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1-6 Basic Types of Boxing Punches (Boxing Number System Explained)

boxing punch number system

The boxing numbers are actually very helpful and pretty straightforward. Many boxing trainers and gyms use these numbers to mean different types of punches for pad and bag work so if you don’t know them you may be at a disadvantage.

So lets get to it and breakdown the boxing numbers with images plus tips on these basic punches.

Boxing Numbers – At a Glance

The common six-punch boxing numbers are:

  • (1) Jab
  • (2) Cross
  • (3) Lead Hook
  • (4) Rear Hook
  • (5) Lead Uppercut
  • (6) Rear Uppercut

While these numbers may change slightly depending on gym (and change drastically based on the numbers by Cus D’Amato – see the bottom of this post), these six are pretty standard.

Boxing coaches will often call out these numbers in order for you to throw those specific punches.

The numbers for 7-10 are sometimes used as well but can vary much more than the initial 6 punches – these are usually*:

  • (7) Lead Hook to Body
  • (8) Rear Hook to Body
  • (9) Jab to Body
  • (10) Cross to the Body

What Does the Boxing Number System Mean? (boxing punches numbers 1-6)

Again, the boxing number system is a technique used in boxing and kickboxing where a number is applied to a basic punch in order to help boxers, often beginner boxers, stay consistent and be more efficient.

There is no set rule as to which punch applies to which number as it mainly depends on your coach or trainer, however, generally speaking, most people follow the standard six-punch number system.

The six-punch number system is a set of numbers applied to the most basic punches. They are:

  • (1) Jab
  • (2) Cross
  • (3) Lead Hook
  • (4) Rear Hook
  • (5) Lead Uppercut
  • (6) Rear Uppercut

Let’s go through them one by one:

(1) Jab

The Jab is one of the most basic punches out there. Meant to be done in swift rapid movement. Its purpose is to quickly hit your target and withdraw to your original position.

Your fists begins leveled near your chin then thrown directly to the target. It’s a common punch but, when done correctly, delivers quite a blow. This is usually used with the left hand.

(2) Cross

The second punch, (number 2) is The Cross. It is a strong punch and is thrown with a lot of force. To perform this punch, you start with a simple guards position.

Next, pivot on your back foot and rotate your hips. This position will allow you to pour all your strength into your punch. Then, as you throw your punch (with your right hand), transfer your weight forward by pushing on your back foot.

(3) Lead Hook

The Lead Hook (number 3) is a powerful punch that draws its power from your legs and upper body. To do this punch, it’s important to get the position and stance right first.

To get into position, put your fists into guards position and stand with your legs bent and shoulder-width apart. Both your lead fist and your lead foot should be at the front. When throwing the punch, pivot on your lead foot and rotate your body. Make sure your elbow is in line with your shoulder and that your arm and elbow is at a 90-degree angle.

After you land the punch, quickly snap back to your original position.

(4) Rear Hook

The Rear Hook (number 4) is a slow but hard punch. When done incorrectly, your opponent can successfully predict, block your move, and immediately counter, but when done right, it can land deliver a devastating blow.

Similar to the lead hook, you start with your fists in guards position and your legs bent and shoulder-width apart. Swivel your hips back then create an arc with your fist as you go for the strike but make sure your elbow is level with your shoulder.

(5) Lead Uppercut

The Lead Uppercut (number 5) is a potent close distance punch. To do this punch, get into your fighting stance and bend your legs to a slight squat. Lower your lead arm but keep it at a 90-degree angle with your elbow. Draw power from your legs then strike upwards, all the while keeping your arm at that 90-degree angle.

(6) Rear Uppercut

Just like with the Lead Uppercut, the Rear Uppercut (number 6) deals a fatal blow in close distance. To perform this punch, start in your fighting stance with your legs bent to a low squat. Most of your weight should be on your rear leg.

Next, get your fists into guards position then, as you throw your punch, drop your rear arm to your waistline, forming a 90-degree angle, then strike upwards. As you strike, pivot on your rear foot and rotate your hips.

