What is Boxing?


Boxing is a combat sport that involves fighting with fists. Traditionally, boxing has also been referred to as “pugilism,” which literally means, “fist fight.” Fights take place in an area called a “ring,” and consist of timed rounds. Winners are decided by points or by knocking out an opponent. A referee runs the fight inside the ring while judges outside the ring ultimately decide who wins the match.


Today, boxing falls into two main categories: amateur and professional. In amateur boxing, scoring is based on points rather than the physical damage inflicted on an opponent. Also, protective headgear is worn. Matches are shorter, consisting of three rounds that are each three minutes long, with a one-minute rest interval in between rounds.


On the other hand, professional boxing matches typically consist of 10 to 12 rounds. Headgear is not permitted, and fighters take much more damage. It is not uncommon for boxers to begin their career as an amateur fighter before turning pro.


Boxing Styles

Each boxer develops their own personal style. However, there are three main styles of boxing that are widely recognized:

  • In-fighter (a.k.a. swarmer). In-fighters prefer to stay close to their opponent and apply pressure with a constant stream of attacks. In-fighters are usually fast on their feet, and use mostly uppercuts and hooks. This style is often favored by shorter fighters with a shorter reach. Famous in-fighters include Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao and Gennady Golovkin.


  • Out-fighter (a.k.a. out-boxer). Out-fighters are also quick on their feet, but like to maintain some distance from an opponent. Out-fighters rely on longer-range punches such as jabs and crosses. Some famous out-fighters are Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Out-fighters usually tend to wear down their opponents.


  • Slugger (a.k.a. brawler or puncher). What sluggers lack in finesse they make up for in raw power. Sluggers tend to be slow and fairly predictable, but are often able to knock out opponents with a single punch. George Foreman and Vitali Klitschko are notable sluggers.


Types of Boxing


  • Kickboxing. As the name implies, kickboxing incorporates strikes with the legs and feet in addition to punching with the arms and fists. However, where modern boxing is Western in origin, kickboxing is actually Eastern in origin and incorporates aspects of martial arts such as karate.


  • Muay Thai. Muay Thai is Thai boxing, and incorporates strikes with the fists, elbows, knees, and shins.


  • Shadow boxing. In shadow boxing, punches are thrown in the air, without a target. Shadow boxing is used to practice technique and as a warm-up activity.


  • Fitness boxing. In fitness boxing, there is no contact between participants. Boxing moves are used strictly for fitness, and participants either shadow box or use punching bags.