When teaching someone a boxing stance at the Bristol Boxing Gym the first thing we will ask is which is your stronger hand? The majority of the time this will be a person’s right hand so we will advise them to box in a traditional Orthodox stance with a left jab lead. A left handed person will traditionally box in a southpaw stance with a right jab lead.
Orthodox Boxing Stance
Below outlines the Orthodox boxing stance, with left jab lead.
The balanced orthodox stance is the starting point for all boxing moves. If the stance is not executed correctly, it’s very difficult to perform the punches and footwork safely and effectively.
1 - Place feet comfortably apart with your left foot forward. Put your weight on the balls of your feet. You should feel "on balance" and able to move easily. Put about the same amount of weight on each foot.
2 - Bend your knees slightly. Not too much or you’ll find yourself in a crouch, which can be awkward and tiring.
3 - Position yourself slightly sideways to your imaginary opponent. With front foot, hip, and shoulders in line (This maximizes your reach and minimizes the target area and defends your body.)
Left hand position: Top of fist in line with top of shoulders, elbow slightly extended but still in position to protect your body.
Right hand position: Fist close to your chin, elbow stays close to your ribs, perpendicular to the floor. Neck and shoulders should be relaxed not "tight".
Southpaw Boxing Stance
For southpaws all instructions above need to be reversed with a right jab lead.
Orthodox v Southpaw
As a southpaw boxer myself I know only to well the advantages and disadvantages of being a southpaw boxer. Southpaws since there are fewer of them, are at an advantage; they are experienced against right handed fighters, but right handed fighters are inexperienced against them. When a right handed boxer is competing against a left handed boxer each fighters lead foot will almost be on top of the other persons. It is very awkward for the less experienced right handed fighter to face with his goal to keep his lead left foot on the outside of the southpaw’s lead right foot.
Southpaws are feared because of their abnormal positioning against an orthodox right handed boxer. It is not easy dealing with a southpaw boxer as all of their punches come from opposite directions than what boxers are trained to expect. To a “normal” orthodox fighter, the southpaw’s attack just feels wrong. The jab comes from the “wrong” side, so does the hook and the rear cross.
Southpaws are susceptible to the lead right more than any other punch. This relates to maneuvering and staying outside of his lead foot. But there are many ways to defeat a straight lead right. One of the best methods is for the southpaw to utilize his lead right jab while moving to his right, this will keep his orthodox opponent occupied and off balance and unable to counter with his own right. If the southpaw is a counter puncher and he steps back the orthodox fighter is vulnerable to be countered inside of his lead right hand.
The two best southpaw fighters of all time were Marvin Hagler, 62-3-2 (52 KO’s) Middleweight Champion 1980-1987 and Pernell Whittaker 40-4-1 (17KO’s) Lightweight champion 1989-1991, Jr. Welterweight champion 1992, and Welterweight champion 1993-1997. In more recent times the two top southpaws have to be Joe Calzaghe 46-0 (32 KO’s) Super Middlewight Champion 1997-2008 and Manny Pacquiao 51-3-2 (38 KO’s) Flyweight to Welterweight Champion 1998-2010.