Best Boxing Style: The Four Styles for Boxing Success



Best Boxing Style: The Four Styles for Boxing Success

While boxers have proven time and time again that greatness in the ring can stem from any background, country, ethnicity, or financial circumstance, there are only a few best boxing styles that a prospective boxer must employ if they're to expect success. In fact, while there are dozens of boxing stances, strategies, and other techniques, they all will fall under one of these four best boxing styles.

And because there are so few styles one can utilize in the ring, it's crucial to understand each of them in-depth, in order to figure out which style best suits you — along with which style your potential opponents might employ, so you can know how to beat them. Which is why we've decided to put together this comprehensive list of the four best boxing styles.

That being said, there's one thing about boxing styles that's crucial to know before we begin discussing each one: in almost every case, a fighter doesn't choose their style — the style chooses the fighter. What we mean by that is, depending on your body type, fighting instincts, and natural tendencies, you'll simply fit into one of the following four styles, without even having to try. Pretty cool, right? 

Although it's still important to know which style you fall under, in order to best maximize your potential and execute your specific style to the fullest. So let's get right into it.

The Four Best Boxing Styles

Pressure Fighter

Pressure fighting — also known as swarming, in-fighting, or crowding — is one of the most common boxing styles found in the professional ranks. This style involves a lot high-pressure aggression, bombarding the opponent with constant attacks, in order to prevent them from mustering their own offense for large swaths of the fight; eventually tiring them out by having to focus so much on defense.  

A pressure fighter can be easily identified by their forward movement. In fact, some pressure fighters are considered “zombies” because they keep moving forward with no regard to what's coming back at them. Boxers using this style will want to stay within the punching range of their opponent, forcing their opponent to fight on the back foot. 

Also of note is that, because the pressure fighting style demands constant action, it also requires a lot of energy — which in turn means that the pressure fighter must have excellent cardio. Pressure fighters must also employ excellent footwork, in order to maneuver themselves into punching range without taking too much damage. 

That being said: a pressure fighter should expect to receive damage, because of how often they're putting themselves in the line of fire in order to land their own offense. For that reason, pressure fighters tend to have a good “chin”; meaning, they can take a punch without getting too rocked or knocked out. 

Generally, pressure fighters are often either fighters that are short for their weight class, or have shorter reach than their peers — although that isn't always the case.

Some of the most famous (and successful) boxers who utilize the pressure fighting style are:

  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Mike Tyson
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Joe Frazier
  • Roberto Duran
  • Gennady Golovkin
  • Julio Cesar Chavez
  • Naoya Inoue
  • Katie Taylor

If any of this sounds like or speaks to you, then perhaps pressure fighting is the best boxing style for you! It has certainly worked out for many boxing legends. 


Next up on our Four Best Boxing Styles list is the Out-boxer — also often called out-fighter. Someone who utilizes an out-boxer's style is looking to remain outside of their opponent's punching range when they aren't looking to produce their own offense, and are primarily looking to land long-range punches, such as the jab. In fact, the jab is generally the preferred punch for all out-boxers.

Out-boxers are known for quick movement in the ring, and place an emphasis on getting themselves into favorable position using footwork and feints, in order to land their own offense while avoiding that of their opponent.

An ideal situation for an out-boxer is that their opponent — frustrated about having their face constantly jabbed — will lunge forward with a big punch, miss badly, and be countered by the out-boxer with something unseen that could potentially knock them out.

Yet, an out-boxer's style tends to place more of a focus on accurate, fast punches rather than devastating knockout blows — although that is not to say that out-boxer's aren't able to score KO's or TKO's during their fights. 

Since out-boxers generally like to defeat opponents with superior technique, this specific style takes a lot of hard work in the gym and during training camps in order to hone to perfection — especially because being able to generate the angles with which to land their punches from takes a lot of trial and error, in order to get right. 

Out-boxers are generally taller fighters with a longer reach than their opponent, as they're able to remain out of their opponent's range while fighting behind their jab. 

Some of the most notable professional out-boxers include:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Floyd Mayweather, Jr
  • Devin Haney
  • Tyson Fury
  • Dmitry Bivol
  • Andre Ward
  • Lennox Lewis
  • Laila Ali
  • Sugar Ray Robinson

Are you a taller fighter who loves to jab, and want to be like one of these boxing legends? You may have just found the best boxing style for you.


The third best boxing style on our list is probably the most exciting: the Slugger — also known as the brawler, or the puncher.

The slugger is, of course, the most brutal of the four boxing styles. Offensively, a slugger's focus will be keeping their balance, in order to have their feet planted at all times so they they can land a devastating knockout from any angle — no matter how the fight had been going for them to that point. 

Sluggers also love getting their opponent on the ropes or backed into a corner, so they can land their brutal offense without their adversary being able to dodge or avoid what's being thrown in their direction.

When it comes to defense, a slugger will often try to clinch or grapple with their opponent, using a size and/or strength advantage to tire their opponent out, and make them more susceptible to power-punches. 

Sluggers tend to use excellent head movement on defense, as well; being experts in slipping and ducking to minimize the damage they might sustain while they're working their way into punching range, in order to ultimately land their own offense.

