The Pull-Slip


During Kovalev vs Shabranskyy, I noticed Kovalev doing this maneuver, which seemed to work almost every time. Remembering his success, I tried it during a round of sparring, and I was finding that it was very effective. In this article, I will cover a defensive tactic called “The Pull-Slip,” an effective maneuver for discouraging your opponent from proceeding. It may be useful to see our post on pulling (forthcoming) and slipping.

How to do the Pull-Slip:

  1. In neutral stance, move your shoulders (and head) backwards as if you are “pulling away” from an incoming punch. It goes without saying that your chin should stay tucked as your head moves backwards.
  2.  At the end of the pull, slip towards the inside for stability. It is possible to slip towards the outside, but you’d lose your stability for a counter yet gain an element of unpredictability.
  3. From here, you can either complete the slip or provide a counter.

When to Use it:

The pull-slip is an easy way to dodge a couple of punches, especially if it is mixed into your general defense. As you may know, dodging a series of punches can discourage your opponent from continuing their offense. However, it this maneuver is used too frequently, your opponent may notice, and adjust accordingly, or become frustrated, and increase their volume. Thus, it is best to use this maneuver at the beginning of the match, to help establish your dominance, and sparingly throughout a match.


The pull-slip may give you an edge over your opponent, as it seemed to have done for Kovalev. I encourage you to try the pull-slip at practice or in sparring to see whether you can have success with it. Or watch Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy to see it in action.

Author: Le Ho

I am currently a law student at the University of North Carolina Law School. As an undergraduate, I boxed for Carolina and earned its first men's national championship title.

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