Can You Push In Boxing? 7 Important Things [Must-Read]

I understand, pushing your opponent to create some front-end distance gives you a solid opportunity to offense. And if you’re wondering whether or not pushing is legal in a boxing match, here’re few things you need to read first:

So, Can You Push in Boxing?

As a whole, pushing is allowed in boxing sometimes as long as it is performed in a certain way without abusing boxing rules. If the push is done consciously with fully stretched arms it is considered as a foul and can lead to a warning, point deduction, or even disqualification.

Further in this article, I’ll provide my helpful tips and explain to you exactly what are my favorite ways through which you can push your opponent legally in the match:

What Happens If You Push in a Boxing Match?

As safety is one of the main focuses of modern boxing, there is an endless list of different attacking moves that are prohibited in the fight. And if you want to participate in the sport, you have no option but to follow all the rules decided by the authorities.

If you try to push your opponent in the match, it is considered as a foul. Pushing is not permitted in boxing and may lead to a warning, possible points reduction, or even disqualification in case of repetitive abuse of rules.

Most of the time, the decision depends on the discretion of the referee. The referee might warn you the first time by loudly commanding “Stop pushing”.

If you keep pushing, again and again, the referee might stop the bout and hold your hand to signal the judges for point deduction. Pushing is completely illegal in boxing and you can also get disqualified if your point is deducted three times back to back.

Consequences of Pushing in Old Time Boxing

Personally, I consider old-time boxing as a completely different type of game altogether. Before 1750, you were allowed to push, clinch, and grapple your opponent. You can hip-throw, leg pickup, and even slam your opponent at that time.

It was a period before the Queensberry rules were adopted and boxing is considered as unarmed combat with no rules and regulations.

That time bout does not even have a fixed period so a new round starts when a boxer falls down and fails to come back in 30 seconds. That’s why I think, it’s better to forget about it now!

Modern Boxing Rules for Pushing

Unlike old-time boxing, things are way too different in professional or modern-day boxing. Many boxers attempt pushing to stop attacking an aggressive opponent or to get the mid-range distance for perfect punches.

Although sometimes referees might ignore the mistake if you just slightly push or nudge the opponent but if the push is done consciously with fully stretched arms it can lead to point deduction or even disqualification.

In fact, in a controversial match of 2011, Amir Khan pushed Peterson 2 times so the referee deduced his 2 points. As a result, Khan lost the fight against Lamont Peterson even when he has thrown the better shorts and punches throughout the match.

But, in most cases, pushing symbolizes weakness and indicates fighters’ poor coaching. That’s why it’s always better to learn to throw the punches perfectly at all the possible ranges without pushing, regardless of your height.

3 Helpful Techniques to Push Legally in Boxing?

As I mentioned already, pushing with fully extended arms is unauthorized and can cause a penalty in boxing, but there are some ways that allow you to gain a situational advantage by legally tackling the opponent during a fight.

These are my favorite 3 techniques that can change the frame of your opponent without facing any unwanted consequences:

1. Bumping In

This is the safest and most commonly used legal defensive technique in boxing that helps you to maintain distance from your opponent.

“Bumping in” essentially means, avoiding the powerful and accurate punches of your opponent just by sliding outside from their lead hand. You can also step forward and slide on the opponent to gain a grasp by getting a shoulder-to-shoulder position.

Even though your chin is fully exposed in this situation and you can get attacked by uppercuts or short hooks, but you should try to keep your hips close to theirs to minimize the risk and to stay in a much safer position.

This is all the things you need to set up before bumping in: Now from here, you can generate space by pushing the opponent through your shoulder and become ready to deliver some meaningful shots.

Just in case, your opponent tries to cover the distance instantly, you can also use your gloves as a wedge to push by placing them on the shoulder and area near the neck of your opponent.

2. Chicken Wing

This is another great technique that allows you to legally push your opponent boxer. This method allows you to push in boxing by flaring out your elbow and tucking your forearm like chicken wings.

The extra force provided by the chicken wing push is the key advantage of it over bumping in because it is more than enough to disbalance your opponent and you get an ample amount of time to show some of your solid and accurate punches.

