Many trainers will tell you that the uppercut is the most underused punch in boxing. However, because it knocks the head both up and back, it can be quite jarring to your opponent.
The uppercut is thrown with the arm (either lead or rear) at about a 30-45 degree angle with the palm facing in. First dip slightly by bending ass the knee. Explode upwards while forcefully popping the hip where the punch is coming from forward. For example, if throwing a lead uppercut, pop the lead hip forward to generate weight behind the blow. Your foot will also pivot slightly as you drive off of the ball of your foot to maximize force. In Fighting Fit, Doug Werner says, “The force of an uppercut is generated by pushing off the ground on a given side and bringing hips, back, shoulder and arm up together in one violent movement.” 1 The key takeaway is that everything should be done in one movement. The hip pop should happen concurrently with the arm and fist traveling up towards the target. In Boxing: The Complete Guide to Training and Fitness, Danna Scott says, “Use the momentum of your punch to bring your hand back into position.” 2 Similar to the hook and unlike straight punches, the same momentum that was used to deliver the uppercut should be used to return the fist back into position.
A few words of caution. In his book, Champions’ Boxing Guide, Hall of Fame trainer Stephen B. Acunto says, “Uppercuts are dangerous punches to throw at the wrong times, in the wrong ways. Uppercuts should almost never be used as lead punches.” 3 To see exactly why throwing lead uppercuts is so dangerous, check out the Ricky Hatton vs. Paulie Malignaggi fight. Every time Malignaggi threw lead uppercut, Hatton came over top with a straight right hand that buckled Malignaggi. No matter how many times Buddy McGirt warned him to stop doing that, Paulie did not listen. The result? TKO stoppage.
1. Werner, Doug. Fighting Fit. San Diego: Tracks Publishing, 2000.
2. Scott, Danna. Boxing: The Complete Guide to Training and Fitness. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2000.
3. Acunto, Stephen B. Champions’ Boxing Guide. New York: Shea & Haarmann Publishing Company, 1996.