Chicago Fight House

Boxing Definitions Glossary on Chalkboard

Boxing Glossary and Top Fighting Definitions

The following boxing definitions are curated and originally written by Lou Storiale, owner and founder of Chicago Fight House.

1. Accidental Butt (Head Butt)

When heads collide accidentally, major damage can take place. To Head Butt an opponent purposefully can get a fighter immediately disqualified.

2. Amateur Boxing

Unpaid competitive boxing matches, often called “Smokers” where fighters battle to conquer themselves and their opponents.

3. Backpedal

To move away or retreat from your opponent in a direct line while facing them.

4. Bare-Knuckled

To fight or compete without wearing boxing gloves or protective equipment covering the knuckles.  Often handwraps are allowed as a covering but does not protect either fighter from broken bones.

5. Bell

A gong-like device struck by an official to indicate the beginning or end of a round. A Bell is used to ensure everyone can hear the high-pitched sound over the cheering crowd.

6. Below The Belt

An expression used to describe a punch that was executed below the legal area of striking, beneath the waistband of a fighter.

7. Bleeder

A boxer that may have trouble with blood clotting. Some fighters have sharp eye sockets near the eye brow that can cut a fighter from the inside after being punched.  A bleeder is somone that despite conventional medical first-aid, the bleeding continues.

8. Block

Defensive strategy to avoid being hit by an opponent by placing the hand, arm, or elbow in the path of an oncoming strike.

9. Blow-By-Blow

Play-by-Play of a bout where the announcers are explaining what is happening and adding context.

10. Bob And Weave

Defensive strategy of movement to avoid being struck by an opponent. This strategy includes ducking and moving from side to side often rolling in and out to change the position and distance of a person’s head, making it difficult to hit.

11. Body Work

A boxing strategy that focuses an attack on an opponent’s liver, spleen, and midsection.

12. Bolo Punch

A flamboyant punch that simultaneously combines a wide and looping hook with a looping uppercut.  Often everyone can see the punch coming except for the fighter getting punched.

13. Bout

A fight or competition.

14. Brawler

A fighter that engages in less fluid movement and strategy but rather has a more brutal offensive strategy without regard for making their opponent miss. A brawler is a predominately offensive fighter.

15. Break

A command given to fighters by a referee to stop and separate. To break apart.

16. Card

Refers to the bouts that are scheduled for the evening.  In the early days of boxing the lineup was given to announcers on an index card for notes, therefore referred to as a card.

17. Catch-Weight

An agreed-upon weight between two fighters that are in two different weight divisions.  The fighters usually split the difference and meet in the middle of a weight category.  This is referred to as a “catch-weight” and is only temporary for a single matchup.

18. Check Hook

A boxing technique that combines blocking and counterpunching in the same move.

19. Clinch

Leaning on and holding an opponent.

20. Combination

Punches that are executed in a predictable sequence or order.

21. Contender

An experienced and qualified opponent that is ranked in the top 10 of an organization or division.

22. Corkscrew Punch

Twisting the hand on impact to cause a cut or tear of the skin.

23. Cornerman

A person whose responsibility is to aid and coach a fighter during a match. A cornerman can be the head coach, the cutman, the person responsible for giving the fighter water between rounds, and more.

24. Counterpunch

A strategic punch that is executed in response to an opponent’s strike.

25. Cross

A straight right-hand punch by a right-handed person. A straight left-hand punch by a left-handed person.

26. Cruiserweight

A weight division in boxing ranging between 175-200lbs.

27. Cutman

A cornerman responsible for controlling any cuts, abrasions, or swelling between rounds.

28. Cutting-Off-The-Ring

A strategy involving footwork and angling that limits an opponent’s ability to move freely around the ring. Keeping an opponent’s movement limited in order to engage that fighter on your terms and keep them from evading or escaping.

29. Decision

The judges make a decision as to whom they believe won the match or bout given the scoring of each round.

30. Disqualification

When a fighter loses by being disqualified, usually due to violation of the rules.

31. Dive

When a fighter purposely loses a fight and is complicit in the appearance of a real fight taking place.

32. Draw

A tie. Neither fighter won the bout and neither lost. When the result of calculating all 3 judges’ scorecards results in a tie.

33. Duck

To quickly drop your body and head under a punch to avoid getting hit.

34. Eight Count

When the referee counts to eight, then checks on the fighter to see if he/she can and wants to continue fighting. This is usually given to a fighter when they were knocked down. An eight count allows the referee to assess the health and wellness of the fighter.

35. Enswell

An invaluable tool used to reduce swelling around a fighter’s eyes by putting pressure on the injury and spreading fluid away from the injury.

36. Feint

Faking a punch or move to set up an opponent or to assess an opponent’s reaction time.

37. Flash Knockdown

Quick knockdown and quickly standing backup.

38. Foul

A violation of the rules that results in either a warning or having a point deducted.

39. Gate

The total amount of money gained solely from ticket purchases for the live event.

40. Gatekeeper

A good boxer that can’t beat the champion but is used to ensure contenders are good enough to make a title fight competitive.

