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Does Boxing Help In A Real Fight?

There's a lot of debate on whether boxing helps in a real fight. Some people say that it does, while others argue it doesn't. So, what's the truth? Does boxing help you in a street fight? In this blog post, we'll look at some of the pros and cons of using boxing in self-defence situations. Let's get started!

Boxing FAQs

Tyson's basic morning routine went like this: 4 am – Wake up, 4:30 am – Go for a run, sometime around 6 am – get back and go to sleep, around 10:45 am – wake up again and have breakfast. What's remarkable about Iron Mike's morning routine is that he doesn't set alarms; his body tells him when to get up.

Although unlicensed boxing is not illegal, it can be seen as a rougher, more brutal side of the sport. Unlicensed fighters are boxers not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control and often have everyday professions outside of the ring.

It's not hard to do or hard to practice, but it is hard to learn. From what I've seen, most people punch slow because they have the wrong attitude and the wrong training. Most of the fast guys that I see in the gym don't do any specific drills to improve their punching speed.

So, can boxing be self-taught? Boxing can be self-taught, but it's not the quickest and most effective way to become better at the sport because you aren't able to tap into the knowledge of a boxing coach who would be able to help you one to one.

The snapping punch strikes the target and returns almost immediately after it makes contact instead of the pushing punch which tries to maximize the contact time with the target by forcing the punch through its target.


Is Boxing Effective In A Street Fight?

Although boxing might not be the best of skills when faced with defending yourself in a street fight, it does go a long way if you can follow the correct technique.

Most of the time, people who attack others in a street fight are usually untrained individuals or drunk who know little or nothing about fighting techniques; this will be an advantage for a boxer being attacked to finish the fight quickly with a punch if possible. 

However, suppose a boxer gets into a fight against a trained person, for instance, someone who has also been taught martial art. In that case, it could get tricky depending on how fast the boxer is to avoid being knocked to the ground because boxing does not teach how to fight on the ground.

A boxer will also have to take note of his distance when fighting someone good with his feet because it could be of disadvantage to him.

Another advantage of boxing in a street fight that is not possible with other martial arts is that a boxer can take on multiple attackers at a time. It is more punching each attacker, and within 20 seconds, the fight is done.

The truth is this, boxers are well built with their fists being so heavy, and they have learned how to endure pain right from training sections. You would also agree that a boxer has an advantage in positioning himself to dodge and block punches.

Just one thing you need to know is that as long as a boxer can stay on his feet in a street fight, he will always have the advantage over all other people; bring a boxer down on the floor, and he will be at the mercy of asking to save his life. 

Is Boxing Good For Self-Defense In A Street Fight?

Self-defence comes in different perspectives, and it could be in the gym or anywhere, but it is usually not what you have planned for. This is the same with street fights, it is not something planned for, and it happens suddenly as things get rough. 

You will do yourself great good if you can learn some boxing skills to self-defence in any tricky situation you find yourself in.

Boxers combine defensive and attacking skills with effective footwork and distance control, this should be enough to beat an untrained person, and the good thing is that you don’t have to be an expert before you can use it for self-defence. 

Boxing Techniques For Self-Defense

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Everyone should have the ability to defend themselves. If an altercation turns physical, having trained in some form of self-defence can be a lifesaver. Most altercation starts from a standing position; hence you need to know how to properly defend yourself using techniques from two of the most effective striking arts; boxing. 


When most people think of a street fight, images of fists flying come to mind; there is a good reason. A punch is one of the most common attacks thrown once an altercation turns physical. However, training boxing techniques can help end altercations quickly and avoid further injury to all parties involved. 


Boxing as a southpaw can give you an advantage in the ring, which remains in a real-life altercation. Even if your attacker has previously trained themselves, the odds of them knowing how to deal with a skilled southpaw effectively are next to none. This is due to the overwhelming number of orthodox (right-handed) fighters compared to southpaws. The other reason is that you and your attacker are in an open stance instead of the usually closed stance formed by two orthodox fighters.


The jab is the most important punch in boxing, and it may be the most important in a street fight. It is the punch that exposes the least amount of your body and head for a counter and is your weapon with the most range. Your jab is performed with your lead hand and should be sharp and snappy. When starting, don’t focus on adding power to your punch; the power will naturally increase as your form develops. 


Quick footwork compliments an educated jab and exponentially increases its effectiveness. Two techniques that can translate to a self-defence setting are the gazelle and pendulum steps. The gazelle step involves you loading your weight onto your lead leg, stepping up with your rear leg, then explosively shuffling forwards. This technique can cover massive distances and adds tremendous amounts of power when used in conjunction with a punch. 