Bonus: What Do Punches 7-10 Usually Represent?

The Boxing Number System usually only include basic punches represented by the number one through six. However, there are times coaches use numbers seven through ten for a couple more punches. These are:

  • Lead hook to body
  • Rear hook to body
  • Jab to body
  • Cross to the boy

(7) Lead Hook to Body

To perform a lead hook to body, bend your knees with your lead foot forward. Put most of your weight on your front foot then rotate your hips back and throw a punch to your target. Keep your arm at a 90 degree angle and as soon as you land your punch, draw your fist back.

(8) Rear Hook to Body

Rear Hook to Body has a similar process to Lead Hook to Body. From your fighting stance, bend yours knees and push on your rear foot. This will bring the energy from your leg to your punch. Next, throw in your punch and aim at the lower center of your opponents body. Remember to keep your arm at a 90 degree angle.

(9) Jab to Body

A Jab to Body or a Body Jab is as its name suggests, it’s a Jab Punch directed at your opponent’s stomach. This action will require you to squat then strike a swift punch with your lead hand, moving your head forward as you do so.

(10) Cross to the Body

A Cross to the Body is one of the more difficult punches out there but it does do a great deal of damage. To do this punch, you first get into your fighting position. From that position, you drop your knees, turn your hips, then extend your arm in a diagonal line targeting the lower center of your opponent.

How Do You Do Different Punches in Boxing?

The punches in the standard boxing number system are basic punches that can be done easily, even for a beginner. Here’s an overview of the punches mentioned earlier. You can also refer to the image above for visual aid:

Boxing NumberPunchBasic Description
1JabA quick and rapid punch meant to be thrown directly to your target.
2CrossPivot on your back foot and rotate your hips and as you punch, push on your back foot.
3Lead HookStand with your legs bent and shoulder width apart. Keep your lead foot forward and pivot on it as you strike your punch.
4Rear HookWith your legs bent, rotate your hips back and create an arc with your fist all the while keeping it at a 90-degree angle with your elbow.
5Lead Hook UppercutBend your legs to a slight squat and lower your lead arm. Draw power from your legs as your strike upwards.
6Rear Hook UppercutWith most of your weight on your back foot, drop your rear arm to your waistline then strike upwards.
Overview of the Punches

What Are Some Common Boxing Combinations?

There are a lot of boxing combinations out there, some more complicated than others and some common but effective. For beginners, it’s best to start out with common boxing combinations then move up to the more complicated ones. Here are some of the,

Jab and Cross (1,2)

Probably the most common one is the Jab and Cross. This represented by the numbers 1 and 2 and is a popular combination that even professional boxers often use. You start with a swift jab at your opponent, stunning them, then quickly transition to a cross.

It’s a very simple yet effective combo.

Jab, Cross, Lead Hook (1, 2, 3)

Another common one is the 1-2-3 combination or the Jab, Cross, Left Hook. This is simply adding a third step to the previous combination with the Lead Hook. You stun the opponent with a Jab and a Cross and as they instinctively guard their face and leave the side of their head wide open, you throw in a Lead Hook and a deal a final blow.

Jab, Jab, Cross (1, 1, 2)

The 1-1-2 combination is also pretty common in terms of boxing combinations. It throws your opponent off as they try to figure out the timing of your punches and in that split second of hesitation, you strike a cross.

Cross, Lead Hook (2, 3)

A knockout combination is the Cross, Lead Hook or the 2-3 combo. It’s an effective yet simple combo that is often used to deliver knock outs. You start with the Cross to set up the combination then strike a strong Lead Hook. To make the punch more effective, draw power by rotating your hips as you carry out the Lead Hook.


Again, The common six punch boxing numbers are:

  • (1) Jab
  • (2) Cross
  • (3) Lead Hook
  • (4) Rear Hook
  • (5) Lead Uppercut
  • (6) Rear Uppercut

Other Related Frequently Asked Questions:

What Punches Are Illegal in Boxing?

While boxing is a generally dangerous sport that requires you and your opponent to take sever hits and punches, some punches are actually more dangerous than others and therefore deemed illegal.

