Simple Boxing Combinations That Work!

by Fran on June 24, 2014

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As far as boxing combinations go, the ‘one-two’ (the jab followed by a straight right hand) is about as simple as it gets. It is the most used boxing combination in a boxer’s repertoire. It’s the first combination that a person learns on the road to becoming a boxer. If you can’t learn to throw a simple one-two then the myriad of other boxing combinations will always be beyond your reach.

I love the one-two. It’s our bread and butter and it’s a super-effective long-range weapon. But, to truly get under the skin of boxing you need to constantly look for ways of varying the simple stuff so that your boxing skills become dynamic and difficult to predict.

To help you build your capabilities at long-range boxing, and to show you how to use the one-two as a basis for a building killer boxing combinations, I have produced a 10 minute coaching lesson. I’m sure that after taking the time to watch the video your next heavy bag session will take be packed with subtle variation and power with control.

Below are a host of links to the boxing skills videos that are referenced within the main video.

The Boxing Jab (Old Faithful)

The Right Cross (Straight Backhand) (The Big Guns)

Left hook/Lead hand hook at long range (The Curve Ball)

Right hook/Back hand hook at long range (Angled for power)

Left uppercut/Lead hand uppercut at long range (I love uppercuts)

Right uppercut/Back hand uppercut at long range (I REALLY love uppercuts!)

How to Land More Punches (That sneaky screw shot)

The comments section is below. Don’t be shy, questions, comments, cheap shots about my super-trim physique all welcome 🙂

Cheers

Fran

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil S July 28, 2017 at 10:24 pm

One point to kind of back up Alexander’s, or rather, another reason for considering the jab as one of the most important punches. I was taught (too many years ago to mention) that one of the main reasons to use the jab is to stop the opponent formulating an attack. My dad, who taught me to box, said it’s like treading on the toes of a dancer; constantly breaking their rhythm. You’really not looking to hurt big, just keep them on their toes. Then time it to come in with an attack of your own.
If that makes sense

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Fran July 29, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Brilliant. Your Dad knew his business. Lots of jabs, different types, speeds and levels of power. The more the merrier for me Phil!

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z January 31, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Great video Coach! One question: 1-2 on the heavy bag, I usually move my left foot slightly forward and throw the jab, on the way back I pivot on back foot and deliver the straight cross. I do not move the back foot any closer, only pivot – is this a problem? The stance is a bit wider, but feels natural.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Z

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Fran January 31, 2016 at 8:50 pm

It can vary. The way you do it might lead to a small reduction in hip rotation. I would generally coach to complete the full move forward off the jab and then deliver the back hand from a static position, if that makes sense?

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z February 3, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Yes, it makes perfect sense. Thanks.

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Fran February 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Cool

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Ramiro April 8, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Solid shots coach!

The gloves are you wearing in the video, are 14 or 16?

What is the election for trainning?

Thanks again for the videos, the tips and your time!

Cheers.

Ramiro.

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Fran April 11, 2015 at 8:27 am

Thanks Ramiro. From memory those gloves are 16s. Old sparring gloves.

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Martin Boomer January 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Great video. Though I’m having trouble getting an upward trajectory while throwing the long-range left or right uppercuts. They just come out as lame jabs. Do you actually need to duck slightly to get the upward trajectory of the left or right fists? I can indeed get it but I need to drop the fist quite a lot before throwing the punch and this can’t be a good idea? Better to duck a little rather than drop the fist I imagine?

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Fran January 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

You can add a slight duck Martin, or simply whip the hand upwards during the last few inches of the shot. It’s slight but very effective.

