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How To Feint In Boxing?

Feint in boxing is generally seen as a deceptive blow or movement during a fight. In layman’s terms, anything a fighter does to deceive the opponent through movement is feinting. Feints are largely underutilised in boxing, especially a beginner to intermediate levels. At the professional level, feints are essential to success and are used much more frequently.

Feints are techniques or movements aimed at deceiving an opponent. By showing your opponents your intention to a certain move, you elicit a reaction and then hit them with something completely different. There are many different kinds of feints and different ways to use them. Pretending to punch is one of them. You effectively execute a fake offensive attack that will confuse your opponent by beginning the initial motions of a punch and then not committing to it. This can either be aimed at the body or the head.

Movement is also part of feinting strategy. By employing fluid lateral movement, moving side to side in an erratic non-pattern, you can also confuse your opponents in this way. Feints create opportunities for you to capitalise on openings, opening up vulnerabilities in your opponents’ defence. It helps you control the pace of any given fight psychologically and is an effective weapon against fast and intelligent opponents.

A simple way to understand this is to imagine yourself throwing your hands towards the opponent’s face. (Your opponent’s thinking about the counter and how the shot will be blocked). However, little does your opponent know that you don’t intend to connect with their face and you have something else in mind. Thus, you show your opponent that you intend to hit when you don’t.

Feint – a deceptive blow or movement during a fight

A feint is a movement with a deceptive intention. It’s when you show your opponent an intention to do something, but then you do something else. Examples of feints: pretending to punch but then not doing it. Pretending to hit the body but then going for the head instead.

No. You can only feint with your hands. In a boxing ring, your legs and feet are for movement, not feinting a kick.


Yes, to move the body and turn the hips to generate power to the punches, move away from the opponent, cut the ring, etc. However, you cannot hit the opponent with them, nor use it to defend yourself (they’re not a legitimate target, either).


Yes, fighters cannot use kicks, knees, or trips in traditional boxing matches. Boxing is solely focused on striking with the hands and defending against it. Throwing a kick in a boxing match will be called a foul and result in a warning, possible point reductions, or disqualification.


There are 3 types of feint:

  • Feint with the hand
  • Feint with the body
  • Feint with the feet

When you apply these feints during a round and remember to fire your punches in the right proportions, you cannot fail to land more punches and exert more control over your opponent.


How To Use Feints Effectively In Boxing

Feinting is easy to understand. However, it gets super technical when it comes to application. However, if you do master the art of painting, you’ll be able to sense your opponent’s fear and create vulnerability. Feint will help you gain a psychological advantage and will help you gain an advantage over skilled opponents.

Examples of feints:

  • Pretending to punch but then not doing it
  • Pretending to hit the body but then going for the head instead
  • Pretending to move in one direction but then going the other

There’s a reason they say boxing is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, and a huge part of that is because of feints. So today, we share ways to effectively use feints to your advantage in boxing.

How To Use Feint In Boxing?

Now that we’ve understood the science behind feinting let us understand how to feint. As we mentioned earlier, there are many ways to feint. But, first, let’s discuss some popular feinting techniques and some advanced ones.

Punching in the Air

Most of your opponents are conditioned to defend when you throw a punch at their head or body. However, your opponent will be drawn towards your efforts when you throw a punch in the air by intentionally missing your target. So, you start your punch from the front and move to the side of their body or head to draw a response. Most of your opponents will try to respond and stick their hands out, presenting you with an opening.

Here are some of the tried and tested classic punch feints techniques:

  • Faking a jab so to make your opponent extend and then following with a hard hook or cross
  • Jabbing in the air on the side of their body or head to draw a response and hit a right cross
  • Waving your left glove to the side and enabling your opponent to open up the body, and as soon as they do it, you drive a sharp left to the face or the body.
  • Lifting your right as if you intend to throw a right cross and then quickly attacking with a fast jab

Punch at the Body

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One of the best ways to target the head or the body is to attack the other one first. A great tactic is to throw fake punches to the body and then quickly follow up with punches to the head. The concept is simple. The execution is not. One key detail: The tip to distracting your opponent with body punches is to watch his eyes!

So many fighters miss this simple tip. It doesn’t matter if your opponent blocks your body shot or not. Watch his eyes carefully when you throw or feint the body shot. If you see in his eyes that he was distracted for a split second, you can capitalise with a big right cross to his head. Could you pay attention to him carefully?

