Boxing Terminology Explained (A to Z)

Boxing vocabulary is deemed as fairly unique terminology and it can be confusing for the causal viewer or even the seasoned fan to be sure of what a certain term means as they can date back hundred of years and come in and out of fashion of regular use.

There are many examples used in everyday lingo today that have come from the sport of boxing. We have devised a list below for you to check and see how many you recognise in every day use of the english language that you didn’t know originally came from boxing.


An example would be 'below the belt' that describes the illegal low blows from boxing, but can equally describe hurting someone unnecessarily or unfairly. The same is true of the phrase 'low blow' which originated from the same offence.


See how many you recognise or know. You can checkout a term you don’t know the meaning of, or refresh yourself with what it actually means and in what context the term is used in with our very own AMPRO boxing dictionary.



Accidental Butt

It is ruled an accidental butt when two fighter’s heads collide and the referee determines that neither fighter intentionally head-butted the other. Typically both fighters are warned to be careful, but no fighter is penalised.

Alphabet Groups

This is a negative term used to describe the numerous sanctioning bodies of boxing; the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, WBF, etc. It makes it hard to determine who is champion and it often makes it difficult for fighters holding different versions of the World Championship’s to face as they may have to relinquish a belt. Since the four-belt era began in 2004, there hasn't been an undisputed heavyweight champion for example.

Amateur Boxing

Competitive boxing matches where neither participant is paid where most professional fighters learn their trade. The pinnacle of Amateur boxing is being a Olympic Champion or a World Champion outside of that. You can also fight for your country and box internationally if you are an elite amateur. Essentially amateur boxing is often referred to as a sport and professional boxing a business.


The section of a boxing ring canvas, on the floor, that extends outside of the ring ropes around the sides of the ring so the platform and under the ring is not exposed.

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To retreat or move backwards, away from an opponent, while still facing him, all in an attempt to avoid an attack.


Is one of 17 different weight classes in professional boxing. This class is for boxers who are within the weight limit of 115-118 pounds. Any deviation from this weight would categorise the boxer in to a different weight class. Historically, the weight limit was much lower, with boxers weighing just 100 pounds being admitted until the new limit was introduced in 1910.

Be First

When your coach tells you to “be first” he or she is wanting you to throw your punches before your opponent. In other words, the trainer wants you to be aggressive and beat them to the punch.

Beat Someone To The Punch

To beat someone to the punch means to do something before they do “be first” and comes from the idea of landing a blow before your opponent. The boxing saying is from 1913 while the figurative meaning came about just a couple of years later.


A type of gong used to signal the start and end of each round in a boxing bout.

Below the Belt

A punch that strays low, below the waistband of a boxer’s trunks. It is considered very unsportsmanlike and is prohibited as an illegal shot. If a boxer hits below the belt they can be given a warning, receive a point sanction, or even disqualified for repeated or a serious deliberate infringement of this rule. After a low hit referees must separate both fighters and ask the boxer who received the strike below the belt if he needs time to recover. Recipients can take a short break if needed, but in most cases this break only lasts about 10 seconds. The phrase gained its figurative meaning in english language around 1889.

Related is a low blow, originally an illegal blow below the waist, and now also an unscrupulous attack or insult.


A boxer who gets cut easily.


Strike or Hit; to punch with a clenched fist.


A detailed description, used by broadcasters, to describe the action as it unfolds in the ring. This term was originally used starting in the early 1920s to describe prize-fight broadcasts. By the 1940s, blow-by-blow was being used in a non-boxing sense as a detailed account of something.

Bob and Weave

Side to side and rolling movements that are used as defence to avoid punches.

Body punches

The body punching is one of the most effective techniques in boxing. It drains energy/stamina and slows down even the most mobile of fighters, it also often lowers your opponents guard down thus setting up hooks to the head. You might sometimes hear commentators saying it is “Putting Money In the Bank For Later” meaning they are not wasting the punches and it will pay off later on 

Body Work

An offensive method of attack that is targeted towards an opponent’s midsection with the intent of wearing him down or knocking the wind out of him/her. There’s an age-old adage in boxing that says

“Go to the body, and the head will fall.”

Bolo Punch

Typically used to distract an opponent, it is a punch that is thrown with the back hand in a circular motion and is a hook combined with an uppercut in a diagonal fashion to his face or the lower body. The difference between an uppercut and a bolo punch is that in the bolo punch, the arm follows a wider trajectory from the body than the uppercut. “Bolo” means machete in the Filipino language. Macario Flores was the first fighter to have reportedly use the punch, but it became more popular and is more commonly associated with Kid Gavilan and Sugar Ray Leonard.


A word used to describe a boxing match or organised fight in boxing.

Boxers Hand Shake

The boxers handshake, commonly known as “touching gloves” is a gesture between boxers, where you extend your glove and your opponent does the same, it is mandatory at the start of the fight but also done in several other times of a fight

  • At the end of the round
  • At the end of the fight

A gesture of respect, e.g after a good shot, round or an apology for doing something unintentionally against the rules or saying sorry for doing it. However the rules explicitly say ‘Protect yourself at all times’ hence boxers have to be careful when touching gloves during the fight as they are open to being sucker punched.


This is a type of fighter who likes to exchange punches and relies on being aggressive and fighting on the inside. The term ‘Brawler’ is a collective term used to describe one of several common styles of boxing. Such as throw large volumes of combinations. Don’t always keep their hands up, assuming an offensive stance. Can take a good shot and like to trade. Rely less on dodging punches and blocking and more on offence, thought off as a “come forward” style fighter


This is the stomach. Some fighters focused their efforts on their opponents' stomachs, such as Joe Frazier. The idea is that they lose their stamina and mobility much faster that way, sapping their opponents energy for later rounds.


Is a weight class in professional boxing created and used by the World Boxing Council (WBC) for fighters between 200 and 224 pounds (91 kg; 14st 3lbs - 101.61kg; 16stone) The weight is named after six-year-old American, Bridger Walker, who saved his four-year-old sister from a stray dog in 2020. In more recent years boxers at the entry point of Heavyweight have struggled due to the size of the average modern day heavyweight fighter, leading to calls in the past for a super heavyweight division to represent the new athlete breed and give an opportunity for the fighters to big for the Light Heavy or Cruiserweight divisions. The IBA, has a similar weight class named super cruiserweight for boxers weighing between 200 pounds (91 kg; 14st 4lb) and 210 pounds (95 kg; 15st 0lb)


This is a command given by a boxing referee to stop the action and separate the fighters.




Although these days the ring flooring can also be vinyl, boxing rings floors were traditionally covered with canvas and are still called that. This is now a general term used to reference the floor of the boxing ring.


This is the line-up of fighters and their opponents that are scheduled on any given boxing event to fight in a bout.


A term used to describe a fight where neither fighter adheres to a traditional weight division, but instead have agreed to a predetermined weight at which they will compete. Catchweight is a ‘compromise weight’. Catchweight is often quite controversial in boxing, it is normally proposed in an effort to matchup people from different weight classes which often compromises one of the fighters and gives one an advantage in size/strength.

Caught Cold

This is a term used to describe a boxer who gets hurt in the opening rounds or is stopped early in the fight. Although not always the case it often happens when the fighter is not mentally or physically ready early on in the fight or has not warmed-up right before the bout.


A boxer who is scheduled to face a champion who holds a belt or the favoured A-Side fighter.


The fighter who holds the title or belt.

