Southpaw Stance Boxing: Benefits And Essential Guides


In boxing, posture plays an important role in forming attacks and defenses. The most common position, called Orthodox, is for right-handed people. Besides that, there is another less-used one named Southpaw.

This post will discuss southpaw stance boxing and its issues, such as benefits and how to begin, compare pros and cons, and answer a few related questions. Keep reading for more useful information on this stimulating sport!

What Is Southpaw Stance Boxing?

Southpaw Stance Boxing

Southpaw stance: the right leg facing forward, while the left arm and leg move backward (Source: Fit2Box)

In boxing, “southpaw” is a term used to refer to left-handed boxers. The “southpaw stance” refers to their standing position, which suits their dominant side.

With the southpaw stance, the boxer’s right hand and right leg are forward. It leads to the opposite pose of offense or defending compared to the traditional ones. For instance, in a coordinated onslaught, they may attack their rivals with a left-handed punch or a right-handed hook.

The benefits of this pose far outweigh its disadvantages, even though it is not used commonly. According to the World Boxing Council record, this sport has many left-handed champions. They held the highest position in many other categories for many consecutive years. Some of them are:

  • Marvin Hagler (Middleweight, 1980 – 1987)
  • Manny Pacquiao (Super middleweight, 2010 – 2011; Lightweight, 2008 – 2009; Super featherweight, 2008; Flyweight, 1998 – 1999)
  • Joe Calzaghe (Super middleweight, 2007-2008)
  • Adonis Stevenson (Light heavyweight, 2013 – 2018)

Benefits Of Being A Southpaw In Boxing

Having More Awkward Elements

Surprise is always one of the reasons why boxers become hesitant and weak in the ring. The reason is that the situations are urgent and must be handled before you get injured.

The southpaw boxing stance allows one to widen both attack and defense angles. Their moves may be more diverse and powerful, especially when combined with their feet.

They also easily lead their opponents into traps. An example is moving their right leg out (called the “T position”) and “trapping” their opponent in the center. Then, they attack with one of their hooks or punches repeatedly before landing a shot to the stomach or ribs.

Creating Accurate And Sharpen Punches

Southpaw Stance Boxing 3

Manny Pacquiao’s accurate and powerful punch after locking the opponent’s movement (Source: Forbes)

Southpaws often produce more accurate and sharper punches than their orthodox opponents. Partly, their vision is not blocked when attacking on the same side. Moreover, they have more experience fighting those people than their opponents. 

The other reason is that the wide movement angle limits the opponent’s ability to move. From that, they may identify targets and use full attack power. Also, their strikes are often hooks, which need the forearm to be stable and steady before aiming.

Neutralizing Opponent’s Attacks Easily

Their arms and legs are on the same side when facing each other. But it is a big advantage for left-handed boxers. They can counter the opponent’s punches by moving outside its range faster or combining with a defensive stance. Those responses reduce the impact force because their vision is not obscured. 

The rival’s attacks can also be neutralized when you discover a “hole” in defense and attack again. But if you are unsure of completely blocking it, it is best to avoid falling into it.

Read more: Free Standing Punching Bags (Buying Guide) 2024

Owning More Experience

Only more than 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, so meeting a southpaw is extremely rare compared to others. On the contrary, southpaws often fight orthodox boxers and accumulate more experience. 

Right-handed opponents may encounter difficulty defending and are less likely to be attacked. While the well-covered side can be completely “ignored.” Yet, when southpaws meet each other, they are even more vulnerable.

What Is The Beginner’s Guide On Boxing As A Southpaw?


The posture of left-handed people is often more open than the traditional one. When standing facing a right-handed opponent, both of them are likely symmetrical through a mirror. It becomes an important point that helps you gain more advantages over your opponent. The ultimate guide to southpaw stance in boxing is like:

  • Assume a shoulder-width stance with slightly bent knees and heels apart for better leg mobility.
  • Step back with your left foot, tilting it at an angle of about 45 to 70 degrees while your right toe points forward.
  • Hold both hands in front of the chest with a right hand and a left hand behind.

The distance between the legs can change during the match to suit the fighting style. However, their front-back position does not change.


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Southpaw’s stronger counterattack after enlarging the angle of attack (Source: Shortboxing)

In boxing, foot position can produce different results for the same attack. When standing facing your opponent in this position, you can gain more advantage by placing your right leg outside the opponent’s left leg to widen the angle of attack. 

At this time, hooks to the chin and stomach will be more powerful, and kicks to the knee can also be highly effective if you know how to seize the opportunity to hold the opponent’s body tightly.


