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How To Throw a Cross

The cross is one of the most powerful punches in boxing. It's used less frequently than other punches, but it can be devastating when executed correctly.


  • TIP: Ensure a strong follow-through by imagining a point just behind your opponent's head as the final target of your punch.
  • Step 1: As you are punching, retract your lead hand, tucking it against your face to protect your chin.
  • Step 2: As soon as you throw the cross, retract the striking hand, and return immediately to your initial stance. Prepare to defend yourself—a punch is likely on its way.
  • FACT: In 1974, Muhammad Ali stunned the sports world by knocking out the heavily favored champion George Foreman in the eighth round of Ali’s comeback fight, known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” The knockout punch was a cross.
  • Step 3: Aim to land the punch on your opponent's cheek or chin, keeping your eyes on him at all times. At the end of the punch, rotate your fist so that your palm is facing down as your hand strikes the target.
  • TIP: Boxers usually use the cross as a finishing punch in a sequence. Often, they throw it as part of a combination, after a jab or series of jabs, for example. You can also use it as a counter-punch when your opponent throws a jab.
  • Step 4: Start in a boxer's stance: Stand at an angle to your opponent, with your lead foot forward, your lead hand protecting your face, and your non-lead hand further back, protecting your chin. Keep your arms close to your sides to protect your body. Stand on the balls of your feet, with your weight on your back foot.
  • TIP: In the common boxing stance, the left hand and foot lead, and the cross is thrown with the right hand. If you’re left-handed, you may want to reverse this stance.
  • Step 5: Rotate your non-lead shoulder forward while bringing your non-lead hand across your body in a straight line. Rotate your hips in the same direction as the punch, and pivot on your back foot, as if stubbing out a cigarette. As you pivot, transfer your weight from your back foot to your lead foot, executing a powerful, quick turn.
  • : Boxing is a dangerous sport that you should only attempt with proper training and supervision. Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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