Check Hook

This counter-hook is designed to counter the attack of an aggressive fighter. It is executed by pivoting on your lead leg while throwing a hook to catch your forward-charging opponent while moving away.

Chief Second

This is the coach or trainer who is in charge of the fighters corner during the fight


A term used to describe when two fighters grab or hold each other to prevent an exchange of punches or to slow the action and rest. One fighter may also use this tactic when he is hurt, to prevent absorbing additional punishment or “hold on” to finish the round. Clinching is different from Holding in boxing.


This is when at least two punches are thrown in succession, one right after the other, with no break in between.

Come Out Fighting/Swinging

Be immediately aggressive or energetic from the start of the fight

Compulsory Eight Count

Is a rule in boxing and kickboxing requiring the referee to give any fighter a count of eight seconds once they have been knocked down by their opponent, and before the fight is allowed to resume. Even if the fighter gets up before the count reaches eight, the referee is required to count to eight before checking if the fighter is able to continue unless they make a judgement call that the fighter cannot continue. Also see Mandatory Eight Count


This is a qualified opponent who has worked his way up the ranks in order to challenge for the world title or a title belt, often the fighter ranked at No 2 and the mandatory challenger for the title. Can also mean a fighter that is thought of highly as a future champion.

Corkscrew Punch

This is a punch thrown in an overhand, arching motion that twists on impact so that the palm is facing down when the fist lands. It was often used intended to cause a cut but with better gloves this is rarely the case now, although it’s thought of as being more powerful, offering better wrist protection and that it is easier to get around a tight guard and protect your chin at the same time.


Each fighter is given a corner of the ring where he rests in between rounds for 1 minute and where his trainers stand normally a Blue or a Red corner. The neutral corner is the White corner that a fighter is sent to furthest away from an opponent if he has knocked him down. Typically, three men stand in each fighters corner besides the boxer himself; these are the trainer, the assistant trainer and the cutman.


A coach, cutman or person responsible for tending to a fighter between rounds. Sometimes referred to as Seconds. Often the 3rd or 4th man of a fighters corner’s job will be holding a spit bucket or sponge and getting the stool ready or generally assisting the cut’s man and lead trainer.


When an opponent gets knocked down, the ref sends the other fighter to a neutral white corner and then starts counting. The “ten-count” was originally introduced to boxing as “the gentleman's rule” as in never hitting an opponent while he's down. It gives the downed fighter 10 seconds to get back up on his feet, if a fighter does not get up and beat the count it is classed as a KO or knock Out, sometimes a fighter may beat the count but be deemed by the ref as unfit to continue and this is a TKO or Technical Knock Out.  **Also see Mandatory Eight Count and Standing Eight Count


This is is a boxing punch that is thrown either simultaneously or immediately follows their opponents punch. Counter Punchers often let their opponents dictate the pace. See Counter Punching

Counter Punchers

A boxer known for counter punching

Counter Punching

This is when a fighter allows his opponent to dictate the pace of the fight with the intention of throwing their punches after their opponent has attacked. The punch is thrown either simultaneously or immediately after their opponents punch.


This is a defensive move employed by a fighter to avoid getting hit. The fighter holds up their hands and forearms to help cover up their face and body against their opponent's punches to avoid direct contact from an offensive attack.


A power punch thrown usually with the back hand and travels across the fighter’s body thrown with the dominant hand the instant an opponent leads with his opposite hand. The blow crosses over the leading arm, hence its name. It is a power punch like the uppercut and hook. (also commonly called a straight)


Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing less than 200lbs and more than 175lbs can compete in and is classified as a cruiserweight.175–200 lbs (79.37 - 90.71 kg) Also referred to as Junior Heavyweight. Weight limit use to be 190 lbs (86.18 kg) before being changed in 1979.


The individual in the corner who is responsible for controlling any cuts, abrasions, or swelling that could negatively impact a fighter’s ability to perform or continue to fight. Cutmen typically handle swelling, nosebleeds and lacerations.

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This is a technique that involves limiting an opponent’s movement by stepping side to side, cutting him off and not allowing him to move freely around the ring. This keeps your opponent in front of you. He can't get by you so he can only go backwards. By cutting off the ring, you can trap him on the ropes.




This is the verdict rendered by the ringside judges or referee who determine the winner of the bout. This typically occurs at the conclusion of the contest, but can also take place if a foul, accidental butt or type of injury takes place and they have to go to the scorecards


This occurs when one boxer commits too many fouls or a flagrant rule violation and is subsequently disqualified. He automatically loses the bout. Illegal actions include hitting below the belt, to the groin, with the elbow, forearm, knee, foot, ankle, head, or spitting on the opponent, punching the opponent immediately after being separated from a clinch. Being disqualified constitute a loss by DQ on the boxers fight record. It also can be caused by getting thrown out of the ring and not getting back on within 20 seconds.


This is when one fighter purposely goes down for the count or pretends to be knocked out when they are not really hurt. Often called Take A Dive or Taking A Dive

Double End Ball

Also known as the floor to ceiling ball in the uk, is a small, round bag connected both ends to the floor and ceiling by an elastic cord. They can vary in size and shape, with the rebound elasticity able to be adjusted. It offers many ways to perform different punching skill workouts. The Double end bag helps improve rhythm, timing, and accuracy more so than technique. It gives fighters the opportunity to experiment by throwing any kind of punch and very importantly adjust to the punches they miss.

Shop AMPRO range of Floor To Ceiling Balls


Down and Out

A common boxing phrase used for when one boxer is knocked down and fails to get up before the referee reaches the mandatory count of ten or unable to continue fighting. Also used to describe being at rock bottom with little hope, without any money, or means of support, or prospects; destitute; penniless.

Down/Out For The Count

Defeated or overcome (as a boxer who has run out of time to stand up after being knocked down) used to describe someone who is unconscious or very deeply asleep .


A draw will result if all three judges call the fight even or if one judge favours one fighter, a second judge's card supports the other and the third calls the fight a draw. the bout is determined ”even”, with no winner declared. See Technical Draw , Split Draw and Majority Draw also.

Drop/Take Off The Gloves

Abandon civility (from the practice of using bare fists rather than gloves). Now often used to describe someone is prepared to act in an uncompromising or ruthless way. See our Blog about Bare Knuckle Boxing and Professional Boxing History


Dropping under a punch to avoid being hit by it. Not the bird!

Duck and Dive

To repeatedly move your head or the top part of your body quickly down and in different directions, used to avoid being hit. The term is often used now to describe someone who use’s one's cleverness or resourcefulness to avoid or address problems or obstacles. Can also imply someone is involved in dodgy dealings.

Duck and Weave

To repeatedly move from side to side, bobbing up and down in different directions to avoid being hit not dissimilar to Duck and dive.

Duke It Out

To fight, especially with the fists (likely from dukes as rhyming slang for fists; “duke of Yorks” was substituted for forks as slang for fingers or hands). Can also be used now to describe someone arguing.



Eight Count

When one fighter is knocked down or in trouble of being stopped, under some fight organisation rules a referee can make a judgement call and stop the fighting and administer a count of eight to give the fighter time to recover so that he can better assess the situation and determine if the boxer can continue. Also known as a Protection Count, Standing Eight Count, Mandatory Eight Count, or a Compulsory Eight Count. in 1998 the Association of Boxing Commissions abolished the Standing Eight Count Rules. The IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO do not allow the standing eight-count for title fights. In the USA the following states have the standing eight-count in effect

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. It is not allowed in the UK by the BBBofC.


