Why Is Reach Important In Boxing?


In a boxing match, in addition to guaranteeing your batting skills, maintaining reach at the right threshold is a must. Why is reach important in boxing?

Usually, boxers with long reach will have an advantage because they can attack opponents even from a distance. Our today’s post will help you get more insights into this question.

How Is Reach Measured? 

Determining the reach of a fighter is very simple. In the past, people did this by measuring their arm length, starting from the tip of the finger to the shoulder. But now, to ensure more accuracy, the distance will be calculated from the tip of the right finger to the tip of the same left finger. At this time, the fighter must be sure to stay in both arms stretched horizontally to the sides, and all fingers are spread out.

The standing position is critical because it will affect the measurement results. Standing sideways or losing balance reduces the measurements’ consistency and makes it difficult for the test taker. And in the process, athletes will be asked to take off their clothes. Women can still wear a sports bra as this doesn’t affect reach.

In most cases, the reach will be proportional to the height of each person. As a result, taller people generally have a vast space, and vice versa, short stature people will have a shorter reach. In many amateur matches, a participant’s reach is not measured directly but indirectly by their height. However, there are exceptions. Specifically, some people have limited height but high reach. Most of it is due to the innate or long-term training of the boxers.

In some sports like boxing or basketball, long-range can be an advantage. Thanks to a long reach, boxers can quickly attack opponents but still ensure a safe position. As for basketball players, they will narrow the ball’s distance to the basket to increase their scoring chances. On the contrary, it can be detrimental when you participate in other sports such as gymnastics and weightlifting.

Reach Vs Arm Length – Which Is More Important?

With all attacks coming from only the hands, Boxing is the subject that places the most emphasis on Reach – more than others like Muay Thai or Kickboxing. 

Reach index significantly affects the tactics and the strength of the boxer compared to his opponent. Usually, the higher the reach is, the more advantage the fighter has because they can safely create the opponent’s front hand punches. 

But in some cases, reach is considered unnecessary because not everyone with a longer reach will always be the champion. Winning also depends a lot on the players’ play style and technique. 

A boxer who has the right tactics and knows how to promote his strengths will create breakthroughs and defeat his opponent.

Although it can still be calculated with arm length, reach and arm length even differ in some situations. Another factor that affects reach is the fighter’s chest and shoulder size. There are cases where the broad chest – short arms can have longer reach than people with small breasts and long arms.

However, there is no exact comparison of importance between reach and arm length. Depending on each fighter’s style and how they use their height and reach, their ability to win will vary.

Those with short arms have to narrow the distance with the opponent and create the right reach to be successful. At this time, they need to give themselves quick, well-timed bumps while moving. Therefore, it is impossible to say that a person with short arms will be the loser in a match. But of course, long reach is always an advantage in a boxing competition.

Which Famous Boxers Possess A Long Reach?

We can see that reach plays a pretty important role in every game. And it seems that each fight will have statistics on each member’s space. Here are a few famous boxers with long punches:

  • Larry Holmes is a martial artist from the United States possessing excellent reach, up to 206 cm. He is also a martial artist who once stopped Muhammad Ali in 1984. Thanks to his out-of-the-box fighting style and endurance, he has made a mark in the hearts of fans. And his hits are considered one of the best in boxing history.
  • Next is Deontay Wilder, a boxing champion who possesses remarkable reach (up to 211cm), and this number is also the world’s leading. That’s why he’s one of the most fearsome boxers of our time. Deontay Wilder used his reach to knock out opponents in the arena from a distance they couldn’t even touch him. That is an advantage that not everyone has. Not the most technically skilled fighter, but his record speaks for itself – 40 wins with 39 KOs.
  • One of the boxers with the most extended reach, up to 213cm, is Sonny Liston. He always uses this advantage to perform powerful punches on opponents and easily knock them out. 

Why Is Reach Important In Boxing?

Indeed, in a boxing match, getting a proper reach is very important. It contributes to the success of the participants.

If you are lucky enough to have a good reach, it will be relatively easy to outdo your opponents. At this point, long-range shots from the outside will be an advantage that needs to be utilized. It’s simple because you can attack the enemy while maintaining a safe distance, making the other boxer unable to come close to fight back.

However, equip yourself with a few skills such as avoiding attacks and counterattacks to stay active in any situation. A flexible leg that can move quickly backward or sideways is the first thing that needs to be practiced. Also, it’s unnecessary to get too close to the opponent as it quickly slows you down and reduces vision, and creates favorable opportunities for the opponent’s attack.

At this point, you can use sideways leaning when participating in competitions. This pose will make it easier to step back when the opponent decides to move closer. Although it is not so common in boxing, it can sometimes be of great help to maintain distance from the opponent. 

Another downside is that your balance will be limited when you move. Therefore, this move has no advantage when attacking in narrow spaces. Athletes should only use it when fighting from a distance.

Also, a circular motion is a great option. Like the famous martial artist Muhammad Ali, he often used his left bypass and punches. Such activities allow you to dodge the opponent’s points. Moreover, moving around also helps you find an effective attack angle, distracting the opponent’s focus quite well.

But, be careful because being inflexible or just going around in one direction during a fight can sometimes put you in a dangerous position. If the boxers do not master melee skills and cannot ensure accurate punches when moving, this technique should not be applied. And one thing to note is that moving a lot in the ring will also cause you to lose a lot of energy.

What To Do When In A Short Reach? 

Not having a good reach does not mean you will be a loser. In this case, change your approach. Your opponent will try to keep you at a distance and rush at you every time you want to get close.

Your goal is to close that gap so you can attack the opponent from within. From there, you can make the opponent incapable of working to their advantage. You can apply the following 2 ways:

  • With the first method, wait for the opponent to punch first. At that moment, you move your head under the hit, slide-out, or into dodge. This is also a way to narrow the distance and counterattack him. Many boxers have used this tactic with success. However, that approach requires good head movement and even timing.
  • A better option is the double hit technique. It is suitable for both beginners. You just need to get close to the opponent and hit 2 times in a row. The first shot may not take too much effort, just distracting the opponent and making your second correct shot is enough. One of the great, most commonly used combinations is a punch in the head and then a back hook into the body.


So, why is reach important in boxing? Because it’s the deciding factor in a boxing match. Also, due to its importance, every martial artist gets this metric periodically measured. 

A high reach is one of the athletes’ advantages. This can make a huge difference depending on how a fighter fights. But be aware that there is a difference between arm reach and arm length.

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