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parveen October 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Plesh help

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Randy Leafers August 27, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Hi Fran!
One thing I notice with the one-two is that many boxers wait until the left jab is back “home” or almost, before throwing the power punch. I believe the right should be well on it’s way before the left jab is in the start position. You demonstrate this well. I am a lefty, so when I see the vids I just have to turn things around, but I always try to have the left, straight or hook, well on it’s way before my right jab is back to start. They should both be thrown in well under a second ideally as you show in the vid. bam-BAM. If the jab happens to connect, and the hook is there within a split second, tough to get out of the way. If the opponent allows his right hand to drop( in my case being lefty), the left will probably hit something. Actually connecting with the jab in a one-two combo, well, now you’ve measured for the power punch plus you’ve probably bothered the guy. May as well connect with the jab ala Larry Holmes(one of the best jabs in all of boxing IMHO) then end it with a nasty hook, overhand, or straight punch. I see you put plenty on the jab and that it’s not “wasted”! Good demonstration.

randy

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Fran September 12, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Thanks Randy, and great comment!

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Mike August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Hi Fran,

Really enjoyed the video, I’ve been working on the lead uppercut in training so good to see you using it as well and recommending it!

Do you find that when you’re putting combinations together you react to what’s in front of you and target any opportunity that arises when the opponent drops their guard or are your combinations so ingrained that if you want to use a combination to open someone up you can follow the whole 3 or 4 punch combination though from start to finish more often than not?

For example, I find in sparring I may get one or two punches into a combination I’m trying to work and find that I can’t follow it through because he is obviously moving and trying to hit me at the same time! Other times I may be in more control of the situation but basically alter my combination as I’m throwing it if I spot he’s left his body open I’m pretty sure be fairly flexible and fluid in what your throwing is a good thing but would be interested to hear your thoughts?

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Fran August 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Hey Mike

In response to your question it’s really the latter; executing pre-learned combinations. Most ‘openings’ are identified and exploited with an initial single shot followed by a flurry. If the first one lands then it’s likely to cause confusion in the defences of the opponent leading to more openings.

Remember also that combinations are often part of a phased attack. That is, a 7 punch combination could be 2-3-2 with each ‘-‘ being a defensive action/movement of the feet or body. It is series of 2/3 punch combos. So you’re sparring experience is fine. Break it up and put another 2-shot combo after it 🙂

Hope this helps.

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Mike August 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Yeah I think so. So you would basically be working your different combinations depending on what your opponent was doing and what range you were at and look to see them through either all at once or in phases?

I’m assuming you would agree that if you could see he’d left his body open you would go for it rather than just carry on with some pre planned head shot?

I’ve actually had one white collar bout before, which I know is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve been working on some great 2-4 punch combos with a really good coach but still trying to get my head round how much of my boxing should be ‘planned’ and come from my drills and how much will be off the cuff if I have another fight. I’ve got good answers from my coach but I respect your opinion as well.

On a final note then, I assume from what you say that the Hagler combo that you analyse on the site would definitely be something ‘pre planned’ or at least something he would work on in sparring should the opportunity arise to use it in a fight?

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Fran September 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Yes Mike. Any opportunity that presents itself then take it. Just making the point that you try to make your own openings by the opponent reacting to things that you do.

We drill in the gym and it becomes instinctual over time. Marvin may have thrown that little combo tons of times in the gym.

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Anonymous September 19, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Great. Thanks Fran. Hagler is one of my all time favourites as well!

Bob Cantwell August 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Yes, thanks. That’s a very helpful video . One question about the lead hand uppercut at long range please Fran. I really struggle to get the upward arc required without dropping my lead hand too much. And if you can’t get the upward arc then there’s no point in throwing it, you may as well throw a jab. I’m wondering if in practice fighters duck first before throwing this shot? This would ensure the arc required, make it even more difficult for your opponent to see the punch and also help to avoid oncoming punches. I’m fairly sure I saw Nicola Adams in the Commonwealth Games throw it like this combined with a push forward. Needless to say it connected with her opponent! What are your thoughts on this Fran?

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Fran August 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Smart bit of thinking and observation there Bob, spot on. The angle of the shot coming after a duck would be even more difficult to defend.

Great comment Bob. Thanks.

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david campwell August 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

hi frank,joined boxing club 6 months ago,love your site and have watched your videos many times,and have learned loads.and has brought forward my training hugely.i have just started sparing under controled conditions,as still new.often against bigger,or fastr. better boxers who can only defend and use hard fast jab.any tips on taking advantage of this?mant thanks,david,age 49.