This is an official name for a piece of metal used to reduce swelling on a boxer’s face. Often called a No-Swell or Eye Iron

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Usually refers to a fighter who runs out of gas in the later rounds or who, in terms of his boxing career, is no longer performing at his best or at his peak.

Fall Through The Ropes

A boxer who falls through the ropes. A famous example would be when Jake LaMotta did this to Sugar Ray Robinson.


This weight is intermediate between bantamweight and lightweight. The wight class ranges from 118 to 126 pounds (54 to 57 kg.)


Faking or feinting is a movement with deceptive intention to make an opponent react, throw him off his game or makes him commit to a false move. It's when you show your opponent an intention to do something, but then you do something else. Examples of feints are pretending to punch but then not doing it, pretending to hit the body but then going for the head instead, dipping or sitting down to make your opponent think you are committing to a certain move and using your footwork to indicate a shot about to be thrown in a certain direction.


Punches that are thrown as short decoys, to keep your opponent guessing same as a faint. Often used to hide a power punch.


A term used in the early 1600’s, combining the word fist and cuff, or “blow.” It was commonly used in reference to two men engaging in hand-to-hand Bare-knuckled combat, a form of boxing done without boxing gloves or similar padding. Often used now to to describe two people coming to blows.

Flash Knockdown

This typically describes as a quick knockdown or a brief trip to the canvas where the fighter that goes down was only temporarily caught off-guard or rocked, but suffered no significant damage or no ill-effects. It is sometimes called a No-Count. A flash knockdown usually occurs when a fighter is caught off balance or off guard. It counts the same as any other knockdown, and the fighter who suffers a flash knockdown must take a mandatory eight-count.

Floater Fight

A floater fight is a fight not scheduled for a start time but is fitted in if some bouts end early as a filler for the card so that there isn’t a gap in action before the main event. If this doesn’t happen they will often be put on after the card has finished. Sometimes called a Walkout in USA

Floor To Ceiling Ball

Also known as a Double End Bag in the USA, is a small, round bag connected both ends to the floor and ceiling by an elastic cord. They can vary in size and shape, with the rebound elasticity able to be adjusted. It offers many ways to perform different punching skill workouts. The Double end bag helps improve rhythm, timing, and accuracy more so than technique. It gives fighters the opportunity to experiment by throwing any kind of punch and very importantly adjust to the punches they miss.

Shop AMPRO range of Floor To Ceiling Balls



Flyweight is a class which includes fighters weighing above 49 kg (108 lb) and up to 52 kg (112 lb). This weight is intermediate between Light Flyweight and Super Flyweight.


To break one of boxing’s rules, which can ultimately lead to point deductions if they are repeated. Unfair act or un-sportsmanlike conduct include Low blows, headbutts, rabbit punches, holding, trip, kick, wrestle, bite, spit, push, hit with your head, shoulder, forearm, or elbow etc.

Fringe Contender

This usually refers to a lesser-known or low-ranking fighter who is about to break into the higher rankings, but doesn’t typically pose much of a threat or isn’t thought of as being a main contender.




This is the amount of money generated on-site from the sale of tickets to the event.


Term used to describe a fighter who is not a champion or likely to be, but opponents can establish themselves as a legitimate contender by beating him as only the future champions can or do.

Get Off

This refers to a fighter’s ability to “let his hands go” or throw uninhibited; to mount an effective offensive attack. "you need to get off first"

Glass Jaw

A negative term used to describe a fighter who has a questionable chin. They are often thought of as someone who gets knocked out easily via a single hard blow or is fragile or susceptible to punches. Can be used in urban terms for a person’s or institution’s critical point of weakness, like an Achilles’ heel.

Glutton For Punishment

Glutton meaning an enthusiast for something—a glutton for books, for example—has been in use since the early 1700s. However, the phrase glutton for punishment, one who refuses to give up in a losing situation, is a mid-1800s term that comes from pugilism and is often use din language now to describe someone that is going above and beyond, or undertaking hard or unpleasant tasks. A person who enjoys things that other people dislike


Protective padded cushioned coverings for the hands. Designed to protect both the hand’s of the fighter and their opponent.

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Go the Distance

To fight to the final bell or the duration of an entire fight. Going the distance means fighting a full fight without being knocked out. Often used in sport to describe someone that continue’s running or playing until the end of the race or match.

Go to the Body

An offensive strategy focused on attacking the mid-section or abdominal region, as opposed to concentrating on the head as a fighter’s target.

Go to the Cards

An occurrence where neither fighter is knocked out or stopped before the end of the scheduled fight. The decision, as to who won the fight, is then made by assigned 3 ringside judges who have scored each round as the bout has progressed. You also go to the cards if a fighter is cut and the referee decides it was produced by a collision (unintentional head butt), the judges at ringside must hand over their scorecards, and the fighter ahead on points wins by technical decision. This happens when the fight has gone beyond the fourth round normally. Some federations require the fight to be in the fourth round, and other federations and most championship fights require the fight to be at minimum past the halfway point (five rounds for a 10-round bout, and six rounds for a 12-round fight). See Technical Draw for if the fight is stopped before this point.

Go Down Swinging

Persist in fighting until the end (from the notion of a boxer fighting up to the point at which he or she is knocked out) to still be throwing punches right until the end of the fight. Often used now to describe someone that know’s they will probably fail, but refuse to give up.

Governing Body

The organisation who dictates the rules of each bout and sanctions or approves fights and is responsible for the rules and safety of the sport.


Groggy inside the boxing ring, means weakened, hence staggering, shaky, unsteady or dazed. It came from grog, an old-time alcoholic beverage. We often use the word now as meaning sleepy or a little out of it.

Groin Protector

A type of protective gear that is typically made of fabric and foam and fits around a fighter’s waist to protect his hips, upper abdomen and groin area to guard against punches that accidentally land “below the belt.” It can be called many things now such as Abdo Guard, Abdominal Guard, Low- Blow Protector or Groin Guard.

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Hand Wraps

In order to protect their fists in training and sparring, fighters wrap their hands in tape, gauze or cotton bandages that have specifically been designed for boxing called Hand Wrap’s.

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Have (someone) In Your Corner

When the boxer has a coach or mentor and corner aids outside of the corner of the boxing ring assist him between rounds. Often used outside of boxing to describe when you have someone who supports, defends, or assists you.


Use to be a desperation punch thrown with full force and with the intent to knock an opponent out. Haymakers are often thought of now as power punches that are fully leveraged.

Head Butt

When two fighter’s head collides or come together. This occasionally happens by accident or is sometimes employed as a blatant foul. A intended head butt is considered a flagrant foul that could result in disqualification of the offender. An accidental clash of heads can sometimes lead to a fight being declared a Technical Draw or the fight having to Go To The Scorecards

Head Hunting

A term used to describe a boxer who focuses most of his attention on striking his opponent in the face and head, thereby, ignoring body punching. Used in the english language to often describe someone seeking you out for a specific job or role.

Heavy Hitter

A boxer who has heavy hands and is known for landing hard punches. Often used now to describe an influential or powerful person, known for being a key figure in their field.


Professional boxing bouts are divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing over 200lbs (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb) is classified as heavyweight by 3 of the 4 major professional boxing organizations the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Association (WBA), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO).In 2020, the World Boxing Council increased their heavyweight classification to 224 pounds to allow for their creation of the bridgerweight division.

Hit Below The Belt

An illegal low blow in boxing from landing a punch below an opponent’s waist. Often used now to describe when someone has said something often to personal and intended to insult or hurt the person. See Below the Belt

Hitting On The Break

Hitting on the break occurs when a referee breaks up two fighters who are clinching but instead of the fighter taking a mandatory full step back, he hits his opponent.

