These are the deadliest FIRST ROUND KNOCKOUT combinations I have ever seen.
They are so deadly, then often finish fights before they even begin. Do it right and you’ll drop your opponents right on top of their own feet. (They won’t even fall; they’ll just crumble downwards.) You should learn these combos to rack up your KO percentage, or at least prevent them from happening to you!
These early knockouts are sometimes surprisingly easy because many fighters are trying to RELAX when they come out. They’re trying to stay calm and get a feel for the fight. If you’re cagey enough, you can steal the fight and knock them out before he/she even gets started. They won’t even know what hit them.
Ready to start some chaos? (Of course, you are!)
COMBO #1 – Jab-feint, pause, counter-right over his jab
Walk-in with a jab. Wait a split second for him to throw his feeler jab…then BOOM!…land your right cross right over his jab. Game over!
Throwing a hard counter right over a lazy jab or overcommitted jab has always been one of the fastest ways to end a fight early. Early on, fighters are still a little cold and not yet warmed up. Many of them are taught to keep calm and steady, and “to box” and “establish the jab”. And since it’s quite predictable that you know they’re coming out with a jab, you can definitely take advantage of it.
Throw a jab first and you can bet their instinctive reply will be a counter-jab. Oh yeah, it also helps if you come out looking calm and casual. Don’t be all bouncing around in your corner. Act calm. Bored, sleepy, lazy. Whatever you do, don’t be so pumped up that he’s extra cautious of you.
On the very first jab-feint that you throw, his reaction should let you know right away what he was thinking to do. But don’t show him any more than that. Hell, you can even just skip the feint, let him jab first and fire a hard right cross over his jab! Again, almost every fighter’s first punch in the fight will be a jab. It’s just habit.
How to avoid getting caught by this?
Use jab feints as well as real jabs. You want a tip? When you do the jab feint, there are many kinds. You can do an arm movement, but you can also just do a sharp head movement instead (like slipping forward). Whatever you do, don’t come in with your chin in the air. ALSO…be careful when slipping your head OUTSIDE of his jab (and then slipping back the other way), as your head might swing right into his right hand when he throws the right hand after it.
COMBO #2 – Soft jab, slip left, LEFT HOOK to the chin
Walk in with a soft jab (to bait his overhand right hand counter), slip his right, and bang him on the chin. KEEP YOUR EYES ON HIS CHIN when you slip left!
If you didn’t notice, this combo perfectly counters the previous one. It’s a classic first round killer. Two bombers walk up. One got a right-hand missile ready. And the other gets him with a lights-out left hook. Great tactic to use against anxious or over-reactive opponents. Aggressive opponents are perfect victims for this.
This knockout combo does have a few nuances.
The first thing is to get into the habit of slipping left INSIDE the jab. This makes you that much faster and ready to counter with the hook. Maybe you’re used to the slipping rhythm of going LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT (or right-left-right-left). Well now you learn a new one. This time I want you to SLIP LEFT, and if you need, SLIP LEFT AGAIN.
Yes…it’s a double-left slip (damn, this really needs to be a guide in itself). On the first slip, you bring your head inside. On the second slip, is when you dip your head down a little bit. It helps if you try to slip with smaller movements so you don’t run out of room!
So this is how it goes:
- If your opponent throws a jab first, you SLIP LEFT inside the jab, and then can throw your left hook right away (beating his right hand if it’s coming)…OR…you can SLIP LEFT AGAIN outside of his right hand and then throw your hook.
- If your opponent throws a right hand first, you were already SLIPPING LEFT anyway…which puts you in perfect position to throw that counter hook.
The second nuance is the bait jab
This part is an art and I leave it up to you to play with what works best. You can try it as a quick short jab where you only extend the arm like 80% before quickly retracting it to prepare for the hook.
You could also try it as a lazy jab, throwing the jab extra long and letting it hang out there. If you have an especially long arm, he might not go for it right away. It’s fine, keep throwing out that loose jab and he’ll bite at some point.
Can you even skip the jab? Yes, totally. Can do a jab feint or no feint at all. Just slip his shots and BOOM with the hook. Heck, if your opponent is getting too used to this tactic and not biting on your left slips, you can just send an overhand right when you slip left. He might actually not see it because he was too busy looking at your head!
COMBO #3 – Fast 1-2, BIG HOOK to the chin
A fast jab and right cross distracts his guard while your big left hook gets around.
Throw a super quick 1-2 (jab-cross) to his head. Just enough to touch his guard. Heck you can even just feint the quick 1-2…just a flash arm movement to make him focus his guard to the front of his face. Step into him as you throw this fast 1-2. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be grounded. It’s just a setup.
In fact, if you step in fast (and just a little close enough, invade his comfort zone) to him, he’ll panic and more dramatically put all his guard in front. At this point, the only thing you have to do is throw a hard left hook around his guard and BOOM, that might be all you need. DO NOT RUSH THE HOOK. A quick moment of silence can even make it that much more impactful. They can’t brace for the shot if they don’t know when it’s coming. That little pause might be just enough to make him peek out of his shell (out of curiosity) and clean path for your hook!
