The Science of Boxing Styles


A boxing style is an instinctive strategy and particular reactive patterns of a boxer. No two boxers have the exact same style.

Many boxers have similar styles, but different personal preferences and variations within their style. Some boxers have styles that are best defined as hybrids of two or more common styles.

Examining an opponent’s style is critical to winning fights because you must learn their tendencies so that you can react and attack them appropriately.

3 Basic Boxing Styles You Should Know:

Boxer (Out-fighter)

Fighters who employ the classic “Boxer” style are fast and extremely technically sound.

They like to use their superior technical skills to wear down an opponent, often fighting from a distance, utilizing the jab heavily, and winning by decisions rather than knockout.

Boxers enjoy the strategy of a fight and are view themselves as true students of “the sweet science.”


Brawlers are less mobile but more powerful than the Boxer. They are commonly considered less technical than Boxers, but Brawlers can be well studied and practiced in their own regard.

Because brawlers lack exceptional speed and mobility, they must be able to absorb a lot of damage from opponents. Brawlers seek to win their fights via knockouts.

Swarmer (In-fighter)

As the name suggests, Swarmers, or “in-fighters,” prefer to fight at a very close range. Unlike the Brawler, Swarmers win by overwhelming their opponents, not overpowering their opponents.

Swarmers employ rapid combinations strategically to the body and head. Swarmers often seek to wear down your body and finish you with hooks or uppercuts to the chin.

Swarmers must be skilled at defensive techniques additionally because reaching the inside often involved taking many hits.

The video below is a classic example of the Swarmers in action. Rocky started slowly with careful moves. Then he engaged in the fight, punched and withdrew. Then the same process again. Very nice to see this style in play!

The Boxing Style Cycle

There is a saying that “Styles make fights.” What this means is that certain styles match up particularly well, or particularly poorly, against other specific styles.

It happens to be that the match-up between styles follows a 3-step cycle, like Rock-Paper-Scissors. Each style has an advantage over one style, and a disadvantage to one style.

  • Boxers have the advantage over Brawlers because they have the speed and skill to avoid the power that a brawler uses.
  • Brawlers have the advantage over Swarmers because they the power to devastate Swarmers as they try to take the fight inside.
  • Swarmers have the advantage over Boxers because the boxer does not have the power to stop the Swarmer from reaching or dominating the inside.

Additional Styles

More styles have been coined that is based on similarities to the basic 3 styles. Some people break down the “Boxer” style into two substyles called Boxer-out fighter and Boxer-puncher


The Boxer-out fighter is the true range fighter who uses his jab to keep everyone at bay. He uses mobility to stay out of danger and lacks the knockout strength of other fights.


The Boxer-puncher is somewhere between the Boxer-out fighter and the brawler. the Puncher fights at a closer range than the true Outfighter but still relies heavily on technical skills to outbox opponents. Boxer-punchers rely more on defensive techniques rather than mobility to avoid danger and have slightly more power than the true Outfighter.


A Counter-puncher is most similar to a Boxer-puncher. They fight at medium range but rely on technical skills and not power to win.

The Counterpuncher specifically reacts to punches thrown by his opponent and capitalizes on their vulnerabilities, rather than taking the offensive themselves.

Learning your Style

Finding your boxing style can take time. Notice the use of the word “Finding.” A boxing style is not learned or developed. It is what comes naturally to you.

Boxers can develop skills to assist their boxing style, but the style is how they want to use specific skills.

Finding your style can take time. The best way to find your style is to spar. Have a trainer or coach observe your sparring and note what you do well and what your tendencies are.

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