A right cross a.k.a. the straight punch is thrown from your rear hand in a straight line. While throwing a cross punch, your opponent needs to be right in front of you. As for its application, the right cross is the second-most utilized punch after the jab. And, it’s the best solution for boxers looking to attack from a mid or long range. However, like other punches, the right cross does require an extensive amount of training to achieve perfection.
Benefits of right cross outweigh the efforts as it’s one of the easiest punches to throw and setup. You can either throw it independently or you can use it in quick punches. Furthermore, it’s the quickest power punch when you want to attack from the outside. Having learned that, let us understand how to throw a right cross.
Mastering the right cross
Before you learn any technique in boxing, get ready to put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. You want to be the best at what you do and you must work smartly. The current crop of legends who are well known for their right cross includes Floy Mayweather Jr, Zab Judah, Sergio Martinez, Alexis Arguello, and Wladimir Klitschko. These boxers have the most effective right cross.
Upon watching them fight, you’ll realize that the speed and accuracy of their cross are much more than the power. If you throw a precise and quick cross, it makes up for the power. Moreover, a right cross if thrown effectively is much harder for your opponent to defend as compared to a hook or an uppercut. Right cross is generally used in a combination with jabs. If you master it, you’ll have a significant edge over your opponent.
How to throw a right cross?
Right cross is amongst the fundamental punches alongside the jab, hook and the uppercut. Though the form of this punch is similar to the other punches, you need to follow certain steps to deliver is perfect.
- Guard the face with your lead hand: As a basic rule, you should always guard your chin and the temple. Guarding your face with your lead hand is important especially when you’re not intending to follow up. If you fail to do so, your opponent might sense an opening and can land a fatal blow.
- Extend your arm: To generate maximum power, ensure you fully extend your arm to deliver a vicious right cross.
- Distributing the weight: As opposed to a left hook, where you shift your weight onto your back foot while delivering the right cross you should distribute the weight from back to the front. To distribute the weight, pivot your rear foot whilst rotating the body and bending the knees while leaning forward slightly. All of this movement needs to happen at the same time to create maximum thrust.
- Rotation of the fist: A boxing rule that you must no is that your palm, shouldn’t be facing you. With that said, you should rotate the fist before you punch so that palm of your punching hand points towards the mat.
- Pivoting with the rear foot: While throwing the cross, pivot the rear foot. When pivoting, remember that the heel should be upwards with your toes on the ground. Your legs should be pointed in the same direction as your punch.
- Body rotation: When it comes to body rotation, you can generate power in punch by rotating in the clockwise direction (southpaw stance) and anti-clockwise direction (orthodox) stance.
- Moment of impact: Keep your body aligned in the straight line with your opponent and remember to bend your knees a little to add power and balance. Remember, your chest should be facing your opponent when you land the right cross.
- Get back to guarding: Once, you’ve landed the punch, you must bring your hand back to guard your chin. A lapse of judgment in doing so will leave an opening which your opponent can pounce on. Thus, bring your hand back quickly to defend yourself.
Common mistakes to avoid when throwing a right cross
- Lifting the rear foot: Many experienced fighters, let alone beginners make this mistake of lifting their foot while throwing the cross. This movement often leads to off-balance and overextending, both of which renders the effort ineffective. While throwing a cross, keep your toes of the rear foot planted to the ground.
- Overburdening the front foot: Yes, to shift the weight of the body, you do need to put the weight on your front leg. However, does that not mean that you put everything on the front because it will cause you to learn too forward and in an unfortunate scenario, you might even miss the punch. Moreover, if your opponent blocks or ducks your punch, you might fall into the counter punch which can spell doom.
- Overextending the cross: Firstly, do not attempt to throw a right cross when you aren’t in the proper range. Most of the beginners commit this mistake and they end up injuring themselves. Overextending is not cool as it might leave or off-balance and even worse, it can cause damage to your elbows.
- Switching stances: Do not switch stances when throwing the cross. Which means, you shouldn’t step ahead with the rear foot. Unless it’s necessary, you should refrain from this practice. By switching stance, you get caught up between your own legs and end up delivering a lifeless cross.
- Telegraphing: Don’t cock back your arm before throwing the cross, it’ll give a hint to your opponent and he might counter your effort. Furthermore, since the right cross is aligned and in sight of your opponent, you must make sure not to load up the punch.
Precautions to take before throwing a right cross
Since the right cross is a compact and powerful punch, a judgemental error can lead to vicious injury. Beginners often risk injuring the shoulders caused due to overextension while rotating. Don’t apply over-the-top pressure and too much force as it might upset your overall balance and the stance. Transfer of weight should take place carefully and with an action plan of how to defend the counter-attack. An ideal balance of weight will help you deliver the punch is excellent speed, efficiency, and accuracy.
