Boxing terms for beginners.

Boxing terms for beginners.

Boxing is one of the oldest sports in the world, and over time, it has developed its own unique slang. If you're a beginner in the sport, you might find it difficult to understand some of the terms used by boxers and fans. Here are some of the most common words and phrases used in the sport of boxing and their meanings so you can jump right into the action:


  • Unanimous Decision: When all three judges agree and score the bout for one fighter.
  • Technical Decision: When a fight is stopped early due to a cut, disqualification, or any situation when the bout is stopped and the scorecards are tallied.
  • Technical Draw: When a bout is stopped early and the scores are even.
  • Technical Knockout: A technical knockout, or TKO, is the ending of a fight, determined by the referee, before it has gone the predetermined distance on the grounds of one contestant's inability to continue, the opponent being declared the winner.
  • Split Decision: (split between the two fighters) When two of the three judges score the bout for one fighter and one judge scores it for the other.
  • Split Decision Draw: When one judge scores the bout for one fighter, the next judge scores it for the other and the third judge scores it a draw.
  • Point Deduction: A point is taken away from a fighter when 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.
  • No-Decision: When it has been pre-determined by both fighters that a particular fight will not go on their records, for a variety of reasons, or when a fight is prematurely ended due to an unintentional head butt or cut, it can be ruled a no-contest or no decision.
  • Majority Decision: (awarded by the majority of the judges) When two of the three judges score it for one fighter, while the third judge scores it 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.
  • Go to the Cards: An occurrence where neither fighter is knocked out or stopped. The decision, as to who won the fight, is made by assigned judges who have scored each round as the bout has progressed.
  • Disqualification: This occurs when one boxer commits too many fouls or flagrant rule violations and is subsequently deemed unfit to continue competing. He automatically loses the bout. 


  • Bout: A word used to describe a boxing match.
  • Cornerman: A coach, cutman or person responsible for tending to a fighter between rounds.
  • Dive: This is when one fighter purposely goes down for the count or pretends to be knocked out.
  • Neutral Corner: Each of the two fighters are assigned a red or blue corner. Two white corners of the ring are remaining and are considered “neutral territory.” Neither fighter’s cornermen are stationed there so it’s where a fighter is sent if he knocks his or her opponent down. They remain there while a count is administered by the referee.
  • Orthodox: A right-handed fighter or one who leads with a left jab and uses his back, or right hand, as his cross.
  • Southpaw: Slang for a left-handed fighter or someone who is left hand dominant.
  • Punch Mitts/focus 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.
  • Roadwork: This term applies to running, jogging or sprinting that fighters do in cardiovascular preparation for a boxing match
  • Undercard: The fighters fighting before the main event. 

Fighting terms  

  • 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. 
  • Check Hook: A counterpunch designed to “catch” an aggressive fighter as he is moving forward on the attack. This punch is thrown like a traditional hook, but involves simultaneously stepping back and timing the opponent as he comes forward. 
  • Clinch: or “hugging” describes  when two fighters grab onto or hold each other to prevent an exchange or to slow the action. One fighter may also use this tactic when he is hurt, to prevent absorbing additional punishment.
  • Hook (3 or 4): This punch is thrown with the lead or front hand and is delivered in a semi-circular pattern. The hook is executed by leading with your front hand, bringing your elbow up and rotating the front side of your body 
  • Jab (1): The jab is a punch that is thrown with your front hand and delivered straight at your opponent.
  • Lead Right (2): A lead right is delivered in place of a lead jab, but is harder to execute because it has to travel across the distance of a fighter's body to land, so it has to be thrown quickly and catch an opponent off-guard.
  • Uppercut: A punch thrown in an upward fashion, up the middle of a fighter’s guard, intended to make impact on the point of his chin.
  • Parry: This is when you not only block an incoming punch, but actually redirect it away from your body or the intended target.
  • Slip: When you move your head to avoid getting hit.
  • Roll: Like a slip but your roll under the punch to the other slide
  • Rope-a-Dope: When you maintain a defensive posture on the ropes in an attempt to outlast or tire your opponent. It was popularized by Muhammad Ali when he employed the technique to defeat George Foreman.
  • Shoe Shine: A series of flashy punches in quick succession that look impressive but do little damage.
  • Spar: This is used for training and preparation in the gym. It should be much less intense than an actual fight, incorporating greater padded gloves and headgear.

Weight classes:

  • Strawweight: no more than 105 pounds (48 kg).
  • Light Flyweight: no more than 108 pounds (49 kg) 
  • Flyweight: no more than 112 pounds (51 kg).
  • Super Flyweight: no more than 115 pounds (52 kg) 
  • Bantamweight: no more than 118 pounds (53.5 kg) 
  • Super Bantamweight: no more than 122 pounds (55 kg) 
  • Featherweight: no more than 126 pounds (57 kg).
  • Super Featherweight: no more than 130 pounds (59 kg) 
  • Lightweight: no more than 135 pounds (61 kg).
  • Super Lightweight:  no more than 140 pounds (63.5 kg) 
  • Welterweight:  no more than 147 pounds (67 kg).
  • Super Welterweight: no more than 154 pounds (70 kg) 
  • Middleweight: no more than 160 pounds (72.5 kg).
  • Super Middleweight: no more than 168 pounds (76 kg) 
  • Light Heavyweight: no more than 175 pounds (79 kg)
  • Cruiserweight: no more than 200 pounds (90.7 kg) 
  • Heavyweight: more than 200 pounds (90.7 kg)

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