After expanding the angle of attack, you need to ensure speed, accuracy, and power when striking. Because whether it is left or right, the opponent’s legs and arms are the same as yours, and their attack opportunities are the same. Therefore, you need to strike quickly, decisively, and accurately so they do not have a chance to reverse the situation.

During this time, the shots should be cross hooks or lead hooks because they allow attacks over short distances, with strong impact from the intercostal muscles and forearms. 

Regarding direct punches or lead hooks, you must step with your right foot to close the distance, then rotate your hips counterclockwise to execute. While cross-hooking, the left leg must take a half-step forward before rotating the hips clockwise.


In addition to the basic defensive position, boxers often widen the distance between them or cross them to protect vital areas. You can also move your legs to avoid charging attacks and reduce impact from your opponent. For blows aimed at the abdomen or side, you can step back, bend your knees, stay low, and close your elbows together to shield. 

Another way is to move their head up and down or side to side to distract them and reduce the accuracy of their attacks.


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Adjusting forces and movements through training with a punching bag (Source: Men’s Health)

Practicing with a punching bag is the most basic exercise for any boxer. You must adjust your posture for attack and defense while practicing to avoid injury. After familiarizing yourself with the basic steps, you should expand your attack angle and hooks and manage the distance.

Running or jumping rope can be applied alternately. Their upsides are to develop comprehensive muscles and improve upper and lower body coordination. They support turnaround to avoid hooks or direct attacks with more internal power.

Comparison Between Orthodox vs. Southpaw


  • Prioritizes defense by hands: Movements of holding arms in front of the chest, crossing them, or keeping them parallel are all used to protect the head and body from attacks.
  • Footworks: Includes creating angles, closing, or maintaining distance from opponents; both are similar. To ensure flexibility and avoid injury, barely bend your knees and raise your heels.
  • Depends on the individual’s strategy: Even though the postures are different, it does not mean they are more inclined towards defense or attack. Strategies are based on each boxer and their research of their opponents. More precisely, there are no stereotypes for both of them.


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Southpaw’s usual dominance: Offenses and defenses (Source: MMA Boxx)

Training and coachingFew in-depth training coursesLack of specialized training coachesAccess easilyHave more experienced coaches
Fighting styleMainly use the left-handMore power and high-precision punchesMore open and comfortableMore control over the ring, easy to catch opponents off guardUse the right hand mainlyUsually, weaker punches due to the short distance the force travelsClosed and weaker defenses
RangesWide and flexibleCan deal close-range damage and quickly separate opponentsNarrower and more vulnerable if southpaws have wide leg angles
InjuriesOften causes more pain and sequelae due to vital organs (usually located on the right side), especially the liverAdvantage of avoiding injury to important organs


Why Does No One Want To Fight A Southpaw?

The difference in fighting style and experience made their opponents feel overwhelmed. 

Southpaw position regarding tactics and strategy in real combat is highly appreciated. They also have many opportunities to participate in confrontations with opponents. 

So they accumulate a lot of experience in dealing with them. Meanwhile, right-handed people are often weaker in defense and rarely confront left-handed ones.

Can A Right-Handed Person Use Southpaw Stance?

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The fighting advantage of right-handed boxers enhances further learning of southpaw stance (Source: FullContactWay)

Absolutely, yes. Some right-handed boxers may still wonder: “What is southpaw?” while others knew how to use this pose to deceive their rivals and enhance their match advantage. Using both hands proficiently can improve your attacks or defenses, regardless of the opponent’s side.

However, this way still has limitations on professional coaches and advantage movements. In addition, boxers can also be seriously injured if they get an attack on the liver.

What Is Better: Southpaw Or Orthodox?

Each position has different strengths and weaknesses, depending on the boxer’s conditions and the match.

The left-handed position brings many benefits in attack and defense. But it can cause serious injuries once hit. At the same time, the right-handed position is only slightly weaker. However, the ability to withstand attacks is still higher and protects critical points.

In addition to necessary training, boxers must accumulate more fighting experience. They should also study their opponents before each match to devise a reasonable strategy.


Southpaw boxing stance is a specialized stance for left-handed people whose legs and arms are in opposite positions compared to the orthodox one. It provides boxers with powerful attacks and solid defense thanks to its wide and flexible control range. This fighting style can surprise less experienced opponents and quickly neutralize attacks.

Compared to the traditional attack, it is more advantageous. Still, its ability to cover weak points is often low, and it is easy to get seriously injured. Thus, to increase your chances of winning, you should keep practicing regularly, understanding yourself, and studying your opponent! – Askmeboxing Best website boxing gears review.

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