3. Door Knob

Aside from jump and punch, the push-and-punch technique is also quite helpful in boxing matches and this method assists you there exactly to get a supreme angle for attack by controlling the elbow.

To gain dominance in this position, all you need to do is, hold the elbow of your opponent’s lead hand and push it across their body. Then pivot your body to their lead side and get into your best position to offer some of your commanding punches.

Depending on the consequences of the situation in your match, you can also use this technique on their gloves or hips. Personally, I don’t like to try it in all the matches but it’s a great technique that puts your opposition in the struggle for some period of time.

Check out this video for more insights on pushing techniques:

Tips to Take Advantage of Pushing in Boxing

Whether or not you’re planning to incorporate pushing in your fighting style, it’s important to learn the basics of any fighting technique. Here’re some of my personal tips that will help you to get the most out of your bout:

1. Stand Firm On The Ground

The firmness of your feet on the ground becomes quite necessary in the boxing match, especially when you’re actively trying to use any of the above pushing techniques and don’t want to impact your stability.

You should always try to stand still on the ground using leg muscles. It not only help you to perfect push your opponent but also makes their job harder if they try to disturb your balance.

In case, If your height is relatively shorter than your opponent then this tip will definitely help you to maintain your balance but only up to some extent because taller fighters can easily tackle you by using their shoulders.

2. Use Your Hands Carefully

If you’re a taller boxer, although you have some ease to reach up to the opponent with your long hands but if you try to push your opponent with full extension of your arms, it can be easily noticeable to the referee and can lead to a foul or penalty.

That’s why it’s very essential for you to use your hands carefully and only leverage the pushing technique when a suitable situation is made.

3. Get in Front of Opponent

Another trick I would to share is If your opponent tries to dominate you by shoulder-to-shoulder push then you can somehow force them to push you on the front or back by directly getting in front of them.

Pushing on the front is illegal in boxing and it can cause your opponent penalty. many short boxers had done this during their matches to deduce their opponent’s score.

Boxers Who Found Success Via Pushing in Boxing

Here’re some of the popular boxers who found their way to somehow include pushing in their fighting style:

1. Floyd Mayweather Junior

The world-famous boxer Floyd Mayweather takes advantage of higher-level pushing techniques in most of his matches. He is well known for his shoulder rolls and for brilliant forearm control.

He developed his unique masterful approach where it’s quite difficult to maintain the front distance. Mayweather used to disturb the vision of his opponent and manipulate their frame by forming a wedge with his forearm.

2. George Foreman

In 1973 George Foreman won the fight against Joe Frazier in a classic heavyweight encounter by using pushing tactics. Foreman used the looping punches with a combination of pushes to dismantle the superior technician Frazier.

Foreman was the underdog in that match who perfectly controls the frame of the opponent and lands accurate attacks by taking positional advantage. It is one of the famous examples in boxing where legal pushes were one of the biggest factors behind Foreman’s win.

3. Teofimo Lopez

Talking about the 2020 breakdown fight, Lopez won against Vasyl Lomachenkoby by showing his bumping-in version. The younger boxer Lopez was quite aggressive from the starting of the match and tried to take the center of the ring.

In the 12th round, Loma was far behind in points, and thus he cornered the Lopez and pressurize him by throwing a combination of punches.

In response, Lopez ducked and bumped him backward to create a space and keep attacking by his right hand. According to some viewers, it was illegal but at last, it all depends on the referee’s perspective.

Final Thoughts

If learned properly, pushing techniques can give you a great advantage over your opponent while allowing you to enhanced your overall game. But you need to be careful and consciously try to avoid any kind of fouls.

Pushing your opponent not only disturbs their balance but also creates some room to deliver your attack. A properly optimized pushing technique can sometimes change the direction of the fight and might help you to gain dominance in the ring.

If you find this article helpful, make sure you read my helpful resources listed below: CargoFight 🙂

Priya Dorge | Cargofighter

Priya Dorge

Priya Dorge is a passionate boxer and author, dedicated to sharing her expertise in the world of combat sports. With her deep knowledge and experience in empowering individuals in their journey has garnered a loyal following, making her a trusted resource in the martial arts community.