Here are some of the tried and tested classic body feints technique:

  • Throwing a jab to the body followed by a right cross to the head
  • Throwing a quick 1-2 to the body followed by a devastating left hook to the head
  • Throwing a jab to the body followed by a left hook to the head

Manipulating your opponent’s defence

When you’re up against skill fighters, you often realise that your feints aren’t working as much as you would have liked them to. In such a situation, you can use quick punches with minimal commitment to drawing a response from your opponent. As I mentioned earlier, your opponent will naturally defend and react to where you throw the punch.

If fainting doesn’t work, you can still get them to react by throwing actual punches. What’s the difference-maker? Herein, you land the punches at a lightning pace, so when your opponent tries to catch the first one, the follow-up is already on its way.

Using this technique confuses your opponent, forcing them to choose between protecting his head or body. Furthermore, when you force punches from different angles, you create an opening as they become susceptible. All punches generally come from three angles:

  • Straight (Jab or Cross)
  • Around (Overhand or Hook)
  • Under (Uppercut)

These quick movements are a great way to manipulate your opponent’s defence and make them work at your convenience. In addition, penetration becomes easy when you attack from different angles.

Here are some of the tried and tested classic defence manipulation techniques:

  • Throwing straight punches followed by a big hook
  • Throwing fast uppercuts followed by a big hook
  • Throwing a quick hook followed by a straight punch

As you can see, these are all high-energy punches that we are using with minimal commitment to creating an opening. And it works because very few opponents get hold of our intention behind the punch.

Foot Feint

Using the feet is another popular way to take your opponent off guard and even off-balance. Many skilled fighters are very good at reading your entire body. They will not respond to a simple arm movement if they see that your whole body is not committed to the entire movement. Other opponents are too busy being aggressive and following you around that they do not notice or do not care for your arm fakes. In these situations, foot feints can be far more effective.

Against a pressure fighter, you can keep changing directions using an in-and-out type of movement to keep him off balance. Go one direction and then the other. Against a more skilful opponent, you can quickly step your front foot as if to go forwards to force him backwards or commit to a counter punch.

Classic foot feints:

  • Fake a step forward, see if your opponent moves back (gives you free ground or psychological control) or throws a counter (leaving himself open)
  • Step out to your side, but immediately turn back with a hard counter.
  • Move laterally one way but then change directions (OPTIONAL – throw a counter when you change directions)

Sharp Exhaling

At pro levels, the smallest of movements make the most difference. Feinting as an art has a level to it. Some minute details can involve twitching your glove as if you are to punch and fake a real punch. One of the most peculiar detail is your breathing. Your exhaling level and the sound show the amount of dedication you’re throwing in a punch.

Can’t relate? Well, the next time you go to the gym, close your eyes and watch out for the person having the loudest breath. That’s the sign that they’re trying their best. Now, when this happens in a boxing match, instead of stepping ahead, you can tilt your head down and make your opponent believe as if you’re coming at them, but you don’t.

You can use sharp exhaling as a tool to deceive your opponent. The sharp breath sound alerts your opponent, who then prepares for the counter. However, when you don’t land the counter and instead wait for them, they cannot understand why which leads them to attack and creates an opening for you.  

Here are some interesting breathing feints:

  • You can easily exhale your opponent off when they get closer. This technique works best when you’re in a tight spot.
  • By sharp exhaling with your opponent tagged in the corner, you’ll make them panic and thus, they would have a hard time landing a punch.
  • You can use exhale feints and disrupt your opponent’s rhythm.

Though often undermined, sharp exhaling is a symbol of a highly skilled boxer at the highest of levels. Feinting refers to any fake motion which develops a certain notion in your opponent’s head. And so, if it’s breathing, then that’s a valuable technique too. All you need to do is to sell it well. It’s an unconventional technique that can help drive great results. Not just that, you can adjust and adapt it to any given situation. Just keep practising, as once you get the hang of it, you can land powerful and clean punches.

The Art Of Feinting In Boxing

This is perhaps the most important rule of feinting. The goal of feinting is to deceive, and any trick, no matter how clever, becomes useless once your opponent has learned what to expect. This simple understanding can take you beyond the level of feints. You don’t have to think about how to feint. For example, you can throw 1-1-2 twice in a row, and then the third time, you throw 1-1-3. If it is different from what is expected, it is faint!

The golden rule of feinting: always do something different than expected.

What’s The Difference Between A Good Feint And A Bad Feint?

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It depends on the effort required to produce the desired reaction from your opponent. For example, a lesser-skilled fighter would have to throw a half punch only for an opponent to calmly raise his guard, whereas a skilled fighter only has to twitch his glove to make his opponent react suddenly.

