153 Boxing Terms (Terminology) – Complete Glossary

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For a newbie, boxing terminology may sound confusing. You will regularly hear such boxing phrases in the gym. And if you are just getting into the sport, you may be scratching your head wondering what they all mean.

Some of these are pretty straightforward, and the term itself will be a giveaway. For example, block, head-butt, elbow, etc. However, there are some other colorful words you should familiarize yourself with to understand the sport.

Below is a list of the most commonly used boxing terms in alphabetical order. Let’s get started!

Boxing Terms Commonly Used

A

Accidental Head Butt – It occurs when two boxers head-butt each other during the fight. There is no penalty for this.

Alias – A nickname a boxer gives himself.

Alphabet Soup – It refers to the abbreviations for various boxing bodies.

Amateur – When a boxer makes a name for himself by participating in matches with the sole purpose of only gaining experience. The amateur boxer does not get paid for it.

Apron – Apron is the small portion of the ring that is outside of the ropes.

B

Backpedal – To move away from the opponent to avoid his attacks.

Be First – Being aggressive in the fight and striking first.

Bell – The bell signals the start and end of the round.

Below the Belt – Below the belt is hitting a boxer below the waistband of his trunk. The move is not allowed and results in a warning or point deduction.

Bleeder – A boxer who bleeds easily.

Blow-by-Blow – Blow-by-blow refers to a detailed description of the boxing match by broadcasters who describe the fight as it goes.

Bob and Weave – Bob and weave are defensive maneuvers done to avoid the punches.

Body Work – Targeting the opponent’s mid-section to knock him out or push him back.

Bolo Punch – This is one of the boxing terms for punches. A bolo punch is a combination of a hook and an uppercut. It is thrown to distract an opponent on which type of attack is coming.

Bout – Another word for a boxing match.

C

Canvas – The floor of the boxing ring is called a canvas.

Card – A list of fights happening in a boxing event.

Caught Cold – When a boxer loses a fight because he was not prepared mentally or physically.

Clinch – A defensive tactic employed by a boxer involves holding his opponent and preventing him from attacking.

Challenger – A boxer who will go against the current champion.

Champion – The one who has the title.

Combination – Multiple punches thrown in a single go without any break are called a combination. It usually consists of 2 to 3 different strikes.

Chief Second – The person is responsible for the fighter’s corner. He makes sure the rest of the team members are following the rules.

Contender – A boxer who has worked up his way in the ranks, making him worthy enough to challenge the current champion.

Corkscrew Punch – A corkscrew punch is a punch that is thrown in a twisting motion to cause a cut.

Cornerman – Any member of the boxer’s team who is liable to tend to the fighter’s needs during the break is a cornerman. It can be a coach or the cutman.

Counterpunch – A punch is thrown back or returned as a response to an offensive move by the opponent.

Cover-Up – When a boxer raises his hands and covers his face to avoid his opponent’s punches. It is a defensive move and is usually employed when a boxer can’t fight back or is afraid of getting knocked out and needs some time to recover.

Cross – A cross is a power punch thrown with the rear hand. The boxer twists his body when throwing the punch to add more force to it.

Cruiserweight – The cruiserweight class includes boxers whose weight is less than 200 pounds.

Cutman – A cutman is responsible for controlling the cuts and swelling, making it easy for the boxer to compete.

Cutting-off-the-Ring – Cut off the ring is a technique in which a boxer goes sideways, matching his opponent’s steps. With each movement, the boxer steps forward, closing the gap and restricting his opponent from running away.

D

Decision – A decision is taken by the judges based on the scorecard when the match is over and there is no clear winner or if the fight ends quickly because of an accidental head butt or injury.

Disqualification – This happens when a boxer gets disqualified because of repeated fouls.

Dive – When a boxer pretends to go down for the count.

Down and Out – When a boxer gets knocked out and can’t get up before the count.

Draw – The bout ends up being even after all the judges’ scores are tallied.

Defense – When a boxer goes defensive, blocking and parrying his opponent’s punches.

E

Eight Count – If a fighter needs time to recover or assess the situation after being knocked down, the referee starts counting to eight.

Enswell – An enswell is a metal tool used by the cutman to apply on cuts and bruises. It is kept on ice, so the cold metal can stop the bleeding and reduce the swelling.

Evasion – Evasion is to miss an opponent’s attack by dodging the punch.

F

Faded – Faded refers to a boxer who can’t continue the fight because he is out of gas or a boxer whose overall performance is not what it used to be.

Feint – To feint or fake a punch, forcing the opponent to make an unnecessary move.

Flash Knockdown – Flash knockdown means when a boxer goes down quickly but quickly recovers and gets on his feet without any injury.

Foul – To break one of the boxing rules is known as a foul.

Fringe Contender – A boxer making his way into the higher ranks but is not well known is called a fringe contender.

Featherweight – The featherweight class includes boxers whose weight is 126 pounds or less.

Floor – Floor means when a boxer knocks his opponent down with great force.

Flyweight – The flyweight or paperweight class includes boxers whose weight is 112 pounds or less.

Footwork – The way a boxer moves in the ring is called footwork.