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Fran August 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Hey David

Thanks for your comments, really glad that the vids help out. Sounds like you’re enjoying the boxing club. It’s a superb environment to work in, soak it up!

In terms of the jab. Try to ‘draw’ the lead (using a feint) and focus on a simple block and an instant jab back. If it works you can expect to land your jab because you are at the right range. Once your jab lands you can think about a nice straight back hand after that. Expect then your opponent to start feinting more after you start, can become a bit more of a chess match of jabs then 🙂

Hope this helps David, and thanks again for the comment.

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david campwell August 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm

i will do just that next time,and let you know how i get on.your 3-4 minutes vids are clear and easy to understand,its like having my own secret,private teacher,boxings great,i love all the ducking and twisting.thanks frank.

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Graham July 31, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Thanks for the video. One of the combos you used in it reminds me of the combo Sly Stallone used to knock out Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV. Is that were you got it from Fran?

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Anonymous July 25, 2014 at 1:31 am

Thanks man I really like this one and I also watched the whole 50min fight that brought me to this combo video
I have saved a lot of old fights from your site and always learning from them

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Fran July 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Thank you. Excellent that you enjoy the articles 🙂

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Grayboy July 9, 2014 at 6:15 am

great video, I learnt something there.

But what I really want to know is where I can get one of those snazzy white shirts that you’re wearing. I want one just like it, although several sizes smaller obviously 😉

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Fran July 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Glad it helped. Those shirts are a rare commodity, I refuse to allow any to be produced that will fit you lean-muscled types!

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deroe1996 July 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

Fran nice work on the bag thanks for another aspect to throwing combinations by mixing up the one two . Best regards ,Brian perth Western Australia

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Fran July 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm

No problem Brian. Thank you for the comment.

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Fran June 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Cheers Bernie.

Here’s an article on punch bags including the “Angled Heavy Bag” of the type I’m using. They are great pieces of kit mate.

Hope this helps.

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Bernie June 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

Thanks, that’s a very comprehensive round-up of punching bags I must say mate . Just to confirm, the one you’re bashing in the video – the one that looks a bit like a bumblebee – it’s still a angled heavy bag, right? It’s just that it looks diffferent to the angled bags in the article.

Cheers Fran.

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Fran July 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm

You’re welcome Bernie. Yep, it’s an angled heavy bag but I am just has happy using those in the article, as I did tonight in the gym 🙂

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Paul Jolly June 27, 2014 at 5:55 am

I can’t believe no-one as yet has taken advantage of this excellent opportunity to slate Fran for his rapidly diminishing boxing skills. So here goes. As I’ve mentioned previously your bagwork is getting slower and slower by the video. You really need to get back into full training before you cease up altogether and somebody has to phone an ambulance 😉

But on a more serious note, 2 queries please Fran:
(i) At the beginning of this video you very markedly lift your left heel when throwing the jab. But you don’t do this at all in the Boxing Jab video?
(ii) If you throw a normal 1-2 properly then both shots should land on the target. But if you throw a normal jab followed by say a long range right hook then surely the hook is going to fall short of the target unless I move in slightly after the jab?

Thanks for the video Fran, keep them coming please.

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Fran June 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Hahaha. Thanks very much Paul. I take it a comeback is not recommended?

on your points:

i) I wouldn’t worry. Maybe a little physical exaggeration. As long as you get the point and get the shot then that’s job done.
ii) If it was a mid-range right hook then I’d agree. However, this is a long range hook. So, it’s pretty much the same as a straight right that simply arrives at a different angle.

Thanks for the comment mate, raised a smile.

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Paul Jolly June 28, 2014 at 5:37 am

Thanks for clearing those points up Fran.

