The Left Hook at Short Range – The Mike Tyson Special!

by Fran on April 19, 2010

About The Left Hook At Short Range

The left hook can be thrown at 3 different ranges; long range, mid range and short range.  Of the three, the left hook thrown at short range is designed to deliver the most destructive power onto a target, even though it travels the shortest distance (just ask any of Mike Tyson’s early opponents!)  Any shots thrown at short range can be classified within the term ‘infighting’ or fighting on the inside although punching is only one aspect of infighting.  Effective infighting, incorporating skills such as the short range left hook, is a difficult boxing technique to master.  By understanding the basic mechanics of the short range left hook you will pave the way to learn some of the more subtle skill elements that provide the basis for successful infighting.

OK, check out the video then read on about the mechanics of the short left hook and as importantly the common faults.

The Mechanics Of The Left Hook At Short Range

The mechanics of throwing the left hook at short range are:

  1. From the boxing stance, the first action is an explosive thrust from the toes on your front foot (the left foot as an orthodox).  This thrust rotates your upper-body in a clockwise direction around the central axis so that your hips and shoulders will align approximately with the opponent.
  2. As the rotation is taking place, the lead arm accelerates toward the target at a 45 degree angle (unlike the mid range left hook which lands horizontally or short range left uppercut which lands vertically.)  This acceleration takes place over a very short distance, often no more than 3 to 6 inches.
  3. As the shot is accelerating towards the target, your bodyweight is transferred fully to the back leg (as a result of the ‘thrust’ mentioned in point 1).
  4. As the fist approaches the target, the palm is facing back towards you.  At the last moment, the fist clenches and ‘snaps’ on to the target.
  5. After the shot lands, the arm returns to the ‘home’ position as per the boxing stance.

Common Faults With The Left Hook At Short Range

The faults that often occur when throwing the left hook at short range are:

  1. There is an urge to try and hit too hard.  The desire to hit the opponent too hard often results in the boxer’s weight transferring to the front leg.  If the shot lands, then this isn’t too bad (although you shouldn’t be under the impression that more ‘power’ has been generated…it hasn’t), but if the shot misses then often the boxer will end-up in a tailspin.  Being in a tailspin in front of an opponent waiting to unload heavy shots is a recipe for disaster.
  2. The right-hand drops as the shot lands.  This is a really common fault with inexperienced boxers.
  3. The boxer allows the punch to become an upper-body movement.  Ensure that the rotation of the upper-body is generated by the thrust from the front leg.
  4. The boxer allows the shot to ‘arc’ too much.  The short range left hook is designed to be a very direct, explosive shot.  The fist itself should in fact travel no more than 3 to 6 inches in order to strike the target.  This short distance means that the left forearm and upper arm retain a relatively defensive postion throughout the shot, minimising the risk of being struck with a clean counterpunch from the opponent.  It is vital that effective defence is maintained whilst landing the short range shots, and throwing what amounts to a mid range left hook when at short range does not promote effective defence!  For more information on this, you could check out the article on defensive inside fighting.

The short range left hook in itself is very much a power shot.  When the shot is preceded by for instance and inside slip, then the additional power generated is very significant, and when this  power is transferred correctly into the shot then it can be a fight winner.  As I said, check out any one of Mike Tyson’s earlier fights and you’ll see this shot used to devastating effect!  Any comments?  Let me have them below!



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

vanda monaco December 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm

I’ve read it, and I’m training training training it to involve to body correctly, Thanks Fran!
Happy Christmas!


Fran December 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Happy Christmas to you too Vanda, I hope that 2016 brings you success and happiness in your boxing training and beyond! 🙂


anthony powell May 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Outstanding program with the intricacies of movement properly broken down.
You have a fan and student for life.


Fran June 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Cheers Anthony. Thanks for the great feedback mate.


markzima July 15, 2013 at 6:46 am

Very helpful video, Fran. Thanks!

Have you gotten around to making the ‘screw shot’ video that you mentioned in the comment above? I’d love to see that.


Fran July 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thank you Mark, for the kind words and the reminder on the screwshot.


Ivan June 15, 2011 at 5:45 am

As illustrated in the clip, sometimes the beauty of a punch is in simplicity. Achieving that simplicity (efficiency) in movement however is a very complex task. This particular shot is hard to defend against because it hard to see it. It is short, comes almost from behind and the elbow and shoulder movement is hidden behind the punch. As we know, the ones you don’t see sort of get to you. People should be flocking to see that video. By the way, if you think there will be interest, please demonstrate some body shots. This one to the liver should be a show stopper. If you do body shot examples, I will send e-mails to the Eurosport commentators to make sure they know where to look up the difference b/n a hook and an uppercut. Thank you for your videos, they are a treasure among the other Youtube enthusiastic attemts.


Fran June 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Hey Ivan

Thanks you and It’s a deal on the Eurosport thing :-)! I can find nothing to disagree with you on! I have plans for body shot videos (and one on the ‘screw shot’) over the next few weeks, it’ll be good to distinguish the uppercuts from the hooks! Thanks for the contribution Ivan, I feel happy that I can produce stuff that is of interest to someone who clearly looks for the detail!



stewart February 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm

great site and very technical with your explanations which is what I always try and do but you are the king!


Fran February 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Glad you like the descriptions and that they are useful! Thanks Stewart.


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