Using the right cross in a combination
If you’re a beginner, you might have a hard time wrapping your head around the combinations. For this reason, you can follow the numeric table below with each move assigned to a specific number. There’s no staple combination or the one that’s the most effective. However, based upon the experiences and years of watching boxers fight, the right cross is generally thrown as a second punch after the jab and sometimes it’s used to close things off.
Now let’s understand the application. Suppose your coach instructs you to hit a 1-2-1-2 combination. Upon getting this instruction, you must quickly understand that he’s asking you to throw a jab-right cross- jab-right cross combination. In this combination, not only are you using a right cross to set-up another jab but you’re also using it to set up the final blow.
As far the common boxing combinations go, here’s a comprehensive list:
How to set up the right cross?
Having learned the combinations, setting up the right cross which much easier to understand. As far as the right cross is concerned, you can even throw it independently. However, the cross is most effective when used in combinations. Thus, let’s go through some of the popular setups.
- Jab to Cross: Perhaps the most basic set-up involves using a jab before the cross. Since both these punches have a straight angle, you can fire this combination in quick succession. You can deploy the jab in numerous ways – to find the range, to distract or even feint before you throw the cross. However, when doing this combination, ensure to side step as you’ll be able to derail your opponent.
- Body Jab to Cross: Fighters prefer this combination because of the surprise element attached to it. It’s a great combo to catch your opponent off guard. Herein, you dip your body forward when attempting a body jab, trick him into dropping his guard and as soon as he lets it down, you connect with him through a right cross. Your opponent would not be expecting this combination and if you connect cleanly, it might leave him in no man’s land.
- Lead hook to cross: Another deceiving move wherein you throw a less powerful left hook and follow it up with a stinging right cross. The lead hook is generally used to wrap the combinations, thus when you use it as a set-up punch, it’ll be far more unpredictable. Though your lead hook must be less powerful, you should throw it with accuracy and precision. This combination works great even when your opponent is close to the ring.
- Lead uppercut to cross: Attempt this set-up only when you’re at a mid-range and not too far or too close to your opponent. When you’re on the outside, it’ll be impractical for you to throw an uppercut. Thus, operating in a straight line, you should move outside the line with your lead foot when you’re to throw the uppercut and that will effectively set you up for the right cross.
Defending a right cross using the H3 Formula
Most of the beginners do not emphasize too much on the “Head-Hand-Heel” Formula which ultimately leaves them susceptible to counter. This formula is what separates an average boxer from the great one.
Through HHH formula, you not only learn how to throw a punch but also how to position your head, heel, and your heads to defend yourself when throwing the right cross.
Head: A correct head movement prevents your face from taking a detrimental blow. Be it boxing or kickboxing, numerous fighters downplay the role of head movement when defending, though it’s the most important aspect.
Defensive movements from head such as weaving, ducking, slipping, bobbing and snapping are crucial to nullify your opponent’s counters. Inarguably, Ali in his prime was the finest specimen to showcase this ability of head defense. He would weave, duck, slip and bob around them as if he was facing amateurs.
He used to frustrate his opponent by preventing him from landing his best blow and then would deliver his own combination. Few effective head movements when tasked with defending a counter-attack include:
Jab to the body
Cross to the body
Jab to the body
Split right to the head
Upside-down cross to the jaw
Upside-down jab to the jaw
Jab to the head
Cross to the head
Hands: Similar to the head movement, a hand movement can be used in numerous ways to defend an incoming shot. You can use your hands to effectively parry, stop, block or redirect your opponent’s punches.
When using your hands, you shouldn’t overly rely on blocking mechanism and instead focus on these diverse defensive techniques. Because, if you’re just deploying block-block-block mechanism, your opponent will understand your game plan and will work his way through your defenses.
Furthermore, using parrying and redirecting leaves your opponent in a tough spot and in most cases, you might hurt him without even trying to be offensive. Few effective hand movements when tasked with defending a counter-attack include:
Parry with the lead hand
Split cross to head
Parry with the lead hand
Overhand right to head
Top of the cross
Forearm parry (lead arm)
Cross to body/Cross to head
Forearm parry (lead arm)
Cross to body/Jab to head
Heels: Heels or footwork works hand-in-hand with the head and hand movements. By using your heels or footwork, you can step-in, shuffle, circle around your opponent.
With effective footwork, you can understand, when to plant the foot, put your head up and start throwing bombs at your opponent. Imagine yourself in a scenario where you’re tasked against a big right coming your way.
Here’s how you can use your heels to defend and set-up a counter.
Step back, Step-in
Right cross to the face
Step back, Step-in
Jab and cross to the face
Step outside of the cross
Step back in with a left hook
Step inside of the cross
Step back in with right hook
I hope this all-inclusive guide on right cross helped you learn about this great boxing move. If you’re just starting out, make sure to read our comprehensive boxing guide which is designed for beginners. Work on your cross and use it to great effect in the fight. Like depicted above, you can not only use this move for attack or wrap up the combinations but also defend.