Ducking Punches – A Simple Boxing Defense!

by Fran on March 31, 2010

About Ducking Punches

There are two main reasons why a boxer ducks during a contest.  The first most obvious reason is as a boxing defense to avoid an opponent’s punches, hence the title ‘ducking punches’.  The second reason is to engage the opponent with body shots otherwise a boxer may ‘punch down’ to the body and this has it’s problems.  There is a third reason, which relates to ‘feinting’ to draw a reaction from the opponent, and this is dealt with in the article Feinting in Boxing, well worth a look.  Ducking is one of the most simple boxing techniques to learn, and when executed correctly and at the right time opens up many avenues for attack as well reducing the risk of taking head shots.

When ducking, be it ducking punches or ducking to let loose body shots, it is very important to observe the simple mechanics to avoid introducing the common faults.  When bad habits sneak into the technique of ducking, the penalty paid can be severe!  To get an idea of what could happen when the ducking technique is not executed properly, check out the common faults!  Before that though, enjoy the video!

The Mechanics of Ducking Punches

The mechanics of ducking punches or ducking for body shots are simple.  As with all boxing techniques, efficiency is key, and the ducking technique is no different.

  1. From the boxing stance, bend both legs at the knees, ensuring that you keep your back straight.
  2. The bending of the knees should almost be a ‘drop’ allowing the duck to happen at the required speed.
  3. Drop only enough for an oncoming punch to ‘graze’ the top of your head.  This brings us back to our point about the efficiency of the technique.
  4. Return to the starting position as quickly as the knees ‘dropped’ at the start of the technique.  At full speed, ducking should be performed as quickly as a punch is thrown.

Common Faults When Ducking Punches

Some basic errors are often made when ducking punches or ducking to throw body shots:

  1. Bending at the waist rather than dropping at the knees.  This bend of the waist results in the upper body moving forward and downward thus restricting the vision; if you can’t see punches coming then you are less likely to avoid them!  Moving down and forward also offers a great opportunity for the opponent to land punches, in particular a shot like the mid-range right hook.
  2. Dropping too low, wasting energy and reducing the likelihood of landing counter punches.
  3. I mentioned earlier about punching down to the opponent’s body rather than ducking.  This is particularly risky when throwing straight shots by punching down to an opponent’s body rather than ducking means that your hand is away from the guard position for marginally longer than it needs to be.  OK, it’s only a split second, but it’s long enough!

Consider the benefits of combining a duck with a boxing jab or a right cross.  By combining something simple like a duck with something a bit more complicated, a long range right uppercut for instance, should begin to give you a flavour of how the wonderful art of boxing meshes together.

As always, leave your comments or questions below.



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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt January 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Hi Fran,

Thanks for the great advice. My question is why so many of the pros seem to bend at the waist when ducking. Any insight?


Fran January 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Hey Matt

To some extent a casual attitude and experience. There’s also the principle that over the long duration bout there’s no need to be ready to punch for every second of every round. Check out someone like Vasyl Lomachenko or Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both have very retained the fundamentals of the amateur/Olympic style and they very rarely bend at the waist – well worth watching


Tam May 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Nice video of a basic yet so important skill. Thanks Fran. I’m just wondering if when you duck (as well as going straight down) if you should move your weight slightly towards the rear foot? Otherwise a smart opponent is going to whack you with an uppercut! Any views please.


Fran May 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Hey Tam

If you drop vertically you’ll reduce the risk of eating an uppercut (you can never truly rule it out). Just don’t lean forward!


Jose Almaguer June 6, 2013 at 9:29 am

Loved the tips and lessons I needed that I usto box many years ago but lost my touch but now I have a my lil boy and plan on training him. Thanks


Fran June 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Excellent. Thank you Jose. Let’s see if we can get that little boy fascinated with this great sport.


Anonymous March 20, 2015 at 5:28 am

li’l boy a champ!


Fran March 24, 2015 at 9:22 pm



Brent March 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm

im working on ducking and moving in at the moment and have found it to be a very effective way to close the gap quickly and safely the times it has worked well. thanks for the videos Fran, so helpful.


Fran March 30, 2013 at 7:20 pm

It’s great stuff mate. The Julio Cesar Chavez article shows it in action. Super simple and super effective. Thanks Brent.


masa murakami February 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

this was a movement i really neglected. i started using it more often, and it absolutely throws your opinion off. bob and weaves are great, but ducking mess’ with your opponents if you pivot afterwards as well. thank you, fran. your videos are always inciteful and love the fact that you emphasize on technique. it’s awesome!


Fran February 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Thanks Masa. You’re right of course, the simple things win, win win!


james morgan February 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Fran,
Really helpful site! I love the way you make it techincally easy to understand and the common faults. All of this is helping my technique. Look forward to seeing more.


Fran February 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Your welcome James, thanks for the comment.


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