How To Throw The Perfect Cross

The cross punch is the second most commonly used punch in boxing, right after the jab. 

It's a straight punch thrown with the rear hand (right hand for orthodox boxers and left hand for southpaws). The cross is known as the power shot because it has the longest range and can deliver a lot of force. It's also called a right straight or simply a "2" in boxing terminology. 

Similar to the jab, the cross follows a straight-line path toward the opponent. But unlike the jab, it packs more power and can cause significant damage. In this article, we’ll explore the correct technique for throwing a cross and then we'll discuss common mistakes to avoid and popular setups.

The Perfect Cross - Step By Step

The cross punch is one of the fundamental punches in boxing. You can use it in different ways, either on its own or as part of combinations. Here's the step-by-step guide on how to throw a proper cross: 

  • Start with a solid boxing stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands up to protect your face - maintaining a balanced distribution of weight between both legs. If you haven’t perfected your footwork yet - read our previous footwork article here.
  • Punch with your rear hand (the one opposite to your leading hand) without winding up or making big movements. As you throw the punch, pivot on the ball of your back foot. This means turning your rear knee, hip, and torso in the direction of the punch. 
  • Right before making contact with your target, twist your fist slightly so that your thumb is pointing towards the floor. Remember, it's important to perform these actions smoothly and all in one motion. This allows the power from your entire body to transfer into the punch. 
  • After landing the punch, quickly bring your punching hand back to its starting position. The force behind the punch comes from the rotational power generated by your body. To do this, push off your back foot, use your hips to generate power, and lean forward slightly, shifting your weight from the back to the front.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So whenever you’re at the gym, spend time honing your technique and as you get better gradually increase your speed and power. This is the path to mastery.

Mistakes To Avoid When Throwing A Cross

One crucial point that cannot be emphasized enough is the importance of turning your hips. This is especially true for beginner boxers who may feel hesitant or fearful of fully committing to throwing the cross. Failing to rotate your hips not only results in a weak punch but also limits its reach.

Another common mistake that many boxers make, regardless of their experience level, is dropping their hands. Remember, while you're executing the cross punch with your rear hand, your other hand should always be in a defensive position to protect against any potential counterattacks.

Loading up, or winding up the punch, is another mistake to avoid. The straight punch is designed to be quick and powerful, starting from your guard position. Any unnecessary shoulder wind-up or pulling your hand back to load the punch will give away your intentions and make it easier for your opponent to defend against it. While loading up might seem like it could generate more power, it becomes irrelevant if you can't land the punch effectively in the first place.

Usually, a good cross comes after a good jab. So if you haven’t perfected your jab yet, start with that fundamental skill first. Check out our previous article on how to throw the perfect jab here.

Practice these fundamentals consistently to make your punches more formidable in the ring. 

3 Simple Ways To Use The Cross

The cross punch is an incredibly powerful weapon in the sport of boxing, but it's crucial to understand the proper setup. With dedicated practice and mastery of various techniques, you can elevate the power of your cross punch to a whole new level. Here are three effective ways to use the cross:

  • Jab Cross:

  • The jab-cross combination, also known as the 1-2, is the most fundamental combo in boxing. Take time to analyze and refine your jab-cross, and study the greats like Floyd Mayweather, Tyson Fury, and Muhammad Ali who have all demonstrated its devastating impact.  

  • Using The Cross As A Lead:

  • The cross punch can be highly effective on its own. When using it as a lead punch, aim to throw it straight and fast. Straight punches are difficult to react to and can catch your opponent off guard.

  • Body Jab, Cross:

  • Timing is crucial for this combination to work. Start with a jab to the body, which will make your opponent dip forward and lower their guard slightly. Seize this opportunity to deliver a powerful cross punch straight down the middle. Avoid bending down too much to maintain speed and fluidity. 

    Remember, you can diversify your cross setup by doubling or tripling up on your jab, using feints to provoke defensive reactions, or throwing it behind a hook. Explore different techniques to find what works best for you. By mastering various setups for your cross punch, you can become a more versatile and formidable boxer in the ring.


    Mastering the cross punch in boxing is essential for any boxer. 

    This powerful punch brings speed, accuracy, and serious power to your game. It's harder to react to than hooks and uppercuts, making it a go-to punch in most situations. Practice it on heavy bags, pads, and in partner drills to improve your technique. Remember to focus on speed and accuracy, utilize your rear hand for power, and train in various scenarios. With dedication and consistent practice, your cross punch will become a formidable weapon in the ring. 

    Want more boxing tips? Check out our full list of articles here.


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