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Check Hook

The bell rings, and I walk back to my corner, sweat dripping, body bruised, and frustrated at how my sparring match is going.

It's only sparring... but I can’t figure out my rhythm. Every time I try to set up my attack, I get pushed back by my opponent.

He keeps coming forward relentlessly; I try meeting him at impact, but he’s just a better inside fighter than me, honestly.

My coaches are yelling, “stay long, stay long, keep him on the outside, and use the ring!”

It worked until he realized all I was trying to do was play keep-away until he got tired, but he never got tired. He was like an energizer bunny, batteries included; it was ridiculous.

The next round begins, and I’m in the storm all over again.

It wasn’t until I was shelled up in the corner of the ring for the 100th time and I had nowhere to go, I threw a check left hook with a pivot and turned my opponent into the ropes.

He fell off balance face-first into the corner, and as he caught himself and turned around, I started working my offense, landing an overhand right and a hook to the body!

I heard the gym go, "Ohhhhhhh!"

He was on defense for the first time; at that moment, I learned a very important lesson.

You have to use fighters forward momentum against themselves and, stay away from fighters that like to come forward, call in sick that day; they are a hand full.

Here are some quick boxing tips on some fundamentals, so you can be massively successful using the check hook, with some examples of notable pros who have had success.

You will be surprised who makes the list.

What is the Check left hook?

This is a counter punch used against an aggressive fighter coming forward. Using timing, speed, and footwork.

In the name Check left hook, checking your opponent is exactly what you will do. You keep them honest and at bay.

You make it hard for them to come straight in and don’t let them forget to keep their hands up.

Resetting your opponent

The check hook is like a standard left hook but sharper, faster, and tighter.

You use these attributes to reset or disrupt an advancing fighter’s rhythm.

It is a punch to reset an aggressive opponent.

Aggressive fighters are susceptible to this punch because they lead with their head to get on the inside.

They are like a bull, and you are the matador.

This also is a punch to keep your opponent on guard. A lot of fighters leave their hands down or get tired and get caught when thrown at the right time.

Combining offense & defense

A perfect blend and opportunity to mention, a good offense can be a good defense and vice versa!

Primarily, this is an offensive move used for defense, but that can all change in a second with a quick pivot as you throw the check hook simultaneously. Positioning yourself into offense.

Timing & Speed

Time your opponent’s straight punches; a fast opponent can be beaten if you can time them correctly.

If they throw a jab, aim for their chin - hopefully, they have their opposite hand down.

If they throw a straight right hand, aim over their punch to catch their chin exposed.

How to throw a Check hook

Throwing a check hook sounds easy, and that’s because anything that sounds easy is not. But it is a lot of fun to learn!

Mechanics

From the bottom up, you start in your basic boxing stance. Think of a regularly thrown left hook, now speed up the movement of the punch.

Pivoting the front foot, the left side of your body comes around with the punch, and pow lands the left hook.

The faster the better.

Think of a belt whipping and how it loops around and at the end, snaps and comes back. You know what I’m talking about, all those butt whoopings you got for getting into fights at school, you member!

Imitate that whipping motion with your punch.

How to combine Timing & Speed

Timing is your speed. You don’t need to be the fastest puncher or the hardest-hitting fighter.

All that changes with a well-timed check hook. The punch that you don’t see coming is the punch that knocks them out.

Do not worry so much about how fast of a puncher you are. Worry about well-timed hooks.

The speed catches up with the timing.

Check hook footwork

3 footwork tips to use with the check hook:

  1. Pivot out on the balls of your front foot. You will swing your body around at a 45° angle.
  2. Step back; your back foot will step back first, planting your heel into the ground, while the front foot slides back, staying light on your toes.
  3. Hold your ground, plant both feet into the ground, tuck your chin into your chest, and point your lead shoulder forward. Be ready to absorb contact after you throw your check hook.

When to check hook

You have two types of opponents: push and pull.

  1. A fighter that is aggressive is a pusher.
  2. A counter fighter is a puller.

You cant check hook a puller, so you will use this against a pusher.

Aggressive fighters eat check hooks for breakfast. They are hungry. Make sure you feed them.

I have three tips on the footwork you can use.

Pivoting is fundamental. You can use it as you throw the hook creating an angle to keep working your offense.

Step-backs are great. Use these when you are in the middle of the ring and have enough room. Follow up with some straight punches down the middle.

Hold your ground, this is a dangerous move, but I like it. No risk, no reward.

Hold your ground and show them who is in charge. You can change the momentum of the fight.

Conclusion

The check hook takes practice and repetition. Combine mechanics with timing and you will become very good at this punch.

Use different footwork variations; pivoting is the most common and used, but you need to incorporate others to throw off the rhythm of your counterattack.

When it is just as important, you want to make sure you have an aggressive fighter coming forward. This doesn’t work if you are trying to bring the fight toward them.

Notable fighters that made the list and film study to watch!

Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton: delivering a knock-out check left hook in the corner of the ring, Mayweather was retreating, and time Ricky coming in and the perfect moment.

Ryan Garcia vs. Fransisco Fonseca: a vicious check left hook ended the night early in round 1. Garcia had already thrown some hooks while retreating. On the punch that ended the night, you will see him hold his ground as Fransisco leans in with a cross.

Roy Jones Jr. vs. everybody: he loved throwing hooks and check hooks too, watch any of his masterful fights for some highlights.