Boxing isn’t all about dazzling with sizzling punches that sting. It’s also about footwork. It’s about frenzied speed. It’s about beautiful coordination. And it’s how a boxer uses their upper and lower bodies in tandem, favouring their natural abilities, that produces the greatest boxing performance they can give.
Every boxer wants to dance around the ring, dodge incoming blows and electrify with their own. To have it all, a boxer needs to discover for themselves if they should use the orthodox or southpaw stance.
In this article, we’re going to explore and explain what the orthodox and southpaw stance is. We’ll cover their differences, strengths and weaknesses and aid you in discovering your natural stance.
What is the Orthodox Stance?
If you opt for the orthodox stance, it means you’ll stand with your left foot forward and your right foot at the back. Since most people are right-handed, this is the most common stance.
This stance gives right-handers the feeling that their right hand, which is kept at the rear, is kept like a gun waiting to explode. It allows right-handers to throw their most powerful punches like right hooks.
Since it’s the most common stance, boxers expect and train to fight opponents with an orthodox stance. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that it allows boxers to be well-prepared and to know what to expect against most opponents. But it’s a curse in that when coming up against a southpaw, they can be surprised, shocked and stunned because they aren’t used to facing those fighters who virtually fight in reverse.
What is the Southpaw Stance?
If you fight using the southpaw stance, you’re fighting in the reverse of the orthodox stance. With the southpaw stance, you’ll have your right foot forward and your left foot at the back.
It’s generally agreed that the southpaw stance is more open and fluid than the orthodox stance. The orthodox stance is more rigid, hampering the defence of the orthodox stance boxer. In contrast, the southpaw’s stance allows for more movement and control — especially when we consider the curse of the orthodox as previously mentioned.
Naturally, most left-handers choose to fight with the southpaw stance. However, some boxing trainers are either too used to or unwilling to work with or train southpaws. This leaves some natural southpaws to train themselves as orthodox fighters.
What are the Benefits of Fighting With the Orthodox Stance?
Since the orthodox stance is the most common style, many of the best trainers have the most experience with orthodox stance boxers. This means finding the best trainers to help propel you to new heights is easier as an orthodox boxer.
Further, orthodox boxers benefit from the fact that, since most fighters are orthodox, they’ll know what to expect from their opponent. This reduces the element of surprise, allowing for greater focus on landing those crisp and heavy shots.
Another benefit for fighters using the orthodox stance is that their positioning makes landing devastating blows easier. For example, orthodox fighters can get in closer to their opponent’s right side, which is where the liver is situated. Anyone who knows boxing knows this is one of the most effectively manipulated spots to land hits that’ll stop a fight.
What are the Benefits of Fighting With the Southpaw Stance?
The southpaw’s more open stance makes southpaws more comfortably positioned not only in the ring but also against their orthodox opponents.
Smart southpaws use their lead foot as a distraction. They benefit from being able to use their left foot out in front, combined with their more open movement, to lead orthodox stance fighters to feel they’re going to trip over them at any moment.
Further, southpaw stance boxers also benefit from generally outperforming orthodox fighters at the long-range game.
Their greatest benefit, though, comes from the fact that they’ll often possess the element of surprise. Orthodox fighters are known for fearing southpaws. Think of the scene in Rocky where Creed’s manager says he doesn’t want Creed messing with any southpaw.
The southpaw’s unorthodox movement inevitably surprises the orthodox fighter. They make orthodox stance boxers feel they have to be on constant guard and always alert for a debilitating strike they weren’t expecting. This zaps their energy and gives the southpaw fighter a greater sense of control in the ring.
Which Stance Should You Choose?
First and foremost, know that there’s no right or wrong stance.
However, the main determining factor for which boxing stance you should choose lies with which hand is your dominant hand. Your dominant, stronger hand should serve as your greatest weapon, and you’ll want to put it to its greatest use. For this, you should opt for the stance that benefits your dominant hand the most. If you’re right-handed, that’ll be the orthodox stance. If you’re left-handed, that’ll be the southpaw stance.
Don’t use your strong arm for jabs. Use it for hooks. It should be at your rear, ready and waiting to strike the most powerful blows.
Choose the stance that best suits your stronger side — the stance that’ll allow you to float around the ring and sting like a bee.
Orthodox and southpaw boxers don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Both come with their inherent pros and cons. The differences they possess are part of what makes boxing one of the greatest and most interesting sports.
Whichever stance you fight in, double down on its pros and stick to it.