Glossary of Boxing Terms

We have put together a list of boxing terms and terminology which is meant to inform you when you hear these words, terms and phrases which date back to the prize ring.

Amateur: originally coined for nobleman who boxed.

Bleeder: A fighter who bleeds easily from facial cuts.

Boxer: - Greek (pugas, puxos ); Latin (pugnare, buxus )

Brawler: An aggressive fighter who fights up close.

Contender: A fighter who qualifies to fight for a title.

Enswell: sometimes called an Eye Iron, End-swell, Endswell, Stop-swell or No-swell, is a small smooth piece of thick metal with a handle. It is kept in the ice bucket and is used to cool the area of a bruise or a cut by applying direct pressure to decrease the blood flow to the area. The idea being that the cold will cause capillaries to constrict and reduce the flow of blood to the swelling

Faded: A fighter past his best.

Fan: - morphological etymology for ‘the fancy’ or ring-fans

Feint: When a fighter acts like he’s going to punch but does not in order to get his opponent to react.

Flash knockdown: When a fighter is briefly knocked down, more as a result of a surprise or happenstance than being seriously hurt.

Gate: Total amount of money generated from ticket sales.

Gatekeeper: a professional boxer who is considered a test for up and coming fighters looking to establish themselves as contenders.

Glass Jaw: A glass jaw or glass chin means a fighter has a weak chin and is prone to being ko’d.

Golden Gloves: First quoted by newspaperman Arch Ward in 192 3.

Governing Body: An organization that sanctions fights.

Haymaker: A wild punch intended to knock out the opponent.

Infighting: Close-range boxing.

Journeyman: Capable fighter that can give you rounds.

Kidney Punch: Illegal body punch thrown to the rear area of an opponent’s body.

Liver Shot: Legal punch when a left hook connects with the lower right side of an opponent’s body with devastating affect.

Low Blow: Punch deemed by the referee to be below the belt.

Main Event: The most important fight on a card.

Majority Decision: When two judges agree a certain fighter won, while the third judge scores it as a draw.

Mauler: An inside fighter who consistently tries to smothers his opponents.

Mouse: An isolated and protruding swelling on a fighter’s face or head.

Mufflers: Boxing gloves - invented by Broughton in 1747

Neutral Corner: One of two unoccupied corners in the ring and where fighters are sent after they knock down their opponents.

On the Ropes: Term used to describe a fighter in a dangerous situation trapped with his back against the ropes in a boxing ring.

Orthodox: Right-handed fighter.

Palooka: A fighter not respected as a top fighter. An easy opponent.

Parry: Using the gloves to slap away the shot thrown by your opponent.

Play Possum: To act hurt in an effort to get an opponent to come at you.

Plodder: A slow-footed fighter with no movement.

Point Deduction: When a foul or series of fouls warrant a onepoint penalty, the equivalent of losing a round.

Pound-for-Pound: Term created to rank fighters based on excellence and not weight.

Puncher’s Chance: A good puncher who would not be able to outbox his opponent.

Purse: An agreed amount to pay the boxer for a fight.

Put your dukes up: phrase figuratively coined for opposing fighters and financial backers which were royal Dukes

Queer Street: A fighter not having full control of his faculties after taking punishment.

Rabbit Punch: An illegal punch to the back of the head.

Ringside: A position in the ring area.

Roll with the Punches: Moving with the punch, minimizing its impact.

Rope-a-Dope: Using the ropes to lay on and moving the upper part of your body to make your opponents tire.

Rubber Match: A third bout between two fighters who have won a bout a piece.

Sanctioning Body: A group that gives permission, for a fight to take place.

Second: A cornerman.

Shop-worn: A fighter who is slowing down at the end of his career.

Southpaw: A left-handed fighter.

Stablemate: Fighters who box for the same trainer.

Stick and Move: Hit and move from long range staying away from your opponent.

Squared circle: Originally rings had squares marked in the centre of the ring (under Figg’s Rules). In time, rings were erected to encircle combatants. This centre spot was called ‘scratch’ (under Broughton’s Rules). Under Queensbury Rules, this spot is ‘the centre of the ring’.

Stylist: A skilful fighter.

Sucker Punch: A punch thrown at an unprepared opponent.

Technical Decision: When a bout is terminated prematurely due to a cut or some other circumstance sending the bout to the scorecards.

Technical Draw: when a fight has to be stopped because a fighter is unable to continue from an accidental injury (usually cuts) or foul.

Technical Knockout: When a fighter is taking too much punishment, the referee stops the bout, the fights is then declared a TKO.

The sweet science: Coined by Pierce Egan in Boxiana (4th volume)

Three referees: Broughton’s Rule (originally called umpires; then designated as two umpires and one referee (London Prize Ring Rules); then three judges, one referee under Queensbury Rules.

Throw in the Towel: When a fighter’s corner decides his fighter should not continue, he throws a towel into the ring.

Tomato Can: A journeyman fighter, or a professional boxer of below-average ability who frequently loses his fights, usually in four or six round bouts against boxers who are just starting out in their careers; or experienced boxers who are taking a bout to stay busy or to earn some easy money. Also called a “ham-and-egger” (for the diner food once consumed on the road by these men), or “Palooka.”

Toe-to-Toe: When both fighters engage nonstop in front of each other.

Trial horse: An opponent capable of giving your boy a fight but not dangerous enough to cause an upset.

Unanimous decision: A unanimous decision occurs when all three judges agree on a winner.

Undercard: Series of fights that take place before the main event.

Upstart: A new fighter with potential. Often revered to as a good amateur starting his pro career.

Up to scratch: London Rules term: to meet at centre of ring, or be counted out by 30 second rule (Broughton’s Rules).

Walkout Bout: Normally a four round bout will be staged at the end of the show as the crowds leave the stadium.