Boxing Training Q/A: European vs American Fighting Style.

Here’s a great European vs American fight style q/a I pulled off of the forum. Wise and talented UK boxing trainer John Houston breaks both fight styles down and discusses the pros and cons.

John Houston in the US you always hear trainers talk about the classic European _style_, when an American fights over seas. What is the biggest difference between the two, what makes up the European _style_ and what _style_ do you feel is better when matched up with one another? I know skill prevails with both _style_s but I’m curious to know advantages of one over another. Thanks, Stephen

Stephen, I think the differences in _style_ between American and European boxers are diminishing, a consequence of communication and ideas being easier to disseminate these days.

I suppose the old definition would have been that European boxers box from a more stand up straight position with a tight closed guard, while American boxers employ more fluid waist movement, often with hands held lower. The other difference from these respective stances is the punches thrown. From the straight up; close-guard more straight punches flow, while the American _style_ can favor hooks.

Historically it has to be said, the American _style_ seems to have prevailed when they are matched up. As you say, skills prevail, but all things being equal the American _style_ seems to have come out on top more often, at least in professional boxing. This is really borne out by the fact that the differences between the _style_s are diminishing mainly due to the European adoption of American _style_s. I remember being taught a “British” jab (thrown with the thumb facing up) and an American Jab (palm down) by an old trainer when I started boxing. Now it is only the palm down jab taught as routine. The hook over in the UK is in a transition period, with a lot of amateur trainers still teaching it as thrown with the palm facing down, while most pro’s over here, and an increasing number of amateurs throw it in the American _style_ of thumb facing up.

The growing amalgamation of the _style_s can be seen in the variety of _style_s Europe now exports. Our own Ricky Hatton has taken to calling himself The Manchester Mexican, to reflect his aggressive, pressure fighting _style_. I think the trend will continue as trainers are able to watch different _style_s and swap ideas more freely.

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2 Responses to “Boxing Training Q/A: European vs American Fighting Style.”

  • Giles Wiley Says:

    That’s an interesting article Rob – I’ve got to admit I still throw my hook palm down but have also noticed Manny often doesn’t turn his jab over but throws it thumb up. I once attended a seminar with Dan Inosanto who reckons the American style was influenced by their occupation of the Phillipines where their martial arts involve a lot of slipping, bobbing and weaving and angling off.

  • admin Says:

    That’s interesting Giles. I have noticed Pacquiao throwing his jab thumb up too. Although he has become a more balanced fighter since comin g to America.

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