41. Get Off

A fighter’s ability to attack and hit an opponent first, to be aggressive and effective usually with jabs or another offensive strategy.

42. Glass Jaw

A metaphor used to describe a fighter’s susceptibility to getting knocked out easily or lack of ability to take a punch.

43. Gloves / Boxing Gloves

Protective padded material that fits over a fighter’s hand and wrist to ensure an acute injury does not occur during training or competition.

44. Go The Distance

To compete until the end of a timed fight.

45. Hand Wraps

Cotton or Cotton blend material between 120″-180″ that is used to secure the wrist in place and protect the knuckles when sparring or hitting mitts, or heavy bag.

46. Haymaker

A punch that is thrown in desperation, evil intention, and hopeful aspiration of getting a knockout.

47. Hook

A punch delivered in a half-circular motion intended to travel around an opponent’s hands. This punch is delivered to hit an opponent from the side making contact at a 90-degree angle.

48. Jab

A punch with the lead hand.

49. Journeyman

A career-oriented boxer that does not have a good chance of winning a championship. A journeyman is usually an experienced boxer.

50. Kidney Punch

A punch that is executed purposefully to hit an opponent’s kidneys.  A kidney punch is an illegal blow in boxing.

51. Knockdown

When a fighter falls to the ground after being punched in the body or head. A knockdown can be counted if a boxer’s hand touches the ground, as well.

52. Knockout / Ko

When a boxer loses consciousness for more than 10 seconds or loses the ability to stand up after being knocked down.

53. Majority Decision

The majority 2/3 of judges determine that the same fighter won the fight and the third judge scores it a draw.

54. Majority Draw

The majority 2/3 of judges determine the fight is a draw. The third judge scores the win for one of the fighters.

55. Middleweight

A fighter is in the middleweight division when they fight at a weight between 154 lb – 160 lb.

56. Mouth Guard

Protective mouth equipment that is shaped and molded to form-fit in a fighter’s mouth to protect his teeth, gums, and jaw from injury. Very similar to a mouth guard for football players.

57. Neutral Corner

Any corner where a team for one of the fighters is not set up so a fighter can take coaching while waiting for the referee.

58. No-Decision

The result of a no-decision is that the bout does not appear on either fighter’s record, usually due to a stoppage due to accidental injury in the early rounds.

59. Orthodox

A right-handed fighter.

60. Outside Fighter

A boxer that usually keeps their distance.  A fighting strategy to fight from the outside is usually due to the fighter having long arms, a long reach, or a fighter skilled at landing a jab and moving away from an opponent before a counter strike can land.

61. Overhand

A punch that is delivered in an over-arching motion from a 2 o’clock position coming over the top in a downward motion.

62. Palooka

A fighter with limited ability.

63. Parry

To redirect a punch in a way that keeps the punch from landing and results in the fighter losing their balance.

64. Paw

Moving the lead hand outward 3/4 of the way to the opponent to keep distance or to set up an opponent.

65. Peek-A-Boo

A style of fighting made famous by Mike Tyson while under the coaching of Cus D’Amotto that puts the fighter in advantageous positions to land fast and powerful strikes.

66. Picking-Off Punches

The act of intercepting punches through blocking or redirecting.

67. Play Possum

When a fighter acts hurt or injured to lure in their opponent.

68. Plodder

A fighter without grace.  A fighter with limited ability to be graceful while moving about the ring usually moving in a straight line backward and forward with heavy plodding feet.

69. Point Deduction

When a point is deducted from a fighter for violating the rules, usually after several warnings.

70. Pound-For-Pound

A term used to describe top-tier fighters when comparing skill level regardless of weight category.

71. Prizefighter

Any professional fighter getting paid to compete.

72. Promoter

An event planner and financier for combat sports events.

73. Pull

A defensive move where a fighter leans away from or pulls back from their opponent to avoid being hit.

74. Pull Your Punches

A punch delivered at a fraction of the force possible. Purposefully punching at a weaker level than possible to ensure the opponent is not hurt.

75. Punch

To strike someone with the knuckles of a clenched fist.

76. Punch Mitts

Foam and leather pads that are worn by a trainer.   Punch mitts help a boxer improve their offensive and defensive skills and focus.  Punch mitts are often referred to as focus mitts.

77. Rabbit Punch

A punch to the back of the head or neck. This is illegal in every combat sport competition.

78. Ring

The area in which fighters fight.

79. Ring Generalship

This is the manner in which a fighter controls the action in the ring and understands his position. It is the way he is able to impose his will on his opponent and strategically outmaneuver him.

80. Ring/Round Card Girls

Combat sports regularly feature women who carry a numbered sign or “card” in the ring during the rest period. This informs or reminds the audience which round is coming up next. Shop Round Cards

81. Ringside

A position in the front row or right next to the boxing ring is considered “ringside.”

82. Roadwork

Running or jogging for training purposes.

83. Roll With The Punches

To move or rotate your head in such a way to mitigate the power and force of a punch.