Hold On

As per clinch but often referred to when a fighter is hurt and is trying to see out the round or the immediate danger by Holding On.


Holding and especially “holding and hitting” are illegal in boxing. Referees can break fighters apart, deduct points, or even disqualify them for excessive holding. Clinching is different from holding, which is illegal in boxing. Holding is usually considered wrapping your arm around the opponent’s waist or another body part, typically while leaving yourself an arm free to still throw punches.


This punch is often thrown with the lead or front hand (Left Hook if an orthodox fighter) and is delivered in a semi-circular pattern. The hook is executed by bringing your elbow up and rotating the front side of your body (in a similar motion as slamming a door) whilst pivoting off the front foot. It is meant to reach beyond your opponent’s guard and make contact with the side of his head or chin. Hooks can produce some of the hardest hits and can cause major damage. You can throw a hook with your non leading hand, but it is best used as a counter or in a close in exchange. The right hook (If an orthodox fighter) is difficult to throw from the outside without giving your opponent ample time to adjust defences.

Hook and Jab Pads

A pair of foam pads that a boxing trainer wears on his hands to provide moving targets for his boxer to punch. These pads are used to mimic an opponent’s movement, to practice specific punches, accuracy, speed and combinations to develop specific boxing skills such. More often called Focus Pads or Punch Mitt’s now.

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This is also called “inside fighting” and is when fighters exchanging punches at close-range. In-fighters tend to close the gap between themselves and their opponents to fight at close range on the inside.

Inside Fighting

Inside-fighters or In-Fighters tend to stay close to the opponent at all times, using short and medium range hooks and uppercuts. Some people find this style more entertaining to watch.




The jab is a punch that is thrown with your front lead hand (the left, for right-handed orthodox style boxers and right for left handed south paw fighters), and delivered straight at your opponent. A jab can be used to keep the opponent at a distance, find your range, set you up for a more powerful back hand and be used while moving backwards defensively. The old saying in boxing goes “A good backhand can take you round the block but a good jab can take you around the world”. The word jab was first used in 1825, to mean "to thrust with a point." The term is a Scottish variant of the word job, which means "to strike, pierce, thrust.


This is a term that use to means a fighter who is always “in the game,” so a competent boxer but not typically considered good enough to be a Champion or in Title Contention. Journeymen was constantly on their own journey (never arriving) and part of a future champion’s journey to notoriety. We would call these journeyman fighters, fringe contender’s or gatekeepers now. A journeyman today is an away fighter that loses more than he wins and used by up-and-coming fighters to test their skills while learning and developing. Journeyman don’t always come to try and win, with many fighting several times in a month so needing to go the distance and survive so as not to get a stoppage and a set timed suspension from fighting.

Junior Heavyweight

Junior heavyweight or Cruiserweight is a weight class in boxing between light heavyweight and heavyweight. 176 pounds (80 kg; 12 st 8 lb) to 200 pounds (90.7 kg; 14 st 4.0 lb).
The WBC now have a weight after this and before Heavyweight called Bridgerweight



Keep (one’s) Guard Up

Keep your guard up is when you use your hands to block or “guard” you from incoming strikes. You will often hear a coach shouting this instruction and it serves as a warning to be careful and expectant of an offensive attack and to stay alert. This term is used in the english language as a warning to raise your guard and be careful. To be on the lookout or ready for something or someone.

Kidney Punch

This is an illegal blow in Boxing and MMA thrown at an opponent’s lower back, usually while in a clinch or as a counterpunch. Kidney punches are illegal in boxing for good reason as a hard blow to a kidney can leaving you urinating blood, bruise or cut the organ, or even tear it loose from the blood vessels that supply it.

Killer Instinct

Is used to describe a fighter that recognises the best opportunity to finish of his opponent and seizes the moment. It was first used to describe American prizefighter Jack Dempsey in the early 1930s. The first citation of it in the OED is “[Dempsey] had more fighting spirit and more of the sheer killer instinct in him than was in all four of them rolled together.” Now the term often refers the drive to succeed aggressively in anything and at any cost.

Kissed the Canvas

When a boxer is knocked down face first. It’s a rare knockdown as it means the fighter was knocked out cold before they hit the canvas and the fighter falling down forwards. Normally momentum from the punch, from the fighter defensively leaning or moving backwards or from the punch impact, will see the fighter moving back and naturally falling that way. (Many concessions occur or are intensified from the head hitting the canvas from a knock down)


Means lips, sometimes a good punch will be called a 'lip smacker'


A knockdown, is when one fighter falls to the floor of the ring and any part of their body, other than the foot, touches the canvas as a result of a punch from their opponent. A fighter may continue to the fight after a knockdown, if they can prove to the referee that they are healthy enough to continue. A knockdown may turn into a knockout if the fighter does not get up before the ref’s 10 count or is unable to remain standing, he is officially KO’ed.


 If a fighter is rendered unconscious, cannot stand after being knocked-down, or is unable to continue for any reason under their physical control by the count of ten, he or she would be considered knocked-out and loses the contest. Sometimes no ten count is needed given that fighter is indeed unconscious or unresponsive and the ref will make the decision to wave the fight off immediately so medical attention can be given to the fighter. A knockout can in some jurisdictions be called, when the boxer has been knocked down three times in one round. The Three Knockdown Rule is not in effect with the BBBofC or in fights commissioned by the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO. The following USA states have the three knockdown rule in effect

Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.




Lacing are the “shoestrings” that tie inside the wrists of the lace up gloves. Lace up gloves are normally used alongside tape and offer greater support for the fighters.

Lb for lb

Pound for Pound is a ranking used in combat sports to determine the best fighter overall in any weight class. It originated with and is commonly used to describe Sugar Ray Robinson, whose skill and overall ring generalship would translate into and transcend any weight division making him the best fighter overall.

To Lace

Means to rub the laces across the opponent’s face in hopes of cutting her/him. Lennox Lewis is a fighter well known for doing this.

Lace Up

Used to describe someone getting ready for a fight, stemming from the process of lacing up boxing gloves. Also describes a glove that has no hook and loop strap but laces for a more secure fit.

Laced Up 

Can mean someone ready to fight or to beat or knock some one out in a fight.

Lead Right

A lead right is a A ‘right hand jab' from an orthodox fighter
delivered in place of a normal lead jab (Left hand for an orthodox fighter). It is harder to execute because it has to travel further giving the opponent more time to react, so it has to be thrown quickly and catch an opponent off-guard. Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather was famous for using a lead right to open up their opponents.

Lead With (One’s) Chin

Take a risk and throw caution to the wind (from the inadvisable act of exposing one’s chin). It is often used to describe someone that has dropped their guard and is just throwing punches, using offence as a defence.

Light Flyweight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing
between 105 - 108 lbs (47.62 - 48.98kg) can compete in and is classified as a light flyweight. Also known as junior flyweight in some boxing organisations. Their is only one weight division below this the Strawweight.

Light Heavyweight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing 168 pounds (76 kg) and up to 175 pounds (79 kg) can compete in and is classified as a light heavyweight. Falling between super middleweight and cruiserweight weight divisions. This division is sometimes called junior cruiserweight

Light Middleweight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing above 147 pounds and up to 154 pounds (66.7– 69.9 kg) can compete in and is classified as a light middleweight. It is contested between Welterweight and Middleweight divisions and is also known as junior middleweight in the IBF or super welterweight in the WBA and WBC

Light Welterweight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing 140lbs to 135 lbs (61.2 - 63.5kg) can compete in and is classified as a light welterweight. It is contested between the lightweight and welterweight divisions.


Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Lightweight is a weight division in professional boxing fro over over 130 pounds (59 kilograms) and having an upper limit of 135 pounds (60.7 kilograms), It is contested between junior lightweight and junior welterweight.

Lineal Champion

This is when a fighter wins the title from the fighter who won the title and it has been passed down through a direct line of champions. It is, in essence, “the man who beat the man.” With different championships now it is sometime determined as the person that beat the main champion or main man in the peoples eyes to hold that belt. Even if they vacate that belt until the person that is then holding that belt defeats him they would not be considered a lineal champion.

Low Blow

This is any punch that is thrown or strays below the waistband of a boxer’s shorts. It can also be an imaginary line at the base of the midsection, where the referee had deemed a shot will be illegal.



Main Event

The main fight on a card.


Most often this is used to describe a fighter who likes to fight wildly on the inside and uses roughhouse tactics to nullify their opponent’s effectiveness, fighting at high intensity with great aggression. A fighter who mauled or batters the opponent; his opponent. Jack Dempsey is famous for this style of fighting.

Majority Decision

A decision awarded by the majority but not all of the judges. When two of the three judges score it for one fighter, while the third judge scores it as a draw.

Majority Draw

When two of the three judges score the fight as a draw, while the third judge scores it for one of the fighters. If all three judges have a different result see Split Decision Draw

Mandatory eight count

The mandatory eight count, also called a compulsory eight count, is a rule in boxing and kickboxing requiring the referee to give any fighter a count of eight seconds once they have been knocked down by their opponent, and before the fight is allowed to resume. Even if the fighter gets up before the count reaches eight, the referee is required to count to eight before checking if the fighter is able to continue unless they make a judgement call that the fighter cannot continue. 


Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing between 154 lb (70 kg) and up to 160 lb (73 kg) can compete in and is classified as a middleweight. It is between the weight divisions Super Middleweight and Super Welterweight.

Minimum weight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing 105lbs or less can compete in and is classified as a minimum weight. Also called Strawweight by some boxing organisations.


A bump or isolated area of swelling and bruising on a fighters face, forehead or head. A common place for a mouse to occur, or swelling, is around the fighter's eye.

Mouth Guard

A piece of protective equipment that is constructed of a dense rubber material, molded to a fighter’s mouth to protect his teeth, gums and jaw from injury. Can often be called Gum Shields or Mouth Pieces also.

Shop AMPRO range of Mouth Guards



Neutral Corner

Each of the two fighters are assigned a red or blue corner with his corner team. A neutral corner is the two white corners of the ring and are considered “neutral territory.” Neither fighters cornermen, managers nor medical assistants of either boxer are stationed there. It is required for the boxer who had knocked down the other fighter, to go to the furthest neutral corner from his knocked out opponent. They remain there in the neutral corner while a count is administered by the referee.


If a fight is stopped before the end of a certain amount of rounds due to an accidental head butt or injury and they don’t go to the scorecards, no winner is selected. Also see No-Decision below.


Is when a fight is prematurely ended due to an unintentional head butt or cut, it can be ruled a no-contest or no decision. Although uncommon in combat sports, except in white-collar boxing, is also when it has been pre-determined by both fighters that a particular fight will not go on their records, for a variety of reasons, for example if both boxers were still standing at the bout's conclusion and there was no knockout, no decision was rendered and neither boxer was declared the winner.



On the Ropes

Whether purposely, as a defensive technique, or he is forced to fight from this position by a more aggressive opponent, a fighter who lays against the ring ropes is considered “on the ropes.” Often used though when a fighter is pushed up against the ropes of the boxing ring by his opponent and he’s in big trouble. Hence, the figurative meaning of on the ropes is being near defeat or in poor condition and in trouble (an analogy to an exhausted boxer who is hanging onto a rope on the perimeter of the ring)

One-Two Punch

A combination punch in boxing. As an orthodox fighter a left-hand jab immediately followed by a right cross. Used now in every day terminology to describe a sequence of two impactful things, normally used when it is two negative events that happen at the same time or in rapid succession.


A right-handed fighter who leads with a left jab and uses his back hand the right and more powerful dominant hand as his cross.


 If one fighter outpoints another, they win the match by getting more points. In professional boxing judges look for effective aggression, where the aggressor consistently lands his punches and avoids those from his opponent, ring generalship, good defence, hard and clean landed punches.

Outside Fighter

Out-fighter is a boxer who prefers to fight from the outside and seek to maintain a gap typically behind a long jab to maintain the distance alongside good footwork and ring generalship. They fight with faster, longer range jabs and straights (as opposed to hooks and uppercuts). Out-fighters are the opposite of the in-fighters. They tend to win by points/decisions rather than by knockout, although some out-fighters have notable knock out punches and ability to up pressure down the straight after wearing out their opponents.


A punch that is delivered in an arching motion, traveling downward on the opponent with etc rear or back hand. This shot is referred to as the overhand right because it comes over your opponent’s lead hand, as opposed to the straight right which goes through the guard. It is usually employed when the opponent is bobbing or slipping. The shifting of the body weight while throwing this shot can deliver a great deal of power using your hips and shoulders with the swing, you build up a large amount of torque and velocity, which equates to power. (Sometimes called an overcut or drop)




This is an old boxing term used to describe a fighter who is uneducated, who is lacking in ability and/or who is generally clumsy, it originated around 1926, and is credited to Jack Conway, the editor of Variety magazine. Joe Palooka was a 1920s comic that featured a dim-witted boxer with a heart of gold, which helped popularise the oafish meaning of the word. It was used as an insult or a substitute for a curse word. The term has started to dwindle away in the boxing universe, but was very popular in what is often called the ‘golden age’ of boxing around the 1920s to 40s.


This is when you not only block an incoming punch, but actually re-direct it away from your body or the intended target.


When you don’t fully commit to a punch and throw it with any real intent to land, but more like you are testing the waters or trying to get your opponent to commit to a punch, this is referred to as “pawing.”


This style of fighting was attributed to legendary trainer Cus D’Amato and involved placing your hands high in front of your face, to protect most of it from the opponent’s punches and providing a lot of angles to throw shots while moving your upper torso rapidly from side to side. The stance makes it much easier for the fighter to jab due to the hand already being at the proper height as opposed to having to bring it up from chest-level or lower and is effective in getting a higher on the inside to throw uppercuts and hooks. Mike Tyson was famous for employing this type of style.

Picking-off Punches

 A term used when punches are blocked or redirected before they land.

Playing Possum

This is when a fighter acts like he is hurt or tired in an attempt to lure his opponent in and carelessly leave himself open or gas him self out, while attempting to take advantage of the “vulnerable” fighter. It is taken from the act where opossums fall over and appear to be dead when the animal is frightened. People use it to describe someone play acting being still.


A heavy-footed, slow fighter with little agility who consistently moves forward is considered “a plodder.” It comes from the same term that means someone that work’s slowly and steadily but without showing enthusiasm or having new ideas.


In late 18th century pugilism slang, a brave fighter was said to have pluck. Pluck in earlier times referred to the heart and entrails of a slaughtered animal, or that which could be “plucked” from a carcass. The figurative sense in fighting was that of courage, which at the time was believed to come from the heart.