Another mentality for this is to just trade punches but put all your focus on the left hook instead of the right hand. Most fighters tend to stand more upright to drop down right hands on their opponent. You’ll do the opposite. Stand a little more square, and be more ready to squat and duck under a tiny bit. And then when you trade shots on the inside, your focus is on slipping LEFT (outside his right) and coming back up with a left hook….rather than to slip RIGHT (outside his left) and coming back with a right cross. Everything else you throw is just to set up that punch and nothing else.
Want to make this hook even more precise?
- Vertical fist to get around his guard – if you want your arm to feel longer and more like it’s looping around his guard, use a vertical fist.
- Vertical fist to behind the ear – great way to get the equilibrium shot. Hitting the back of the ear will knock him off balance and send him wobbling for sure! If you’re coming around his guard, aiming around the ear might get more results than going for the chin.
- Horizontal fist to the chin – for whatever reason, I definitely feel a horizontal fist squeezes through a tight guard and finds the chin a little better. I feel most vertical fists tend to find the side of the head and land more on the cheek bones, whereas a horizontal fist can more accurately hit the chin.
- Diagonal fist to the chin – it doesn’t even have to be a clean hook with perfect textbook technique. It can be like a chopping/clubbing weird overhand cat-paw left hook as you swing your head over and downwards to the side. Think of as like a left hook that starts vertical but lands horizontal. Argh…so hard to explain, just chop the hook as your swing your head to the right side and you’ll see what I mean.
- Shift weight – for this particular counter hook, shift your weight. If you want better reach and to help that hook turn over faster, stand a little more square.
COMBO #4 – Fast 1-2, HOOK to the body, HOOK to the chin
I have NEVER been the type of fighter to double-up on the left hook but will admit that I see it working very often, especially for big hookers.
The hook to the body is just to touch him. Make it quick so he jerks his arm down to block it. Then smash a hook to his jaw. lights out! This combo especially works on the more passive, calculated, and defensive guys. The ones that like to think a bit early on before committing to attacks or counters are prime targets for this combo. Because they’re waiting around instead of attacking, it allows you get away with two hooks in a row without too much retaliation coming back.
Again, I reiterate that I am not a master at this combo and never use it myself but I do see it used very often (even against me) and will share my two cents on it.
- The timing is key! Don’t try to rush out 2 hooks as fast as you can. There should be a clean separation between the two. Think, “pop-AND-POP!” (Like hook, cock it back, AND HOOK AGAIN.)
- Don’t use reflexes either. It’s not like you throw the hook to the body, WAIT for him to drop his arm, and then throw the left hook to the head. That’s too long.
- You have to throw both hooks without really watching for his right arm and TRUST that your 2nd hook will land (the 1st one might land as well). Try not to be worried by what punch he throws.
- When practicing this combo, just throw both hooks without thinking. Vary up the speeds. You will find the magical sweet spot where it just goes perfect with your opponent’s rhythm and you’ll catch him clean every time.
- One you get the timing down, all you have to focus on is aiming it perfectly. (Usually aimed to the chin or the temple).
- Don’t worry even if it’s blocked. A hard hook to the head, even when blocked, can still knock your opponent off balance and make him vulnerable to follow-up shots.
- I feel like most fighters using this combo throw the 2nd hook with a vertical fist.
- Study Miguel Cotto…he throws this combo a lot and with perfect rhythm.
COMBO #5 – Overhand right, chopping left hook, repeat
Get close, square up, (wide stance totally ok), put your head down and throw overhand rights and lefts until he drops.
Hahaha, I know this one sounds so unscientific but just hear me out! It totally works when you get the nuances just right. It’s some simple but murderous against some opponent styles. Let’s go over the details…
Square up in a wider stance, flat-footed.
Square up more than usual (bringing your back foot up closer). This square stance allows you to have more speed, power, and reach on both arms. The wider stance helps you sit down (into a more solid “trench position”), get a little lower under punches. If you’re a beginner, there’s a good chance your usual boxing stance is already pretty wide (since beginners have terrible balance). Just be wide-enough to feel solid is all I ask. Your weight is still like 55% front leg and 45% back leg…not 50/50, ok? (Can even be 60/40 depending on your angle.)
Yes, go flat-footed. This will really sit you down and anchor your punches in. Every single one will have so much more power. Don’t you DARE think of lifting the heels/ankles off the ground. If it happens naturally and a little bit, that’s fine…but don’t try to keep one heel lifted.
Chin down (using forehead as your shield), with upper body tilted forward.
Keep your head down when trading! Keep your head down when trading! And no, I didn’t say to duck down. I just want the chin down. As long as your chin down, you’re safe from many many shots. You’d be surprised how hard it is for anything to land when your chin is down. If in moments, you feel like you need to duck your head lower and wing some of those shots blind, that’s totally ok!
