Why Do Boxers Hug?

This is not a new question, especially in the context of boxing. Along with the enthusiastic cheers of the audience, a curious question typically pops out, “Why do boxers hug?”

To get things straight, once and for all, “hugging” is not an appropriate term to be used in boxing. To be more precise, the proper term is called clinching.

However, to someone who is not familiar with the sport, it may seem like a barbaric activity where two men just try to knock each other out. One of the things that may seem puzzling to outsiders is the act of hugging that occurs in boxing matches. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this technique.

Although, in layman’s terms, it is easier to identify it as an act of hugging. But really, why do Boxers Hug? Let’s get down to it.

Boxers Hug

Hugging in The Context of Boxing

As mentioned above, “hugging” in the context of boxing is called clinching. By definition, it means your arms are wrapped around the opponent’s arms. Eventually, this leads to a position where your forehead falls over your shoulder in a tight hold.

The key is to lean and put your weight on them as much as you can. These elemental actions serve the purpose of making you win the fight. For instance, if you clench onto the opponent, his arms will be held down – thereby making it harder for them to hit back.

Subsequent to that, if you try to put on the majority of your weight on the opponents then it will require more energy and effort to get out of your grasp. It will give you a delay of a few seconds which you can use to your own advantage. And mind you, every second counts in the ring. Not to mention the extra punches you can score while your opponent is struggling.

All in all, a tactical maneuver in boxing can look like a hug from an outsider’s eyes. But I guess all you need to remember are these three pointers for clinching:

1. To destroy the enemy’s rhythm

2. Rest from continuous hits

3. To buy time before the bell rings.   

why do boxers hug each other?

The Perfect Time to Hug

Contrary to what I just stated above, “hugging” or clinching should be used as a strategy rather than a resting tactic. With that, it is important to know when exactly you are going to employ this technique.

Simply put, clinching to break the opponent’s momentum is the most ideal thing. That being so, your opponent ends up altering his angles and techniques.

Ultimately, if you put your opponent’s pace on hold, then it might be an advantage to you as you tend to receive fewer hits and more breaks.

The Effective Way of Hugging

Since we’ve already established clinching as a strategy, then why don’t we discuss the effective way of doing it?

Before anything else, clinching can get aggressive but you have to try your best not to spend all your energy on it. This can be completely doable, especially since takedowns are a big no-no in boxing.

This basically means that clinching should be as simple as wrapping your hands lightly around your opponent. To add, you are supposed to do it while leaning and resting on the opponent.

If you are clinching for the purpose of breaking your opponent’s pace, then you can perhaps spend more energy on it. Imagine holding your opponent down, he or she will obviously attempt to get away from your grasp. Hence, a high amount of energy is needed.

Protective Measure

One of the primary reasons why boxers hug is for protective purposes. When a boxer is getting hit with multiple punches, they will often hug their opponent to prevent them from landing more shots. This technique is called “clinch,” and it allows the boxer to regain their composure and avoid getting knocked out.

Resting Technique

Boxing matches can be incredibly exhausting, and boxers need to find ways to conserve their energy. Hugging is a technique that allows boxers to take a break during the match. When a boxer hugs their opponent, they are essentially leaning on them, which helps them to catch their breath and rest their arms.


Hugging can also be used as a strategic move in boxing matches. When a boxer is hugging their opponent, they can use this opportunity to whisper something to them, distract them, or even try to intimidate them. Additionally, hugging can be used to prevent an opponent from throwing punches, which can help the boxer gain an advantage.


Another reason why boxers hug is for defensive purposes. When a boxer is getting hit with a barrage of punches, hugging can help them to avoid taking too much damage. By hugging their opponent, they can block some of the punches and reduce the impact of others.


Hugging can also be used as a counterattack strategy in boxing. When a boxer is getting hit with punches, they can hug their opponent and then throw a counter-punch. This move can catch their opponent off guard and allow the boxer to gain an advantage in the match.

Final Words

All in all, the “hugging” incidents in every boxing game have already been imprinted down the history of the ring cage. To some, it looks funny and cute. But to the boxers, it is a winning strategy – a plot they can use to guarantee victory.