why do boxers hug

Clinching Explained: Why Do Boxers Hug?

You may have witnessed while watching a boxing fight, two boxers hug or clinch? The hug is commonly known as clinching, may leave you wondering why boxers do this. Is it a strategy? A tactic that is beneficial to them in any way?

This post will get deeper into clinching and boxing. But first, let’s go through a brief history of the sport of boxing.

Boxing’s Brief History

In boxing, two opponents, generally wearing protective gloves and hand wraps, and other protective equipment, are given a number of “rounds” to exchange blows in a boxing ring.

Boxing : Thousands of Years Ago

Known as one of the earliest known sports, images on the walls of tombs in Egypt which date back to 2,000 years prove that. Likewise, as shown in stone sculptures that Sumerians, who lived in what is now Iraq, boxed at least 5,000 years ago.

It all began as a physically demanding and brutal spectacle. In Ancient Greece, two men would sit face to face, their hands wrapped in leather strips. They’d hit each other until one of them collapsed unconscious—or died. Roman combatants used Cestuses (metal-plated leather straps) to shorten the length of the bouts.

Boxing has gotten so brutal that the Romans need to ban it. This was around the time before the birth of Christ.

Boxing in the 1600s to 1700s

Boxing vanished until the late 1600s when it reappeared in England.

The development of boxing started in the early 1700s. With bare-knuckle, fighting went on indefinitely until one man could no longer continue. Created in 1743 was the London Prize Ring Rules. These rules made boxing a little less brutal. The fights were still going on, but a battle was called off after one of the competitors was knocked down and couldn’t get back up within 30 seconds.

The British Boxers in the 1800s

British boxers visited the United States in the mid-1850s to try to generate interest in boxing, but many Americans were averse to the bare-knuckle sport, and the last such fight, a 75-round main event, took place in 1889. The Marquess of Queensberry, a British sportsman, created new professional tournament regulations requiring boxers to wear gloves and fight three-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period between rounds.

The Golden Age of American Boxing : 1900s

The so-called “golden age” of American boxing began in New York in 1920, with laws allowing public prizefighting and introducing fighters such as Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, and Joe Louis.

With the introduction of television in the 1950s, attendance at boxing contests decreased. Many fight fans chose to watch key fights on television at home rather than from ringside.

Colorful fighters, particularly the float-like-a-butterfly-sting-like-a-bee Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, reignited interest in the sport. A new generation of fighters—Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Mike Tyson—kept it alive until the 1980s.

Boxers Clinch or Hug During a Fight: Clinching Explained

Clinching is when you cross your arms over your opponent’s shoulders and place your forehead on their shoulder, putting as much weight on them as possible. It works against your opponent since they will struggle to hold on to wait while you rest. By putting as much weight on your opponent as possible, you prevent them from hitting you any further. Even if the clinching takes the lowest amount of time, it works in your favor.

Holding your opponents’ arms down will not only prevent them from striking you, but you will also see an opportunity to serve them a couple of extra punches when they come out of the clinch. Depending on the methods a boxer employs, coming out of the clinch is a two-way street.

Clinching is not the same as holding in boxing. Boxing makes holding illegal, yet clinching is an important element of the game. Wrapping one arm around an opponent’s waist while continuing to deliver strikes or punches is holding. It can be clutching the waist or any other area of your body that disadvantages your opponent when punching. And this is not acceptable.

3 Useful Ways for Boxers to Clinch:

Clinching is a controversial boxing tactic. Some say it ruins the sport, while others say it’s a vital talent. However, clinching is used by some of the greatest boxers in history for a reason. A clinch is a defensive tactic used to de-escalate a conflict. It involves closing in on an opponent and tying them up with their arms. This effectively stops an opponent’s offense.

Shortly after this point, the referee would usually jump in and separate the two combatants. If you like clinching or not, you should learn how to clinch successfully. If you’re a fighter who doesn’t intend to use the clinch, understanding it is important to your success. It can assist you to make key decisions in bouts on how to avoid or exploit the clinch.

Consider a few situations where the clinch is useful. Here are three situations in which a boxer should clinch during a boxing match.

1. Boxers Clinch for Strategy

The clinch is used by several boxers as part of their overall strategy. Clinching is a vital boxing skill to master. When practiced properly, it can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match.

Using the clinch as a strategic tool against aggressive opponents is a typical approach. Assume, for example, that an opponent is quick to close the gap and get on the inside. The clinch can be utilized as a deterrent if the boxer’s objective is to keep distance. When an opponent closes the distance, the clinch can be used to restrict any effective activity in close quarters. This neutralizes an attack and renders it ineffective. It also aids in breaking the rhythm of an aggressive opponent.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., an American boxing legend, favored employing the clinch as a strategic deterrent against aggressive and powerful punchers. It would frequently irritate his opponents, who would subsequently be unable to connect on any quality shots. Some opponents are rattled both physically and mentally when the clinch is employed strategically in this manner.

