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How to Measure Reach in Boxing (Step by Step Guide with Pics and FAQ)

If you’re interested in how to measure reach in boxing, this is the read for you. In this post, we have broken down step by step how to measure reach at home.

We also go into other frequently asked questions about reach in boxing and reach in the ufc plus ways you can use reach to your advantage.

Measuring reach is a very important statistic for boxers and fighters. It is the measurement from fingertip to fingertip when your arms are held in a straight line.

You can measure reach by standing against a wall, holding your arms out at 90 degrees, using a pencil to mark the end of your middle finger tips then use a measuring tape to measure the distance between the two markings.

Key Highlights on Measuring Reach and Boxing

  • The relationship between wingspan and height is the best way to understand reach advantage
  • An accurate measurement of reach when compared to height is the “Ape index” which is often use in rock climbing:
    • Average person: 0 ape index (reach = height).
    • 6′ person with 72” reach: 0 ape index.
    • 6′ person with 75” reach: 3” ape index.
  • While you can measure arm length (by measuring from top of shoulder to tip of fingers – full wingspan is likely the most objective arm measurement)
  • Factors affecting reach:
    • Arm length
    • Wider torso
    • Broader shoulders
  • Legendary boxers with notable reach for their size:
    • Sonny Liston
    • Tommy Hearns
    • Paul Williams.

Last Note: it’s not rare for acclaimed or high level boxers to have longer reaches for their height and weight class for instance: Manny Pacquiao, who stands 5’5″, reportedly has a reach spanning around 67 inches

How to Measure Reach in Boxing at Home Step by Step Guide:

1. Do Some Light Stretching

Doing light stretching before hand not only will help with soreness or pain when taking measurements, but may also give you a slightly longer measurement.

Initially, I didnt do any stretching for my measurements in the pictures shown in this post, and I found it pretty uncomfortable to hold my arms out at a 90 degree angle while taking measurements.

2. Hold Arms Out at a 90 Degree Angle

This can be done against a wall or on the floor. For the images and measurements I took I chose to do it against the wall.

Be sure to stant with your back flat against the wall. Your heels, butt, upperback, and crown of your head should be in contact with the wall.

Tip: if you find it too difficult to hold your arms out from a standing position, you may find it easier to hold your arms out while lying on the floor.

3. Using a Pencil Mark the End of Your Middle Finger Tips

Next, using a pencil, have a friend mark the very tip of your middle finger on each hand on the wall.

Again, while doing this make sure that your arms are held at a 90 degree angle and that your wrists and hands are also in line.

4. Use a Tape Measure

Lastly, using a tape measurer or measuring tape, measure the distance between the pencil markings to get your reach.

For reference, I am 6′ tall and my reach measured at 73 1/2″

Tips for Measuring Reach

  • wear tighting clothing or no shirt
  • do some light stretching beforehand
  • make sure your arms are 90 degrees
  • also make sure your arms, wrist, hands are all straight across
  • Lastly, you will need a friend or someone to help draw lines for accurate measurements

Reach can also be referred to as wingspan or arm span this is the measurement from middle finger tip to middle finger tip – this is different than arm length which is a measurement that refers to the linear distance from an individual’s shoulder to their clenched fist along the same arm.

What Is Reach Advantage in Boxing?

Reach advantage in boxing means that one boxer’s arm span is longer than the others.

Reach is the measurement from middle fingertip to middle fingertip when arms are held out at a 90 degree angle (in a “T” formation). Reach is generally proportionate to the height of a fighter.

What Effects Reach in Boxing?

The factors that effect reach in boxing are:

  • arm length
  • wider torso
  • broader shoulders

These are all measured when measuring reach and will heavily effect the measurement.

Breaking Down Boxing Reach by Height and Weight Class

Below we have a breakdown of the the avarege height of each weight class as well as the average weight of each weight class.

This can be used as a general estimate to see if you have an average reach for your height and weight:

