What Is A Bolo Punch?

What Is A Bolo Punch

What is a bolo punch? This is a question that is asked by many new entrants into the boxing and martial arts world. At first, you will learn about many other boxing techniques and punches before you get to learn about the bolo punch. Initially, this was a martial arts punch, but it was adopted into boxing. The other traditional boxing punches are the jab, uppercut, hook and cross.

A short history about the bolo punch

The Filipino word for machete is bolo, and it was used in long sweeping motions when clearing vegetation or sugar cane in the fields. In the early Philippine days, the bolo was also used in martial arts fighting as a weapon. When Spain was defeated by America, the Philippine islands came under the rule of the Americans.

It was during this time that many Filipinos moved to the United States as immigrants, and they settled in Hawaii and California, doing manual farm labor. In order to supplement their income, most of these immigrants started taking part in paid fighting matches, where they showed their prowess in using their traditional martial arts disciplines of Pangamot, Suntukan and Papantukan. The fights were so lucrative that they started to go around the country outing up fighting matches under assumed names; this was to avoid getting flagged by the Boxing Commission, whose rules they flouted in their matches.

It was at this time that non-Filipino fighters noticed that the Filipino fighters were using an unorthodox punching style, which they named the bolo punch. This was because the punch imitated the long fluid movement used when swinging the bolo machete.

The rare bolo punch

Oddly enough, not many fighters are familiar with the bolo punch and not many use it at all. When you have become accustomed to the traditional boxing punches, you may want to learn how to use the bolo punch, but you need to know how to use it properly or it may go against you. However, if you master it well, you will be a formidable fighter since not many are used to it. When your opponent is expecting you to use jabs, crosses, uppercuts and hooks, you then surprise him or her with a huge bolo punch. The bolo punch has been used to knock out people because it is a very powerful punch.

Masters of the bolo punch


There are three famous fighters who have used the bolo punch to end their fights over the years. These are Kid Gavilan, Sugar Ray Leonard and Ceferino Garcia. Kid Gavilan is the most famous of the three. He said that he got his prowess after learning how to swing the machete in a sugar cane field where he worked as a young man. He used to swing his machete in an underarm movement that looked like a wide uppercut. He did not know that this punch would propel him to fame when he took up boxing.

Alternate uses of the bolo punch

Although in itself, the bolo punch is an effective punch, not many people use it as it is supposed to be done. Many fighters use the punch as a distraction; they drop the back hand, in a motion that seems to be the beginning of a bolo punch, thereby drawing the opponent’s eyes to the punch. While distracted, the opponent will not see the fore hand coming in as a jab or hook. There are many variations of the bolo punch feint, but all they do is distract attention and the other arm can now be used to knock down the opponent. This kind of feint is called showboating. You should be careful about how many times you try this move since your opponent will get used to it. When you start a bolo punch, you leave yourself wide open, and an opponent who has studied this will take advantage and knock you out instead.

How to throw the bolo punch

When used properly, the bolo punch, which carries a lot of distance and torque, is a knockout punch. Here is a brief guide on how to throw a bolo punch.

  • Start off by setting it up by throwing a jab, or get your opponent to somehow slip low. The jab will make your opponent duck low in order to get out of its way, and this is the perfect position to counter with the bolo punch.
  • From a relaxed position, loop your hand backwards and downwards in a circular motion.
  • Let the punch rip upwards into the face or body of your opponent. You can also turn it into a straight punch. Alternatively, take a jab with your other hand, in which case, you will have used the bolo punch as a feint.

In Conclusion

The bolo punch is an effective punch and probably more powerful than all the other traditional boxing punches. The left-handed bolo punch that Ike Ibeabuchi handed to Chris Byrd, as most boxing fans attest to, is probably the most famous bolo punches in the history of boxing. It looks like an uppercut except for the long sweeping motion. Ike faked a right, with very little power behind it, and then shifted his weight, and let the punch rip with all the strength that he could muster; Chris Byrd was knocked out instantly.

Other boxers have used this punch with a lot of effectiveness. It is one of the punches that Sugar Ray Leonard favored. If you can aster it, then you will have a definite advantage over your opponents in the future.