Southpaw Stance

Ah, the southpaw. Those troublesome lefties force every orthodox fighter to rethink everything he's learned about fighting.

To circle right means to circle into the southpaw's power punch. Then you've got the headbutts. Tripping over feet. That straight left hand.

In short, they're a pain in the rear end.

Some fighters are excellent against southpaws, Bernard Hopkins immediately comes to mind.

But many fighters struggle to adapt to the unorthodox style, which is why some of the elite lefties are avoided by mainstream fighters like the plague.

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What is a southpaw stance

Southpaw is the stance used by left-handed boxers.

Boxers who use this stance have their right hand and right foot farther forward than their left hand and left foot.

Southpaw’s lead with the right hand for jabs, and the left hand for power punches.

While most often used by left-handed boxers to make the most use of their usually stronger and more controlled dominant hand, some right-handed boxers also use this stance, for its tactical advantages.

How to perform the southpaw stance

Position your right hand in front leading with your right foot, your strong hand will be positioned in the back with your left foot behind you.

To break it down into two parts I will use front side and backside mechanics.

Front side mechanics, keep your right hand up near the face and your shoulder leading forward, angling your body inward away from your opponent to make yourself a smaller target. The front foot is pointed directly at your opponent or a small inward 45° angle.

Backside mechanics, your left hand will be pasted on your cheek with your left shoulder rotated back helping you blade your body and keep that strong hand loaded with power.

Your foot will be angled inward at a 45° angle.

Both knees will be bent slightly along with your elbows tucked in to protect your body and your head tilted forward to tuck in that chin protecting that jawline.

How not to perform the southpaw stance

We all make these common mistakes from time to time. Beginners, amateurs to professional boxers!

  1. Squaring up
  2. Balance
  3. Flat feet

Squaring up

The shoulders are turned at an angle pointing the lead shoulder at your opponent. This helps you turn your body in a way that makes you a smaller target.

 This advantage is given away if you square your shoulders toward your opponent. Meaning neither shoulder is in front and your chest and stomach are now in line with your challenger.


Your feet shouldn’t line up with each other. When they do this is called squaring up the feet.

Same instance as the shoulders. One foot should be leading and the other one in the back. You can bring that back foot too far forward leading to instability.

A simple jab can knock you off balance.

Flat feet

I never like flat feet so I’m just going to say it again. Stay light on your feet keeping you more mobile.

If your style is to stay flat-footed and trade punches, you can be an exciting fighter. This just isn’t what I recommend because you also can take a lot of punishment.

Why we use the southpaw stance

Being unorthodox is already an advantage. The orthodox fighter doesn’t see as many left-handers as you see right-handers.

When a right-handed fighter takes you on you make them uncomfortable.

Psychologically you are entering this fight with an edge.

Southpaws don’t see as many lefties either. This is not an advantage but if you practice enough to get familiar with both opponents you make it your advantage.

Important notes

 Quick tips when you face either type of opponent.

  1. Orthodox fighter
  2. Southpaw fighter

Orthodox fighter

Keep your lead foot on the outside of an orthodox fighter’s lead foot.

Let me tell you a secret about southpaws: their foot placement makes far more of a difference than where their hands are.

Against an orthodox fighter, foot placement is the first part of the battle.

As a southpaw keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s foot. This will give you the advantage, your strong hand will be in a direct line to your target of choice, head or body.

Another advantage, pivoting to their weak side. Eliminating their strong hand while giving you the angle to attack.

Southpaw fighter

You will see a lot more orthodox fighters than you will southpaw. This might be challenging rather than being easier.

Against fellow southpaw fighters, you will notice that the flow of the fight doesn’t get easier because you see less of them.

The angles of the punches are easier to see coming. The angles you get out to your left and your right will be more natural.

And you wont have to be fighting for lead foot position!

Hopefully, you have a better understanding now of what the southpaw is and how to use it.

Another round in the books! Keep training the mind with the body. The biggest advantage you have is using your brain with your skills.

Keep punching my friends.