Weight ClassAverage ReachAverage HeightWeight Limit
Minimumweight*60-64 inches4’11” – 5’3″105 lbs (47.6 kg)
Light flyweight62-66 inches5’1″ – 5’4″108 lbs (49 kg)
Flyweight63-67 inches5’2″ – 5’5″112 lbs (50.8 kg)
Super flyweight64-68 inches5’3″ – 5’6″115 lbs (52.2 kg)
Bantamweight65-69 inches5’4″ – 5’7″118 lbs (53.5 kg)
Super bantamweight66-70 inches5’5″ – 5’8″122 lbs (55.3 kg)
Featherweight67-71 inches5’6″ – 5’9″126 lbs (57.2 kg)
Super featherweight68-72 inches5’7″ – 5’10”130 lbs (59 kg)
Lightweight68-73 inches5’8″ – 5’11”135 lbs (61.2 kg)
Super lightweight69-74 inches5’8″ – 6’0″140 lbs (63.5 kg)
Welterweight70-75 inches5’9″ – 6’1″147 lbs (66.7 kg)
Super welterweight71-76 inches5’10” – 6’2″154 lbs (69.9 kg)
Middleweight72-77 inches5’11” – 6’3″160 lbs (72.6 kg)
Super middleweight73-78 inches6’0″ – 6’4″168 lbs (76.2 kg)
Light heavyweight74-80 inches6’1″ – 6’5″175 lbs (79.4 kg)
Cruiserweight75-82 inches6’2″ – 6’6″200 lbs (90.7 kg)
Heavyweight76 inches and up6’3″ and upOver 200 lbs
Note: there are of couse outliers to these numbers as these are a rough estimate

I hit at about the average reach in this table at 6′ and a ~73″ reach, but I am definitely too heavy for the average weightclass as I am currently 200lbs and would have to cut down to ~168lbs for the ideal weight class.

Link: Click here to see boxing weight classes explained and broken down

Is Reach the Same as Wingspan and Arm Length?

Reach can also be referred to as wingspan or arm span this is the measurement from middle finger tip to middle finger tip – this is different than arm length which is a measurement that refers to the linear distance from an individual’s shoulder to their clenched fist along the same arm.

To put it in a nutshell, a boxer’s reach is essentially synonymous with their wingspan. To be precise, reach is a comprehensive measure from one middle fingertip, across the fighter’s chest, to the other middle fingertip when both arms are stretched at full extent.

Another term you may see in boxing for wingspan or cross-chest measurement is armline range.

Is There a Correlation Between Reach, Body Size, and Fight Ability?

The critical question here is – what does reach denote for a boxer’s performance in the ring?

Simply put, reach does have quite an impact on the boxer’s fighting prowess. It signifies the effective range within which a boxer is capable of landing their punch.

Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns (who had a 78″ reach at 6’1″)

Furthermore, in boxing, reach, body size, and fighting ability are interconnected in various ways, but they aren’t necessarily exact determinants of success. Here’s a breakdown of their correlations:

  1. Reach:
    • Advantages: A longer reach allows a fighter to hit their opponent from a distance. This advantage is especially evident in the out-boxing style where fighters maintain their distance and employ jabs and straight punches. A longer reach can also be beneficial defensively, allowing a boxer to keep aggressive opponents at bay.
    • But: Simply having a longer reach doesn’t guarantee victory. It needs to be utilized effectively. Fighters with shorter reaches have been historically successful by developing styles that negate the advantages of their opponents’ longer arms, such as the swarmer style which involves getting in close and delivering hooks and uppercuts.
  2. Body Size (Height & Weight):
    • Advantages: A taller fighter in a particular weight class might use their height to maintain distance. They can also employ their weight in clinch situations to tire out opponents.
    • But: Taller fighters might be more vulnerable to body shots, and their centers of gravity are higher, which could be exploited by shorter, more agile fighters. Additionally, cutting weight to fit into a particular weight class can have detrimental effects on performance if not managed properly.
  3. Fighting Ability:
    • The core of success in boxing isn’t necessarily determined by physical attributes alone but by a combination of skill, strategy, training, mental strength, and experience. Fighting ability encapsulates technique, footwork, punch variety, defensive skills, ring IQ, and adaptability.
    • Great fighters adjust their strategies based on their physical attributes and the specific challenges posed by opponents. For instance, a fighter with a shorter reach but good power might focus on closing the distance quickly, while a fighter with a long reach might focus on keeping the fight at a distance.

Correlation: While there is a relationship between reach, body size, and fighting ability, it’s not linear. Success in boxing often comes from a fighter’s ability to leverage their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and adapt to various opponents and situations.

Examples: Many champions did not have a particularly significant reach or height advantage, such as Mike Tyson. Conversely, fighters like Thomas Hearns or Sonny Liston, who had notably long reaches for their weight classes, used it to their advantage but also had exceptional skills and power to complement their physical advantages.

Why Is Reach Important in Boxing?

Reach in boxing is crucial for multiple reasons, primarily because it determines the jabbing distance a fighter has at their disposal. A superior reach allows a boxer to land hits while keeping themselves at a safe distance from the opponent. It’s not just an offensive attribute but has significant defensive implications as well.

