Why Do Boxers Hug?

If you’ve ever watched a boxing fight, you’ve probably seen that in a boxing match, two boxers hug, which is called clinching. You’ve undoubtedly also pondered the reason behind it. Is it helpful to the boxers in any possible way? Is this a good strategy? Well, look no more, my friend, because I’m going to cover everything you need to know about the hug in boxing in this article. 

Clinching is one of boxing’s most disputed techniques. Today’s and all-time great boxers use it. Some consider it a skill, while others believe it is damaging to the sport. It appears to be hugging a normal man on the street, but it’s called the clinch in boxing. A notorious boxing tactic that, unsurprisingly, irritates casual spectators and supporters because it detracts from the fight’s energy.

Whether you like or dislike clinching, it is an important component of the game. Even if you don’t intend to use it, you must learn how to clinch as a competent boxer. Clinching training is important for your competitive match since it will help you dodge clinches if your opponent uses them against you.

Why Do Boxers Clinch?

To reduce the tempo of the match and avoid being hit at short range, boxers clinch or “hug.” Many boxers have different reasons to clinch, like they usually clinch to gain a little break from the fight. Boxers use less strength during the clinch and can easily take a pause from being hit for some seconds. If your rival tries to compress the distance between you and them, clinching is an excellent strategy to stop them.

In a clinch, your arms are crossed over the arms of your competitor, and you place your forehead on your opponent’s shoulder, holding fast while bending as much as you can on them. Each of these components is important because it serves a particular purpose. Holding the arms down of your opponent makes it more difficult for them to continue hitting you.

Putting your body weight on them also allows you to take a break as they keep trying to get out from the clinch, even if only for a few seconds. Plus, when you’re pulling yourself out from the clinch, you can usually score a couple of extra blows.

Let’s look more closely at how to clinch properly and how to make the most of it.

Also read: How Long Is An Average Boxing Match?

Explanation of The Clinch

When one boxer gets too near to another, clinching is common. If any boxer takes a step back, they risk being hit severely, so they tighten up instead. The boxer won’t take a major punch this manner because the referee will immediately split the clinch regardless.

The clinch is used by many boxers and is quite frequent in every boxing match. From the outside, they appear to be simply hugging. On the other hand, the clinch has many complexities that can be incredibly helpful and efficient in an actual fight.

What is The Clinch in Common Words?

Let’s start with a definition of the clinch. When two fighters get near enough to put their arms around one another, it’s called a clinch. Clinching is basically a smart strategy to dodge a strong punch because you’re just within reach of a hook. While in the clinch, the fighter must choose between separating, maintaining the applied clinch, or punching in the applied clinch.

When a boxer is in the clinch, it becomes pretty easy and beneficial to bend on their competitor since, unlike in mixed martial arts or Muay Thai, their rival cannot trip or throw a knee whenever he is in the clinch. The fighters of Muay Thai, on the other hand, frequently practice in a dissimilar style of the clinch.

Also read: Boxing With Contact Lenses – Is It Possible?

Why Is There a Need for Clinch?

Let’s take a look at why it’s beneficial to use a clinch. As you may be aware, boxing fights can be rather lengthy, lasting up to about 36 minutes in total. This proves that planning and effectiveness are just as vital as strength and stamina. During a battle, clinching is the best method that can be used to store energy and regain strength.

The clinch could be used to minimize an opponent’s attack in addition to allowing a little opportunity for relief. This is useful in two situations: when your competitor is really active, and your competitor hits you with a strong shot. The last thing you would like for your rival to find is their reach and rhythm, so whatever you can do to throw them off is crucial to your success and limiting the damage you take. So clinching is important at some point where you want to rest and break your opponent’s rhythm. 

A really active competitor is extremely dangerous, as they can wipe out their competitor due to extreme volume. They usually have the potential to land a strong knockout blow, which could be difficult to dodge if they unleash a series of swift punches. You can try to escape their strikes, but that requires a great effort and is very dangerous when battling someone who can knock anyone out with a single punch.

Clinching would indeed be useful in slowing the tempo of the battle in this situation. Consider the following three different ranges if you are fighting a boxing match:

  • You have to be out of range of your competitor, where both you and your competitor can become unable to throw a plain and straight jab.
  • Inside the pocket range, where you find it easy to land strong hooks and punches.
  • Clinching range.

If you’re fighting a powerful hitter, you should expect them to work much better in the pocket range, inside of jabbing range although too far from the clinch. Due to their proximity and the direction where their hook could hit, they can generate a significant amount of power inside the pocket. 

Clinching against such a type of opponent is beneficial since it removes the actual risk of a knockout. Staying outside but gripping when they decide to attack is a good way to avoid falling into the pocket range if you can use the jab properly.

In fact, every sort of fight that involves grappling turns out to be more effective. It is because clinching with an antagonist makes it more difficult for them to attack you while also making it much simpler for you to manage their movement.

It is beneficial to apply clinch if you ever get attacked with a strong shot for the same reason. Clinching is a usual tendency for most individuals when they are attacked, but you should practice understanding and improve this impulse. You can even hit your opponent before he can even get a chance to pull back his punch.

