The Right Cross

I was reading some insightful posts by Keith Palmer, and thought I'd talk a little about what I believe is the proper technique for a right cross.

Basically, in boxing, punching power starts at the toes, launches with body torque (rotation of hips/shoulders, elbows in) then delivery in the last stage with the punch.
Any punch has three stages: the feet, the body and the fist.

Right cross: Pushing from the ball of the right foot, heel twisting slightly. You're driving off of the ball of the foot. The body's moving forward so that, literally, at impact the whole body's behind the blow.

Now, the hips/shoulders rotate torque, a fast accelerating rotation. You now have rotational and translational energy from the body. The hand and elbow haven't yet moved

The right hand begins it's flight exactly when the shoulders are square with your opponent. There are several reasons for this being the moment.

It causes the punch to be straight in line with your opponent's sight. Side-to side motion is easier to pick off then motion straight at you. Someone swinging a pool cue at you allows you to see the side-to-side motion which allows you to react. If the pool cue is pointed right at your eyes, all you see is a little circle. You can't see the length of the cue. If you then poke it out at him, you'll probably get boinked and never saw it coming. This principle holds with the right cross. You're spearing it straight in.

The punch then travels straight at your opponent's chin, elbow in. Don't let the elbow fly out. At impact, the ball of the left foot should be touching, full rotation committed, impact solid. There is a brutal connection with the fist/arm/shoulders/body/feet. The full extension of the punch should be about a foot behind your opponent's head. At full extension the line drawn between the shoulders should point at your opponent.

Common mistakes:

1. Moving the fist from the body too early. This hiders body rotation, telegraphs the punch and makes it into more of an arm punch. Think of the physics behind it. When is an ice skater spinning faster? Arms out or arms tucked? You want quick rotation so use that principal to your advantage. Launching it early causes side-to-side motion, thereby telegraphing the blow.

2. Line of body motion: The motion of your body must be straight at the center of your opponent. I have been guilty of this offense many times - wanting to throw a good punch, while at the same time wanting to be in a safe can't have it both ways. Moving the body away from the opponent will sap the power of the punch. As I've written before, get up now from your chair and stand in front of a wall. Push the wall with your right knuckles, as if you've just thrown a punch. Feel the power when you're leaning into it? Now fall off to the right or left, and feel the power just disappear.

3. Flying right Elbow. First, that motion can be seen by the opponent, so you've tipped him off more than necessary, decreasing your chances of landing the punch. Secondly, the line between the fist and the forearm doesn't point to the body, as it would if your elbow were in. That means the power is pointing away from the body, so you lose some zip.

Of course, a sloppy right hand is not a pleasn't thing to be struck with... few rational people will argue that it is; but a properly times and executed right cross is a frightening punch to be up against. As Pepino Cuevas when he faced Thomas Hearns and was hit with a perfect zinger.

Instant clown BUP BUP boo BUP BUP *collapse*

Thanks Rastus--could you go over the left hook as well? To me this is the hardest punch of all.


1) Thanks for all your posts, they have been very helpful.

2) Weight shift. At the end of the rt cross, is your weigh shifted onto the left foot. In general, do you try to keep your weight balanced between your feet for faster combinations? (I find that keeping the weight relativly evenly distributed helps in combination speed, although I don't get the same power as if I shifted body weight substantially from one foot to the other.)

I hope I'm clear and not rambling.



How do you feel about jab-cross with a duck walk? (step jab, cross with step, look like a walking duck)

Fax Man:

I'll write a post on the left hook soon!


Good question. Without doubt, your weight shifts to the ball of your left foot out of necessity; afterall, you're driving off the ball of your right foot. With that said, you shift your weight in a controled way for the purpose of throwing a left hook. The right cross is almost always followed by a left hook of some kind. The finess is to shift your weight to your left foot in throwing the punch to the perfect degree that you setup your left hook. Too much and you're off balance and can't throw the punch. Not enough and you're not inside enough or balanced properly to most effectively launch the left. Start throwing right hands over and over, knowing you're going to throw a left hook next. You will soon find the fit, the best compromise between a commited right hand and the follow up left hook. Punches must setup punches - the first principal of combination boxing.

If there's no shifting of weight, you're throwing a karate punch.


*grin* If I believed I was qualified to write one, I think I might undertake the effort.


Not sure what you mean that, after the cross, you squat down low and come in? It's pretty common to just duck after zinging in your best right, 'cause if you miss you're probably being countered immediately.


Let me clear it up a bit. It basically follows what
your saying but between shoulders going parallel and
impact your rear foot moves up 6". Then you push off
your rear foot for next jab. I takes some power out of
the cross but you can close distance FAST.

Also what is the proper way to block/parry an overhand
right (following a basketball hook shot motion). Right
now I just try to slip it but just take it in the shoulder.

Can you please make a threat for the overhand right?

Thanks for the info. I've put a request on your left hook thread. I'll keep working rt and lft till it feels quick and easy.
BTW, I really appreciate all the information you put into this Q and A section. A sincere thank you.


great post