Most times, sluggers are willing to take one from their opponent in order to give one of their own, because they believe their superior punching power will ultimately deal the most damage — although this belief can lead to the slugger's downfall. 

Most sluggers are bigger and heavier for their weight class, and sometimes lack mobility in the ring — which makes it difficult to face faster fighters who are bobbing and weaving in and out of range constantly.

Compared to pressure fighters and out-boxers, sluggers are more prone to throwing power shots, or falling into predictable, basic punching combinations, instead of needing to rely on advanced, technical combinations. 

Some of the most famous slugger-style fighters are:

  • Evander Holyfield
  • George Foreman
  • Artur Beterbiev
  • Marvin Hagler
  • David Benavidez
  • Deontay Wilder
  • Sonnie Liston
  • Micky Ward

Perhaps even more so than the other styles on this list, the slugger style is something of a gift from the boxing gods (when it's evident that someone is a natural slugger). Not everybody possesses the power in order to be a successful slugger, and sometimes a fighter's body type wouldn't seem conducive to a slugger style — like Deontay Wilder, for example — although they are extremely powerful punchers by nature.

If you're constantly told by teammates and sparring partners that you have an insanely hard punch — even when you aren't trying to punch hard — you're probably a slugger. Consider that a blessing!


The fourth and final style on our best boxing styles list is the boxer-puncher. This style is, essentially, a combination of the aforementioned three styles, and takes the best aspects of all those styles in order to form this extremely well-rounded way of fighting. 

The boxer-puncher possesses many similar qualities as that of the out-boxer: elite hand speed, an excellent jab, and solid counter-punching skills. In comparison to the slugger, they may have similar power, while also utilizing better defense, accuracy, and mobility inside the ring than a slugger would generally have. Additionally, the boxer-puncher is more willing (and maybe even more eager) to fight while moving forward in a pressure fighting style than an out-boxer would be.

Yet, the boxer-puncher also tends to lack the natural athleticism and defensive ability compared to an out-boxer. But boxer-punchers are able to make up for this deficiency by being the most unpredictable with their offensive strategy than the other three best styles. 

While this versatility is often the reason that a boxer-puncher can manage to win fights, it can also be a bane at times. Since they're a master of none, they don't have the option to rely on their basics or the natural gifts that their body type bestows in order to emerge victorious.

For that reason, game planning and strategizing before a fight about what Plan A, Plan B, and even what Plan C is in the ring is extra important for the power-puncher (although it's important for all boxers, regardless of style). 

Some of the noteworthy boxer-punchers throughout boxing history are:

  • Roy Jones, Jr
  • Terence Crawford
  • Joe Louis
  • Canelo Álvarez
  • Oleksandr Usyk
  • Gervonta Davis
  • Oscar De La Hoya
  • Ryan Garcia
  • Vasyl Lomachenko
  • Bernard Hopkins
  • Miguel Cotto
  • James Toney

If you're unsure what your natural boxing style is, or don't believe that any of the first three styles suit you, that most likely means that you're a boxer-puncher! And considering the amount of boxing legends that also employ that same style, you're certainly in good company. 

Sub-Styles and Other Boxing Techniques

While those four styles are the best boxing styles there are, there are a number of other sub-styles that are aspects of those main styles, which are worth knowing and understanding. Here are some of the most common ones:


Sometimes considered the fifth boxing style, the counterpuncher is all about getting the opposing boxer to make a mistake, and then capitalizing on that mistake. Counterpunchers are always looking for and trying to create opportunities to bait an opponent into becoming too aggressive, in order to capitalize on openings and produce surprising knockouts. 

However, being a counterpuncher requires elite quickness and reflexes, so this sub-style isn't for everyone. Boxers like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Floyd Mayweather Jr are all counterpunchers. 


Another common sub-style is southpaw — which is another word for a left-hand dominant fighter. While an orthodox (right-handed) fighter will lead and jab with their left arm, southpaw fighters will do so with their right hand.

A few notable southpaws over the years are Gervonta Davis, Hector Camacho, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Shakur Stevenson, Manny Pacquiao, and Oleksandr Usyk.  

Philly Shell

The Philly Shell is probably the most popular (and well-known) defensive technique in boxing — and for good reason. This is when a boxer's lead arm is placed across the torso (usually somewhere in between the belly button and chest), while the lead hand rests on the opposite side of the fighter's torso. The back hand is placed on the back side of the face, and the lead shoulder is brought in tight against the lead side of the face.

This style is effective for counterpunching, because it allows fighters to slip punches by rotating and dipping their upper body, causing blows to glance off the fighter's shoulder. And once the punch glances off, the fighter's back hand is in perfect position to counter their opponent.

Some boxers who are known for using the Philly Shell are: Floyd Mayweather Jr, Naoya Inoue, James Toney, and Jack Dempsey.

And there you have it! The four best boxing styles, along with three sub-styles or techniques to round out and better understand your boxing game. Now it's time to enter the ring, and see which of these styles has chosen you. 

Grant Young is a sports writer from San Francisco. He has had two professional Muay Thai fights: he got knocked out in one, and got a knockout in the other. When it comes to his favorite fighters, it's Israel Adesanya, and then it's everyone else.