To be victorious in the ring, you need the ability to outfight as well as outthink your opponent.  To outfight your opponent, you need the capacity to deliver strong and quick blows while having enough energy to maintain your agility, speed, and strength of attack. But to outthink your opponent, you need to deliver punches with blistering speed and unpredictability. At the center of both elements—physical and mental—is the ability to deliver effective punch combinations.

Why punch combinations?

The mental edge: In the ring, individual punches don’t win fights. Punches have to be intelligently combined to quickly deliver attacks in unpredictable sequences and toward unanticipated targets. The fighter must also be agile enough to change combinations to overcome an opponent’s defensive or offensive maneuvers. A fighter who can dish out unpredictable attacks and dictate the tempo of the fight will have a significant advantage as s/he keeps the opponent off-balance.

The physical edge: Training in punch combinations help fighters develop strength, stamina, and speed. These are all necessary factors that support the mental battle taking place in the ring. After all, a great combination of weak punches will make little or no difference.

Training in punch combinations will develop the physical and mental means to deliver effective and integrated attacks.

Using punch numbers to train in combinations

Our beginner’s boxing class uses these numbers to build combinations:

1 = Jab
2 = Right cross
3 = Left hook
4 = Right hook
5 = Left uppercut
6 = Right uppercut

Instead of calling out the names of punches, say “jab,” the coach will just call out a number.  The numbers are also interchangeable, meaning that “1” can be a jab or any other punch assigned. This provides coaches with an added benefit: because numbers can be reassigned, s/he can call out numbers from the corner of the ring without giving away the combination strategy to the opponent.

Here are some of our popular combinations
1 = 1
1 = 1 = 2
1 = 2 = 3
1 = 2 = 1 = 2
1 = 2 = 3 = 2
1 = 2 = 3 = 6
1 = 2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = 6
1 = 2 = 5 = 6 = 3 = 2

Remember that in training and in the ring, combinations reign supreme. Training in multiple combinations will help you develop the physical and mental capacity to deliver an integrated and devastating punch.

The great trainer Cus D’Amato created a unique punch numbering system for teaching his boxers. One of the most famous boxers who trained with this system to was Mike Tyson (who carried out Cus D’Amato system to near perfection). You can check out the video here: