What is a Haymaker Punch in boxing

What is a Haymaker punch in Boxing?

Have you ever watched a boxing or MMA fight and heard the commentator talk about a Haymaker punch? It usually involves a knockout but what is a Haymaker punch exactly?

Haymaker Explained

A haymaker is a punch thrown by a fighter when trying to knock out their opponent. It’s a strike that involves a large swinging arc and delivers a huge amount of power at the point of impact. The problem with it is that it’s hugely risky and difficult to land. It’s often thrown as a last resort when nothing else is working. It generally involves the following characteristics:

  • Follows the same trajectory as an overhand punch or wide looping hook.
  • Boxers become overextended when they throw a Haymaker and become open to counters.
  • It’s easy to defend against because it’s easy to see coming.

It’s more commonly thrown by heavyweight fighters as these contests more commonly finish via KO.

A professional boxer or MMA fighter can usually avoid a haymaker because of it’s big wind up. It’s generally thrown as a last resort due to it’s ability to be telegraphed.

Why is it called a Haymaker punch?

It’s called a haymaker punch because the swing path visually resembles the swinging of a scythe while harvesting hay in the field. It was literally performed by a hay-maker. The earliest known use of the word haymaker occured in American newspapers at the beginning of the twentieth century and has been used ever since.

How to defend against a Haymaker

Haymakers are easy to defend against for technically skilled fighters because they involve a big wind up. When a fighter notices these wind up signals they have 3 options to avoid getting hit:

  • Duck and cover: Dip under the haymaker punch after it’s thrown and counter with a devastating body shot.
  • Move back: Get out of dodge with good head movement. Slip the punch and counter with combinations.
  • Strong Jab: Throw the haymaker off by stepping in with a quick strong jab to kill the fighters wind up.

While it’s easy to say this, it requires practice to perform in the real world.


So what is a Haymaker? To recap, a haymaker is a knockout punch thrown with a wide looping arc that’s usually easily read by an opponent and therefore easy to dodge and counter.

It’s called a haymaker because the swing path resembles that of a literal hay-maker using a scythe back in the day and it can by avoided in three ways – Ducking under, Slipping back or stepping in with a jab.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top