Parrying is a boxing technique that is essential for self-defence. It can be done on both your lead and rear side and, in general, works best for defending against straight punches. When your opponent throws a punch, you dodge on the same side. Catch their fist like a baseball and pat it slightly downwards. This will allow you to either land your punch or run. 

Things To Consider As A Boxer In A Street Fight

There are several things a boxer needs to put into consideration when he is faced with danger in a street fight, and it means if you are a boxer, you will need to ensure some of the things we will discuss below when you find yourself in such situations.

  • Ensure your timing is good to get to slip, block or parry punches.
  • Use your footwork as a defensive maneuver or to attack without losing balance.
  • Use your jab as a tool to keep your distance. 
  • Because street fights often end on the ground, you must keep yourself away from the ground, which means you must be fast with your punches. 

Advantages Of Boxing In A Street Fight

If you decide which combat sports to take up based on learning self-defence against street fights or for real-life situations, boxing will help you in several ways. Let’s see some of the advantages below:

  • Boxing helps your punches develop better because street fights are usually about the punch before considering their wrestling part and then kicking.
  • Boxing will help you to defend yourself against brawlers and punches. Usually, boxers are trained on avoiding punches, which helps prevent them from getting serious injuries.
  • If you can pull a great punch, the fight will end quickly. Boxing is fought with gloves, and sometimes the famous boxers knock their opponents out in one punch, imagine punching someone with the bare hand delivering it very fast and accurate; the opponent will surely regret ever initiating a fight. 
  • Boxing helps you to stay on your feet. You will be confident using your feet, which could help you run away or watch your back.
  • You will be able to fight off more than one opponent at once as long as you can knock them out with a punch.
  • Boxing helps you have a fighter’s mentality; you will not get surprised by the shock and pain involved with street fights because it is something you are already used to.

Disadvantages Of Boxing In A Street Fight

Having checked out some of the advantages of boxing for a street fight, we should check out the disadvantages. 

  • Boxers are not trained to fight on the ground, which could be a disadvantage because street fights might sometimes end on the ground, and boxing skills will become useless.
  • Boxers are usually used to fighting with gloves, and this could be a disadvantage because the high guard without using your big gloves will be less effective, allowing the opponent to find an opening. 
  • Boxing does not train you to learn clinch fighting, where an opponent makes use of the elbows, knees, and other sets of dirty boxing that are majorly used by Muay Thai fighters. 
  • Boxing doesn’t teach you how to defend takedowns or leg kicks, which could be a major problem.

Boxing is considered very effective in a street fight, it may not be the best, but if you use it in the right way and take the proper precautions, you wouldn’t have a problem if you get into a street fight.

What Is The Average Force Of A Punch? 

Humans are not the Earth’s apex predator because of their physical attributes but their intelligence. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of packing a mighty punch. Have you ever wondered how hard we can punch? What is the average force of a human punch?

The average force of a boxer’s punch is around 770 psi (pounds per square inch). However, an untrained, unskilled, average human generates around 150 psi with a punch. It’s not as simple as it seems, though, as many variables play a role in the power of a punch.

There’s a huge power discrepancy between weight categories, even among professional fighters. Some fighters can punch extremely hard, while others rely on speed and tempo. So let’s get behind the science of a punch and see how you can improve your punching strength.

How Hard Does An Average Man Punch?

If you want to determine the force behind a punch, it’s easy; F =ma, meaning you multiply the person’s mass with the acceleration of the hand during the punch, right? Well, not quite. Let’s break down the elements to show you what I mean.

You can’t take a person’s mass into account alone to determine the force behind a punch. Of course, one should put as much bodyweight as possible behind a punch, but it’s never 100%. So, do you take the mass from the arm only? 

That can’t be right either, as you use your entire muscle system to throw the perfect punch. Even bone density and fist-size play a vital role in the power of a punch, even if you compare two individuals of the same weight.

Also, when it comes to the acceleration of your hand, many variables play a part in generating that acceleration. For example, hip rotation, technique, precision, fast-twitch fibre count in your muscles, etc., all determine how fast your hand can travel through the air.

With that being said, there are ways to measure how hard a person strikes, and the most common measurement is the psi. Research done on seventy boxers saw them average 776 psi in their punches, ranging from an average of 447 by flyweights and 1066 by heavyweights – a clear indicator of how mass plays a vital role in delivering a hard punch.

As for average humans with no martial arts training, the lack of skill and strength makes their punches a lot weaker. An average falls between 70-and 150 psi, depending on gender, weight, and skill.

What Is The Average Force Of A Punch In Newtons?

It’s hard to determine how hard a punch is in Newtons alone because of all the aspects of a punch’s power. Also, the surface on which the punch is placed (soft tissue, bone, foam, wood, etc.) plays a big role in the force behind the punch, which is why we use psi or n/m2 (Newtons per square meter) to determine the overall force of a punch.

