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From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There

A young fighter hitting the heavy bag in the gym.

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In the sport of boxing, fighters are primarily defined by their styles. The four most widely known and dominant boxing styles are the swarmer, boxer-puncher, brawler, and out-boxer. And while not all boxers will fall neatly into these categories. These four still serve as a useful structure for understanding the distinct advantages and disadvantages of various fighters.

The Swarmer

A boxing style known as the “warmer,” also known as a pressure-fighter. Puts constant pressure on the opponent to reduce their reach advantage. To get inside, a swarmer needs to have good head movement, a strong chin, and a lot of stamina to maintain a high punch output. Fighting from close range, with a flurry of hooks and uppercuts, is favoured in this style. As is engaging in an inside fight where the opponent is pummeled from close range.

From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There
Two boxers work in close.

Swarmers frequently move quickly and use precise footwork to avoid slower fighters or cut off the ring. Shorter fighters or boxers with shorter reaches typically employ this tactic. Particularly in heavier-weight classes where close contact is necessary for success.

Because this style typically requires a swarmer to be hit with a lot of punches before they can move inside, where they are more effective. Their ability to absorb punches is also crucial.

Well-known swarmers include Canelo Alvarez, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano.

The Boxer puncher

The fighter puncher style joins components of both the out-fighter and the brawler styles. They have the power and aggression of a brawler with the speed and precision of an out-boxer. Along with strong jab and counterpunching skills. However, it’s possible that they won’t possess the same level of mobility or defensive expertise as a true boxer.

Due to many boxers’ unpredictability, it can be challenging to know how a boxer-puncher fight or one of the other three boxing styles will play out. Although their adaptability can be advantageous, it also implies that they may not excel in every field.

Well-known boxer punchers include Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Sugar Ray Robinson.

The Brawler

From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There
Boxers exchanging blows in the ring.

Also known as a slugger or puncher, the brawler is distinct from the out-boxer. Brawlers prefer to fight at close range because of their superior balance and ability to knock opponents out.

A tendency to plant their feet on the ground gives them the ability to punch more powerfully from any angle. Some brawlers are especially skilled at cornering their opponents and pinning them down for a devastating blow.

Brawlers are masters of defensive movement in the danger zone of being punched, despite their lack of mobility in the ring. They minimize their damage in punching zones by employing slips and minimal ducking. Brawlers also use grappling to suffocate their opponents and make them vulnerable to power punches in defence.

Brawlers, in contrast to swarmers and out-boxers, rely more on single power shots and throw fewer combinations. They are therefore susceptible to being punched back. They may also be vulnerable to counterattacks due to their predictable punching patterns. The brawler’s aggressive and devastating boxing style continues to be a favourite among sports fans despite these flaws.

Well-known brawlers include Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey and Arturo Gatti.

The Out-Boxer

From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There
A boxer landing a body shot.

One of the four primary boxing styles is the out-boxer. Out-boxers, in contrast to swarmers, prefer to keep their opponents at a distance and rely on faster longer-range punches. Making up for their lack of power by being known for their exceptional footwork.

Out-boxers usually win fights by points decisions rather than knockouts, but some of them can also punch hard when they need to. They prefer to fight at mid- to long-range, where they can frustrate their adversaries with counters and precise long-range blows.

Their opponents are unable to land effective blows because out-boxers rarely make risky moves, such as fighting from the inside, where it is most dangerous. Therefore, out-boxers can either out-box their opponents and win by decision. Or they can exhaust them and knock them out with precise blows.

Well-known boxer punchers include Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Tyson Fury.

Some Additional Boxing Styles & Techniques

Here are some additional boxing styles and techniques which while very important don’t necessarily qualify in terms of the main fighting styles mentioned above. You will of course continue to see these techniques utilised by some of the world’s best boxers in the ring today.


Made famous by none other than Mike Tyson, peek-a-Boo is a popular boxing defence technique. It includes setting the hands before the fighter’s face behind the boxing gloves, like the round of a similar name played by infants. This position makes it easier to jab the opponent’s face and provides additional facial protection.

The Peek-a-Boo boxing style was created by legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. It involves using relaxed hands with the forearms in front of the face and the fists at nose-to-eye level. Moreover, it stresses side-to-side head developments, bouncing, winding around, and catching off-guard the adversary.

From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There
A boxer gets into a fighting stance.

On a stationary dummy or bag, fighters practice punching in this style by quick combinations with “bad intentions.” Such as 3-2-3-Body-head-body or 3-3-2 Body-Body-head. The idea behind the style is that the fighter can throw hooks and uppercuts with great success when they combine strong defence with effective head movements like bobbing and weaving.

In addition, it makes it possible to duck quickly and move the neck quickly. Minimizing the amount of damage done by the opponent’s punches, which typically come from rising uppercuts or hooks.

Peek-a-Boo is primarily used by in-fighters because it is a close-range combat-focused defence. Bobo Olson was the first known champion to employ this defence. A fighter’s ability to use hooks and uppercuts more effectively and provide additional defence can be enhanced by incorporating Peek-a-Boo into their style.

Well-known peek-a-boo fighters include Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson and Leon Spinks.

The Counter Puncher

Counterpunching is a strategy which is based on your opponent making a mistake, on which you then capitalise. Counterpunchers employ a variety of strategies to lure their opponents into an aggressive style that exhausts them and makes them vulnerable to counterpunches. Such as winning rounds with jabs and psychological strategies.

The counterpuncher’s slow reflexes or inability to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes can make this style of boxing dangerous. Because it emphasizes a balance between defence and offence.

Well-known counterpunchers include Roberto Duran, Roy Jones Jr. and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.

From Swarmer to Brawler: How Many Boxing Styles Are There
A fighter with his trainer.

The Southpaw

Instead of taking the traditional right-handed stance that is used by orthodox fighters. A southpaw fighter takes a left-handed stance which can throw many fighters off their game.

This indicates that their hooks and crosses are also thrown with the opposite hand, as are their lead punches and jabs. Some fighters who are naturally right-handed may choose to fight in a southpaw stance. Making this one of the most confusing boxing styles used inside the ropes.

Well-known southpaws include Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Manny Pacquiao and Joe Calzaghe.

The Switch-hitter

A fighter who can seamlessly transition between an orthodox and a southpaw stance during a fight is known as a switch-hitter. They might do this to get their opponent confused or to take advantage of their opponent’s defence flaws. And while it can take a lot of training for some fighters to get used to both stances. While others may be more naturally ambidextrous and can fight switch-hitter style with little training.

Well-known switch hitters include Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Jaron Ennis and Naseem Hamed.

In conclusion

To conclude, boxing is a sport with many different styles. Each of which with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Boxers and fans alike can gain a better appreciation for the complexities of the sport and the strategies used in the ring by understanding these various boxing styles and how they operate. Each fighting style, whether it’s the graceful and elusive out-boxer.

The powerful brawler, the versatile boxer-puncher and the calculated counterpuncher. The tricky southpaw or switch-hitter, or the versatile boxer-puncher. All require their own distinct set of skills and training to be successful. But in the end, accomplishment in the sport very much depends on combining your own boxing style and physical strength with mental agility and strategic thinking.