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Any boxer who plans on enjoying a long, healthy career in the ring must focus on developing a solid defensive stance that adequately protects his head and body. Most novices and many defensively-oriented professionals favor a defensive posture that legendary trainer Cus D'Amato termed the peekaboo stance. While not a stance that aggressive fighters frequently use, the peekaboo stance maximizes the amount of your body that is covered while in the guard position and can provide a good base for reacting to your opponent's movements with accurate counterpunches.
The peekaboo stance gets its name because your eyes peek out over the top of your boxing gloves. To assume the peekaboo stance, stand facing your opponent at a slight angle with your knees bent slightly and your stronger hand and foot toward the back. Position your gloves tightly against the front of your cheeks with your eyes peering out over the top of the leather. Hold your elbows tightly against your body so that you can use them to deflect blows aimed at your body and rib areas. The stance gives you a good view of your opponent and allows you to quickly move your hands up or elbows down to block incoming punches.
Throwing a punch obviously necessitates a temporary departure from the full peekaboo stance. You are generally at your most vulnerable when punching, since you are transferring momentum forward that can be used against you, and your punching hand isn't available to defend. Maintaining a one-handed peekaboo stance while throwing a single punch minimizes the chance of taking a counterpunch. Keep the hand that you do not punch with flush against your face but move it closer to the front of your face to increase its defensive coverage. Alternately, if you know your opponent's counterpunching tendencies, bias your defending hand to the side of your face where a counter is likely to land.
Make It Automatic
As with beginners in any sport, novice boxers must spend a great deal of mental energy actively thinking about fundamentals such as how to stand, throw punches and execute proper footwork. To compete with expert boxers, train your body to reflexively perform the fundamentals so that you can actively focus on tactical concerns like identifying your opponent's weaknesses. Make the peekaboo stance automatic by quickly returning to the position after every punch that you throw during your training, sparring and bag sessions. Training your body to reflexively return to a defensive stance will pay huge dividends in the ring, particularly when you're tired or have recently taken a hard punch and may not have the capacity to consciously keep your defenses up.
The peekaboo stance puts you in a relatively safe position from which to look over the gloves and react to your opponent. Novices often make the mistake of looking directly at their opponent's gloves or eyes, which opens them up to deceptive feints or completely missing an incoming punch. Resist the temptation to focus on a single part of your opponent or any other aspect of the landscape in front of you. Instead, direct your vision straight ahead but keep your vision diffuse so that you can better observe and react to the entire situation in front of you. Practice looking over the gloves without focusing on a single spot to develop your peripheral vision, which will improve your ability to accurately process the whole scope of information from behind the peekaboo stance and make more effective offensive and defensive decisions.