However, some studies were made that calculated the pure force behind a punch in Newtons. One study indicated that amateur boxers generate around 2500 N with their punches.

Of course, amateur boxers are more skilled and stronger than your average person, but not as strong as elite-level fighters like professional boxing world champions. Elite heavyweights can generate up to 5000 N of force with their punches. That’s almost like getting hit with a sledgehammer.

An average person with no martial arts knowledge is somewhere in the 800-1200 N range. But, again, it depends on numerous factors such as body shape, weight, skill, gender, etc.

How Many Pounds Of Force Is A Punch?

As we already know, the most common way to measure a punch’s power is in psi (pounds per square inch. So, to determine how many pounds of force in total a punch generates, we have to consider how many square inches of the surface area a punch covers.

In boxing gloves, the punching impact area, on average, is around four square inches. We already stated that the average amateur boxer generates around 776 psi. That’s 776 pounds of force in a square inch. 

Multiply that by four (as the impact area is approximately four square inches), and you get 3104 pounds of force behind an average amateur boxer’s punch. That average is lower (around 1800 lbs) in the featherweight and higher (around 4264 lbs) in the heavyweight division.

Now, an average human punch with no equipment (gloves, etc.) is weaker due to the lack of skill, training, and strength. Also, even though a bare knuckle is harder than a cushioned glove, it has a lower surface area; on average, it is around three square inches.

The average human punch generates around 120-150 psi or 360-450 pounds of force.

Remember that these numbers are average, which means some people fall outside that spectrum on both sides; lower and higher. Also, the psi measures how much pressure the punch applies to the impact surface, not the amount of force required to deliver such pressure.

How Many Foot-Pounds Is The Average Punch?

Foot-pounds are a measure of energy, unlike psi, which measures pressure. So, when determining how many foot pounds is the average punch, we’re determining how much energy goes into one average human punch.

First, let’s look at some numbers that we know and have. In 1955, Rocky Marciano was measured at 925-foot pounds, which was an astonishing amount of energy behind a punch back then; and still is today. Some assume that guys like Mike Tyson or Francis Ngannou go above 1000 foot-pounds with their hardest punches.

Just to put things in perspective, 1000 foot pounds is 1355 joules. That’s approximately the same energy that a 197-lbs weight produces when dropped from five feet. So if it lands on the right spot, it can kill a human.

Of course, average humans can’t generate that kind of force with a punch. An average person generates around 100-110 foot-pounds or 135-150 joules with their average punch. That’s like a basketball being dropped from a 15-story building. It’s still pretty hard, but it doesn’t have knockout power.

If an average human scores their hardest punch, we’d probably go up to 185-220 foot-pounds or 250-300 joules. That’s the same energy as a brick falling from 32 feet. Of course, the brick would damage more because of its density, but the energy is equivalent.

What Is The Average Speed Of A Punch?

Determining the average speed of a punch is hard because the types of punches are dramatically different. For instance, a karate jab will be faster than a boxing hook because the karate practitioner focuses on speed and doesn’t put their entire body behind the punch.

However, the boxing hook will be much stronger as it has more mass and will gain incredible momentum to the point of impact because the punch’s trajectory is much longer. Let’s try to find a golden middle here to determine the average speed.

Welterweight boxing world champion Ricky Hatton tested his punches at the University of Manchester. His average punch travelled around 25 mph, while his fastest punch clocked 32 mph. The researchers then tested their punches, and only one of them managed to get to 15 mph.

That means an average human probably punches in the 10-15 mph range, but it’s highly individual because too many factors determine how fast your punch travels – your weight, body type, and especially the technique.

Quick karate punches don’t get that much bodyweight, making them faster but less powerful. The heavier you are, the more energy you need to move at a higher speed, so lighter people usually punch faster.

What Determines How Hard And Fast A Human Can Punch?

Dozens of factors play a role in the power and speed of a punch. Even gender or genetic predispositions can limit one’s ability to develop a harder punch regardless of how much they train. Still, there are a few factors that anybody can work on and improve to have a harder, faster punch.


We’ve explained some basic physics behind a punch and how the fighter’s weight plays a key role in how hard they can hit. That’s why heavyweights register the strongest measured punches in history.

To maximize your punching power, you need to raise your weight. However, it would help if you had effective weight, not fat. So steadily work on building muscle mass instead. 

Knowing that raising your weight means you’ll have to sacrifice some of your quickness, so try to find a weight that suits your physique and body type the best. Try to find the middle ground between mass and speed.

Speed (Momentum)

Quickness is the other crucial component in generating force. The more momentum your punch gains, the higher the force behind it, so developing hand speed is crucial for a powerful striker.