And on the subject of a Fran Sands comeback – we the general public demand it! In the first heavybag video you reminded me of a young Roberto Duran dominating the heavybag with savage beauty. Whereas in this video you reminded me of the Duran in his latter ring years, a spent force and a pale shadow of his former self. But all is not lost, I still reckon that if you get into serious training you could cause an earthquake in next year’s ABA championships 😉

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Fran July 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm

The curse of the ex-boxer Paul, the idea that he can still mix it the same as he could 20 years. Last thing he needs is jocular encouragement from his peers 🙂

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alexander June 25, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Hi Fran, me again. Good video. All I will say, is that is the sexiest’ big bag’ I have ever seen, metaphorically. As is the man hitting it, if I can say that?

Only two comments, firstly, I never used to have much regard for what I think we call the jab hand, quick flick (ie, little weight behind it). Ali used it a lot. But I now regard it as an essential part of a ‘long rangers’ tool box. Good for setting up, distracting, teasing, and touching off into a side slip. But probably should be restricted to an experienced boxer. Maybe you should include that one.

And secondly, if you are a long range, older or short of breath, recreational boxer, with vascular issues, for whatever the reason, it can help if you get off your high toes, or should I say ‘high heels’. I am one, and I can’t sprint fifty yards, but I can jog/slog (road work) for many miles (even with lots of ‘air punching’ and back stepping, thrown in).

By coming off your high toes, onto low heels, I mean, shuffling, slipping, and gliding, with good use of footwork – like a ‘ball room dancer’ – not a ‘highland dancer’. Proper smooth boxing soles, not trainer treads, on a Ring canvas, are designed for this, a great feeling I say. And I can shuffle and slip around a Ring, and sparring partners, surprisingly well. Dropping to your heels takes a great strain off the heart, and a sound stance for punching off..

I only say this, as I notice some of your commentators, seem to be a bit older, one is 61 I think he said. And reluctantly here I have to say I am only 71, and work out at the Boxing club 2 or 3 times a week, and had a heart attack 8 years ago. And I can keep up with the younger guys as far as Boxing skills, techniques, and action go (touch wood). But I do avoid those ‘silly ‘boot camp’ and ‘macho man/woman aerobics’. Apologies to those who don’t.

I’m a Boxer, and my exercise and exertion arises from the, skipping, bag/ball work, shadow boxing, mitts, and safe sparring. The sweat pours off. And it benefits not only my body balance and coordination, but also the mind and confidence (gives me blinking attitude). But in this country my doctor thinks I am mad to box, and says I will get Boxers Brain, which I think I have got anyway, from years of boxing as boy and youth, or is it just from auld age.

But in the USA there is much support, for ‘focussed exercise’, such as non contact boxing, from the medical groups. And there are big programmes of non contact boxing involvement for mild Parkinsons, Alzeimers, and Dementia sufferers.

So sorry (again), for turning your ‘web site’ into something like an NHS advert Fran. And I will never mention this again. And to put this comment into context, I will only say the Boxing game, is not just about, bouncing around on high toes/heels, like Cuban Boxers; but also about slipping around, and hitting of the heels and low toes. Some of the Boxing Greats have done just that.

Cheers Fran, Alexander.

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Fran June 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Hey Alexander, apologies for the delay. Volume of comments and emails!

I always loved Duran’s flick jab (as you describe it). A probe for range and a distraction for the opponent. Superb.

Like you, as a boxer I like the dynamic aspects of the game, switching from one footwork style to another. Variety being the spice of life and all. You stick to what you know, as do I. I am not a strength and conditioning expert, I’m someone whose knowledge and of boxing far exceeds his knowledge of S&C (that might not be saying much I hasten to add). I love the idea that you maintain your sparring regime, that’s not something that I have done. It’s been many, many years since I sparred. Tons of bagwork, tons of shadow boxing and drills, tons of skipping and groundwork. A fair old bit of road work too!

CHeck out http://www.rocksteadyboxing.org for a perfect example of boxing working for the good. Beautiful initiative.

Thanks Alexander, always a pleasure and education reading your comments.