84. Rope-A-Dope

A strategy of leaning against the ropes while taking punches until your opponent is too fatigued to defend themselves, then you outstrike your tired opponent. The boxer on the rope make their tired opponent look like a dope. Hence, rope-a-dope.

85. Rounds

A round can be considered a part of a fight. In boxing, there are 12 rounds of 3 minutes each. In MMA there are 5 rounds of 5 minutes each. Every combat sport has a 1-minute rest between rounds.

86. Rubber Match

The 3rd of three fights between two fighters that have already fought twice, both with a win between them. The rubber match decides who is the better fighter, typically.

87. Shadow Boxing

A warmup exercise that mirrors the actions and movements of sparring an opponent including offense and defensive moves as if a person were fighting someone at 20-50% speed and effort.

89. Shoulder Roll

A defensive move made popular and mastered by Floyd Mayweather where the fighter moves slightly backward and rotates their shoulders to evade a punch and is automatically put in an advantageous position to counter strike.

90. Slip

Moving your head slightly to the side to evade a strike from an opponent.

91. Southpaw

A left-handed fighter

92. Spar/Sparring

To practice fighting, often with an opponent committed to helping you increase your ability to fight.

94. Sparring Partner

Another boxer or fighter that has agreed to help you improve your fighting skill by engaging in sparring (practice fighting).  A sparring session is usually conducted at a slightly slower or less brutal level than an actual fight, but not always.

95. Spit Bucket

The container used to spit excess water out of a fighters mouth during a bout or sparring session. Water is not always consumed and often used to wash away blood from the mouth.

96. Split Decision

When 2/3 judges vote for one fighter as the winner and one out of the three judges decided for the other fighter.

97. Split Decision Draw

Each of the three judges vote differently. One votes for fighter A, One votes for fighter B and the last judge determines the fight to be a draw.

99. Standing Eight Count

When the referee counts to 8 to ensure a fighter is recovered after getting knocked down, typically. When the referee determines the fighter can and is willing to continue, it is considered just a standing eight count. This is seen as a HUGE negative against the fighter and often leads to a loss of the round by judges. In amateur boxing, a standing eight count can be given even if the fighter was not knocked down, but rather hard and fast punches landed and dazed the fighter. This is different than professional fighting since fighters are learning how to box and not making a living of fighting.

100. Stepping Stone

A fight of fighter determined to be an opportunity, but not much of a threat. Often a steppign stone is a fighter that used to be very good and has a high reputation. It is not a compliment to be called a stepping stone.

101. Stick And Move

Sugar Ray Leonard was a stick and move fighter, which is punching and moving, striking and evading; always keeping distance from an opponents power punches. Long-armed boxers can stick and move effectively since their reach is longer than their opponents.

102. Stylist

A Real Boxer is a stylist, that is, someone that uses technique and skill to win fights, not brute force. Often someone that can employ multiple styles at various points in a fight or in their career. The opposite of a one dimensional fighter, a person with multiple techniques that can beat any fighter regardless of their style.

103. Sucker Punch

A sucker punch is when a person strikes an individual when they aren’t looking and there was no previous indication of a fight breaking out. A sucker punch is not strking first and striking hard – it is when the other person has no chance of even knowing a punch was going to be thrown. It is debated which person is the sucker, the person that got hit or the person throwing the punch. It is considered shameful and dishonorable to sucker punch someone.

104. Super Middleweight

A boxing weight division where a fighter weighs-in between 160-168 lbs

105. Technical Decision

When a referee stops a fight due to an accidental headbutt or similar injury that prevents a fighter from continuing through no fault of either fighter. The judges scorecards are reviewed to determine the winner.

106. Technical Draw

When a referee stops a fight due to an accidental headbutt or similar injury that prevents a fighter from continuing through no fault of either fighter. The judge’s scorecards indicate the scores are even and a draw is determined.

108. Technical Knockout / TKO

When a referee stops the fight due to a one-sided dominant performance that would prevent major or permanent injury or even death to the other opponent.

109. Throw In The Towel

To quit a fight or to stop a fight by throwing in a white towel into the ring by the chief cornerman or fighter representative.

110. Toe-To-Toe

When two fighters face each other and exchange punches without using defense or footwork.

113. Unanimous Decision

When all three judges choose the same fighter as the winner.

114. Undercard

All the preliminary fights leading up to the main event. All the fights are said to be on the undercard.

115. Underdog

A fighter that is NOT likely to win a competition. The agreed-upon worse of the two fighters.

117. Uppercut

A punch meant to hit an opponent from underneath the chin. A looping punch delivered from the 6 o’clock to the 12 o’clock position.

120. Weigh-In

An official event where all fighters on a fight card stand on a calibrated scale to ensure they should fight in a particular division.

121. Weight Class

A division of boxing separated by weight. There are 17 divisions divided up between 3-25 lbs each beginning at 105 lbs to over 200 lbs.

123. Welterweight

Any boxer weighing between 141-147 lbs at the time of the weight-in is classified as a welterweight

124. White Collar Boxing

Non-professional boxing bouts where competitors are professional white-collar workers like programmers, lawyers, accountants, salespeople, and more.