Point Deduction

When a point is taken away from a fighter for a blatant foul or rule infraction occurs. It can also happen after several warnings have been issued, such as in a case of unintentional, but repeated low blows from a fighter.


Lb for Lb is a ranking used in combat sports to determine the best fighter overall in any weight class. It originated with and is commonly used to describe Sugar Ray Robinson, whose skill and overall ring generalship would translate into and transcend any weight division making him the best fighter overall in many peoples opinion.

Power Punches

To put it simply, a power punch is any punch other than a jab. Boxers generally throw a left jab and follow it up with a power punch depending on the situation.The power is subject to much debate in the realm of boxing judging. Some people judge a fight based on effective punches and might argue that a power punch is ‘worth’ more than a Jab, hence you get a difference of opinion in some fights on who won. At Ampro we believe the art of boxing is hit and don’t get hit, but we appreciate the excitement of watching a fighter that is aggressive.


An outdated word that originated from the Latin word “pugil” which means a fist-fighter or boxer, normally associated with a professional. The term Pugilistic is the adjective.


A defensive move where a fighter leans away from or pulls back to avoid being hit.

Pull Counter

 This is a type of defensive-counterpunch combination. It requires a fighter to anticipate when his opponent is going to throw the punch, to pull away just far enough for him to miss, but stay close enough in range to land a counter-cross in return.

Pull (One’s) Punches

Hold back from using full force or full resources (as when a boxer does not use his or her full strength). Not to hit as hard as you can. You will hear the term "pulled no punches” used outside if boxing to describe someone that doesn’t hold back.

Pull Your Punches

When a punch is not delivered at full force and with less power. Fighters sparring each other may pull their punches for a light spar. Some fighters may do it in a competitive match as a feint or to set up traps to open up their opponent. It is used outside boxing to describe someone being less forceful, severe, or violent than one could be.


That’s when you propel one of your fists forward by unbending your elbow, directed toward one’s opponent. There are four basic punches; the jab, the cross, the hook and the uppercut.

Puncher’s Chance

A term used to describe the type of fighter, who although may be outclassed boxing, still possesses the kind of knock out power to end a fight with one punch. He could clearly not outbox his opponent, but would always have a chance to win based on his power to KO them.

Punch Bag

A soft filled round bag suspended so it can be punched for exercise or training, especially by boxer. If someone is called a punchbag it indicated a person on whom another person vents or takes out their anger on.


Punch Drunk means dazed or fatigued (from the notion of a boxer disoriented from receiving multiple blows). Later, punch-drunk came to mean a neurological condition seen often in boxers and formally known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Punchy is sometimes used to describe someone that has been boxing to long and taking to many blows and it shows. Being Punchy in the English language outside of boxing means having an immediate impact; forceful.

Punch Mitts

A pair of foam pads that a boxing trainer wears on his hands to provide moving targets for his boxer. These pads are used to mimic an opponent’s movement, to practice specific punches and combinations and develop specific boxing skills. This is an American term, in the UK they used to be known as Hook and Jab Pads or Focus Pads but are now often called Boxing Mitts or Pads

Shop AMPRO range of Hook and Jab Pads



The amount of money a boxer earns or is being paid for a fight.

Purse Bid

For Title belt fights under a given sanctioning body, the two fighters' (champion and challenger) promoters/managers usually get together to establish an agreement for how much each side will receive. If the two sides can't agree, it will sometimes go to a "Purse Bid" where the process is opened up to any promoter that would like to put on the fight. They submit closed bids for how much they're willing to pay in purses and the highest bidder wins the right to put on the fight. In such cases, the champion usually gets a higher percentage and the challenger a lower percentage and the total purse is simply split between the two by formula.

Put Up Your Dukes

Said by someone as an invitation to fight (see “Duke It Out”) Fork was slang for "hand" or "fist," and the phrase "Dukes of York" was created as rhyming slang for “fork." Shortened to Dukes being fists.


This is a traditional term used to describe any combatant who competes against another for “prize money” or an award.


Used in many forms of entertainment, but in relation to boxing, the term refers to an individual or entity that arranges boxing matches for a show. This typically includes arranging the purse for the fighters, paying everyone involved in the promotion, obtaining the necessary licensing, advertising the event, ticket sales, securing a venue to stage the matches, bringing in revenue streams from TV and advertising. They take the profit left over from the event.



Rabbit Punch

An illegal punch to the back of the head or neck which is dangerous as it can damage the spinal cord. It is called that because of its similarity to the way that hunters used to kill rabbits.

Ring Generalship

This is the manner in which a fighter controls the pace, style and tactics in the ring and strategically outmanoeuvre his opponent.

Ring/Round Card Girls

Combat sports used to regularly feature women who carry a numbered sign or “card” in the ring during the rest period. This informs or reminds the audience which round is coming up next, with Women’s boxing exploding in popularity wether they will remain as part of boxing tradition remains to be seen.


A seat in the front row or right next to the boxing ring for a fight is considered “ringside.” The term ringside seat when used in the english language means a position close to an incident or event or chain of events


 This term applies to running, jogging or sprinting workout that fighters do in training preparation for a fight.

Roll with the Punches

To roll or ride with the punches, the ability to move one’s head and body with a punch to reduce its impact or turn in that same direction so that it doesn’t land cleanly to lessen the blow. It is used in everyday speech to describe adapting to adverse circumstances


Against the ropes is usually a bad place to be during a boxing fight, because it means your opponent has you trapped. This is where the expression “on the ropes” comes from. Like “he really had me on the ropes.” Muhammad Ali famously against George Forman use the ropes to his advantage, using the elasticity of the ropes to lean back, absorb some of the impact of the punches, wearing him out while storing some of his own stamina fro later. Ali coined the phrase Rope A Dope for this practice.


When you maintain a defensive posture on the ropes in an attempt to outlast or tire your opponent. It is most recognised and was actually given that name by Muhammad Ali when he employed the technique to defeat George Foreman in the Rumble In The Jungle.


When an opponent uses “questionable” offensive tactics or is highly physical and aggressive to to nullify their opponent's effectiveness boxing.


Period of time during a boxing match. Professional boxing amount of rounds range from 3 to 12 rounds, each round normally lasting three minutes for Men and 2 minutes for Women. Amateur Boxing is now also three minute rounds for Men and 2 minute rounds for Women, although the total amount of rounds boxed is normally three rounds for men and four rounds for women.


The time periods in a boxing match for fighting. Most commonly they are three minutes long, with one-minute breaks in between. The number of rounds varies from match to match but is generally between 3-12 rounds in professional boxing.

Rubber Match

When two fighters have fought twice, each having won one of the previous matches, the 3rd fight, deciding who will win the best of three, is called a rubber match.



Sanctioning Body

An organisation that regulates and approves fights. Sanctioning bodies dictate the rules and guidelines that any bout is fought under.

Saved by the Bell

In some governing body rules if a round ends before a knocked down fighter can be counted out he is considered to have been “saved by the bell.” Under older prizefighting rules a round used to end when a fighter had got up from a knockdown.


One of a fighter’s cornermen.

Shadow Boxing

A type of training to work on technique or as warm-up exercise used to describe when a fighter mimics sparring or fighting an imaginary opponent. The term comes from when the fighter observes his shadow or his reflection in a mirror.


An offensive technique used for inside fighting, where you change your lead foot, shifting your weight to gain more power. You are basically changing from orthodox to southpaw as you deliver a punch.