G

Gate – The amount of money that is earned from the sale of tickets for an event.

Gatekeeper – A boxer who is well known but is not considered to be championship material.

Glass Jaw – A boxer who gets knocked out easily is referred to as having a glass jaw.

Go the Distance – It means to fight the whole match without getting knocked out.

Go to the Body – Attacking the opponent’s mid-section or abdominal area means going to the body.

Go to the Cards – When there is no clear winner, the final decision depends on the score cards.

Governing Body – An organization that authorizes or approves fights and dictates the rules for each boxing match.

Groin Protector – Protective gear is worn to guard the groin area.

H

Hand Wraps – Hand wraps are cotton bandages worn by fighters to protect their hands.

Haymaker – A haymaker is a full-force punch thrown with the aim of a knockout.

Head Butt – When the boxers’ heads collide with each other by mistake or if one intentionally head-butts the other.

Head Hunting – A boxer who ignores shots to the body and only aims for the head.

Heavyweight – The heavyweight class includes boxers whose weight is over 200 pounds.

Hugging – Hugging is another term used for clinching or holding the opponent.

Hook – As the name describes it, a hook is a punch thrown by rotating the body and hitting with the front hand and the elbow up and in line with the punch.

I

Infighting – Infighting means boxing at close range without the need for extending the arms fully.

J

Jab – A jab is a punch thrown by the front hand without a lot of body twisting for excessive force.

Journeyman – A journeyman is a boxer who has skills but is not considered a contender.

K

Kidney Punch – An illegal blow landed at the opponent’s kidney area, which is the lower back.

Knockdown – When a boxer goes down on the mat.

Knockout/KO – When a boxer is punched with excessive force and is rendered unconscious.

L

Light Flyweight – The light flyweight class includes boxers whose weight is 108 pounds or less.

Light Welterweight – The light welterweight class includes boxers whose weight is 140 pounds or less.

Light Middleweight – The light middleweight class includes boxers whose weight is 154 pounds or less.

Light Heavyweight – The light heavyweight class includes boxers whose weight is 175 pounds or less.

Lineal Champion – Lineal champion means a boxer who won the title from his opponent who won it from another champion, and this line continues.

Low Blow – An illegal blow landed below the boxer’s waistband.

M

Main Event – The main fight or most recognizable fight, usually a prestigious or title match

Mauler – Mauler is a boxer who is offensive and strikes his opponent as hard as he can with technique. He tries to batter his opponent by making it difficult for them to fight back.

Majority Decision – Out of the three judges, two of them score in favor of one boxer while the third calls it a draw.

Majority Draw – Majority Draw is the opposite of the term majority decision. It is when two judges score the fight as a draw and the third scores in favor of one of the boxers.

Middleweight – The middleweight class includes boxers whose weight is 160 pounds or less.

Minimumweight – The minimumweight class includes boxers whose weight is 105 pounds or less.

Mouse – A bump of swelling on the boxer’s face after the fight is referred to as a mouse.

Mouth Guard – The mouth guard is also known as a mouthpiece. It is a piece of protective equipment placed in the mouth. Fighters bite on the mouth guard to protect their teeth and jaw from breaking.

Match Maker – A person who organizes boxing events and draws the fight card is known as a matchmaker.

N

Neutral Corner – A neutral corner is a corner not assigned to any fighter. When a boxer is knocked down, the opponent must go to one of the neutral corners while the referee starts the count.

No Decision – No Decision means when there is no winner. It happens when the fight is over, and a no decision is declared or when the no decision has already been decided by the fighters

No Count – No count is also referred to as a flash knockdown. It happens when the boxers get knocked down but stand up quickly before the referee can begin the count.

Novice – Boxers who have competed in fewer than ten sanctioned fights are considered novices.

Number One Contender – After the world champion, the second best fight in a weight class is considered a number contender.

O

On the Ropes – This term refers to a fighter who leans against the ropes.

Orthodox – Orthodox is a fighting stance when a right-handed fighter has his left hand and foot forward and his right foot back.

Outpoint – Outpoint means when a boxer scores more points because of landing more strikes that connected but doesn’t knockout his opponent.

Outside Fighter – An outsider fighter means that a boxer doesn’t fight at close range. He keeps his distance and utilized the jab often.

Overhand – An overhand is a punch that a boxer throws while bobbing. It is thrown with the rear hand in a semi-circular motion.

One-two Combo – A one-two combo consists of two punches, a jab, and a cross, thrown one after the other.

Opening – This means an opening in the boxer’s defense.

P

Parry – Parry means to block the punch and push it away from yourself.

Play Possum – When a boxer acts injured or tired during the fight to trick his opponent is known as playing possum.

Plodder – Plodder refers to a heavy-footed, slow fighter.

Point Deduction – When a point is deducted from the scorecard by the referee because of a foul or when a boxer ignores several warnings given by the referee.

Prizefighter – When a boxer participates in a boxing match only for the money.

Promoter – A promoter is a person or an organization responsible for managing the boxing event.

Pull – A pull is when a boxer leans back or steps away to avoid getting hit. It is a defensive move and can be considered a dodge.