Advantages of Long Reach and How to Utilize Shorter Reach

Another boxeer with longer reach who used it very well was Sonny Liston

Advantages of Long Reach in Boxing and How to Use It

Below are some basic advnatages of longer reach in boxing and how you can use your longer reach to your advantage.:

Advantages of Long Reach in Boxing

  • Allows boxers to cover longer distances with their punches.
  • Enables fighters to attack opponents from further away, maintaining a “safe distance.”
  • Particularly beneficial for straight punches like jabs and crosses.
  • Acts as a natural defense, warding off opponents and keeping them at bay.
  • Long reach isn’t an automatic advantage; leveraging it strategically is key.
  • Legendary fighters like Tommy Hearns and Sonny Liston combined their reach advantage with raw skills and strategic fight plans.

How to Use a Longer Reach to Your Advantage

  • Longer reach offers a distinctive tactical edge in professional boxing.
  • Provides an extended punching range, letting boxers hold opponents at bay with jabs from a secured distance.
  • Effective use of reach involves long-range attacks, especially straight punches thrown with full extension.
  • Avoid becoming predictable; vary techniques and boxing styles to keep the opponent guessing.
  • While reach is an advantage, it’s essential to master other boxing skills, especially footwork.

Long reach in boxing is often viewed as a significant advantage. Boxers with long reach have the ability to cover longer distances with their strikes, making it possible for them to attack their opponents from further away, essentially keeping them at arm’s length. This can greatly affect the course of the boxing match. The benefits of long reach are seen most effectively in the form of straight punches like jabs and crosses.

What Should You Do If You Have a Shorter Reach?

Joe Frazier had a shorter reach for his height and weight at only 73 inches but made up for it with agression and that poweful left hook.

Now let’s take a look at what to do if you have a shorter reach and how to properly deal with opponents or have a longer reach:

First – General Insights on Shorter Reach:

  • Physical measurements in boxing, like reach, are not the only determinants of success; technique and strategy are paramount.
  • Legendary boxers like Mike Tyson leveraged their attributes and strategies despite not having long reaches.
  • Shorter reach can be turned advantageous by getting closer to opponents and releasing powerful punches.
  • Techniques such as bobbing and weaving are effective for shorter-reach boxers, allowing them to close the gap and penetrate defenses.
  • Combining speed, power, and proper techniques can negate any perceived disadvantage due to shorter reach.
  • Technique mastery is irreplaceable in boxing, often outweighing the importance of reach.

Strategies for Boxers with Shorter Reach:

  • Recognize the benefits of a shorter reach, including the ability to land powerful close-range strikes.
  • Focus on close-quarter combat techniques to bypass the guard of long-armed opponents.
  • Quick footwork and distance-closing maneuvers, such as bobbing and weaving, become essential.
  • A boxer’s dedication, technical prowess, and strategic understanding can overshadow any limitations posed by reach.

Historical Perspective (top tier fighters with shorter reach):

  • Boxing history is replete with shorter fighters with lesser reach who have established their dominance.
  • Joe Frazier, despite a reach of 73 inches, is celebrated for his powerful left hook and unyielding aggression.
  • Rocky Marciano, standing at 5’10” with a 68-inch reach, defied the odds by retiring undefeated, highlighting his remarkable stamina and punching power.
  • Mike Tyson, known for his aggressive style, showcases that success in boxing is multifaceted, with reach being just one component.

If you discover that your reach is shorter than average, don’t worry! Boxing is not all about the physical measurements; it majorly focuses on technique and strategy.

Classically, proficient boxers like Mike Tyson didn’t have exceptionally long reaches, yet they managed to master the art of boxing by correctly utilizing their attributes. Tyson’s strategy was to get close to his opponents and then unleash a flurry of heavy punches, making his shorter reach advantageous in the process.

Is a Longer Reach Always Better in Boxing?

The general assumption is that a longer reach is intrinsically beneficial in the boxing world. It does present certain tactical advantages, like enabling more effective jabs while maintaining a defensive distance. However, a longer reach does not guarantee victories in the ring.

Boxing encompasses more than mere physical attributes. Diligence, agility, strategy, and mental fortitude often play as significant a role as natural endowments. There is also a basket-full of successful boxers with shorter reaches like Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier, whose tactical brilliance overshadowed their disadvantage.

Who Are Some Famous Fighters with a Long Reach?