There are many ways to work on your speed but know that more mass will mean less speed no matter how much you train. It’s just simple physics and inertia; the more mass, the higher energy is needed to move at a higher speed.

Muscle Strength

does boxing help in a real fight

Your entire body needs to be behind your punch to maximize its power, so you need muscle strength in your entire body, especially the torso. However, if you want stronger muscles, you need to make them bigger, which will cause less quickness. If you want to maintain your quickness while gaining muscle mass, you need to work on your fast-twitch fibre count.

Fast-twitch fibres are responsible for that explosiveness that enables boxers to punch so hard. You can work on them by doing plyometric exercises, such as clap push-ups. That way, you train for those short bursts of massive energy when throwing the perfect punch.


Finally, the most important factor of a hard punch is your technique. Different martial arts teach different punching techniques, but it’s safe to say that boxing gives us the hardest punchers. So, how do they do it, apart from gaining muscle and being fast?

If you want a hard, fast punch, your entire body needs to be behind it, from head to toe. Distribute your weight heavily on the lead foot while rotating your hips, core, and shoulders in the punch direction. It would help if you were on your toes with the back leg.

Also, the impact should come just before your arm is completely straight to maximize the momentum. If you do everything correctly, you’ll get as much bodyweight as possible to contribute to the mass. At the same time, muscle strength and hand speed will generate the energy and momentum needed to produce the hardest possible punch.

The Number One Rule Of Self Defence On The Street – Always Keep Your Distance

The best thing you can do to avoid losing a street fight is not to let anyone who is being aggressive get close to you, and within your striking range, you should always keep them at arm’s length so that, if they do decide to swing at you, then you can see it coming and block or get out of the way.

By keeping the distance, even physically if you have to, by pushing your hands out straight in front of you and letting the other person know that they are not going to be coming with inside that distance, it can also force them into action as they are either going to stay outside your distance or maybe try and swing.

You should be ready for each situation and waiting to evade or roll under and come back with your counter to try and end the situation there and then.

Strike First

Another option is a bit riskier as you might take the liability in the eyes of the law.

If someone is trying to push past the boundaries you set, and you feel threatened, and they’re being too aggressive, you could just let go with a cross and try and end the situation there and then before it even starts.


This is a more risky strategy and one that we would avoid at all costs until you feel it is your only option.

Good Combos For A Street Fight

The best punch would be a cross straight to the chin; if you think you can get the knock out that way, another option will be to throw the 1 – 2.

This is the most basic combo and one that you learn first in boxing, you throw the jab first to get your range for the right hand, and you look to do the damage with the right.

If the attacker is covering up and you can’t land the 1- 2, you could try to use a left hook or uppercut after the right hand, which should create openings for you to end the situation.

Safety First, Legal Matters Second

You should always keep your safety first, especially if you are a bouncer or someone at work. If you feel in danger, you should probably end the situation first without giving the aggressor time to strike.

The problem with this is that you may have started the conflict in the eyes of the law and be liable for any damage caused.

If you are confident of victory, let the aggressor strike first to cover you from a legal standpoint.

How To Increase Your Chance Of Victory

Suppose you are working as a bouncer, and you feel that you need to protect yourself at all times, and you already have the boxing skills. In that case, you can always take up another ground game like Jiu-Jitsu or wrestling, and this will give you complete confidence even if the fight goes to the ground that you can at least defend and maybe even get some submissions.

Other Advantages Of Boxing In A Street Fight

You Know What It’s Like To Take A Punch

If you’re in boxing and you’ve been sparring, then you know what it’s like to take a punch from a trained fighter to the body and the head, you’ve been there before, and it’s not something that you’ll be afraid of, unlike someone who’s never trained in fighting before.

Control Your Nerves

This will help you control your nerves in any situation that is escalating where, as the untrained guy will tense up, and it should become obvious long before they throw the punch that that’s what they’re going to do.

Know When A Punch Is Coming

That is also a good experience you get from training in boxing, you will know much better when someone is about to throw on you, and as we have said, you will know to keep that distance and counter any punches they throw effectively and with enough force to end it with a single blow.

Your Conditioning Will Be Better

If you are training in boxing and the other guy is not, they will get tired quicker than you will, allowing you to move in and finish it off.

Boxers are some of the most well-conditioned athletes in the world, and this will help in your ability to last longer and even to take a punch if it does land.


Boxing is the most effective way to diffuse an aggressive situation. Still, it doesn’t offer a complete arsenal of defensive and offensive maneuvers for anything that could happen in a fight, and we are mainly referring to the ground game here.

Boxing won’t help you if it does go to the ground, so we recommend supplementing your training with even a month or two of Jiu-Jitsu to give you confidence if any situation does go to the ground.


Boxing is the absolute number 1 for defending against multiple attackers, but there are more effective styles one on one.


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