Southpaw, this famous name is given to one the most conventional stance used by a left-handed boxer in boxing. Yet to most of our surprise, even though the term right handed southpaw is used in boxing, the word actually comes from the famous sport of baseball. The history of the term can be traced back to the 1880’s.
History of The Southpaw Technique
Firstly it was the American Heritage Dictionary of English which stated that the word “southpaw” came into being from the general practice in the sport of baseball by the practice of arranging the diamond with the batter facing east direction in order to avoid the glaring afternoon sun.
Though many people claim that the term originated due to the orientation of baseball playing fields, the term “southpaw” can also be traced back to the early 1880s when the Chicago Daily News sports reporter, Finley Peter Dunne used the term when covering a game, when a left-handed pitcher came onto the field, and Dunne described the pitcher as a “southpaw.”
In boxing and a few other sports, a southpaw stance means a stance wherein the boxer has his or her right hand along with his or her right foot forward. This is combined with right jabs, and followed with a left cross right hook. The southpaw is considered the normal stance for a left-handed boxer. On the other hand, the corresponding boxing term for a right-handed boxer is an “orthodox” stance. An orthodox stance is essentially a mirror-image of the famous southpaw stance.
Fighting in a stance of southpaw is considered to give the boxer a tactical advantage over his or opponent because of the strategic and perceptive difficulties of coping with a fighter who moves in a mirror-opposite of the stance.
Essentially you can say that, in a southpaw stance, you would always have your strongest hand in the back, reason being the back hand gets to have more room and distance to deliver a harder punch whereas the front hand is to throw fast jabs to help your bigger punches. From a technical viewpoint, having the weaker hand in front will make it more likely for the hand to connect with the punches than to have the weaker hand in the back.
Left-handed boxers are usually trained to fight in a southpaw stance; however the right-handed fighters are also fighting in the southpaw stance for various tactical and strategic reasons. Majority of the right-handed boxers are accustomed to fighting the boxers who perform in their orthodox stance, and therefore, can be taken by surprise and off-center by a change in fighting style.
Even though this stance is more natural and comes automatically for boxers who are left-handed, nowadays both left-handed and right-handed boxers are making use of the perceptive difficulties that being a southpaw fighter creates for the opponent.
Its uncharacteristic nature allows it to give the fastest, most strategic and well trained orthodox boxers a run for his money. When you fight an opponent being a right handed southpaw, It becomes very difficult for them to anticipate from where the next set of punches are going to come.
Right handed Southpaw boxers are more versatile, they get to learn both orthodox and southpaw stances and can use both the stances to their advantage. A skilled right handed southpaw boxer will be able to easily switch back and forth throughout a bout, making use of southpaw by throwing the opponent off of center, and then immediately switching back to orthodox for a series of unanticipated punches.
In this way, a right-handed boxer can make great use of the southpaw stance accompanied by a great left cross. The jabs of the dominant hand, followed with the left- cross are a dangerous combination for knocking out an opponent.
To be able to box in your natural boxing stance is comparatively easy. But when you are about switching to a southpaw stance for a right hander, it is going to benefit you. And this is how?
Benefits of the Right Handed Southpaw Technique
Element of unpreparedness; you are prepared for them, they are not prepared for you
If you are a right-handed southpaw boxer, the figures are all on your side. Here is what that means, 90% of the people of right-handed boxers are staying in an orthodox stance and the remaining 10% are the standard southpaws. So if you are an orthodox stance boxer. When you spar with other orthodox boxers only 10% of the time, you will train with southpaws.
On the other side, the left handed southpaw will spar with boxers, so they will be able to anticipate your tricks, but you aren’t prepared for them.
But if you are a right handed southpaw, you can take advantage of this lack of experience and you can easily knock them out.
Inexperience with regular southpaws
The conventional southpaw boxers will have experience of sparring and training with the regular orthodox boxers and they might also have some experience with other southpaws.
But it is completely different when it comes to a right-handed southpaw, because if you are a right-handed southpaw, you are one of the rarest kinds of boxers.