Pictued: Larry Holmes (who had a 81″ in reach at 6’3″)

Below are a list of some boxers who had a longer reach and used this attritbue beautifully:

  1. Thomas “Hitman” Hearns
    • Achievements: Multiple world champion in five weight divisions.
    • Boxing Style: Boxer-puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: Used his 78-inch reach to establish a powerful and effective jab, setting up his devastating right hand.
  2. Sonny “The Big Bear” Liston
    • Achievements: Former heavyweight champion of the world.
    • Boxing Style: Power puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: With an 84-inch reach, Liston had one of the best jabs in boxing history. He dominated opponents with his reach, keeping them at bay and setting up powerful punches.
  3. Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes
    • Achievements: Held the WBC heavyweight title for over five years; defended his title 20 times.
    • Boxing Style: Boxer-puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: With an 81-inch reach, Holmes is often credited with having one of the best jabs in the heavyweight division. He used it to control fights, maintain distance, and set up combinations.
  4. Nicolino “Intocable” Locche
    • Achievements: Former WBA light welterweight champion.
    • Boxing Style: Defensive master.
    • Usage of Reach: Although not primarily known for his long reach, he used his 69-inch reach effectively combined with his elusive head movement, making him a tough target.
  5. Paul “The Punisher” Williams
    • Achievements: Two-time WBO welterweight champion and held the interim WBO light middleweight title.
    • Boxing Style: Volume puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: With an 82-inch reach, despite being in the welterweight and middleweight categories, Williams threw a barrage of punches from a distance, outworking and overwhelming his opponents.
  6. Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko
    • Achievements: Former two-time world heavyweight champion, holding titles for over a decade.
    • Boxing Style: Technical boxer-puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: Klitschko, with his 81-inch reach, utilized a powerful and accurate jab to control opponents, set up his right hand, and maintain an effective distance.
  7. Lennox Lewis
    • Achievements: Former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
    • Boxing Style: Boxer-puncher.
    • Usage of Reach: With an 84-inch reach, Lewis combined power with finesse, using his jab to keep opponents at bay, set up his power shots, and dictate the pace of fights.

How Do They Measure Reach in the UFC?

The different in UFC is that, ‘reach’ refers to the maximum length a fighter can punch or kick. Like in boxing, within the UFC, reach is the distance from one extended middle finger to another when the arms are raised parallel to the ground, which also known as the wingspan of the fighter.

Again, there should be a disticntion between arm lenght and reach:

  • arm lenth: the length from their armpit to the tip of the clenched fist
  • reach/wingspan: distance from one extended middle finger to another when the arms are raised parallel to the ground

How Accurate Are Reach Measurements Really?

As with any boxer or fighter measurement, there is sometimes question as to how accurate the provided measurments are.

In general, I would take the measurements provided with a grain of salt – that includes height, weight, and even reach.

As the audience, all we can assume accuracy in measurements, but there are certainly times when a boxer’s height or reach statistics may be questioned.

Boxing Reach vs Height vs Weight Questions

Does Boxing Reach Determine Your Boxing Classification?

Boxing reach does not determine your boxing classification. Boxers are primarily classified by weight class. Neither boxing reach nor height determine a boxer’s classification.

However, boxing reach can be an advantage and can definintely effect the boxing style a fighter chooses to employ.

While it’s accurate that weight classes are primarily categorized by the weight of the boxer, reach also plays an integral role within these classifications. In most instances, a longer reach can provide a distinct advantage in a boxing match. It can allow a boxer to land punches on their opponent without being within their attack range, while also offering defensive benefits.

Having said this, reach is only one of the many factors that come into play in boxing. It’s the amalgamation of several elements like skill, technique, strategy, endurance, and adaptability to unexpected situations during the fight that determines a boxer’s success.

What’s a “Long Reach” for a Boxer and their Weight Class?

Based on the average reach of boxers by weight class, we can come up with the below numbers as being considered boxers considered having a “long reach”:

Weight ClassLong Reach for their Weight ClassAverage HeightWeight Limit
Minimumweight*64+ inches4’11” – 5’3″105 lbs (47.6 kg)
Light flyweight66+ inches5’1″ – 5’4″108 lbs (49 kg)
Flyweight67+ inches5’2″ – 5’5″112 lbs (50.8 kg)
Super flyweight68+ inches5’3″ – 5’6″115 lbs (52.2 kg)
Bantamweight69+ inches5’4″ – 5’7″118 lbs (53.5 kg)
Super bantamweight70+ inches5’5″ – 5’8″122 lbs (55.3 kg)
Featherweight71+ inches5’6″ – 5’9″126 lbs (57.2 kg)
Super featherweight72+ inches5’7″ – 5’10”130 lbs (59 kg)
Lightweight73+ inches5’8″ – 5’11”135 lbs (61.2 kg)
Super lightweight74+ inches5’8″ – 6’0″140 lbs (63.5 kg)
Welterweight70-75+ inches5’9″ – 6’1″147 lbs (66.7 kg)
Super welterweight76+ inches5’10” – 6’2″154 lbs (69.9 kg)
Middleweight77+ inches5’11” – 6’3″160 lbs (72.6 kg)
Super middleweight78+ inches6’0″ – 6’4″168 lbs (76.2 kg)
Light heavyweight80+ inches6’1″ – 6’5″175 lbs (79.4 kg)
Cruiserweight80+ inches6’2″ – 6’6″200 lbs (90.7 kg)
Heavyweight80+ inches6’3″ and upOver 200 lbs

Is 72 inches a good reach?

