Such is the popularity of the move that numerous fitness gyms run with the name “Uppercut”. Though extremely popular in the hairdressing world as well.
Our barbers generally tend to knock people out with their (hand)style. One of the most iconic moves in boxing alongside the jab, hook and a cross, an uppercut figuratively is the most distinctive of all these punches.
Think about boxing, think about the legends of the sport – Iron Mike Tyson? Roy Jones Jr? Juan Manuel Marquez and the current poster boy – Canelo Alvarez – all these names are synonymous with the successful application of an uppercut.
If you want to get a masterclass of this move, you can either watch Canelo or roll back the clips of these three names mentioned above.
Even professionals with their precision have difficulties in landing an uppercut. Not only is the uppercut the most abandoned move in boxing but it’s the most misplaced punch too. Reason? There just isn’t a lot of equipment which can help practice and master the uppercut.
Furthermore, distance becomes a restraint. Boxers who love to fight from distance find the uppercut a cumbersome move as it requires them to be closer to their opponents. Look at the fighters today, most of them are taught to maintain the distance. And are uniquely trained to master punches like cross and jabs as those are faster punches and are easy to land. But that’s not the case with an uppercut.
Difference between an uppercut and a hook
An uppercut is the most technically challenging punch in a boxer’s arsenal. For a punch to be called an uppercut, the forearm has to be in a vertical plane. An uppercut is designed to split the guard. Even you hit the uppercut and it doesn’t split the guard then you’re probably hitting a hook which is being thrown off-the vertical plane.
Either Spotlight or Lights Out
With uppercut, you ought to take your chances. The moment you decide to uppercut, you momentarily drop the guard. Thus, you should be well-equipped with facing the counterpunches. But little do beginners know that using an uppercut as a crisp punch can knock the wind out of your opponent’s sails. Throw it from the right angle, and you’ll floor your opponent, however, get it wrong, and there’s every chance for you to get floored. So, you get it? There’s a very thin line between knocking or getting knocked out.
How to throw an uppercut?
Bend your knees slightly: The first step in delivering a successful uppercut starts with bending the knees. By bending the knees, you kickstart the power generation process. By the time, you land your punch, you want to be in full throttle.
Let the hips stay down: Let the Shakira inside you, calm down. And let your hips stay down. The basic mechanism of the uppercut involves your hips moving downward whereas your punch rising upwards. With hip rotation and your body planted on the mat, you put your body in gear 2. If you jump off the ground, you’ll lose all the power and momentum required for an uppercut.
Rotate your body: Your hips accumulate the power generated from your legs when you rotate. With pivoting, you push off your left leg to deliver a left uppercut and vice-versa. When rotating the body, the motion will be similar to every other punch we have learned so far.
Time to Release: Once you’ve gathered the energy and the momentum. It’s time to land the uppercut. Herein, your hand will be relaxed initially as you set your angles at a lower level. Once, you’ve got your angles set, then you throw the uppercut with your palm pointing towards the ceiling. Your arm moment should be in sync with your hip movements as it will help add power to your shot. Before connecting, tight your fist so to land maximum impact.
Impactful in every sense: Similar to the left uppercut or hook, you should land with your synced movement. Remember, the left uppercut will land when your right heel touches the ground and vice-versa. Put everything in clear perspective before the BIG MOMENT.
Get back in the stance: Regardless you land or miss the uppercut, try to get back into the stance as quickly as possible. Just protect the CHIN as soon as you’re done. Uppercuts similar to other punches leave a small window for your opponent to counter. You simply don’t want to let them bank on it. Thus, protect your chin as soon as you’re done.
Common mistakes to avoid when throwing an Uppercut
Lifting the hips. Don’t lift the hips, rotate them. Many beginners and even advanced boxers commit this mistake of lifting their hips. They feel that by lifting their hips or jumping upwards, they’ll be able to add more power and velocity as they land their uppercut. However, this practice is wrong. Lifting the hips doesn’t add power, it decreases it. Thus, all you want to do is stick to the ground and rotate your hips instead of lifting them. “Oh, but Tyson used to do that.” NO! He didn’t. No professional boxer will jump while delivering an uppercut. Instead, they’re rotating their hips to generate maximum power. Tyson is a legend. Tyson rotates hips. Be like Tyson!
Standing Square: You cannot land an effective uppercut by standing square. You must rotate your body and avoid using your shoulders and legs alone. Remember, it’s the rotation that sets everything up in first place. Rotation is important, both for delivering an effective punch and also for setting up another punch, so, you can rotate back and forth to deliver the combinations.
Dropping the hands: When the power is being generated by the hips, dropping the hands really don’t make any sense. Just drop your hips and not your hands. When you drop those hands, you’re risking telegraphing the move and that makes you susceptible to vicious counters.