Poor and ineffective feints leave you vulnerable while still not enough to make your opponent react. On the other hand, skilful effective feints can make your opponent jump halfway across the ring, even with the tiniest of movement. It all comes down to your ability to read your opponent. A master boxer can see where his opponent is most sensitive. 

If you feel your opponent likes to preserve distance, perhaps you can pretend to move forward. If you feel your opponent is afraid of right hands, perhaps you can pretend to throw more right hands. Whatever the case may be, you have to find out what your opponent is most fearful of! Now that we have all the reasons you should use feint, let’s study the difference between good and bad feint.

Good Feinting Traits:

  • Good feints are the ones that require less energy and a strong mental game. With these feints, you are the one in complete control capable of producing the desired response from your opponent.
  • You use Good feints to draw your opponents and counter them.
  • You use good feints as a technique to hold a psychological edge over your opponent.
  • You sense your opponent’s vulnerability and make them pay
  • You make your opponent move in the direction you want them to.

Bad Feinting Traits:

  • Poor feinting skills will leave you vulnerable and in a disadvantageous position
  • Using the feint as a showboating tool rather than as an effective weapon
  • Using the same technique again and again
  • Not backing your feints with your psychological pressure
  • Not creating a sense of fear in your opponent’s mind
  • Mistiming the counters and falling prey to your opponent’s counters
  • Underestimating your opponent’s movement and thinking that you’ve lulled them into sleep

Feinting Techniques In Boxing

Boxing feints are maneuvers designed to distract or mislead your opponent by making them think that a certain action will take place when in fact, another action or no action occurs. 

This is especially important in boxing if your opponent is a defensive specialist, and you need to find a way to open up his defence. Unfortunately, feints are an almost forgotten technique of boxing. They’re not seen as commonly as they once were, which is a shame because implementing feints into your skillset will improve you as a fighter.

The Faux Punch

It’s a fake punch, essentially. This type of feint is thrown only halfway, whether thrown as a jab or as a straight. The objective is to fake throwing a punch to force your opponent to go on the defensive in a certain way.

For example, feinting a straight or a jab to the head will cause your opponent to bring their guard up. This opens up the midsection for your real punches, giving you a clear path to landing something solid. It’s misdirection at its finest.

The key here is to prevent yourself from overcommitting to this fake. It’s easy to oversell this feint, but that will leave you open to being countered yourself. Intelligent opponents will pick up on it quickly and prepare their counter-attacks accordingly. This renders the feint ineffective.

Forward Step

Not many boxers can pull this off effectively. While this sounds simple, it’s not just the case of stepping forward.

You have to do it when you’re in range and in a way where it’s convincing enough for your opponent to think that you’re going to leap in with an attack.

This means that you must slightly jerk your upper body forward at the same time you step, so it’s all in one swift motion. If anyone does this well, it’s Manny Pacquiao, who has often utilised this feint to hurt or knock his opponents down.

Your opponent will usually step back to avoid an incoming punch, so you can step again into range to fire off the cross. It’s risky, and this requires quick feet to pull it off. Or, your opponent will flinch, parry, move their head or bend their knees without taking a backward step, which then you’d be in range to target your unsuspecting opponent.

The Side Dip

Similar to slipping punches to the left and the right, the side dip feint uses the same motion to mislead opponents into thinking that you will move in a particular direction. This feint has two variations, one being a light side dip, the other being a very hard side dip. Both variations have different effects and produce different results.

By performing the light side dip, offering your opponent just a hint of your movement, they will most likely be looking to time you come in. This opens up their defence if you can sell the faint enough for them to commit.

On the other hand, the hard side dip will cause a much more enthusiastic reaction from opponents, either forcing them to cover up or move away. While a punch does not follow this up, it can keep your opponents confused about when a real punch will come.

Bending The Knees

To get more power into your punches, one of the things you must do is to ‘sit down on your punches, which is why when you bend at the knees, it instinctively indicates a punch being thrown. However, you must not bend too low because it’ll just take too long to get back into position to defend or attack.

All it takes is for your opponent to fall for the feint is a slight bend of the knees combined with a slight motion of the hands. A fighter who often does this is Guillermo Rigondeaux, arguably the greatest amateur boxer ever and a unified world champion.

The Misdirection Jab

Traditionally, jabs are thrown at either an opponent’s head or body. This is because those are the two natural landing points for jabs. But advanced fighters have discovered ways to use their jabs in various manners. One of those is using it as a feint to draw attention away from where you want to land a clean punch.

The difference with this feint is that you can fully extend this punch. Target various areas, such as the side of your opponent’s head or over the top. His natural reaction would be to follow the jab with his line of sight, which distracts him from defending the weak side.


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