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Popular Boxing Terms You Didn’t Know You Were Using

Posted on 09/24/2018

By Bryanna Fissori

Even those who are not boxing fans have undoubtedly and unknowingly used boxing terms in everyday conversation. The meanings may have changed slightly over time, but the relevance to boxing is still evident in most cases. Here are a few of the most popular boxing terms:

Below the Belt

Modern Use: A hurtful or unfair action or comment
Boxing Idiom: An illegal strike below the belt line of one’s boxing trunks

Saved By the Bell

Modern Use: Rescued from difficulty at the last possible moment
Boxing Idiom: The sound of the bell timer ending a round in which one party was in a dangerous situation

Throw in the Towel

Modern Use: To call it quits or put a stop to something
Boxing Idiom: Throwing a white towel into the ring was used as a signal from a coach or trainer to notify the referee to stop the fight.


Modern Use: An attractive person, usually a women
Boxing Idiom: A punch that results in rendering an opponent unconscious.

Take the Gloves Off

Modern Use: The notion that something will be done in an uncompromising and brutal way.
Boxing Idiom: Removing gloves to inflict more damage

In Your Corner

Modern Use: The concept of having a support system that will stand behind you.
Boxing Idiom: The corner is where coaches and trainers are sitting during the fight in order to give instruction and support their fighter.

Against The Ropes

Modern Use: Refers to being in a bad situation with few or no options for relief.
Boxing Idiom: A boxer with their back against the ropes in the ring would typically be taking a lot of damage with few options to escape.

Roll With The Punches

Modern Use: To adapt to whatever situation arises
Boxing Idiom: When a punch is thrown a boxer may roll underneath it to avoid being hit. This is most often used when avoiding hooks to the head.

Throw Your Hat in the Ring

Modern Use: Request consideration to be a part of something.
Boxing Idiom: During boxing fights, before modern sanctioning or matchmaking, fighters would take fights on the spot. Because events were loud, throwing a hat in would be an easier way to get attention.

Keep Your Guard Up

Modern Use: Be cautious or aware of what is going on
Boxing Idiom: Keep your hands up to protect your face from punches.

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