How To Fight A Southpaw - A Southpaw Strategy Guide

Every boxer is going to come up against a Southpaw at least once in his career. Whether it’s in a professional fight, amateur fight, or just some hard sparring at your gym

You're going to meet one in the ring eventually and when that time comes (if it hasn’t already) 

It’s crucial you don't embarrass yourself by taking an uncomfortable whooping from someone, just because he was born left-handed. 

So the only way that you can prevent this left-handed ass-kicking, is if you…

Know how to fight effectively against these slippery, do-everything-backward southpaws


Everything in boxing begins with footwork and you certainly can’t move around against a southpaw the same way you move around an orthodox fighter.

In fact, you have to do the opposite.

Instead of trying to step to your opponent's left while you punch to avoid their right hand, 

You will need to step to your opponent's right while you punch to avoid their left hand.

Because the most effective punch when a southpaw meets an orthodox is the straight backhand through the opponent guard and so whoever can land that punch most effectively 

Won’t necessarily win but will have a great advantage.

This is why you also want to angle out to your opponent's right side as well, 

Not just to avoid your opponent's left hand but also to open yourself up for your straight right hand.

Now this may be hard to accomplish at first, especially while you are dealing with the usual pressure of sparring and are just worried about surviving the round.

So when you are first staring all you need to do to nullify your opponent's left hand is simply keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponent's lead foot. 

This simple action will not only make it much harder for your opponents to angle off or land that straight backhand

But it will make it easier for you to do the same, giving you a massive advantage throughout the fight 


Your jab will be the next most important thing after footwork when going against a Southpaw 

And there are 2 key things you need to do in order to give yourself the advantage

The first thing you need to do is step to your left while you punch. Now I already spoke about this in the footwork paragraph 

But it really is the most important factor when you are facing a southpaw.

Especially when you are jabbing because not only is it your most used punch 

But it is also the punch that you will use to set up your straight right hand.

This is why you want to take that tiny step to the left as you jab because by stepping to the left and making your opponent catch the wide jab

You are opening up his guard and leaving the center exposed, making him vulnerable for a HARD right hand.

The second thing you need to do with your jab to fight effectively against a southpaw is use it to control your opponent's lead hand.

One thing you will notice when facing a southpaw is that your lead hand is much closer than when you face an orthodox fighter 

And so taking control of their lead hand is going to make it much harder for them to land and much easier for yourself to land

But how do you take control?

All you have to do is throw soft jabs with your palm instead of with your knuckle

Disclaimer* hard jabs with your knuckles are still useful and will need to be used against a southpaw when the time is right but for the most part, this other jab will be more effective in setting up punches as opposed to doing damage.

The reason you tap with your palm is that you aren’t trying to do damage, you are trying to take control of the jab

And what this will do is…

  • Help you control your range
  • Help you see what they are doing more clearly
  • Keep your hand close to your opponent's face 
  • Allow you to quickly counter 
  • Distract your opponent 

And when your opponent eventually tries to throw his jab, all you need to do is flick your wrist down and tap down your opponent's hand.

The reason you want to tap down is that this will slowly make them drop their lead hand 

So eventually when their guard is low you can land short and fast left hooks which will not only do damage 

But also widen your opponent's guard for your own straight right hand.

Straight Right Hand 

Now I have already told you how to set up the straight right hand and I shouldn’t have to tell you how to throw a straight right

So here are some tips and tricks to land it more effectively and prevent you from getting hit while you throw your straight right hand.

Firstly, you want to move your head to the left (like you’re slipping) as you throw the right hand. 

You do this just in case your opponent throws at the same time as you so that he misses his punch while you land yours.

The next tip is to try and throw it at the same time that they jab. If you move your head off the line then their jab will miss 

Also, a lot of amateur fighters unconsciously move their backhand away from their face when they jab, leaving them exposed and open to that hard right.

Even if they do protect their face with their backhand, their body is also extremely vulnerable while they are jabbing, 

Making this the perfect time to land the most effective punch against a southpaw.

This brings me to my third tip, don’t just throw to the head. 

A lot of fighters spend their time head hunting which leads to their opponent's guard being raised to the sky

And even in an extremely high guard with the body completely exposed, these fighters will still only punch the head

Meaning they lose the chance to land the most painful punches in boxing, BODY SHOTS. 

So stop head hunting and don’t be afraid to work the body as well as the head.

My fourth tip is to follow up with a lead hook or a lead body shot.

This is all about guard manipulation. So you shouldn’t throw this second punch all of the time, but once you have thrown the right hand a couple of times and their guard is centered 

The wide hook/body shot is almost guaranteed to land and whether you throw the hook or the body shot is completely dependent on where you throw the right hand. 

So if the right hand is going to the head, the left goes to the body, and if the right goes to the body then the left goes to the head.

My final tip is if you don't throw the second punch then move out of the way of their punch.

Obviously, you're not always going to throw a combination and if you land a good punch then your opponent is almost guaranteed to be looking to land one of his own.

So once you have thrown that right hand, you can’t just stand there and wait for your opponent to come back with something, 

You need to move out of the way so that you can take control and begin looking to set up your next combination

Now I won’t go into detail about all the different ways to move around a southpaw but I will give you the 2 most effective and simple ways to escape your opponent's viscous counters.

The first is to simply step back. This isn’t the most effective, however, it is the easiest and the safest. 

By simply stepping out of their range before they counter means there is nothing your opponent can do short of stepping forward as they punch.

You will have to deal with them once they step forward but before they do so, you will have a second to regain your composure and prepare yourself for the next exchange.

The second thing you can do is pivot out to your left. This may be a little bit challenging at first, especially while you are trying to control the distance

However once you can get it right, it will be the most effective way to avoid their counters while simultaneously creating a perfect angle for a counter of your own.


In conclusion, fighting against a Southpaw in the boxing ring is no easy task. Southpaws have an unconventional, left-handed stance, which can make them tricky and slippery opponents to deal with. 

However, it's crucial for fighters to grasp the importance of the specific techniques discussed above to effectively combat them. 

So by mastering footwork adjustments, understanding the significance of the jab, and using the straight right hand strategically, boxers can level the playing field and capitalize on their opponent's weaknesses. 

Allowing them to navigate the challenges presented by Southpaws and increase their chances of success, whether it's in a professional fight, amateur bout, or intense sparring session. 

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