Shoe Shine

A series of flashy punches, in quick succession, that look impressive, but do little damage. Shoeshine flurries are often thrown with improper punching technique and focus on pure speed. The reason why it's called a shoeshine is because your hands are held in a vertical manner as your fists go up and down, similar to two hands polishing a shoe with a cloth.


This refers to a fighter who has taken too much punishment or suffered too much wear and tear on his body over the course of his career and it is showing in his performances.

Shoulder Roll

This is a defensive move where a fighter leaves his front arm low and drapes it across his midsection, with his chin tucked into his chest behind the shoulder. So that when his opponent throws a punch he can use his shoulder to block or roll with it. This is done so that the defensive fighter is able to counter back with either hand, because neither was used for blocking.


Sometimes used to describe someone that has taken to many blows it is officially a neurological condition seen often in contact sports and known officially as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.


When you move your head and body to avoid getting hit.


Slipping is an advanced defensive boxing technique that allows you avoid a punch without having to use your arms, making it easier to counter punch.


A literally or figuratively combative event where both boxers are aggressive, trying to knock each other out with heavy blows and little regard for boxing defensive skills.


A Southpaw is a left-handed fighter or someone who is left hand dominant, so they lead with the right hand and foot. It can also be referred to as an "unorthodox stance”. The term actual comes from the sport of Baseball from the 1880s when Chicago Daily News sports reporter Finley Peter Dunne coined the term when covering the then-named Chicago White Stockings games. Dunne described a left-handed pitcher as a "southpaw." Since the ballpark faced east and west, home plate was west and a left-hander would pitch from the south with his “paw” and the term "southpaw" was born.


This is used in the gym with the aim of improving fitness, technique and skills in preparation of a fight or to improve the fighter and put into practice skills they are learning. It should be much less intense than an actual fight, incorporating larger padded gloves, headgear.

Shop AMPRO range of Sparring Gloves


Sparring Partner

 This is a term used to describe another boxer that a fighter trains with and spars against, in order to prepare for a “real” bout. It is used to also describe a person with whom one continually argues or contends.

Speed Ball / Speed Bag

Often called a Speedball in the UK and Speed Bag in the USA. Both essentially the same thing an inflatable tear shaped bag that come in various sizes with the smallest being harder to hit. They're light and fast and force you to have quick reactions. You use a speed ball to focus on hand eye coordination, hand speed and conditioning.

Shop AMPRO range of Speed Balls


Spit Bucket

The bucket or container a corner uses to carry their supplies, but is primarily used between rounds for the fighter to spit excess water into so that he doesn’t swallow too much water during the course of a bout.

Split Decision

When two of the three judges score the bout for one fighter and one judge scores it for the other.

Split Decision Draw

When two judges score the bout winner for separate fighters and the other judge scores it a draw.

Square Off

To assume a fighting stance or prepare to fight. The use of it in the english language to describe prepare for conflict comes from the tradition of boxers standing facing each other at the beginning of a match. Squared off is often used to describe people that exchanged blows.


When two fighters train in the same gym or fight for the same manager or promoter, they are oftentimes called stablemates.

Standing Eight Count

If permitted in the rules of a fight, also known as a protection count, is a boxing judgment call made by a referee during a bout. When invoked, the referee stops the action and counts to eight if he feels a fighter needs protection. If the boxer is unsteady on his feet, or seems unable to focus on the referee, the bout is ended on account of a TKO. Standing Eight Counts are not widely used in professional boxing now but are used in Amateur boxing.

Stepping Stone

A term that describes any fighter being used to improve another boxer’s position or standing in boxing. This typically refers to an athlete who has name recognition or has had some level of success, but is no longer “a threat” to win.

Stick and Move

This is an offensive style of fighting that incorporates planting the foot, releasing a powerful jab and then moving before the counterattack of the opponent.

Straight From The Shoulder

In boxing, a punch that comes straight from the shoulder is an effective punch that is delivered with full force. Also means direct and forthright, in the English language an analogy to a blow delivered using one’s full strength from boxing.


Called Mini Flyweight with the WBO. Minimumweight with the WBC,WBA and IBF who standardised their division names in 2015, also known as strawweight in amateur boxing and with Ring Magazine, it is a weight class in combat sports. In boxing it is for under 105 lbs (47.62 kg)


A fighter who uses skill and technique more than power. Looks good moving around the ring with high level off skill in footwork, head movement and technique.

Sucker Punch

In boxing it is a punch thrown at an unsuspecting victim before or after the bell has sounded for a round or after the fight has ended. Hitting on the break which occurs when a referee breaks apart two boxers who are clinching, and one boxer instead of taking a mandatory full step back immediately hits his opponent is classed as a sucker punch also. Although not illegal the maxim in boxing is to protect yourself at all times if a boxer goes to touch gloves and it is not instructed by the referee it wouldn’t be illegal for a fighter to throw a punch at his unsuspecting victim, this is also considered a sucker punch and poor sportsmanship. Outside the ring it would be used to describe a punch made without warning or while the recipient is distracted, allowing no time for preparation or defence on the part of the recipient

Super Middleweight

Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing between 160 pounds (73 kg) and 168 pounds (76 kg) can compete in and is classified as a super middleweight. It is between the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.



Take A Dive

Throw the fight; pretend to be knocked out. Usually done for gambling or in the past mob-related purposes. One of the more famous examples was Jake LaMotta throwing a match in order to get a title shot.

Take It On The Chin

The term originated from boxing and usually implies taking a heavy blow well without falling or being KO’d. Often used now to reference someone stand up to criticism or continuing to operate be it in business or in your personal life after a serious setback.

Technical Decision

A technical decision is a term used in boxing when a fight has to be stopped because of an accidental injury (usually cuts caused by an unintentional headbutt). Generally, most organisations accept the four round or the halfway point as the right distance for a fight to be won or lost by technical decisions. If the fight is stoped before this point it is a draw.

Technical Draw

When a bout is stopped early because a fighter is unable to continue from an accidental injury (usually cuts caused by an unintentional headbutt) or unintentional foul. Generally, most organisations accept the four round or the halfway point as the right distance for a fight to be won or lost by technical decisions. If the fight is stoped before this point it is a draw.

Technical Knockout

This is also called a TKO and is the ending of a fight, determined by the referee as they believe the boxer is in no fit state to defend themselves. This does not require the permission of the boxer or his trainer. It can happen when a fighter is getting hit too much or has been dropped repeatedly, or even when a boxer has beat the count after a knockdown, the referee may stop the fight anyway , if he feels its in the fighters best interest. Over the decades, the cutoff for when to give a TKO has gotten stricter, as our knowledge of the dangers cause by concussions and taking unnecessary blows to the head has increased.

The Gloves Are Off

In boxing it means someone is fighting in a more serious way. Used outside of the sport to describe when someone begins to go hard, hold nothing back and act mercilessly. In reference to boxing without gloves from the bareknuckle day’s of the sport when gloves was not worn.

Throw in the Towel

When a fighter’s corner tosses a towel into the ring in order to stop the fight. It is usually due to their fighter taking too much punishment and is in danger of becoming injured but attempts to continue fighting or he deems the fight to be a losing battle and sees no point of the fight continuing. A referee does not have to cease the fight at this point if they deem the fighter as fit to continue but normally he will wave it off at this point. This convention comes from an earlier one of throwing up a sponge to admit defeat, hence another giving-up phrase, “to throw (or chuck) up the sponge.”

