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In boxing, athletes choose between two strategies: the orthodox stance characteristic of right handed competitors, or the southpaw stance characteristic of left-handers. Despite a conviction popular among the practitioners of this sport that fighting against a southpaw opponent constitutes a handicap, the effectiveness of the type of stance has so far not been examined. We extracted the statistics of the top twenty active male professionals boxing in each of the seventeen weight divisions. Out of the 340 boxers who composed our group, 75% used the orthodox stance and 25% were southpaw. Generally, we found that boxing stance had no effect on the percentage of 340 top professional boxers' victories. However, both the southpaw and the orthodox athletes had a higher percentage of victories against orthodox boxers than against southpaws.
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ANTHROPOLOGICAL REVIEW
Available online at: www.degruyter.com
Journal homepage: www.ptantropologiczne.pl
The inuence of the boxing stance
onperformance in professional boxers
Piotr Sorokowski1, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz1, Sławomir Wacewicz2
1Instytut Psychologii, Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Wrocław, Polska
2Katedra Filologii Angielskiej, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń, Polska
AbstrAct: In boxing, athletes choose between two strategies: the orthodox stance characteristic of right
handed competitors, or the southpaw stance characteristic of left-handers. Despite aconviction popular
among the practitioners of this sport that ghting against asouthpaw opponent constitutes ahandicap,
the effectiveness of the type of stance has so far not been examined. We extracted the statistics of the top
twenty active male professionals boxing in each of the seventeen weight divisions. Out of the 340 boxers
who composed our group, 75% used the orthodox stance and 25% were southpaw. Generally, we found
that boxing stance had no effect on the percentage of 340 top professional boxers’ victories. However, both
the southpaw and the orthodox athletes had ahigher percentage of victories against orthodox boxers than
against southpaws.
Key words: professional boxing, boxing performance, boxing stance, handedness, orthodox, southpaw
Introduction
The phenomenon of handedness in hu-
mans, in addition to having alarge pop-
ular appeal, has generated an extensive
academic literature. Aconsiderable num-
ber of studies in this area concern com-
bat sports (Grouios et al. 2000; Raymond
et al. 1996). While right-handers clearly
dominate in human populations (Ray-
mond and Pontier 2004), the proportion
of left-handers among professional ath-
letes is clearly higher than the 10 to 13%
characteristic of the general population
(Raymond et al. 1996). Left handers are
most overrepresented in combat sports,
such as boxing (Gursoy 2008), judo
(Mikheev et al. 2002), or wrestling (Zi-
yagil et al. 2010). What is more, anun-
usually high percentage of left-handed
competitors seems to characterise sport
disciplines involving direct interaction
with an opponent, such as tennis, fencing
(Harris 2010; Wood and Aggleton 1989),
Boxing stance and boxers’ performance
Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz, Sławomir
Wacewicz
AnthropologicAl review • Vol. 77 (3), 347–353 (2014)
Original Article: Received: 21 October 2014; Accepted for publication: 2 November 2014
DOI: 10.2478/anre-2014-0025
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348 Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz, Sławomir Wacewicz
cricket (Brooks 2004), baseball (Gold-
stein and Young 1996; Grondin et al.
1999), table tennis (Wood and Aggleton
1989), or football (McMorris and Colenso
1996). For example, of the participants in
a variety of championship-level competi-
tions, 34% of top tennis player s (Holtzen
2000), 47% of top cricket players (Brooks
et al. 2004), and 35% of top fencers (Aze-
mar et al. 1983) were left handed.
How to account for the occurrence
of left-handedness in the general pop-
ulation as well as among athletes? One
existing explanation is the ghting hy-
pothesis (Raymond et al. 1996), on which
left-handedness is selected for because of
an advantage it confers in close quarters
combat. Hence, a popular evolutionary
explanation for this phenomenon in sport
is the negative frequency-dependent selection
hypothesis (Raymond et al. 1996), which
posits that left handed competitors ben-
et from using movements, techniques
and tactics to which their opponents
are not accustomed. For example, offen-
sive actions executed by left-handers are
markedly more difcult to predict than
those of right-handers in sports such as
volleyball (Lofng et al. 2011), tennis
(Hagemann 2009) or football (McMorris
and Colenso 1996).
Alternatively, the left-handers’ ad-
vantage can be explained in terms of
the innate superiority hypothesis proposed
by Geschwind and Galaburda (1985),
whereby left-handed individuals differ
from right-handers in important neu-
rological aspects. Left-handers, due to
a larger right hemisphere of the brain,
tend to have visual and spatial abilities
better developed than the population av-
erage. For this reason, left-handers tend
to have an advantage in tasks involving
bimanual coordination, visual-spatial
cognition or bilateral rapid reaction (An-
nett 1985). This would explain better
performance of left-handed competitors
in interactive sports, which rely on high-
ly developed perceptual skills (Hage-
man 2009; Raymond and Pontier 2004;
Brooks et al. 2004).
