Every boxing coach in the existence of time says the same thing: TUCK YOUR ELBOWS IN.

When they demonstrate it, they put their elbows close in to their body, touching their ribs, and their arms almost perpendicular to the floor.

Here's a picture of it:

enter image description here


Here's a video of Conor McGregor showcasing some striking (I know he's MMA, but he went 10 rounds with Floyd, so I think he knows a thing or two about boxing). At not a SINGLE point in this video are his elbows tucked in and his arms straight, not ONCE. You can watch any video of boxers, and they don't stand like that.


What am I missing?

  • It isn't easy to emulate a well-known athlete, especially if you're doing it with no basic understanding to begin with.
    – jmo
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


What am I missing?

You're not watching boxers train, you're watching them fight, and at a high level.

Watch amateur and olympic boxing, rather than solely pro-level fighters.

When learning to box, the traditional boxing stance (as depicted in your image) is the most well rounded stance, with balanced offense, defense, and movement.

Learning from a traditional stance sets a baseline for new fighters to build upon.

It also bears mentioning that over-emphasizing keeping your elbows tucked while training reduces the likelihood that a boxer will learn to throw punches with their elbows flared up.

  • So in order to learn proper boxing, I should ... watch amateurs, and not the best of the best? What a convincing argument.
    – meiefo
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 18:46
  • 1
    By all means keep learning to box by watching Youtube videos featuring the Elite Pro Boxer Conor MacGregor, and his stellar 0-1 record.
    – Alan
    Commented May 30, 2021 at 3:49
  • 3
    @meiefo - No, to learn boxing you should work with a trainer/instructor, not watch youtube videos. And all arts teach the basics well first, before they ever let you step into a full on ring.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 15:29
  • @Alan it says it all when he was examining Conor's boxing "technique" when you have arguably one of the best boxers of all time right in front of him, why examine Floyd's skill set when you got Mcgregor instead...... :-) Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 23:34
  • Fantastic answer. People want to rush straight to the advanced, but few are anything without solid basics. Same holds in Chinese boxing and Olympic fencing. Years of basics just to be able to stand and move properly.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 0:38

Professional fighters developed from basic stances. They modified this stance to accommodate their individual strengths and weaknesses, that's how they evolved to pro fighters. They are outliers by definition.

In other words: It does not make sense to copy others on this level. It would not allow you to develop your own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, if you reach a very high level, you would eventually give up this exact stance, but it is the well-balanced bread and butter and should only be modified if one knows what you gain and what you give up by doing so.

Thus, if what you ask is about learning how to box: Get a good coach and they will let you train exactly this stance, because it is the perfect compromise between offense and defense and trains a lot of things you tend to forget in the heat of a fight, which means you lose strength or speed in your feet and punches (knees bent, weight on balls of the feet and centered, shoulders relaxed) or open up for hits to the ribs (tucking the elbows in!) or head (hands up!).

A last word on McGregor: He is not a boxer. Mayflower played with him because it was a promotional fight. Would not have looked good if it lasted only for one or two rounds. And he is an extreme show-off, ie. he purposely shows an open stance and gives up defence to demonstrage just how "good" he is (as very good boxers sometimes do). But what you do not see is that they read the distances and only do so when they know they are out of range for the opponent. That is not what you should take as a blueprint for your boxing.

  • McGreggor seems to me to be a natural fighter, which I think allows him to sometimes apply techniques others wouldn't even have considered, much less be able to pull off. (Some of them seem to come from Irish pugilism, which is the only other place I've seen them applied in bar brawls.) He's the most entertaining when he's on, but he also lacks consistency, so I'd take GSP overall, in aggregate, if there was money on the line, because he's a machine.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 0:45
  • 1
    @DukeZhou I agree that combinations come naturally to him and he has a good feeling for the moment when it's time to follow up and finish an opponent. But that's for MMA, not boxing. In pure boxing, he is too open and too slow with his upper body. It was apparent that without the threat of a kick thrown, his stance and habits are lacking in some aspects mentioned. Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 11:25
  • Great point. Thoughts on Cyborg, since we're on the subject of MMA striking?
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 0:05
  • 1
    @DukeZhou She is a natural with what coaches want their students to do. Strikes are covered by the other hand, legs are flawlessly woven into combinations. Her specialty is the straight body punch imho, severely underestimated. I found it interesting how well she catches strikes with her off-hand. Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 10:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.