Breaking down the reach advantage


Blue Belt
Nov 15, 2005
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iv recently got into MMA and through that started alot more boxing training, it all seems to be coming on fine, until training last night where i fought a guy about 3-4 inches taler than myself, now im 6'2'' (192cm i think in american terms) and have never really fought anyone with that much reach advantage, i struggled a great deal to get inside him and land anything with enough power to break his momentum, can anyone give me any tips on breaking down the distance and the best ways to do this with out putting myself in alot of risk (just in boxing terms, not things like shooting for the take down, or clinching etc) cheers
The basics that have always worked for me are: Don't parry, slip, that way you don't get caught behind your parry and are able to get close. When you get close, YOU have the advantage. Counter the jab instead of jabbing back all the time. Shoot a right hook at his ribs as he jabs, overhand right and a left hook off your slip. Accentuate your lack of height by ducking down and being a smaller target, this also makes him punch down and create more space for your overhands to land, lots of other stuff but you've got to be right upstairs too, lots of fighters get overwhelmed by a big target instead of just using their strengths.
may be stating the obvious but dont get caught in middle ground (stay close or out of punching range) if your out of punching range make sure he is too. work the body to when you get in close its harder for taller fighters to block and if you do it often enough there hands will drop
You have to find a rythm, bob and weave, even if you do parry, you might miss your chance to get inside, like someone else said, slip the jab. It takes time.
Practice your movement. Both foot and head movement are especially important against bigger guys. You have to give him as little to aim at as possible and make it even harder to hit that what he can. This will make your job of getting inside 10x easier.

And pound the bastards body when inside.
yeah the stuff about the parry is dead on, i got caught a few times trying to pary when i should have moved, got a few decent hooks into his ribs, but the long jab upset my rythem alot, was only training so wasnt all out, think cardio would have been a massive help if it was a longer fight, cheers for all the replys guys, appreciate the help
that's what the jab is for my friend, just don't play that game. Great fighters fall into a lot of these traps with tall guys for two reasons, inexperience with really tall guys and a mental intimidation factor. Both Ray Leonard and Duran fought Hearns the wrong way in there fights, Ray spent most of the fight trying to get past the jab and reach, once he just started going for broke and slugging he stole the show. Duran on the other hand looked amateurish,(and you could never say that about Duran) against hearns, even jumping in the air at one point. The tendency is to stand up straighter against the tall fighter, this is WRONG, it limits your defensive options and actually makes you a better target. When Hagler said the proper way to fight the Hitman was to get down low, he went and did it the year after Duran got clocked. A few times he stood up too and had problems with the jab but for the most part, he just didn't play into that. Result, Tommy got devestated. When I've sparred taller guys its never really bothered me, in fact i'd rather spar someone taller because they give you more options to counter, once you start countering that jab they aren't too eager to throw a lot of them. I've seen guys spar and use the standards of blocking and they don't figure out these things. I remember my tall sparring partner telling me how to parry, well it was useless for me, as I showed him. Still, most fighters are not sharp enough to figure these things out in the heat of battle. You can see them make the mistake, tell them they are doing it and they still go back to the same improper techniques.
I have had the same problem when sparring with tall guys being 6'1 and fighting at 165. All the advice here sounds good. I usually try to vary quick slips to get inside , i do use parrys on the outside though to buy time if im gassed. Watch out if they have a good uppercut don't duck your head down when your coming in.
A lot of tall guys after throwing their jab will eventually drop it (not bring it directly to their face.) I normally throw my right over the jab all day. Double, Triple jab to get inside.
IMustBreakYou said:
A lot of tall guys after throwing their jab will eventually drop it (not bring it directly to their face.) I normally throw my right over the jab all day. Double, Triple jab to get inside.[/QUOTE

Thats an excellent point especially if you set them up for that counter right, if they are alot taller a bit of a looping right works well also.
stay low and try to get close. punish his body with hooks and uppercuts and slip the occasional overhand right.
if you can circle right against him, (if he fights orthodox), you can sort of spiral in while jabbing and using head movement, then bang him to the body..if he doesn't move right to face you, you have a smorgasboard of options, left hook the body, right uppercut the head, right cross to ko. You have to do it fairly fast and aggressively. If you get to his left side, he can't jab at you as fast as if he's moving to his left and they are arm punches, also his right is nullified. If he moves left, leg kick and slip inside, jab or cross to the body then follow up with uppercuts and hooks, alternating body and head, so you always have a target to hit. Focus on the body and don't headhunt.