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  • Ian Streetz

Alternative Boxing Stances 6. The Blackburn Crouch

The next installation of exploring alternate boxing stances will be our first look back in time to a stance rarely seen in modern boxing - the so called "Blackburn Crouch".

First and foremost a big shout out to fantastic writer Jack Slack for his amazing article on Joe Louis and Boxing wizard Luis "Sinister" Monda For his technical insights which I encountered whilst doing the research for this entry.

This style gains its name after Charles Henry Blackburn (More commonly known as Jack "Chappie" Blackburn) who was an interesting character who had 147 fights and was also sentenced to 15 years jail for murder, although was released after 5 years for good behaviour. He was a lightweight who generally fought and sparred larger men and apparently gave heavyweight champion the great Jack Johnson a bloody nose whilst sparring.

He coached such historic greats as Jersey Joe Walcott, Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. An amazing stable of fighters to say the least.

Whilst named the Blackburn Crouch it should be noted that at this period in boxing history the "crouched" position wasn't really considered crouched at all and was much more the norm of the times.

What each Blackburn protege shared in common was a very similar, stable and technically sound stance. Note the following in the picture of Joe Louis above

1. Head off centre line

2. Seemingly side on stance

3. Head held off the centre line

4. Low held lead hand. It was possible to keep his lead hand lower due to his un hunched , back straight stance, hip bend, weight distribution and offset head position.

5. Fold of rear hip, weight on the rear hip

6. Slightly bent knees

7. Shoulders not hunched forward

8. Back straight, chin tucked

9. Rear hand is also held low by modern standards. It was placed here ready to check and parry the opponents hands

10 Elbows tucked. In the past protecting the body was of extreme importance and head position and movement was considered an integral part of protecting the head. If it's in the right position and moving correctly it shouldn't need much guarding. With the advent of larger gloves, the hands began to rise to cover more of the head.

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