January 13, 2015
January 13, 2015
Mike Tyson

Boxing - Mike Tyson v Julius Francis - Heavyweight Contest - M.E.N. Arena , Manchester - 29/1/00 Mandatory Credit:Action Images / Nick Potts Mike Tyson hits Julius Francis with a vicious left hook during his two round victory

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The lead hook is perhaps the most effective punch in any champion’s repertoire – if it is delivered correctly. A coach will insist that you work long hours on the bag, and then on the pads, to learn the basic lead hook. It is, in the main, a counter-punch and, as its name suggests, is a bent-arm shot that is used at medium and short range.

The rear hook is slightly different in that, due to it coming from the rear hand, it has to be thrown at short range – both to the head and body. It is best used as part of a combination of punches or as a counter-punch against an opponent rushing in to launch an attack.

The key points to remember when throwing a hook are:

  1. Stay in position
    Hold your head still while looking at your opponent from under your eyebrows. Make sure your rear hand is guarding the jaw, slightly below eye level. Keep your chin down, tucked against the top of your chest.
  2. Hips don’t lie
    The power comes not from the arm but mainly the hips, with a little from the shoulders. The pivot of the shoulders and hips is like a trigger mechanism and crucial to generating power.
  3. Finishing position
    The hook should land with the palm facing downwards in the amateurs but landing with the thumb up is acceptable in the pros.

Lead hook to the head

  1. From the boxing stance, the first action is to slide the front foot forwards towards your opponent – this moves you within punching range. Simultaneously push in off your back foot in order to maintain a balanced, solid base (but don’t let it come off the ground).
  1. The weight shifts slightly to the front foot as the hip and shoulders pivot violently, using the front-facing side of the body as a hinge.
  1. The front arm remains relaxed in the shape of a hook (90-degree angle at the elbow joint) and is whipped in an arc towards its target at the side of the chin.
  1. To enable the hips to pivot, the front foot swivels inwards on the ball of the foot.
  1. At impact, the palm is pointing downwards, though this is not crucial in the professional code.
  1. Keep the rear hand in a high guarding position.
  1. The punch recoil follows the same path back to the on-guard position.

Rear hook to the head

  1. From the boxing stance, the first action is to slide the left foot forwards towards your opponent – this moves you within punching range. Simultaneously push in off your back foot in order to maintain a balanced, solid base (but don’t let it come off the ground).
  1. The weight shifts to the rear foot as the hip and shoulders pivot violently around the front-facing side of the body.
  1. The rear arm remains relaxed in the shape of a hook (90-degree angle at the elbow joint) and is whipped in an arc towards its target at the side of the chin.
  1. To enable the hips to pivot, the rear foot swivels inwards on the ball of the foot.
  1. At impact, the palm is pointing downwards, though this is not crucial in the professional code.
  1. Keep the lead hand in a high guarding position.
  1. The punch recoil follows the same path back to the on-guard position.

This article is an extract from a larger piece in Total Fight Training, the ultimate guide for combat sports participants, currently available on the Boxing News app on iTunes, Google Play and from www.pocketmags.com

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