Styles Of Boxing: The Cuban Style

At the core of boxing lies a diverse array of styles.

Each representing a distinct philosophy and approach to the sweet science. 

The Cuban style, however, shines as a gem of technical finesse and strategic prowess. 

Rooted in a rich history and nurtured by a nation's dedication to excellence, the Cuban style is characterized by its emphasis on footwork, defensive mastery, and the calculated use of punches. Often hailed as a "hit and not get hit" approach, the Cuban style encapsulates the art of evading opponents' attacks while delivering precise, effective, and impactful punches of its own.

The History Behind The Cuban Boxing Style

Every boxing style has its roots, a narrative that weaves through time and history. 

For the Cuban style, its origins are intertwined with Cuba's socio-political landscape. 

The early 20th century saw the establishment of the first boxing clubs in Cuba, laying the foundation for what would become a tradition of boxing excellence.

However, it was the revolutionary spirit of post-1959 Cuba that breathed new life into the sport. With the prohibition of professional boxing, Cuba's focus turned towards nurturing amateur boxers who would rise to global prominence.

Cuba's commitment to boxing greatness was fortified by its socialist principles. The sport, including boxing, was seen as a vehicle to showcase the nation's strength and unity. The Cuban government implemented a rigorous and standardized training regimen, emphasizing discipline, technique, and an unwavering work ethic. This training ethos propelled Cuban boxers to the zenith of success in the amateur boxing arena, etching their legacy onto the global stage.

The Key Principles Of Cuban Style Boxing

The heart of the Cuban boxing style beats with a symphony of strategic brilliance and technical finesse. From the art of defense to the intricate footwork, each element plays a crucial role in crafting the Cuban style's distinct identity. Let's explore the nuances of the principles of Cuban style boxing.


At the core of the Cuban style is an unwavering focus on defense. Think of it as a superpower that Cuban boxers possess. They're like expert dodgers, constantly slipping, ducking, and swaying to avoid punches. This defensive wizardry not only keeps them safe but also confuses their opponents, making them swing at thin air. It's like trying to catch a shadow – frustrating and almost impossible.

Distance Management: 

Maintaining optimal distance is an art mastered by Cuban boxers. Imagine playing a game of tag where you're always just a step away from being tagged. Cuban boxers are masters of this game when it comes to boxing.

They have this sixth sense about how far they should stand from their opponent. It's like they have an invisible ruler that helps them measure the perfect distance. This skill is like a secret weapon – they can land punches without getting tagged in return.


Similar to a well-choreographed dance, footwork is a central element of the Cuban style. Picture a dance floor where the boxer's feet move like they're part of a perfectly choreographed routine. That's Cuban footwork for you. They glide around the ring, shifting their position, and changing angles like graceful dancers. This fancy footwork isn't just for show; it's a strategic move. It helps them find openings to attack and keeps their opponents guessing where they'll strike next.

Pawing Jab: 

Every boxer has a favorite move, and for Cubans, it's the pawing jab. This isn't your ordinary jab; it's like a quick poke that serves multiple purposes. It's like using a fishing rod to test the waters before diving in.

The Cuban boxers use this jab to measure the distance, disrupt their opponent's rhythm, and set up bigger punches. It's a small move that has a big impact, like a key that opens many doors.

Putting It All Together:

Think of the Cuban boxing style as a puzzle, and each of these principles is a crucial piece that fits perfectly. Defense keeps them safe, distance management gives them an edge, footwork keeps them nimble, and the pawing jab opens up opportunities. When Cuban boxers step into the ring, it's like watching a perfectly orchestrated performance where every move has a purpose.

The Most Notable Cuban Style Boxers

The allure of boxing lies not only in its technical brilliance but also in the extraordinary individuals who bring its various styles to life. Among the luminaries who have graced the squared circle, the Cuban style has produced some of the most captivating and enigmatic boxers in the history of the sport.

Teofilo Stevenson: 

A towering figure in the pantheon of Cuban boxing legends, Teofilo Stevenson's legacy is a testament to his embodiment of the Cuban style. As a three-time Olympic gold medalist, Stevenson's thunderous right hand and graceful footwork captivated audiences worldwide. His ability to seize control of a fight, exploit opponents' weaknesses, and deliver devastating blows showcased the finesse and power that define the Cuban style of boxing.

Guillermo Rigondeaux: 

In the realm of defensive virtuosity, Guillermo Rigondeaux reigns supreme. Rigondeaux's name is synonymous with evasive brilliance, as he seamlessly weaves footwork, timing, and defensive mastery into a mesmerizing tapestry. The ring becomes his canvas, and opponents' punches mere brushstrokes in his masterpiece of non-engagement. Rigondeaux's legacy is a testament to the art of hitting without being hit, a symphony of elusiveness that embodies the essence of the Cuban style.

Felix Savon: 

An emblem of the Cuban heavyweight tradition, Felix Savon's boxing journey exemplifies the multidimensional nature of the Cuban style. With three Olympic gold medals to his name, Savon's boxing repertoire showcased a blend of power punches and nimble footwork. His seamless transitions from offense to defense and his ability to command the ring reflected the Cuban style's emphasis on versatility and tactical acumen.

Andy Gomez Cruz:

The rising star shines bright. He stands among the world's finest Olympic boxers, clinching the title of world champion in 2017, 2019, and 2021, as well as securing Olympic gold in 2020. In 2023, he transitioned to the professional circuit, marking his debut with a triumphant victory by decision. Anticipate a future filled with remarkable achievements...

The Enduring Legacy

In the wide range of boxing styles, the Cuban style stands as a masterpiece woven with precision, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. From its origins rooted in Cuba's socio-political landscape to the key principles that define its elegance, the Cuban style has left an mark on the sport. 

Its emphasis on defense, distance management, footwork, and the poetic jab has birthed a lineage of extraordinary boxers who dance with finesse, punch with purpose and are formidable in the ring.

Despite the constraints of amateur competition, Cuban boxers have triumphed on the world stage, earning numerous Olympic medals and solidifying their reputation as masters of their craft. The legacy of Cuban style boxers continues to inspire new generations of boxers to embrace the artistry.


As the sport of boxing evolves and shifts, the Cuban style remains an enduring testament to the marriage of athleticism and strategy. It stands as a reminder that within the confines of the ring, an intricate dance of footwork, a symphony of defensive maneuvers, and the lyrical precision of the jab can shape the course of a fight. The Cuban style is more than a boxing technique; it is a testament to the art of boxing, an ode to the combination of intellect and athleticism that defines the sweet science.

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1 comment

Great article….

Daryl Crowder August 21, 2023

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