Boxing Tip #19 - Jab Slip and Enter
As I talked about previously, you need to have available various strategies for closing the distance between you and your opponent. This boxing technique is a boxing drill you can use to both close the distance and throw your opponent off guard so that you can close without getting hit and start inflicting some damage once you get there.
To quickly get inside, crossing no man's land, without getting hit and setting yourself up for success once you get there. You will use your opponent's offense (a Jab) to create an opening to cross the line. You slip and throw a counter, as you step towards your opponent.
To Perform the Drill
To do this drill, you should know how to slip to the outside. Approach your opponent and be within striking range. Be on guard as he could unleash anything at this point, but you're trying to invoke a jab. Or, alternatively, you can remain out of range and wait for him to throw a jab to try and close the distance himself.
When the jab is thrown you want to slip to the outside. For an orthodox opponent vs orthodox fighter that means you are slipping right when facing your opponent. For southpaws it means your slipping left when facing your opponent. However, it is not a normal linear slip. You need to slip towards your opponent at a 45 degree angle.
Immediately as you slip, step forward which will basically make you slip more to the wanted 45 degree angle. You are actually stepping towards the jab, but at an angle, while throwing a right uppercut (left uppercut for southpaws). Push off your back leg and drive yourself into your opponent. Don't go for a powerful uppercut at this point with a huge windup. You need speed to beat your opponent's jab both as it comes towards you and back.
The uppercut is simply to throw him/her off guard so that any follow up combination they had planned for their jab is disrupted. It will also server to set you up for a more powerful punching combination of your own.
If you time this right, you should be delivering the uppercut just as your opponent has recovered his jab. You will now be in a position where you are close enough to strike as well as having landed an uppercut to setup a combination of your own. I recommend following with a left hook for orthodox fighters (right hook for southpaws.
Once inside, do your damage and then decide if you are staying there, in which case you should practice some inside fighting drills, or leaving, in which case you need an exit strategy.
To Practice This Drill
Best way to practice this drill is with an opponent. Start slow and have the opponent extend his arm into a jab position. Step through the drill noting your opponent's position and your own position as you get closer to him. Be aware of your footwork and where you are stepping to correctly align yourself for an uppercut.
Once you understand the footwork and technique, work on the timing by having your opponent throw a very slow jab to which you react. Eventually speed it up, until you are comfortable with the movement and applicable counter at faster and faster speeds.
If you don't have a partner, you can still practice this with a heavy bag and some good visualization. Imagine the jab coming out of the heavy bag, slip, move and counter, then get out. Move around the bag, slip, move, counter, get out. Again, start slow, perfect the technique and then speed up the movements.