Overextending: As said earlier, an uppercut needs to be timed to perfection. Avoid reaching out too far with an uppercut. It’s a close-distance move and by the time you’re done rotating your help, you should land your uppercut already. The rotation of hips and landing of the punch should occur simultaneously to deliver maximum impact. Timed impact along with measured distance with a contingency plan is everything you need when throwing an uppercut. However, overextending is not one of them.
No Chin tuck: The head movement and chin tucking are often undermined in an uppercut. Though it’s a general understanding that you should tuck your chin when throwing any punch, still many boxers fail to live up to this fundamental requirement. When it comes to head movement, you’ll see your head move with your uppercut if you’re using the proper technique.
Variations in an Uppercut
Lead Uppercut: With your head dipped outside your lead foot, lean slightly inwards whilst twisting your hips and rotating your body in the upward direction along with throwing the uppercut. Dipping the head movement is crucial as you can use it to slip in a punch or use it as a feint. You can set a lead uppercut with a straight punch, however, bring your hands back quickly to protect your chin from the counter.
Rear Uppercut: It mostly follows the jab. Thrown with the rear hand, it is also an effective counter punch. When throwing a rear uppercut, make use of your lead hand to protect your chin. You can drop your guard to hit the punch but as soon as you land, solidify your defense instantaneously.
Body Uppercut: Want to cause physical trauma to your opponent? Learn to land the body uppercut. It’s a deadly weapon which when connects with the solar plexus can leave a man in agony. Furthermore, it’s safer to throw an uppercut to the body than to the head as your chin is exposed for a lesser period. The most effective uppercuts are used when countering an opponent’s punch via ducking. Herein, you duck the punch and then shoot your uppercut to his/her body.
Pull back lead uppercut: Perhaps the safest uppercut, in terms of execution, you try to catch the opponent when he’s charging on you. While pulling back, you land the punch and not only do you reduce the chances of getting hit but are also able to nullify his/her advances.
Double uppercut: A double uppercut usually involves throwing a rear uppercut followed by a lead uppercut. The beauty of this move is that you can retract your second effort if you will that you’re susceptible to counter. However, if you do sense an opening then a double uppercut is capable of landing terrible blows.
Using the uppercut in a combination
For beginners, understanding the application of an uppercut in combinations can be overwhelming. Thus, you can learn how to set up combinations with the numeric guide provided below. Herein, each move is assigned to a specific number so you can understand the combinations easily based upon the number call. There’re no magic combinations, but frequently used ones which seemed to have worked for a lot of professional boxers during their successful career.
As far the common boxing combinations go, here’s a comprehensive list:
Using uppercut as a counter
You must have seen Floyd and James Toney use a rear uppercut after rolling by a quick cross or overhand. The truth is, IT WORKS! They measure their opponents, get into their perfect position and then overwhelm them with an unexpected counter. To use an uppercut as a counter, you just have to dip your body slightly towards the inside and then slip a punch followed by an uppercut. You can even use it as a counter after ducking an incoming punch i.e. the most mainstream uppercut technique. You can land on the head or on the solar plexus. Your opponent’s leaning posture will cause him more damage than he/she must’ve been expecting.
Setting up punches with an uppercut
Though, it’s a defining blow in itself. You can use the uppercut to set up other punches. By using it as a set-up punch, you can initiate a lead hook, a rear hook or a straight punch. Amongst the three set-ups, the rear hook is the most complex one to deliver because it requires the covering of distance. At the same time, an uppercut-lead hook setup is the most common combination. Herein, once you throw an uppercut, you quickly capitalize by landing a lead hook. Due to the short range, this combination is quite effective. Another quick and effective technique is throwing a straight after the uppercut. In this case, even if you miss your initial punch, you can still catch your opponent off-guard with a straight right.
Benefits and Drawbacks of an Uppercut
It’s a super powerful punch which requires rotation of the entire body.
You leave yourself susceptible to counters
Rises from out of your opponent’s eyesight, thus, cannot be read and is easy to catch them off-guard.
Implementation has to be on point or else you might have a hard time making up for your mishit endeavor.
A great set-up for other punches in powerful combinations
You can only throw it from a close-range or a slight mid-range.
You can literally end the fight with it too
If you fail to land and your opponent capitalizes, it can end your fight too
Tips for a successful Uppercut
- Protect your head/Keep your Guard up
- Bend your knees
- Generate maximum power
- Avoid extending too much
- Protect your chin
- Target the solar plexus
I hope this all-inclusive guide on uppercut in boxing helped you learn about this underutilized boxing move. If you’re just starting out, make sure to read our comprehensive boxing guide which is designed for beginners. Get a partner to hold the mitts and try to practice the move with countering and slipping. Initially, you’ll find the technique hard. However, if you keep practicing, your movement will become more fluid and incorporating uppercuts in your combinations will become much easier.