Punches that are illegal in boxing are the Rabbit Punch and the Kidney Punch.

The Rabbit Punch is a punch to the back of the head. It deals a deadly blow that could end up permanently damaging someone’s spinal cord. The Kidney Punch is also quite deadly. It aims for the target’s kidneys (hence the name) and could potentially rupture the kidneys, if thrown with enough force.

For that reason, these punches are considered illegal in boxing and in MMAs. Doing these punches will result in either disqualification or significant point deductions.

Do All Boxing Coaches Use the Same Numbers?

While there’s a general number system followed by most coaches, not every boxing coach apply the same numbers to the same punches.

Some create their own number system that’s much more suited to them or to the person they’re coaching. But generally speaking, most people follow the six-punch number system.

Does the Boxing Number System Change for Orthodox vs Southpaw Boxers?

No, the boxing number system doesn’t change for Orthodox or Southpaw boxers.

The number system is just a set of numbers applied to a specific set of punches. Whether you’re a Southpaw or an Orthodox boxer doesn’t really change anything.

That said, the way the punch is done may be modified to cater to an Orthodox or Southpaw boxer but the number it is applied to will remain the same.

Who Invented the Boxing Number System?

There’s no official record to show exactly who invented the boxing number system but it is popularly associated with Cus d’Amato after using the number system to train Mike Tyson.

The boxing number system was made to help boxers learn different punches and combinations more efficiently by assigning them to a set of numbers.

Although there’s a standard number system followed, some coaches and trainers take the liberty to customize and create their own system to better suit their students or trainee. Such is the Cus d’Amato and Mike Tyson.

Did Mike Tyson and Cus d’Amato Invent the Boxing Number System?

Although the boxing number system is often associated with Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato, they did not invent the boxing number system.

The boxing number system is popular for making learning combos easier for boxers, however, due to it’s popularity, a seasoned boxer will know what’s coming and therefore be able to predict your next move.

Enter Cus D’Amato who decided to create a number system of his own, which he later passed on to Kevin Rooney. This eventually lead to them passing it on to boxing legend Mike Tyson which helped him become one of greatest boxers of all time.

This became known as the Cus D’Amato System.

Cus D’Amato System is different than the standard number system:

Because the Cus D’Amato System was designed to stray from the standard number system, the numbers assigned to each punch is now different. Instead of the basic 1 = Jab and 2 = Cross, his system goes like this:

7 Jab
2 Right Cross
1 Left Hook
5 Left Uppercut
4 Right Uppercut
3 Left Uppercut to Head
6 Right Hook to Body
8 Right Hook to the Head
9 Jab to the Body

Do Other Martial Arts Use Different Numbers Like Kickboxing and Muay Thai and MMA?

Yes, other martial arts like kickboxing, MMA, and Muay Thai use the number system to help boxers be more efficient. Although the punches assigned to which numbers may vary, the way coaches train using the number system remains the same.

For instance, in kickboxing, there’s a numerical system going from one to ten, which is:

  • 1 – Left Jab
  • 2 – Right Cross
  • 3 – Left Hook
  • 4 – Right Hook
  • 5 – Left Uppercut
  • 6 – Right Uppercut
  • 7 – Left Front Kick or Push Kick
  • 8 – Right Front Kick or Push Kick
  • 9 – Left Round Kick
  • 10 -Right Round Kick

Kickboxing Number System Explained

The Kickboxing Number System, similar to the boxing number system, was made to help kickboxers learn a combination of moves quickly by assigning a specific number to a specific punch. It’s no different to the boxing number system other than the added numbers assigned to different kicks which is obviously not present in boxing.

Numbers 7 and 8 are assigned to Left Front Kick and Right Front Kick respectively, wherein you kick your opponent using either your left or right leg.

Numbers 9 and 10 are reserved for the Left Round Kick and the Right Round Kick, which is kicking in a semicircular motion with either your left or right leg, aiming for your opponents head or chest.

These names may be changed to Lead Front Kick or Rear Front Kick, but nonetheless, the way they’re done remains the same.