A boxer may interrupt his opponent’s pattern of beating or punching him. Clinching is also important in boxing since it allows both players to take a break if they are hurting or have taken too many punches from the opponent while technically waiting for the bell to terminate the round battle.

2) Boxers Clinch for Recovery

Clinching is sometimes utilized as a recovery strategy during a fight.

Some fighters become fatigued in between rounds or during a fight. This occurs when the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles exceeds a certain threshold, which is poorly absorbed by oxygen in the muscles, which is needed to access glucose and glycogen. Simply, it’s the sensation you experience when your arms suddenly grow very heavy, and you punch yourself out.

The clinch comes in quite handy in this case. It can be used as a last-ditch effort to bring the intensity of a fight to a halt in order to spark a quick recovery and restore oxygen to the muscles. Clinching temporarily binds your opponent, preventing you from being hit indefinitely. These few seconds will give you a chance to regain your breath and reorganize.

It is best for boxers to practice clinch situations in sparring. Attack aggressively with a sparring partner, with the goal of tying him up. It becomes an exercise in either successfully executing the clinch or successfully evading the clinch.

3) Boxers Clinch to Reset the Action

Some fighters have a distinct flow and rhythm, especially those who wish to start the fight. The clinch can thus be used to break an opponent’s rhythm and stop him from building momentum.

Referees frequently step in after a few seconds of inaction, or when they feel it is vital to separate the clinch to allow more action. This will reset the ring’s center. A boxer may also become entangled in ropes or trapped in a corner. Clinching helps them to safely quit a disadvantageous circumstance.

Clearly, the clinch has hazards, especially when it fails. It allows an opponent to go inside and hit hard. It’s vital to clinch properly, move purposefully, and capture both arms. The clinch is a great way to re-energize, take a break, and put the opponent to work.

Why Boxers are Allowed to Clinch?

Clinching is permitted in boxing, and the quantity of clinching permitted during a boxing battle is determined by the referee and the level of the fight. Some referees prefer nonstop action and break-up clinches as soon as they happen. When the referee breaks the clutch, each participant takes a step back before the action resumes.

Most referees, however, accept clinching as long as it does not persist too long. After all, each player strategizes a comeback after the clutch. Whether the player spins or shoves out of the clinch, it might shift the posture of your opponent’s guard, allowing you additional possibilities to hit. Clinching should not last more than 2-3 seconds.

However, the referee takes longer to break than the athletes fighting their way out. Whichever option breaks the clinch first is permitted.

When is it Acceptable for Boxers to Clinch or Hug?

Boxing fights, as you may be aware, may run a very long time, up to 47 minutes. For the audience, a 47-minute battle may appear short, but for the boxer, it feels like a lifetime in the ring.

In that 47-minute period, imagine getting punches, throwing punches, and avoiding. If I put myself in that situation, I’d suppose I’d pass out from tiredness. The concept alone makes me shudder, at the same time amazes me how these boxers can endure it.

When an opponent gathers momentum, the likelihood of delivering a lethal blow increases. Even if the defense is strong, the opponent’s sheer amount of hits might exhaust the boxer. Of course, a boxer can choose to dodge those punches, but doing so requires too much energy, causing the boxer to become even wearier.

No fighter likes to be in this scenario, and he needs to interrupt the momentum as soon as possible. This is when a clinch comes into play. Clinching immediately eliminates the threat of a knockout. This is due to the fact that you quickly limit the enemy’s movement.

A nice solid punch can knock your senses out, and when this happens, a boxer must rest. It would take a minute for us ordinary people, but only a few seconds for a boxer.

How Boxers Should Properly Clinch?

Knowing when to clinch is only the beginning. A boxer must also know how to clinch properly and consider it as part of the overall plan. After all, everyone deserves a break after a lengthy fight.

A boxer must wrap their arms around their opponent’s biceps in order to perform a proper clinch. Boxers should never be wrapped around the hips. Otherwise, they may face a penalty because it is illegal.


Boxing is one of the earliest known sports, dating back to 5,000 years ago. The sport began as a physically demanding and brutal spectacle in Ancient Greece. Boxing was banned by the Romans after it became too dangerous for some boxers. It was reintroduced in England in the 1600s.

Boxing is a controversial sport, so does the tactics called clinching or when boxers hug during a fight.

Clinching is when you cross your arms over your opponent’s shoulders and place your forehead on their shoulder, putting as much weight on them as possible. Some say it ruins the sport, while others say it’s a vital talent.

Clinching is a vital boxing skill to master. It can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match. Some boxers use it for strategy, recovery, and technique during a fight.

Boxers clinch to strategize, recover, and to reset the fight. Clinching is permitted in boxing, but only if it does not last more than 2-3 seconds. Boxing fights may run a very long time, up to 47 minutes.

A boxer must know how to clinch properly and consider it as part of the overall plan. Proper clinching is when a boxer wraps their arms around their opponent’s biceps in order to perform a proper clinch. Boxers should never be wrapped around the hips, otherwise, they may face a penalty.

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