A solid punch might throw you off and lead you to lose your balance. If there comes a time when you get clipped, you’ll need some time off to regain your strength if you really want to win this battle. You must recover quickly, as you would be extremely vulnerable to being knocked unconscious shortly after being clipped. 

As a result, clinching with any competitor could provide that time to recover if you ever get clipped. It will only allow you some seconds to recover your balance, clear your mind, and recall where you are now, all of which are crucial to surviving the round.

Also read: 5 Best Mouthguard Boxing

Use of Clinch to Survive the Round

Fighters will be exhausted and may have no choice but to clinch as a final resort due to exhaustion. It’s possible that you’ve taken just so many headshots, and your body is reacting by clinging or clinching to your opponent. A fighter can use the moves to take a rest and restore some lost clarity and energy.

Another reason to use clinching is to avoid being slammed repeatedly by another boxer. Clinching might provide you with an opportunity to disrupt the momentum of your opponent and escape away if you are trapped or in a tight situation.

It preserves your energy while costing your competitors energy since they will have to pull you off. Everything you can think of to decrease the strength of your opponent should be tried. After trying so hard to survive till the bell, you have to clinch on your competitor. Take a pause, clinch your arms, and lean on your opponent. Deepen your breaths and hold them for a few seconds you’ve set out for yourself. This will help you a lot to survive the round in which you have been beaten very badly by mostly headshots. 

In spar training, you must practice clinching so that you can learn how to use or defend against this in different positions and scenarios. This will help you realize when it’s the right time to clinch the ring and when it’s not.

Now that I’ve explained the clinch and the conditions in which you can use it, let’s discuss the basics of how to use the clinch.

Also read: 8 Best Boxing Headgears for Sparring

How to Do an Effective Clinch?

So you’ve decided to begin the use of the clinch. However, how to use it efficiently? To begin, you’ll need to get yourself inside of the clinch. I’ll go into how to manage the clinch attack without being harmed in the next section. Let’s focus on what you should do after you’re in the clinch for the time being.

In boxing, it’s critical not to invest too much strength in the clinch, especially if you’re just resting. In MMA, the clinch consumes energy since the fighter must continuously use force to avoid a takedown. Due to the fact that takedowns are prohibited in boxing matches, the clinch must consist of you gently covering your hands over your competitor while bending and relaxing on them.

If you’re clinching to minimize the attack of your competitor, though, you might be pushed to expend more energy. It’s because a highly active boxer will often try to wriggle and separate themselves, especially if they believe that they can win the fight.

Your opponent can sense the opportunity to knock you down if you don’t give enough power to maintain your clinch or your overhooks were not in when you were about to clinch. An overhook position is a position where you put your arms around your competitor’s arm. 

Let’s discuss Underhooks and Overhooks in boxing since I brought it up.

Difference Between Underhooks & Overhooks

In a nutshell, an overhook occurs when your arms are placed over your opposition’s arm, and an underhook occurs when you put your arm is placed beneath your opposition’s arm. These words are more widely used in wrestling since they are crucial when bringing down your rival. Double overhooks and underhooks merely indicate that both arms are over-hooked.

Underhooks are now preferred over overhooks in wrestling and mixed martial arts. This is due to the fact that underhooks help you to get control and manage your opponent in a better way. In boxing, though, dominating your competitor while in the clinch isn’t very effective.

The opposite is true in boxing – overhooks are preferable over underhooks. This is because the boxing rules prohibit the use of underhooks. Boxers get an advantage from getting double overhooks for two main reasons.

The first reason is that possessing overhooks makes it impossible for your opponent to punch you. If you have weaker double underhooks, it would surely be hard for you to land any type of punch from this position.

The second reason why overhooks are preferable is that the guy with overhooks has complete control over the clinch. If you could have two overhooks on any of your competitors, they can only get out by pulling back and exerting effort. You, on the other hand, can break free from the clinch trap at any point by simply allowing your opponent to move. 

As you’ve seen, having overhooks in boxing is beneficial. It usually does not come without problems. The primary issue with trying to obtain double overhooks all of the time is that it seems to be exceedingly exhausting. When you get double underhooks on any of your competitors, you have to squeeze them consistently to keep them from escaping the clinch trap.

If your competitor patiently waits for the moment when you will let go of your grasp, they can easily break free with a small push. That’s why the clinching is so difficult to master: the boxer with overhooks should decide how badly they require the clinch as well as how much power they are willing to invest, whereas the boxer with underhooks seeks to emit at the best time while using the least amount of energy.

Also read: The 5 Best Boxing Reflex Balls


In conclusion, boxers clinch for a variety of reasons, including slowing down an opponent, conserving energy, and recovering after being hit. If you want to get control of the tempo of the battle, you should clinch with your competitor. Overhooks are usually more advantageous in the clinch, although they can be very energy-intensive. They help a lot in clinching and are very beneficial during a fight. 

So that’s everything that you need to know about the hugging of boxers, also known as clinching. It is somehow the best strategy to use in a fight. If something is missing, feel free to leave a comment below. We would be happy to get some suggestions and new ideas. 

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