You might have seen it a movie, or maybe in UFC. Sure, it looks cool and maybe it even works sometimes, but can (or should) you use a superman punch in boxing?
Yes, a superman punch in boxing is legal. However, as much of the force of a punch comes from strong foundations and balance, boxers are not recommended to try it. Moreover, you leave yourself very vulnerable to a counter as your non-punching hand is likely to have left its position guarding your face while you are leaping forward.
What is a superman punch? ✊
A superman punch is a when you jump forward, with both feet leaving the ground, and throw a punch mid-air. It’s called a superman punch because, you guessed it, your body position is similar to that of superman flying through the air with one arm forward.
A superman punch is also known as a cobra punch, jumping punch, or diving punch, and is a technique sometimes used in MMA, Muay Thai, and san shou.
It is often set up with a fake kick with the rear leg, before snapping the leg back while throwing a cross, which supposedly results in greater power behind the punch.
Obviously, you can’t kick in boxing, which somewhat diminishes the effectiveness of a “fake kick” – one of several reasons why it’s rarely used in the Sweet Science. More on that in just a second.
Is a superman punch legal? 🥊
There are no rules that state you can’t jump in boxing, at least among the major regulatory bodies. Although bear in mind that lots of local boxing associations have their own rules which may ban such punches. But really, there’s no need to ban it as any sane boxer simply wouldn’t use it.
Referees can, however, use their discretion during a bout to determine if something is particularly dangerous but I haven’t been able to come across any examples of a boxer being cautioned for a superman punch!
Why don’t boxers use superman punches? ❌
So, now we know that you can superman punch in boxing but just because it’s legal that doesn’t mean you should do it. There are plenty of reasons why you never see it in professional boxing ring. So if you’re thinking about giving it a go in the ring, have a quick read of this, and think again…
1. The power of punches comes from your base and from your hips.
One of the first things a boxer is taught is that the power in punches comes from your foundations in your legs and feet, and there are scientific studies to back this up. By leaving the ground in a superman punch, a boxer is losing all the power that he can generate from his hips and his legs, meaning that a superman punch is unlikely to be as forceful as a standard straight right.
2. Leave yourself very vulnerable to a counter
A superman punch is as subtle as a flying hammer. Any half decent boxer would see it coming from a mile off and have plenty of time to slip the punch and hit you with a nasty counter while you’re in mid-air and your guard is down. A solid base is crucial for defense too, so any move that undermines a solid base will inevitably leave you open to getting laid out.
3. Effectiveness is from faking a kick, and you can’t kick in boxing
A superman punch is effective in MMA because it starts with a feint of a rear kick (that ultimately is used to generate the power of the punch). This tricks the opponent into thinking that a kick is coming and they need to defend accordingly. Then the punch comes in over the top. In boxing you don’t need to worry about a kick so if your opponent charges at you like that, you know he’s going for a headshot, so you slip to the side and counter. And it’s gonna hurt him.
The only clip I could find of a pro boxer using a superman punch is Chavez Sr fighting Roger Mayweather. You can see why it’s rarely used: Chavez, immediately after throwing the punch goes wildly off balance and almost topples over. Fortunately for him, Mayweather is too messed up from the shot to retaliate.
- What Is A Rabbit Punch In Boxing? (And Why It’s So Nasty)
- Are Kidney Punches Illegal In Boxing? (YES, very!)
Show me some superman punches! 👀
As I said, there’s very little evidence of superman punches being used in boxing. So, if you’re keen to see it in action, you’ll have to watch some UFC or some Marvel movies:
What are the origins of a superman punch?
The origins of the superman punch aren’t clear but it was popualrised by a Dutch MMA fighter, Bas Rutten, who used it for the first time in MMA/UFC history at UFC 20 in 1999 against Kevin Randleman to win the UFC title.
What punches are illegal in boxing? 🛑
- Rabbit punch: striking the back of the opponents head. A big No, No.
- Hammerfist: You cannot strike an opponent with an open glove, backhand, or using a hammer fist.
- Kidney punches: Deliberate blows to an opponent’s back and kidneys are illegal.
- Low blow: you cannot punch a boxer anywhere below his belt. For obvious reasons!
- Holding ropes: You also cannot throw a punch while holding onto the ropes.
- And, obviously, things like biting, headbutting, using your knee etc are all highly illegal too!
12th Round 🔔
A superman punch might look awesome but leave it to the wrestlers and to Clark Kent, otherwise you’ll end up getting humiliated and / or hurt. And we don’t want that do we. Just because something is legal (like marrying your cousin), it doesn’t mean you should do it.
Happy fighting!! 🥊🥊
“We gon’ float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. AH! Rumble, young man rumble! AH!” — Bundini