Only a very few boxers have fought against a right-handed southpaw. A southpaw fighter will have an experience and even be prepared to fight against another southpaw. But they will not be prepared for the tactics of the right-handed southpaw.
Especially with the power of a jab, as majority experts will expect a jab to be a less-effective punch. So a right handed southpaw can use this to his or her advantage and make it an element that can really surprise people.
Better and stronger Jabs
A jab is the most frequently used punch in boxing, because it is very effective. Using a jab, you can maintain a distance between you and your opponent; you can interrupt his attacks and even set up harder punches such as a cross or the overhand. Besides, you can also take the stance to close the distance.
The jab being the fastest punch, usually the boxers start their combinations with it. And being a right handed southpaw it will be at your advantage as your lead hand is closer to your opponent than the rear or weaker hand. So you can jab with much more power, as compared to a right-handed boxer who is probably staying in an orthodox stance. You will be able to throw powerful jabs, without imparting your stance.
Better Lead Hooks
The lead hook is one of the most popular punches. The reason is, it is quick and one can use it in a position to counter your opponent and to even attack them.
It is a very powerful punch which makes it one of the best knock out punches. It is an advantage of being a right handed southpaw as when you are staying in a southpaw stance and you throw a lead hook with your right hand, the right handed southpaw lead hook will be more powerful and precise than an orthodox one.
The lead uppercut is a very effective punch in a small distance and in the clinch. Boxers like Mike Tyson and Anthony Joshua were masters of this punch. This punch is generally travels short distance, so you cannot really generate much power in it however if you are a right handed southpaw, the power you can put into this punch will be much different
When two boxers in different stances are fighting, their lead feet will be facing each other. On the other hand, if the boxer whose lead foot is at the outside has the advantage of speed on his side. His rear hand is nearer to his rival, so he is in a position to throw a cross or a rear overhang easily.
Trapping your opponent’s lead hand
Here if you stay in a southpaw stance, you have another advantage, your lead hand will be facing your opponent’s lead hand. And you can take an advantage of the situation by trapping your rival’s lead hand. That is advantageous especially because when trapping the lead hand, you are preventing him from throwing jabs. So the opponent will not be able to keep you at distance even with jabs.
We have already discussed some very effective combinations for right-handed southpaws, but there are many more to explore and invent.
Better grasp when talking about clinch
Here in the sport of boxing, contrary to wrestling, where they do takedowns. You cannot take your rival down, however you can use a similar technique to take an upper hand in the clinches. It can be really difficult training or sparring with someone who is able to enter in a clinch frequently and in a short period of time. But when your lead hand is in front, you are in a position to control.
Being able to switch stances quickly and whenever one wants
Switching stances quickly and easily is a mark of an advanced and experienced. As a beginner and if you are right-handed, you are required to learn how to box in an orthodox stance, much before you are capable of switching into a southpaw.
So, if you are trained and know how to fight in an orthodox stance, and then you are able to switch into a southpaw, you can easily box in both stances, which can be really helpful in training, a boxing match or in sparring.
Every time something goes wrong in your orthodox stance, you are in a bad situation or the stance just doesn’t work against your opponent, you have an advantage when you can easily change to your right handed southpaw stance.
You can easily and expertly switch between stances to create a better angle during a fight. Experienced Boxers do such switches all the time.
A lot of times a fight between two orthodox boxers or two southpaws could be very predictable and can be really boring. That is so because they have probably developed a solid defense mechanism.
In unique situations, if you are in a position to switch stances, and you are able to switch to a right handed southpaw from an orthodox, it makes for a much more interesting and unique fight.
Probably that is exactly why it is always highly recommended to try new tactics, punches and stances, such as switching to a right handed southpaw the following: Do not stand with your lead and strong hand in front unless you are not allowing for yourself to develop your weaker hand. Also do not switch your stances earlier in your training because you should be an expert in your natural stance and only then seek an opportunity to be able to make it better by combining different stances. Being a right handed southpaw is indeed a game changer.