How to Throw a Cross in Boxing

The cross is thrown from the backhand as opposed to the jab which is thrown from your hand nearest to the opponent.

It is also know as the ‘backhand’ and the ‘straight right’ or ‘straight left’


Conventionally a cross is thrown with a ‘twist’ at the end, whereby the thumb is rotated downwards towards the floor as the elbow extends.

If you keep the elbow tucked into the side, you can throw a quicker type of jab, however it will be much less powerful. Styles like JKD & Wing Chun my throw this type of punch, it can be effective when fighting in very close quarters (like in a crowded pub) but less so in a boxing or MMA match.

You can bring the elbow high, and close to your ear to create a slower, more powerful punch.


Force Generation in a Cross

Keep your back foot ‘on your toes’ with the heel up so you can twist your feet.

Force is generated by twisting the back foot/toes.

If you throw a right cross from orthodox stance (left foot in front), twist the right foot so that the heel moves in a counter clockwise direction.

Force comes from the foot, then the hips, shoulder and finally the arm.

Keep the arm relaxed, do NOT throw the hand first, practice generating power from the feet and hips otherwise you will have a slow and stiff cross.


Set up
A good set up for a cross, is to find your range with a jab or a double jab.


Cross to the body
Lower your level by stepping forwards and bending the lead leg.
Don’t just throw the punching arm towards the target (opponent’s solar plexus) as you will expose the right side of your chin if you throw a right cross.  Drop your level first, then throw straight-forwards.

The cross can be defended against with a parry
A slip – if opponent throws a right cross, you can slip your head outside of it by moving your head to the left.

How to Counter a Cross
The cross can be countered with a jab (which is quicker and can beat the opponent to the punch)

You can parry the cross and counter with your own cross

In Thai boxing or MMA, you can parry or block the cross, and counter with a roundhouse kick


How to Throw a (right, orthodox) Cross Step by Step

  • Stay loose & relaxed throughout the movement  – think ‘relaxed speed’ not power
  • ‘Dig & drive’ your punch into your opponent/bag on contact
  • Practice so that all steps are fluid and part of one movement
  1. Drive the toes of your rear foot (right) into the floor – so your heal is up off the floor
  2. Using the toes of your rear foot, twist your heal outwards to begin the force generation
  3. drive your right hip forwards & left hip back (stay relaxed though!)
  4. Flick/drive your right shoulder forwards – this must be relaxed for the ‘whipping action’ of the punch
  5. Extend your elbow
  6. Turn your thumb down (rotate it left/counter-clockwise)
  7. Stiffen on impact – pushing into the target & driving in for an extra few inches of penetration!



  • Keep your guard up
  • Follow up with another punch or foot-work/movement to avoid a counter



  • Throw a huge power-punch without any set-up (e.g. a jab, or a feint)
  • Throw a punch from too far away – you’ll get countered easily. Find range with a jab first.