The big secret to keeping the chin down is to just tilt your upper body forward a little and that’s it. I want in like a semi-squat position. Errr…think like 25-30% squat position, like just enough of a slight squat so you feel really solid in your stance.
Dip your head to your LEFT HOOK when throwing that big overhand right.
Your head will simultaneously slip to your left and down-forwards a bit as you throw a huge right hand. Yes, it can be a WIDE RIGHT. I prefer it that way. Just don’t full extend your arm. Have the elbow bent but not so much so your right arm is around 60-80% reach. It’s like a big right hook as your whole torso dips over to the left.
The overhand rights that you throw should have an emphasis on the downwards arc of the punch. You imagine these right hands either beating his left hook (by going over it or being faster than it), or beating his right hand by catching him straight in the face as his right hand misses over your head (your head is down, remember?).
When your head is set low, it baits him to fire punches at a lower level (leaving more space for you to come over his punch). It’s funny but many fighters instinctively react to an opponent ducking down by leaning back and trying to stay taller and farther away…that’s a big opportunity for you!
You might hear from people saying you’re vulnerable to uppercuts from this position. Don’t pay any attention to that. Most fighters get bombarded on the inside will be thinking either defense or long punches to get away. You’ll be moving too much to time an uppercut anyway.
Dip your head to your RIGHT SIDE when throwing a chopping hook.
Throw the same thing but with your left hand now. Is it an overhand hook? Who knows. The angle’s changed from the usual left hook since you’re in a more square position now. The big difference now is that for these chopping exchange hooks, I want you to put more emphasis on the upwards part of the arc.
Imagine that when you dip down to your left side, he will aim right hands and left hooks down at you…which again leaves tons of room for you to come over the top with a left hook and take his head off. This punch can also work especially well if you’re thrown lots of left hooks to the body that he now thinks you’re going to the body every time you slip down left.
The big risk with this side is that when you come up for a left hook, that you don’t swing your head into the path of his left hook. I will let you figure this out for yourself. You can do it by not swinging your head so much to the right and instead keeping your head energy swinging more forward than over to the right. Another tactic is tilt your head down in further (basically throwing a blind hook); useful against other brawlers.
DO NOT PIVOT!
Don’t you dare pivot. Some of you trying this (or having already had wild exchanges on the inside) may have lost your balance or felt totally exhausted when missing punches. This is because you’re trying to pivot or excessively rotating your upper body. Nah man! Cut that crap out. (Your whole body rotates powerfully but with the feet in place! Even flat-footed is ok!…probably better that way.)
Think of this as a halfway swing. You’re swinging at your opponent’s head but the punch only goes as far as the opposite ear (your right hand swings towards his right ear, your left hand swings towards his left ear). If you’re getting tired or falling way off balance, it’s because you’re either pivoting your feet or over-swinging your arms.
I also don’t want you to do that heel-lifting technique where you alternate your heels on each punch. In this case, just sit down more flat-footed.
Most vulnerable opponents
The best opponents for this tactic at the ones that like to stand straight up and box pretty from the outside. Cautious fighters trying to operate behind a textbook defense are also sitting ducks for it. Why? Because the best defense during exchanges is just to put your chin down and most of those fighters will instinctively lean back and stick their chin in the air while trying to reach down at you with weak jabs (weight on the back foot).
What about against other brawlers? The tactic still works great since you’re both in the phone-booth together. I would say against brawlers, you might want to tighten up your swings more than usual. Still swing your head and body over and everything but bend your elbow more so the fist is closer to you (and the punch much more tightened up).
COMBO #6 – Jab, jab, jab…right hand to the SOLAR PLEXUS
Simple enough. Throw lots of jabs and maybe even some right hands to keep your opponent occupied upstairs, then drop a hard right hand to the solar plexus.
This is a simple tactic, and arguably too simple. The punch is ultra-painful, but very hard to stop experienced fighters in the first round (they move too well and strong core conditioning). I include it because it still works really well against novice fighters and total amateurs.
Chase down your opponent with jabs. Really sharp ones to his head. Can also mix in some straight rights to the head. Maybe exhale a little extra sharp to really train him to all your cues. Every sharp jab you throw makes his defense higher and tighter each time. And right when he’s blocking your next jab is when you stick a hard right hand to his solar plexus.
It’s very common that fighters are extra cautious early on and don’t want to be caught by a random wild shot. In this case, a very hard body shot can be unexpected. You’ll not only do a lot of damage but can take the wind (and even the fight) out of him. Even if he doesn’t go down immediately, you can trust that the effect will quickly take its toll when the adrenaline wears off and his movements and punches lose steam.
Details for right hands to the body:
- Keep your eyes looking at his head – don’t look down when throwing body shots!
- Still lift your right elbow like you’re throwing it to his face.
- Do not bend down into your knees – if you want to bend, imagine yourself BENDING FORWARD. If anything, the forward movement of your body can make him panic into covering his head even more so.