Straight off the bat, a 72-inch reach in boxing does indeed meet the criteria of being ‘good’. If you weigh under 160lbs or fight at that middle class weight then yes, a 72-inch reach is good and considered longer for your weight class.

Is 77 inches a long reach?

Yes, a 77 inch is considered a long reach and is a reach that is generally had by those over 160lbs.

The average reach across all boxing weight classes is 71 inch so a 77 inch reach is definitely on the longer end. If you weight under 160 lbs or fight at the middle class weight then yes, 77 inch reach is very good.

Average Reach for 5’4:

The average reach for somone who is 5’4 is usually ~64 inches.

On average, you’ll also notice that the reach for these individuals mirrors closely to their height, often averaging around 64 inches. However, take note that these measurements can slightly vary from person to person.

Average Reach for 5’6:

For someone who is 5’6 the average reach is ~66inches. Their reach (wingspan) almost matches their standing height.

Average Reach for 5’7:

The average reach for someone who is 5’7 is ~67 inches.

Remeber there can be a ton of individual variability ranging from the broadness of one’s chest, the length of their arms to their shoulder width all factor into determining an individual’s reach.

Average Reach for 5’8″:

The average reach for a 5’8 indidivual is ~68 inches.

Average Reach for 5’10:

The average reach for someone who is 5’10 often ranges between 68-72 inches.

Average Reach for 5’11:

The average reach for somone standing at 5’11 is between 71-75 inches.

Related Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Calculate Reach in Boxing?

You can measure reach by standing against a wall, holding your arms out at 90 degrees, using a pencil to mark the end of your middle finger tips then use a measuring tape to measure the distance between the two markings.

Is Reach More Important than Height in Boxing?

Reach plays a bigger factor than height especially in terms of average reach for a specific weight class. If you have a longer reach than others at a similar size, you will likely have the advantage.

While height often correlates with reach, it isn’t always a reliable predictor of a boxer’s spanning ability. A taller boxer may not necessarily have a longer reach, and vice versa. It’s this cross-measurement between the arm and the body that often proves decisive in a boxing match.

A longer reach offers strategic advantages, permitting the boxer to strike from a further distance, all while keeping their opponent at bay. By contrast, height doesn’t directly provide such a tangible advantage, making reach a more pertinent measure in boxing.

Does a Taller Boxer Always Have the Advantage?

In general, a taller boxer does have the advantage since they can hit their oppenet at a specific range where they cannot hit back.

However, it’s not the only factor that can lead to an advantage. Other factors like training, technique, cardio, experience, and skill are all major factors in who has the advantage.

How Is Reach Measured in MMA and in the UFC?

In MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship, “reach” is a term used to describe the arm span (as well as leg span) of a fighter. It’s an important metric because it can provide advantages in striking and grappling, particularly when a fighter knows how to use their reach effectively.

Here’s how reach is measured:

  1. Arm Span or Wingspan: This is the traditional method of measuring reach in MMA. The fighter extends their arms straight out to their sides, forming a “T” shape with their body. A measurement is then taken from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other. This measurement provides the fighter’s wingspan or arm span, which is commonly referred to as “reach” in MMA contexts.
  2. Leg Reach: While arm span is the most commonly referenced reach measurement, the UFC, in particular, has also started to measure and report leg reach. This is done by measuring the distance from a fighter’s hip to the ground when they are standing upright. It provides insight into how effectively a fighter might use their legs in striking, particularly in techniques like kicks.

What Was Muhammad Ali’s Reach?

Muhammad Ali had a 78 inch reach. Below are some other legendary boxers and their reach:

  • Joe Frazier:
    • Reach: 73.5 inches
  • George Foreman:
    • Reach: 78.5 inches
  • Mike Tyson:
    • Reach: 71 inches
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.:
    • Reach: 72 inches
  • Manny Pacquiao:
    • Reach: 67 inches
  • Sugar Ray Leonard:
    • Reach: 74 inches
  • Roberto Duran:
    • Reach: 66 inches
  • Oscar De La Hoya:
    • Reach: 73 inches
  • Larry Holmes:
    • Reach: 81 inches

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