A Guide to Boxing Styles

No two boxers have the same boxing style.

Your boxing style is the strategic approach you take as a fighter during a bout. 

Whether for fitness, sport or as a professional fighter, you will soon learn that there is a range of different boxing styles. 

Physical attributes may well lean you towards one style or another, but also your personality and temperament will also push you into a boxing style that suits you. 

Physical traits aren’t the only factor in the ring however, as boxing has its mental side too, like a two-piece chess game. 

Tactics and strategy are just as important as physical prowess. Read on for positive and negative features of the different boxing styles and remember, every boxer will find his or her style with practice.

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2 men with different boxing styles training in a boxing ring.

The Swarmer Style

Swarmers like to work in close and literally smother the other fighter with punches. They batter down the defences of their opponent, powered by pure aggression. They expend a tremendous amount of energy. It is a boxing style that doesn’t give opponents time to set up their rhythm.  

  • Swarmers move from the moment the bell rings and don’t stop.
  • They don’t give their opponents the luxury of time.
  • They burn their energy like it’s going out of style.
  • Up against an experienced fighter, they will take a lot of punishment.
  • Defence isn’t their best attribute.

The Slugger Style

The boxing style of a slugger doesn’t seem to indicate any kind of strategy because it isn’t elegant and is based on raw force. A slugger is an aggressor that is always looking to land the knockout punch. He or she is an “in your face” type of fighter that doesn’t back down. This style is to force the other fighter to go on the defensive and backpedal. Their aim is to trap or corner an opponent. Once caught, they punish their opponent into submission. The only problem with this boxing style is that the slugger also has to absorb a lot of punishment, as it leaves them wide open to counter punches.

  • Sluggers are heavy hitters, seeking that golden punch.
  • Their aim is to end the fight quickly.
  • They attack in flurries but are vulnerable when they step back.
Man training a woman using punch pads in a boxing gym.

Read our Boxing Knock Out Tips

The Pressure Fighter Style

The boxing style of this type of fighter is similar to the slugger, but the forward moving aggression is tempered with tight, well-practised combinations of punches. Again, the strategy is to overwhelm their opponent and win points. This style depends on a lot of energy expenditure, so the fighter must not only be in top physical shape but also have strong endurance.

  • Usually very fast with their hands.
  • Hard to get through their defence.
  • Tightly controlled movements.
  • Energy sapping rhythm.

The Counter Puncher Style

This boxing style is based on reaction, not action. It is a wait and watch strategy. Counter punchers make their shots count. They are opportunists who draw the other in and then strike suddenly after an attack. A counter puncher needs to have good footwork and stay calm under pressure. 

  • Old type of boxing style and calm under pressure.
  • More static than the other styles.
  • Hits when the other fighter’s guard is open.
  • Punishes mistakes.
  • Happy to take the long haul.
Boxer evading a punch long reach punch with his guard up in a training ring

The Out Boxer Style

An out boxer uses his or her superior height and arm reach as an advantage. They circle their opponent, keeping them at bay with constant jabs. This tactic ensures that the other fighter can’t get close and within their guard. It also wears down an opponent, effectively tiring the other until heavier punches can be landed.

  • Likes to keep out of reach.
  • Uses constant movement, but use their energy economically.
  • Constant jabs, but also tight defence.
  • Vulnerable if their guard is breached.

The Boxer Puncher Style

The boxer puncher is versatile. He or she can change their boxing style from one moment to the next. It forces their opponent to change their own patterns or tactics. This leads to openings and mistakes that can be taken advantage of.

  • Very dangerous because they are unpredictable.
  • They keep their opponents off balance.
  • An experienced fighter may be able to take advantage during the style changes.

How to Use a Boxing Style to Win

Boxing aficionados are apt to make predictions on the outcome of a bout between two fighters with opposing boxing styles, but boxing is carried out by humans and many factors may influence the outcome of a boxing bout. 

It isn’t all about height, weight and strength. 

Large opponents don’t always win against smaller ones. Determination and temperament also have their part to play, as well as training and fitness. 

Boxing training group laughing with trainer and handing our skipping ropes in boxing gym.

Like any competition between people, boxing has its psychological side too. Half the battle is figuring out your opponent’s moves in advance. 

The movement of hands and feet follow thought. Tactics and strategy are just as important inside the ring as outside. 

Muhammad Ali’s slogan wasn’t just a catchy phrase. 

‘’Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’’ 

It was a tactic that served him well and took him to world championships. 

Ali was never considered to be a heavy hitter in the boxing world, but he won fight after fight with his boxing style against other fighters with different styles and which were famous for absorbing punishment.

Boxing styles are important to pay attention to if you are looking to develop your own unique strategy in the ring. Furthermore, it will help you identify how plan, understand and beat your opponent in the ring.