What are some major (widespread) styles of western boxing and what are the features of these styles?

I am not talking about styles in the sense of "in-fighter", "out-fighter", "brawler", etc... which describe a given fighter's tendencies during a fight.

I am talking about regional styles, country styles, and styles originating from a given stable or chain of boxing gyms (a lineage, in the gung fu sense, if you will). For instance, someone once tried to explain to me what "Philly style" boxing was. I have very good reason to doubt that this person knew what they were talking about, but I've heard enough people say "Philly style" that it leads me to believe there is such a thing (and it's not a sandwich).

All the boxing I've ever done has been what I've thought of as "vanilla" boxing. Maybe everyone thinks of their style this way, despite the unique features that they've unwittingly inherited from their teacher. Basically, I'm looking for the "chocolate" and "strawberry" of the boxing world, to extend the metaphor.

UPDATE: To better explain the information I'm trying to gather, I would consider the "Peek-a-boo" boxing style (popularized by Mike Tyson) to be a distinct boxing style, insofar as it is not unique to one boxer, in that it has unique features that set it apart from other styles of boxing, and in that it was inherited from a certain, individual trainer or group of trainers (in this case, Cus D'Amato). That is to say, that it is passed on, or inherited by a group of people.

  • 1
    The Philly shell is a real thing, and I'm sure that different lineages have different practices, and I love this question, but I don't know anything about the different boxing "styles". I think that because boxing doesn't name or conceptualize their subvariations the same way that (for instance) karate does, it's less of a recognized thing. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 21:28
  • I think so too. As mentioned, I think a lot of people think of their "style" as "plain ol' vanilla boxing" and don't think to categorize it as a certain style. There's also a lot less "my teacher is so and so" in boxing. Only when something is radically different, like Mayweather's Philly Shell (thanks for pointing me to that BTW), do people take notice of a different boxing style. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 21:51
  • Same here RE: Philly Shell. I've been teaching that with a modified ITF TKD-optimised foot placement as the default fighting stance for facing opponents of similar stature for literally decades and I never thought that it might actually have a name. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


You're looking for something that isn't there. At most there is amateur and professional boxing with slightly different focuses, but boxing is made up of the four types of fighting you have dismissed as "tendencies during a fight".

The tactics of a Swarmer, Out-boxer and Counter-puncher are so different that they may be called different styles, but they're all taught as part of a good boxing regimen. From a glance at wikipedia, it seems that a boxer who is proficient in all these tactics could be described as a Boxer-puncher, but it's not so much a style as a proficiency in the others.

I've only been to one boxing club (or gym) and they taught everyone that you vary your tactics based on you opponent. If he's short, you Out-box. If he's taller, you get up in his face and smack him good (see Baby Jake Matlala). If he's faster, drive him into a corner. If he's stronger, dance around him, etc.

A "style" of boxing is simply trying to make one strategy work in all situations and is generally inferior to learning "vanilla" boxing, which teaches adaptability.

  • +1, very much agree on this. I do sparring in a gym, I'm a light heavyweight myself and sparring anyone from welterweight to super heavyweight. My boxing style greatly depends on which size and pace the guy I am sparring against is at. Me(81kg) vs a 110kg guy? Yeah, I'm not gonna out-reach him, so I need to get inside FAST and then out. Vs a smaller welterweight who is faster than me, I try to outjab him and use footwork to get him cornered... like you describe. It all depends.
    – cbll
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 10:47

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.