Why Are Backfists Illegal In Boxing

Discussion in 'Boxing' started by hulkout, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. hulkout

    hulkout Valued Member

    I've always been curious why backfists are illegal in boxing, but I've never really bothered looking into it. I mean it's not a power punch. It's only a setup that's weaker than a good jab or straight left. No one's going to get KO'd with a backfist, so why make it illegal? The only thing I can think of is that it has something to do with the glove being thinner at the area where your backfist and knuckles are.
  2. callsignfuzzy

    callsignfuzzy Is not a number!

    I think it evolved out of banning the spinning backfist, which was known as the "pivot blow/pivot punch". Don't have any of my old boxing manuals with me, but if memory serves me, it was considered a "sneaky" shot.

    However that doesn't mean people don't use it. Ali's jab was pretty much a backfist. I only saw refs call him on it when he was in the UK; everyone else pretty much ignored it.
  3. Spinmaster

    Spinmaster Valued Member

    I seem to recall someone posting a video of a backfist KO in the "Is TKD worth it" thread. I'll have to look that up to see for sure.
  4. hulkout

    hulkout Valued Member

    Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear in my original post. I was referring to the backfist which is straight out and back like a jab. A spinning backfist is very powerful and can definitely KO someone. You've got a lot of momentum and power there. But the straight out and back backfist is not a KO punch.
  5. shaolin fighter

    shaolin fighter Banned Banned

    Actually I always thought the backfist was one of the most powerful strikes besides the spinning backfist. What strike is more powerful than those two?
  6. callsignfuzzy

    callsignfuzzy Is not a number!

    Compared to the standard backfist?

    Lead hook
    Rear hook
    Rear Overhand
    Lead uppercut
    Rear uppercut
    Rear cross

    I'd say even a jab packs more power most of the time.

    The spinning version is probably the strongest hand blow I can think of, though. But there's a big difference between the two.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  7. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Another reason can be found in a drill that every boxer does on the speed bag. Punch-back (or hammer) fist-punch. In the bare knuckle days this was a fight stopper and sometimes a man-killer. Left to the head turns the head. Backfist turns the head the other way. Then a hard right hits the jaw when the neck is locked out. Sometimes it broke necks.
  8. shaolin fighter

    shaolin fighter Banned Banned

    I feel my backfist is the strongest. Oh, well. :)
  9. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    i would also like to mention, with the way the boxing glove is designed, a open hand strike and a backfist would be pretty painful. there isn't nearly enough padding there.

    a 12oz glove that is padded in more places to allow more than just strikes with the front of the knuckle would be HUGE.
  10. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    if that's true, i'll have to add it to my toolbox. lol
  11. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I think this was already answered... but I believe the relevant rule is that the front knuckle part of the fist is used as the striking surface. Using other surfaces of the hand or body for striking are not legal in boxing.

    The backfist is not illegal strictly speaking, but the use of back of the hand to strike is illegal. If these rules were not in place, you would see a lot more open hand strikes, hammerfists, forearm strikes, and elbow strikes as part of boxing.

    On a side note, the backfist strike isn't particularly a great hit, IME, but it can easily change to a jab, forearm strike, or hammerfist off the initial movement. If you really want to use a more effective backfist, turn it into a hammer fist at the end, for example.
  12. Spinmaster

    Spinmaster Valued Member

    Yup, you were right, twas a spinning backfist. I didn't remember that. :(
  13. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I've taken some knocks to the head over the years, including some full power punches from ungloved people while being held. But, I have to say, the only headshot that has ever floored me was a whipping backfist to the rear lower temple after I lowered my guard in Karate sparring. Cracked my jaw, disturbed the fluid in my ear sufficiently that I was physically unable to stand, and numbed a nerve in the side of my face so that I couldn't speak for five minutes.
  14. prowla

    prowla Valued Member

    I think the backfist is the easiest one to deliver with the quick whipping action that focuses the energy in an instant at a specific point.
    Even the quickest punches have an element of push to them.
    Just do it on a punch bag; it will always be the back-fist that produces the "crack!" on impact.
  15. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    My take on the backfist or the spinning backfist not being allowed is that it's far too prone to errors in distance and end up lamping someone with a wrist or a forearm. It's a common dirty boxing technique to throw a jab but catch your opponent with your wrist or your forearm just past your wrist... the trick in it is that it's got to be thrown from an angle that can't be clearly read by the ref... and that you connect cleanly with the hard, unpaddes part of the bone. You don't see it thrown that way all that often anymore... but it's definitely in boxing history as a dirty move.

    Much the same way you can bring your chin into your opponents eye socket during a clinch or the classic thumb in the eye used to be in Muay Thai in the days when boxing gloves didn't have an attached thumb on them.

    As for the spinning backfist... think about it in relation to boxing rules... easy. Because it sets you up to get countered like a turd... right in the back of the head. Which creates a problem in the boxing ruleset where hits to the back of the head are not allowed. Again... it's very easy to catch someone with an elbow or forearm with a spinning backfist... both of which are patently not allowed in boxing.

    Boxing is boxing... as it should be. :)
  16. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Hey jwt, was it by chance more of a back knuckle (striking with the knuckle instead of the back of the hand)?
  17. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Guy I trained with at Uni knackered his elbow when a spinning backfist he tried landed further up his arm. Sort of a dynamic self inflicted arm-bar. :)
    The reason the backfist is not in boxing is, I would say, much the same as to why the long knee isn't in boxing. It's not part of the structure that the rules dictate.
    Boxing is about hitting the other dude with the front of your fist without him doing the same to you.
    Remember MANY boxers fight amateur first. Amateur boxing gloves have the white section to indicate how a punch must land for it to be scored by the judges.
    So in that way landing correctly (for boxing) is engendered.
  18. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I'd be inclined to agree with PASmith's explanation as to the illegitimacy of the backfist in boxing.

    As to its effectivenes... the backfist is perhaps not my most powerful punch (although I'm proud to say it does have a solid snap that broke a nose once :)), it is definitely my fastest punch. I always strike with the back of the first two knuckles as taught in Tae Kwon Do.

    Bill Wallace used the backfist to great effect in his point fighting career, but stopped using it when he entered full contact kickboxing (yes, I know this is the boxing forum). In tournament Karate, when you strike with the first two knuckles of your fist, you have good power and penetration. On the other hand, the same tournament techniques become null and void when you wear eight- or ten-ounce boxing gloves; when you wear gloves, certain punches might slow an opponent down, but they won't stop him. You need to use your hips and shoulders, and not just your arms, which is difficult to learn with the backfist.
  19. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Yes, that is what I would understand by the term backfist. I would imagine that only one knuckle actually made contact. A strike with the back of the hand would be a back-hand strike (and generally pretty painful for the striker).
  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I think even if the backfist was allowed in boxing, no fighters would use it because its effectiveness is lacking compared to techniques currently permitted and used.

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