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Tyson shares one of his favorite weapons of mass destruction

"A very old-school punch"

One of history's most-lethal sluggers
reveals his secret recipe
for a devastating cocktail of punches
By Gordon Marino
The Boxing Amusement Park

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Tyson about his  Animal Planet series on racing pigeons, called “Taking on Tyson.” However, in between teaching me about the basics of pigeon racing, Mike was generous enough to offer some notes on boxing technique.


I asked him about some of his favorite combinations. One that always seemed to be Mike’s signature sequence may or may not have been passed on from Roberto Duran. This chain of blows involves jabbing your way inside, weave to the right, and throw a short right uppercut below the elbow, immediately followed by a hard right uppercut up the middle. Ideally the right uppercut pops your opponent’s head up for your left hook. Here, as always, when you are throwing the hook you need to keep your right hand up high for an incoming left hook.



However, Mike added that this was not his combination of choice. His favorite sequence began this way. “Throw a hard jab to the midsection and at the same time dip right so that your head is protected by your left shoulder and arm.” Mike noted, “This is a very old school punch.”  He continued, “Now when you throw that left and dip right you need to have your legs completely under you and then you drive up with a right that has your whole lower body behind it.” Mike explained that with any luck your opponent will be trying to hit you with a right over your jab and so he or she will have all this forward momentum as your hardest punch arrives in the mailbox of their chin.



Once again, the right should be followed by a left hook. One of the glitches that can occur with this combination is that when some fighters throw that jab to the midsection, they fail to bring their right foot up and so are too spread out to throw the big right hand.  Always keep your feet around shoulder width apart so that you are in a good position to punch.  


In demonstrating the right hand, Mike pulled his elbow out a little and was wide. I jabbed,  “Aren’t you supposed to throw it straight?” He replied, “Yes, but I almost always had a bad right shoulder and couldn’t."Then with a glint in his eyes he added, “Except for the one I fired against Botha! He stepped right in front of my right hand and bam!


After that, it was back to the subtleties of pigeon training.

Gordon Marino

Other articles by Gordon Marino

Vitali Klitschko pounds out an argument for boxing reform

The elemental feelings of anger and fear

Training tips from Angelo Dundee: Everything works off the jab

Training tips from Bernard Hopkins: Improving your speed


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Gordon Marino | The Ringside Boxing Show

A former boxer, Gordon Marino
was head boxing coach
at Virginia Military Institute
and now runs a boxing program
in Northfield, Minn.,
where he teaches philosophy
at St. Olaf College.
He also writes about boxing
for the Wall Street Journal.

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