Here I'm asking about Western boxing specifically, both in terms of the modern & contemporary sport, and historical European boxing (John L. Sullivan and earlier.)

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    I was reviewing boxing questions, in an effort to figure out if we'd had the clinching question before, and ran into this one again. Since you're still active on the site, is there anything I can do to add to my answer? Jun 16, 2021 at 12:10
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    Marco, thanks for the reminder! Been more spotty in activity, so forgot this. You answer has been formally accepted.
    – DukeZhou
    Jun 17, 2021 at 22:41

1 Answer 1



Boxing rules require striking with the knuckles, which will render illegal both hammerfists and backfists. More specifically, from the USA Boxing National Rule Book, and their list of boxing fouls (emphasis mine):

Hitting with open glove, the inside of the glove, wrist or side of the hand

Of course, if you go back far enough, I'm sure there have been versions of boxing where hammerfists have been legal and have been used, especially in early barehanded bouts before they decided to introduce gloves to eliminate grabs in boxing.

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