Boxing Glossary

July 18, 2008 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Blocking: Using the hands, shoulders or arms to prevent an opponent’s punch from landing cleanly on the head or torso.

Bout: A match between two competitors that consists of four two-minute rounds, with a one-minute break between rounds.

Break: A referee’s command for boxers to break from a clinch. On the command, each boxer takes a step back before continuing to fight.


Clinch: Two boxers holding, or leaning on each other and not throwing punches.

Caution: An admonition from the referee to a boxer, but generally not for serious infringements of the rules. After three cautions, a warning is issued.

Combination: Punches thrown in sequence, such as a left jab, followed by a straight right, followed by a left hook.

Covering: Holding the hands high in front of the face to keep the opponent from landing a clean punch.

Counter-punch: A counterattack begun immediately after an opponent throws a punch. A “counter-puncher” typically waits for his opponent to throw punches, then blocks or slips past them and exploits the opening in his opponent’s position.

Down: A boxer is considered “down” if he touches the floor with anything other than his feet or if he goes outside the ropes after receiving a punch. A boxer is also technically “down,” even if he hasn’t fallen but takes a serious blow or blows to the head and the referee steps in to stop the action.

Feint: Faking a punch to induce the opponent to open up into a vulnerable position.

Foul: An infringement of boxing rules, including: hitting below the belt; hitting with any part of the body other than the knuckles; leaning against the ropes; head-butting; not breaking on the referee’s command; hitting the back of the opponent’s neck, head, or torso; hitting an opponent who is down; throwing a punch while in a clinch; holding and hitting; offensive language; assaulting or acting aggressively toward the referee; spitting out the mouthpiece; passive defence (not trying to avoid a punch by covering up); tripping; kicking.

Footwork: The way a boxer moves and plants his feet to enable him to be well-balanced for throwing punches and ready to switch easily between defensive and offensive postures.

Headgear: Protective head covering used by amateur boxers that became mandatory for Olympic competition in 1984. Hook: A short power punch in which the boxer swings from the shoulder with his elbow bent, bringing his fist from the side toward the centre.

In-fighting: Boxing at close range

Jab: A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand. It can be used as a set-up for power punches, as a way to gauge distance, to keep an opponent wary, or as a defensive move to slow an advancing opponent.

Mouthpiece: A piece of plastic used to protect a fighter’s teeth and prevent him from biting his tongue. Neutral corner: One of two corners that are not assigned to either boxer.

RSC (Referee Stops Contest): An official result that follows when a boxer is outclassed, has been hurt, or reached the standing-eight count limit. In the official results the winner’s name is given followed by RSC and the round the bout was ended in, i.e. Jim Smith, RSC (4).

Ringside physician: The doctor who checks the condition of competitors before the bout and determines whether a dazed boxer can continue. The physician has the power to stop a bout at any time.


RSCH (Referee Stops Contest Head): A variation on RSC, which results when a referee ends a bout because a boxer has taken too many blows to the head.

Standing eight-count: When a boxer is in trouble, or has been knocked down the referee stops the action and counts to eight. During this time the referee determines if the boxer can continue. If a boxer takes three standing-eights in a round or four in a bout, the contest is stopped and the opponent is declared the winner.

Scoring blow: A punch that lands cleanly on the opponent’s head or torso and is struck with the knuckles, signified by the white stripe on the glove. If three judges agree within a one-second window that the blow was clean, the boxer gets a point.

Second: A person aside from the coach who gives a boxer assistance or advice between rounds.


Uppercut: A powerful, upward punch that comes up from underneath an opponent’s guard.


Weaving: A way of eluding punches by turning and twisting movements.

Warning: Given by the referee to the boxer who commits a serious foul, or receives three cautions. When the referee signals a warning the ringside judges can decide whether to give a point to the opponent. Three warnings in a bout means disqualification.

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