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pug June 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Continually reviewing the fundamentals is so important. Repetition builds mind & muscle memory. Great review lesson and excellent demonstration on the heavay bag Coach! No caveat required. As you were talking about the long range uppercuts I was recalling Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson and Ali vs. Frasier. Long range and mid-range uppercuts are very effective against a crouching-rushing or bobbing & weaving shorter opponent.
Now, I’m 6’2″ what can I do to box better Coach….haha. It must drive you bonkers.

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Fran June 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Indeed Ric. When combining these shots with movement it really brings the simple combos to life. Ali was a magician with this kind of shot.

Thanks Ric. Hope all is well with you.

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Ivan June 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm

What’s up, coach!
“It’s simple, it just isn’t easy” was my old coach’s adage about boxing things that are plain to the eye. Doing them is easy, doing them well is harder, doing them perfectly – impossible. We have to settle for effective, and that’s generous most of the time.
One-two to the body? One to the body, two to the head and vice versa. A sure fire one-two I was taught was a long right hook to the ribs and a jab/long left to the forehead. It only works once against a good one before it gets dangerous, but once is great. The right lead is more of a touch and a distraction that sets up the left. If it’s a jab, it’s a power jab that starts from the ankles, goes through the waist and requires your left shoulder to “slap” your chin as marker for snap and form. If it’s a long hook, all of the above plus a flapping feeling/sound from your lat/back muscle. The right lead is a little more than a feint so you save all the “fury” for the second shot.

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Fran June 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Hey Ivan

I hope that you are well. That opening line certainly paints a great picture. Love it. The variations with the simple straight shots are just great boxing. By thinking in pure long range terms you can help a boxer understand the subtleties of dynamic punching and feinting. Genuine art. The the combination ending with a jab is underused only by the novices.

Thanks mate.

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Jason June 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

Thanks for a great article as usual, Fran. Those simple variations, along with doubled-up shots and variation in rhythm, can make a remarkable difference.

I agree with the others – don’t sell yourself short. Trim or otherwise, you can sure move as well as articulate the concepts. Thanks for the best online coaching with no BS.

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Fran June 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Top man. Thanks Jason. That’s really flattering and I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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vanda monaco June 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

Great Frans, Thanks.

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Fran June 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Thank you Vanda. I hope your training is going well 🙂

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Karl June 25, 2014 at 3:25 am

No need for a disclaimer Fran, that was a perfectly respectable 2 minutes of consistent work. Good stuff!

I remember my coach talking about the 1-2 and saying something like “try to make the first shot perfect, if you do the second can be a little sloppy and still land, but the first shot should be as perfect as you can make it”. What do you think about that?

In any case, I do take your main point about finding variety in something simple like the ol’ 1-2. Slight variation in punch angle, target, even speed, can pay huge dividends. Oft times boxers will throw the exact same combo at the same targets over and over and all they’re doing is teaching the other person how to defend against a rather simple problem.

Speed kills, sure, but truly blinding speed that is hard to deal with is rare. Crushing power is a great thing to have, but there are well tested solutions to crushing power that your opponent will probably know about, so it’s not something to rely on. However, creative boxing, engaging your mind to DYNAMICALLY solve that ever changing puzzle that’s in front of you is a weapon you can rely on at all levels of the game. Punch through, punch around, make him doubt his defence by probing it and pressuring it from many angles. You can do all that with the simple 1-2. Great lessons here Fran!

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Fran June 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Karl.

Yes I can understand how your coach’s mind is working. Whilst I tend to focus on every shot being technically correct, it certainly makes sense to get the boxer to really focus on that first shot and if allowing the potential for a quality reduction on the second shot does that then it’s a smart coaching technique.

That point on being dynamic is key for me. Clever boxing is a failsafe, no question. Simple and subtle variations are so, so important.

Thanks for the comment mate. I hope all is going well at your end.

Cheers

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Alessandro June 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Nice shots, Coach. I can see that you landed good ones!

Cheers

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Fran June 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Thank you Alessandro.

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Fran September 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

You’re welcome. Thanks for the comment.

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