boxing; standing up to withering incoming hooks and meeting fire with fire, always looking to create and attack openings.  As if all of this wasn’t enough, each block is equally effective against punches directed at the head or at the body; dual purpose, simple and effective.  Enjoy the videos but make sure that you read the mechanics and common faults below as there’s some additional information.  As always leave your comments!

Defensive Inside Fighting – Protecting Your Right Side

Defensive Inside Fighting – Protecting Your Left Side

The Mechanics of Using Arm Blocks Against Hooks

The description here assumes an orthodox versus an orthodox.  If you want to understand more about boxing stances, then download the free report which covers southpaw versus orthodox.

Blocking Hooks on Your Right Side:

  1. The arm that you put in the way of an incoming shot must be a firm, solid object as it has to withstand some big incoming shots.  In order to provide this solidity, there must be drive from the back leg, the result of this drive being counter-clockwise rotation of the upper-body around the central (vertical) axis.
  2. The right forearm remains in a broadly vertical position so that any incoming punch will strike the forearm, elbow or upper-arm.
  3. The body ‘snaps’ back to the boxing stance.
Blocking Hooks on Your Left Side:

  1. Unlike with blocking punches to your right side where the body rotates in a counter-clockwise direction, we do the opposite when blocking hooks arriving on our left-side.
  2. Push from the front leg, rotating the body slightly in a clockwise direction.
  3. The left arm remains vertical and virtually still, again with the incoming shot striking the forearm, elbow or upper arm.  The rotation of the upper body has the effect of ‘hiding’ the body behind the arm and providing the strength to make the arm ‘solid.’
  4. The body ‘snaps’ back to the starting position.
Common Faults When Blocking Hooks

  1. Remember this!  The arm when blocking to the right does not move independently of the body.  The body rotates and the arm rotates with it.  When blocking to the left though, the arm stays pretty much still and the upper body rotates to ‘hide’ behind it.
  2. Curling up behind the arms like some kind of frightened sea creature!  It is vital that you watch what’s coming your way and block it as well as looking to lead off with your own shots and counter.  If you ain’t throwing punches, you ain’t gonna win the fight!

OK, below are a few shots that work well alongside the blocking defences described in this article:

Short Range Left hook

Short Range Right Hook

Short Range Left Uppercut

Short Range Right Uppercut

Hope this has proven helpful; be sure to leave a comment below!



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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jd October 29, 2014 at 1:14 am

Thanks, I am a beginner and you explained this really well


Joshua W August 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm

You know Fran, maybe this could be a idea for a new video series for you, adapting boxing for self defense and mma.


Joshua W August 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm

So some, very slight movement is acceptable. As long as it is not excessive. If at all possible use body motion to adjust for angle and height issues.

I appreciate you answering my odd questions, as I don’t practice boxing for competition but as part of my self defense practice.(with a bucket list goal of a amateur cage fight)
It just seams so much easier with the 16oz gloves on, but the moment they come off, I feel as if im not covering the things that need covering.

I guess I just need more punches thrown at me.


Fran August 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I get what you mean. I suppose in self defence terms (street fighting) a general rule I guess is that boxing skills would be most useful at long range, maintaining the space around you. Up close I assume that grappling/wrestling-type stuff might be more effective? In terms of gloves, they definitely offer blocking protection. Bare-fist I would be looking to couple things up with body movement and maybe the double-arm block but primarily making sure I could use my long range shots. I should maybe put some more thought into this stuff as per your suggestion. Thanks Joshua.


Mike August 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

Cheers Fran. All good stuff.


Joshua W August 8, 2013 at 1:54 am

Hey fran, thanks for answering my other questions. Question with the defensive inside fighting block. With regards to the block, do you have to move the blocking arm at all? Say you have to block a body shot, do you have to move your elbow down a inch or so, or up a inch or so to adequately cover the cheek?

I ask because, as I asked in a different question this is in relation to no glove, or even mma style gloves. When I do this in the mirror, it seams as if I have to move my arm down a bit to cover the floating ribs and up a bit to cover the cheek.

Thanks for your help sir.


Fran August 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hey Josh

There is some movement there, but seek to keep it to a minimum. Remember that ideally you will see where the shot is coming from and more importantly the angle at which it arrives. So, that means you can use the whole body to adjust slightly to deal with the defensive action.

Hope this helps Josh. Another good question 🙂


Mike August 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Hi Fran,

I know what you mean about the top of your head looking after itself but what about the side of the head and the ear sort of area?

I really like the technique in this video for blocking the jaw and body but would you move your fist up to block a shot coming round the side of the head or ear or would you use more of an open hand block like some people use ?


Fran August 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Hey Mike. Absolutely, getting your hand in between an incoming hook and the side of your head will help. When that incoming shot lands though make sure that one goes back the other way instantly!


Matt October 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

Hi Fran

With these blocks inside, where you have to almost cover the head and body simultaneously, how do you adequately protect the top of the head (temple, forehead etc.) without bringing your hands higher which might expose the body? Or is it just a case of a trade off where you make sure your chin and ribs are protected and just take the risk of a shot to the top of the head?




Fran October 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hey Matt

The top of your head can look after itself. The opponent’s more likely to hurt a hand than to hurt you.


davin June 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

your videos are amazing


Poster May 11, 2012 at 9:59 am


I think that the most important thing in defensive infighting is the footwork and the placement. The boxer has to know when he moves in and where.

For example if the opponent stpes in to throw a jab, it is quite simple to lean outside and step in. The forward shoulder should be placed against the opponent´s breast. If the timing is correct the opponent´s jabbing arm will be trapped over the incoming boxer´s shoulder. If not it will be still harmles, ´cause there will be no room for using it.

When the boxer has succesfully got in, the opponent is able to punch only with his/her back hand so it is the only concern the boxer has. Gurading the front side ribs with his/her elbow and keeping his/her head on the opponent´s shoulder are all the boxer needs to do. Of course he/she needs to be aware of opponent´s possible pivoting steps too. This is a great way to get rest during the bout but most of all, it is the safest place in the boxing ring.

The position described above is great for attacking too:

The boxer needs just to make sharp push with his/her front shoulder. It will make room for back hand uppercut.

The short back step in 45 degrees backwards opens a room for lead hook that can be followed with back hand hooks.

The sudden pivoting step to outside is a best way to open room for whatever combination. The important thing is to control the distance. That’s why every boxer should be aware of this kind of stepping in close range.

The simple rool for defencive boxing is to keep out of the opponents punching sector. Most of all it needs knowledge how to move and footwork but of course hand blocks etc makes it even more effective and safe way to fight.


Fran May 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

A nice scenario that you have painted there, really good contribution. Thanks.


Paul Smith February 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I’ve always enjoyed watching boxing matches, but never understood what the term ‘sweet science’ meant. Now after being on this site, I do! What amazes me, is just how simple many of the techniques are to execute in order for them to be effective. It makes learning and training, as well as watching and appreciating a boxing match a much more engrossing and entertaining past time now.
Thanks again Fran.


Fran February 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm

It’s a great realisation mate, that simplicity is the key to success. It’s also fantastic that even after you having spent many months using the site, new things continue to come to light for you. I’m really happy about that. Thanks Paul


evan January 29, 2012 at 3:40 am

Thanks for the articles, they’re really helpful. keep them coming!


Fran January 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thank you Evan, glad they help.


k November 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

thank you so much for these videos. they’re great and easy to get. a whole another thing to master and make into a habit.
ive had a tendency to lean to the right when hooks to my left would come and try to get out of range. but i’ll do my best next time to take advantage of blocking it well and respond with a short right hook


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