Throw one's hat in the ring

While throwing in the towel signifies giving up, throwing one’s hat in the ring shows you’re ready for a fight. This custom is from at least the early 1800s, a time when most men wore hats, and throwing it in the ring formerly indicated a challenge. Often sued now outside boxing to announce one's candidacy or enter a contest, today the saying nearly always refers to political candidacy.


When two fighters don’t back down, stand directly in front of each other and exchange punches. Saying comes literally from the fighters being toe to toe with no distance between them. The idiom refers to be willing or able to compete or fight with someone in a strong, forceful, determined way

Touching Gloves

The boxers handshake, commonly known as “touching gloves” is a gesture between boxers, where you extend your glove and your opponent does the same. It is only mandatory at the start of the fight. But fighters will often extend this at the end of the round, a gesture of respect, e.g after a good shot, an apology for doing something dirty. However the rules explicitly say ‘Protect yourself at all times’ hence boxers should not get the wrong idea when touching gloves during the fight as it leaves them open to a Sucker Punch

Trial Horse

This refers to a fighter who is used as a test for prospects to give them experience and gauge his ability or readiness to step-up in class. A “trial horse” is usually a tough, durable fighter with some ability who will fight back, but poses no real threat to win. Some journeymen are former contenders or even develop into them.


 A type of defensive technique used when a fighter clinches or locks his opponent’s arms against his body so that they cannot throw punches in return.



Unanimous Decision

When all three judges agree and score the bout for one fighter.


These are the fights that lead up to the main event. The undercard usually consists of two or more fights.


This is a label given to a competitor or athlete who is believed to have little or no chance of winning a fight. The word ''underdog'' comes from dogfights in the late 19th century. In those fights, two dogs attacked each other and the loser was named the ''underdog''. The winner was termed as the ''top dog’'.


Unlicensed is any bout not sanctioned by the official governing body. Often these fights are fought under the same rules of professional boxing and it is sometimes referred to as semi pro boxing.


A punch thrown in an upward fashion, up the middle of a fighters guard intended to make impact on the point of his chin or stomach. It is delivered from a crouched position, with your hands up and, as you twist your upper torso, you extend your hand out and up slightly to make contact. This can be thrown with either hand.

Up To Scratch

Used to describe if someone is good enough or as good as expected. It might surprise you to know the phrase comes from when pugilists' used to fight, a line was scratched on the ground to which the contestants had to put their forward foot before the fight could begin.


A fighter at the start of his career who shows potential.

Up To Scratch

The scratched line that specified the positions of boxers who faced each other at the beginning of a bout. This is also the source of idiom, meaning to meet the required standard, as pugilists would have had to do when lining up for a fight.



Walkout Bout

Often, these are fights scheduled as “filler” and when the main bouts end early, they are tacked on at the end of the card to make the fight card last longer.


When the stomach and muscled abs resembles a clothes washing board is a description from 1950’s boxing jargon.

Weight Class

Boxers are categorised and compete in specific weight divisions. These are weight classifications or “class” for short. Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” A weight class is a standardised weight range for boxers. The lower limit of a weight class is equal to the upper weight limit of the class below it. A boxer may fight different matches at different weight classes. The trend for professionals is to move up to a higher class as they age. Winning titles at multiple weight classes to become a “multiple champion” is considered a major achievement.

Original Weight Classes In Boxing

200+ lbs (+90.71 kg)
160+ lbs (+72.57 kg) in 1738 by Broughton's Rules; 175+ lbs (+79.37 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; 190+ (+86.18 kg) lbs in 1979 and finally 200+ lbs (+90.71 kg)

Light heavyweight
168–175 lbs (76.20 - 79.37 kg)
175 lbs (79.37 kg) in 1909 by National Sporting Club of London (NSC)

154–160 lbs (69.85 - 72.57 kg)
Fights dating back to 1840s; established officially at 160 lbs (72.57 kg) in 1909 by NSC

140–147 lbs (63.50 - 66.67 kg)
145 lbs (65.77 kg) in 1889; established officially at 147 lbs (66.67 kg) in 1909 by NSC

130–135 lbs (58.96 - 61.23 kg)
160 lbs (72.57 kg) in 1738 by Broughton's Rules; 140 lbs (63.50 kg) in 1889; established officially at 135 lbs (61.23 kg) in 1909 by NSC

122–126 lbs (55.33 - 57.15 kg)
118 lbs (53.52 kg) in 1860 by London Prize Ring Rules; 110 lbs (49.89 kg) and 115 (47.62 kg) lbs in 1889; Official at 126 lbs (57.15 kg) in 1909 by NSC

115–118 lbs (52.16 - 53.52 kg)
105 lbs (47.62 kg) in 1860 by London Prize Ring Rules; 116 lbs (52.61 kg) in 1898; 118 lbs (53.52 kg) in 1909 by NSC; Official at 118 lbs (53.52 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law

108–112 lbs (48.98 - 50.80 kg)
112 lbs (50.80 kg) in 1909 by NSC and standardized in 1920 by Walker Law[10]

Tweener divisions

The newcomer weight divisions or "tweener divisions", mostly recognised with either a "super", "light" or "junior" in front of their names, took many years to be fully recognised as legitimate weight divisions in boxing and develop the same prestige as some of etc earlier weight groups.


175–200 lbs (79.37 - 90.71 kg)
190 lbs (86.18 kg) in 1979; changed to 200 lbs (90.71 kg) in 2003

Super middleweight
160–168 lbs (72.57 - 76.20 kg)
Established and recognised in 1967–1988

Light middleweight
147–154 lbs (66.67 - 69.85 kg)
Established in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1962

Light welterweight
135–140 lbs (61.23 - 63.50 kg)
Established officially at 140 lbs (63.50 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1959

Super featherweight
126–130 lbs (57.15 - 58.96 kg)
Established at 130 lbs (58.96 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1959
Super bantamweight
118–122 lbs (53.52 - 55.33 kg)
Established at 122 lbs (55.33 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1976

Super flyweight
112–115 lbs (50.80 - 52.16 kg)
Established at 115 lbs (52.16 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1980

Light flyweight
105–108 lbs (47.62 - 48.98 kg)
Established at 108 lbs (48.98 kg) in 1920 by Walker Law; recognised in 1975

105 lbs (47.62 kg)
Recognised in 1987

Please see our article on The History of Boxing to see the story behind these rules being formed in boxing.

Weigh In

Before the fight, you have to make sure both fighters make weight and that one of them hasn’t an unfair weight advantage. Once weight is made the fight is official on. Historically weigh in’s was on the day but because of dehydration they are the day before they fight now, typically a fighter will weigh much more once he steps in the ring the following day and has refuelled.


Professional boxing competition is divided into weight divisions in order to provide a more “level playing field.” Any boxer weighing 140lbs to 147 pounds (66.1 kilograms) can compete in and is classified as a welterweight. The Welterweight division is between junior welterweight and junior middleweight.

White Collar Boxing

When men and women train and box on an event. Most have had little or no previous boxing experience. The Name came came from the amount of business professionals who have white collar professions giving boxing a go. Different to Unlicensed boxing or Semi Pro Boxing that often follows the same rules as professional boxing but is not sanction by the official Boards of the respective country. Normally White Collar boxing they use heavier 16oz gloves and headgear and traditional bouts was a draw. There is a growing trend for more competitive White Collar Boxing now also with decisions.


The earliest reference is in boxing and is credited to have occurred in 1927 and was defined as practising boxing (as opposed to the actual event of the bout) what we would call sparring today. The wider public caught up to the term two years later when the term began its expansion to the generic term used now for almost any type of exercise.