How to Beat a Taller Boxer

Even the most experienced boxers struggle against taller fighters. Towering boxers have long reaches, which allow them to land long-distance punches. If you want to counteract this advantage and give yourself a chance to win the bout, you need to close the distance. The rest of this guide explains how to succeed against taller opponents.

Bait Him with Feints

Taller fighters are used to opponents chasing them down in an attempt to close the distance. They circle the ring and throw straight punches — jabs and crosses — in order to keep their distance and maintain their game plan.

Feint are the first way to close the distance. You’ll play directly into his strengths if you move forward for the entire bout. Instead, feint to see if he covers up. If he does, or if an opening arises, then punish him with an attack.

If he doesn’t react to any of your feints, he’ll likely think that he can counter your feint. However, he has to close the distance if he decides to counter your feint. When he attacks with a combination, bob and weave while moving forward. You should end up on the inside where you can throw tight power punches to his body and head. Uppercuts tend to work well on the inside.

Fun Fact

Russian heavyweight Nikolai Valuev is the tallest world champion ever at 7-feet tall. South African flyweight Jacob Matala, on the other hand, is the shortest world champion ever at 4-feet, 10-inches tall.

Short Step-back

Ultimately, you want to force your opponent to fight out of his comfort zone, and making him move forward is a great way to disrupt his game plan. This next strategy involves a short step backward. Follow these steps:

  1. Use jabs, feints, and consistent head movement.
  2. Parry a few of his jabs.
  3. Try to time his jabs. Take a tiny step backward each time he jabs so that you are slightly out of his range. The slight step-back should tempt him to lunge forward and close out the short distance between his punch and your head.
  4. Counter his aggressiveness by simultaneously slipping and stepping forward — work from the inside once the distance has been closed.

Cut off the Ring

The last — and possibly the best — option is to cut off the ring. To execute this strategy, you need to slowly stalk your opponent with forward movement. If you press forward too aggressively, though, your opponent will likely use your aggression against you by circling away or pivoting.

Bounce in and out and side to side while trying to move forward. If your opponent starts circling to his left, then cut him off by moving to your right. If he begins circling to his right, cut him off by moving to your left. You take away his reach advantage if you can put him on the ropes or in a corner of the ring. In order to successfully implement this strategy, focus on slipping, bobbing, and weaving. You need to be comfortable dodging straight punches; otherwise you’ll end up eating quite a few!

Hot Tip: Stay Inside and Pivot

Once you’re inside, don’t back up. You’ve worked hard to close the distance, and there’s no need to make yourself do it again if you don’t have to. Stay inside until you’ve exhausted your combinations, then pivot to your left or right to achieve another angle. You’ll confuse your opponent if you continue to hit him from unexpected places.

Wood Chopping

A lumberjack chops the bottom of the tree in order to make the entire tree fall. Likewise, openings tend to surface when you work your opponent’s body — especially when he has a long torso. Use these openings to your advantage and punish his body. His hands might come down to protect his body, which leaves his head open for an attack. Or he may bend down to minimize the amount of open space on his body, also making his head a viable target. Lastly, don’t forget that body shots can also lead to a stoppage in the fight. Rip the body and you may be surprised by the positive results.

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