How Long Can You Clinch In Boxing? 3 Rules (Explained)

Boxing is an amazing sport where you have no other option but to follow all the rules. If you’re aware about dirty boxing and wondering how long you can possibly hold your opponent, here’re some of the things you need to read first:

So, How Long Can You Clinch in Boxing?

As a general rule, boxers are not allowed to clinch for more than 5 seconds and are separated immediately by the referee. Excessive and repetitive holding may result in a point deduction, especially when boxers refuse to break the clinch when instructed.

In this article, I’ll explain to you exactly what to expect if you try to clinch too much and whether or not punches are allowed while clinching:

Even though the referee always says: “don’t do that” 🙂 but clinching is completely legal in modern boxing and when used correctly, it can sometimes decide the output of your fight. BUT:

What If You Clinch Too Much In Boxing?

Many boxers attempt for clinching when they think their opponent is very aggressive and has an extra advantage in the shorter range and wait for the referee to break them up.

As a whole, the decision depends on the discretion of the referee. Most of the referees from professional boxing do not allow for excessive clinching and separate the boxers straight away whereas some referees will let the boxers find out their own ways to fight.

Do You Lose Points For Clinching In Boxing?

You could lose a point for clinching in boxing when used excessively and repeatedly as a stalling tactic. The referee will deduct the point fairly quickly in amateur boxing but penalties more than just a warning are less common in professional boxing matches.

If you’re already warned by the referee a couple of times then another attempt to clinch your opponent not only increases the chances of losing a point but may also result in disqualification, especially when you refuse to break the clinch when instructed.

It simply allows bigger boxers to dominate the fight. They can deliver their attacks from distance and when their opponent comes closer to offense, they just clinch them to reset the distance.

Do Clinch Punches Count in Boxing?

Generally, clinch punches count in boxing that are clean and thrown effectively with sufficient force. In amateur boxing, all the punches that land in the scoring area are counted equally.

This is because, most of the time, the referee does not break the clinch when any of the boxers are trying to attack with his free arm.

But, it’s technically illegal because boxers can hold their opponent with one hand and start hitting with his other free hand. Also, some boxers try to leverage this chance and deliver some solid punches on his opponent.

Even if such punches doesn’t get count, it can significantly damage the opponent boxer. Although there are guides for such decision-making but it’s all come down to the referees to decide whether those clinch punches are legal or not.

Final Thoughts

I personally don’t like this rule because clinching not only breaks the dominating boxer’s momentum but also leaves the fight in an inconsistent phase and when the referee breaks, both boxers need to take one step back before continuing their fight further.

It’s important to understand, holding your opponent can keep you away from losing for some time but you can’t clench your way to win the match. Although, clinching could be a great defensive strategy but it will drain your lot of energy.

That’s why it’s always wise to use it strategically, especially when you’re getting destroyed and want a little time to be grounded. If you find this article helpful, make sure you read my other resources listed below:

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.