Pull Your Punches – Pull your punches mean that a boxer does not punch with full force. It is usually done during sparring or when a boxer attempts to trick his opponent, to make him feel safe, and then lands a power punch.

Puncher’s Chance – A boxer who is outmatched and has no chance of winning except by landing power punches hoping for a knockout.

Punch Mitts – Punch mitts, also known as mitts, are thick pads worn by trainers. They provide a moving target for boxers to punch at and are a great starting point for beginners. They are also used to practice specific combinations. The trainer can also use the mitts to throw light punches mimicking an opponent’s move that a boxer can dodge.

Purse – The amount of money a boxer earns after a fight.

R

Rabbit Punch – A rabbit punch is an illegal punch that lands on the back of a fighter’s head. It is dangerous and similar to the way a hunter kills a rabbit, hence the name rabbit punch.

Ring Generalship – Ring Generalship means how a boxer takes command of the situation in the ring to his advantage and controls his opponent.

Ringside – The spectator seats close to the boxing ring are known as ringside.

Roadwork – Fighters do this type of training to prepare for boxing matches by running, jogging, or sprinting.

Roll with the Punches – When a boxer moves his body the same way as the opponent’s punch, it is referred to as roll with the punches. The benefit of this maneuver is to avoid getting hit or lessen the impact received from the strike.

Rope-a-Dope – Attempting to outlast or tire an opponent while on the ropes.

Roughhousing – Roughhousing is an offensive tactic employed by boxers hoping to land a punch that is dangerous and illegal. Usually done by those who believe they can’t win the match.

Rubber Match – The rubber match refers to a third fight between two fighters who have fought twice, each winning a previous match. The winner here is the one who wins the best of the three.

Referee – The referee is the law in the ring. He makes sure that the fighters are playing by the rules, there are no illegal blows, to start the count when a boxer goes down, and to stop the fight if he believes a boxer cannot continue

Rest Period – A rest period is a break between each round.

Ring Doctor – Every boxing match has a doctor who examines the fighters to see if there is any major injury and stops the fight if he believes the boxer is at risk.

S

Sanctioning Body – An organization that lays the rules and sanctions boxing matches.

Saved by the Bell – When a fighter is knocked down by the bell rings signaling the end of the round.

Second – One of the cornermen is known as a second.

Seconds Out – Seconds out is said by the referee, informing the fighters that the rest period is over and the corner men should step outside the ring.

Shadow Boxing – When a boxer throws punches in the air as a way to warm up or practice his technique is called shadow boxing.

Shifting – Shifting means changing your fighting stance from orthodox to southpaw.

Shoulder Roll – A defensive move in which a boxer uses his shoulder to block a punch.

Slip – To avoid a strike by moving the head out of the way of an incoming attack.

Southpaw – Southpaw is a fighting style in which the boxer’s right hand and foot are in front.

Spar – Practicing for a match with another boxer in the gym is known as a spar.

Spit Bucket – A bucket in which a fighter spits excessive water during his rest period.

Stablemate – Stablemates refer to fighters who train together and fight for the same manager or promoter.

Stepping Stone – A boxer with a history of success but is not considered to be a formidable opponent.

Stick and Move – Constantly moving and punching in the ring is known as stick and move.

Stylist – A boxer whose primary strength is in skill and technique and doesn’t focus too much on power.

Sucker Punch – Throwing a punch after the bell.

Super Middleweight – The super middleweight class includes boxers whose weight is 168 pounds or less.

T

Technical Decision – Cuts, disqualifications, or any other situation where the fight is stopped early and the scores are even.

Technical Draw – An early stoppage of a match with even scores.

Technical Knockout – When the referee stops the fight if he believes a fighter is unable to continue.

Throw in the Towel – When the fighter’s corner throws in the towel, it is a signal to the referee to stop the fight.

Toe-to-Toe – When both boxers fight each other and neither one of them backs down.

Trial Horse – A boxer is a test fighter, used to prepare the other for an upcoming fight.

Tying-Up – Tying up is another word for a clinch with the addition of grabbing the opponent’s arm in the hug, so he can’t strike.

U

Unanimous Decision – When the judges decide and score the match in favor of a fighter.

Undercard – The fights before the main event

Underdog – A boxer who doesn’t have a high chance of winning is called an underdog.

Uppercut – A punch that comes swinging up from the bottom and connecting with the opponent’s chin or torso.

Upstart – A potential fighter at the beginning of his career.

V

Venue – The place where the boxing matches will occur.

W

Welterweight – The welterweight class includes boxers whose weight is 140 pounds or less.

White Collar Boxing – When business professionals participate in boxing on an amateur level it is known as white-collar boxing.

Wind – The boxer’s stamina is referred to as wind.

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Sebastian Ostrowski

Sebastian Ostrowski

Hi, I’m a martial arts nerd and practiced a variety of martial arts like MMA, Boxing, BJJ, and Taekwondo in the past 6 years. 2 years ago I got into the art of eight limbs. Even though I love Muay Thai best, I don't shy away from fighting on the ground. I'm constantly changing countries as a digital nomad, but when I get to Thailand I'm hoping to get in a real fight!