The Most Important Punch in Boxing

by | Mar 22, 2021

Jab: boxing wollongong
Jab: Boxing Wollongong

What’s the most important punch in boxing? The answer depends on your perspective. Some say, the most important one is your best punch or the punch you land with that definitive blend of accuracy, knockout power and speed. And there’s logic to that argument. However, from a strategic angle, many coaches and fighters argue in favour of the jab. Why? Because the jab (also called the ‘1’ in boxing lingo) ticks lots of boxes. 

Easy to Learn and the Fastest Punch 

Part of its beauty is in its simplicity — there is minimum hip rotation and weight transfer unlike the bent arm punches. Thus, it’s relatively easy to learn. And it’s quick and accurate. ‘Snapping’ out from the chin (with or without a step) with snake-like speed, it partially owes its dangerous speed to its proximity. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. And the jab is thrown from the front hand in a straight line; capable of punishingly jerking the opponent’s head back with whiplash intensity. 


Fighters can dictate the pace of a bout with the jab. Attacking wise, you can step forward with the jab, probing, forcing your opponent to go on the defensive. A defensive opponent can be easier to hit. Alternatively, you can purposely stay on the back foot. Defensively moving backwards behind your jab, drawing your opponent in towards you and then from nowhere nail him/her with a heavy shot.

Jabs can either target the head or body. Thrown low from the hip in an unorthodox guard-less stance (hands low and not protecting head (called an up or flick jab)) or more typically from a guarded stance (hands high and protecting the head) the jab can come at you from multiple heights. The jab really is a beautifully-versatile punch if utilised well. 

Range Finder

The jab is a range finder. In other words, this long-reach punch from the front arm — the left arm of an orthodox boxer — is akin to a measuring stick. It gauges distance. If you can land your jab then you know where you stand (literally and metaphorically) with regards to nailing your other punches.

Rhythm Killing

A well-timed jab is a must-have punch to keep your opponent occupied and prevent him/her from finding their way. Repeated jabs apply pressure and are rhythm killing. Arriving at various speeds and multiple heights, jabs can keep you guessing. Harassed and controlled — unable to unleash — you can be driven back into a corner and then punished with heavier punches.


The jab ain’t a brute force punch. It doesn’t have the damaging capabilities of the cross, uppercuts or hooks but that shouldn’t detract from its importance. On the contrary, the power of the jab stems from its accuracy, speed and versatility; all which heavily compensate for its non-knockout character. Making it a crucial weapon to have in your fighting arsenal. So, get creative and have fun using the most important punch in boxing. Happy jabbing! 

Yours in Boxing,