Do You Believe in the Right Hook?
I recently got a question from Joe in Atlanta:
Hey coach Aaron -
I joined up for the lifetime membership last month. Boxing out of Atlanta. Question for you...and if you have already answered it just point me to the site And I'll find it Is there ever a good reason for a orthodox boxer to throw a right hook? The trainers at my gym are pretty aligned that unless you are a vicious inside fighter there is no good reason for a righty to throw a right hook. Thoughts?
As I have not addressed the steamy controversy surrounding right hooks on the site yet other than to include it in the training I figured now is as good a time as any to get into the debate.
For some reason the right hook is a punch that divides trainers with some in support of it and some that will vehemently deny its existence. I believe the latter is because a right hook can, and in less experienced boxers usually does, turn into a looping haymaker which isn't much of a punch at all as shown in this video:
Haymakers: How NOT to throw Left and Right Hooks
Real right hooks are boxing punches...
I'm on the side of the fence that says there is such a thing as a right hook and there is a use for it and I base my use of it on teachings by old school trainers. You can find reference to it in publications such as the Naval Aviation Physical Training Manuals.
The right hook is primarily a counter blow but is useful when going into or coming out of a clinch. Joe's trainers are correct in stating that it has limited application unless you're a vicious infighter. In close, it is a valuable infighting aid and naturally follows all other curved arm blows. At distance it is very difficult to use and is a relatively slow blow. The defender will usually have time to a1djust defenses unless you use it as a counter.
You really should not get hit by many right hooks unless you are in close exchanging blows.
Force is obtained in the same manner as a left hook. The left side of the body is hinged and force is generated by piv1oting around that hinge.
You probably see more right hooks than you think in your training and sparring sessions. What many people mistakenly refer to as a right cross is actually a right hook. If your opponent jabs at you and you cross over it with a right - the blow itself is a right hook. The act of countering the jab with the cross is where the right cross reference comes into play.
The right hook is a power shot just like its left hook brother and is delivered in much the same manner. Using the front left leg as the pivot point you turn the right shoulder and hip through to the center line while raising the right elbow to form a 90 degree bend in the arm and whip it around to the left shoulder.
It turns into a looping, ugly, haymaker when people straighten the arm. At that point it becomes useless. Power is dissipated, there is no follow through, it's super easy to see coming and defend against and its impossible to take advantage of the weight shift that occurs onto the left side of the body.
To recap how to throw the right hook (or left hook for southpaws):
- shift weight over a straight lead leg - it's your pivot point
- Torque your right shoulder/right hip towards the center line (left shoulder/left hip for southpaws)
- raise right elbow (left for southpaws) and bend arm to 90 degrees - whip it in an arc towards left shoulder as natural extension of the hip torque
- At impact - knuckles should be turned outwards, thumb up, wrist straight
- Keep your left arm in the guard position
Using the Right Hook as a Counter Punch
The right hook is a natural, but slow counter for the left jab and a potential knock out punch. You can parry, cross parry or slip to the inside or outside position and then deliver the right hook.
Remember that a right cross not a punch - it is a counter using the right to cross over whatever punch is incoming. Here are a couple of scenarios:
- Your opponent leads a straight left jab. As one complete motion, you slip to the inside by stepping forward and sideways with your left foot while shifting your weight over the left leg. Keep your right hand to the outside of your opponent's guard. As their jab goes over your right shoulder your weight transfer is already in motion and you've bent your right arm which now comes over your opponent's extended lead and hooked to their chin. You keep your left hand high and after you connect you're i1n position to come back with a left hook to the body or head.
- Hybrid right hook/straight right. A variation on the same scenario - you can slip the incoming left lead with a slight rock to the left while driving a right from the outside to your opponent's head/jaw. However instead of bending the1 arm, straighten it before impact. It's more of a straight right cross and doesn't carry as much power but requires your opponent to have a greater slipping ability to get out of the way.
- Another variation. This one isn't actually a cross as your right never crosses over the left lead of your opponent, but it sometimes gets lumped into the same category. Instead of slipping left to the inside - slip to the outside by bending the body slightly to the right/forward then send the right hook to the chin.
- Inside guard and right hook. On your opponent's lead, lean slightly left raising your right forearm on the inside and block the lead out to the right. Bring your right elbow up until it's inline with your opponent's chin then drop a short right hook as you step forward and left shifting the weight and generating the torque.
- Cross parry and right hook. Against the lead left, come across your body with your open left glove forcing their left off to your right while you come back with a hard right hook to your opponent's chin.
It's evident there's a use for it and as part of a combination can be a devastating finishing blow. Consider using it in the following combinations but watch your technique. Keep it tight and do not devolve into haymakers:
- 3-4 (and multiple 3-4-3-4-3-4)
Watch Tyson use the Right Hook
Just in case you still doubt the right hooks existence or usefulness - it took me about 1 minute to find a video of Tyson using a right hook to knock out opponents. I did a little video editing to give you a slow motion look at one that took out Berbick.
- The right hook is a punch in boxing.
- The right hook is an effective power punch used at the right time.
- The right hook best used as a counter or in a close in exchange of left-right blows.
- The right hook is difficult to throw from the outside without giving your opponent ample time to adjust defences.
That about sums it up. Any questions? Boxon.