While numerous studies have target-
ed the phenomenon of left-handedness
in humans in general, and in sportsmen
in particular, it still remains unclear
whether being left-handed constitutes
an advantage in boxing. The ghting hy-
pothesis and the innate superiority hy-
pothesis referred to above would predict
that left-handed boxers should perform
better than their right-handed oppo-
nents. To our knowledge, only one study
has so far been published directly test-
ing the relation between handedness and
success at boxing: Gursoy (2008) found
that the ratio of defeats to victories was
higher in right-handed than left-handed
boxers. While this result provides inter-
esting conrmatory evidence, his analy-
ses have important limitations. Firstly,
Gursov’s sample was rather small, con-
sisting of results coming from only 22
boxers. Secondly, all of the boxers in the
study were enrolled in the same boxing
club (National Road Sport Men Box-
ing Club, Erzurum, Turkey). This could
easily lead to bias, since a single very
well performing left handed ghter in
the sample, or acoach favouring left- or
right-handers, would sufce to render
those results unrepresentative.
An important complicating factor for
analysing boxing bouts is the stance as-
sumed by the boxers, which is likely of
greater consequence than the inborn
hand preference. Boxers adopt one of
two available stances, mirror-images of
each other: orthodox or southpaw. The
term “orthodox stance” refers to the po-
sitioning of the boxer’s hands and feet
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Boxing stance and boxers’ performance 349
with the left foot and left hand forward,
and the right foot and right hand back
natural to a right-handed person. The
term “southpaw”, natural to left-hand-
ers, refers to having one’s right foot and
right hand in the front: a reverse (mir-
ror image) of the orthodox stance. The
choice of stance generally is apermanent
characteristic. Very seldom, particularly
skilled boxers such as Oscar de la Hoya
or Floyd Mayweather, can switch be-
tween the stances exibly within asingle
bout or round. However, each boxer has
a preferred stance, which is usually de-
termined by keeping the stronger hand in
the back: this is so because the stronger
hand is used for delivering power punch-
es that require more space, whereas the
weaker hand, kept in the front, is used
for quicker jabs intended to keep the
opponent at bay and break down his de-
fences. This strategy is universally rec-
ommended by boxing experts (see: Onel-
lo 2007; Scott 2000; www.expertboxing.
com; www.myboxingcoach.com; www.
learnhowtobox.com).
In view of the above, we present
a study aiming at determining how the
choice of stance in boxing inuences the
outcome of the ght. This type of research
question has its limitations, which we ad-
mit (for example, we do not directly ad-
dress the inuence of handedness on the
outcome of boxing ghts). On the other
hand, such an analysis is valuable in mak-
ing it possible to test our hypothesis on
avery large sample of professional boxers;
it also allows us to answer the question
of whether the stance itself inuences the
outcomes of boxing bouts.
In sum, to date there have been no
published studies on the inuence of the
stance on the outcome of ghts in box-
ing. Although astudy by Gursoy (2008)
looked into how being left- or right-hand-
ed relates to boxing performance, it was
conducted on a small sample of boxers
and has other methodological limita-
tions. This leads us to believe that testing
how the boxing stance impacts boxing
performance is valuable and will result in
important insights.
Materials and methods
We used the internet database Boxrec
(http://boxrec.com/ratings.php) to ex-
tract information on the stance and pro-
fessional record for the top-rating male
boxers in each of the seventeen weight
divisions (heavyweight, cruiser, light
heavyweight, super middleweight, mid-
dleweight, light middleweight, welter-
weight, light welterweight, lightweight,
super featherweight, featherweight, su-
per bantamweight, bantamweight, su-
per yweight, yweight, light yweight,
minimumweight). Boxrec ratings are
preferable to individual boxing federation
rankings because of the former’s inclu-
siveness and objectivity: Boxrec stores in-
formation on all licensed bouts and uses
this database to produce automatically
generated rankings.
First, we collected the data for the to-
tal of 340 boxers: top 20 in each of the 17
weight divisions. We then inspected the
boxers’ professional records, that is, for
each of the boxers using the orthodox/
southpaw stance we counted the num-
ber of victories/defeats/draws against an
orthodox/southpaw opponent. If there
was no data on the stance of the com-
petitor in a particular bout, the result
of that bout was not included into the
analysis. The above body of data was col-
lected in June 2013. We used it to calcu-
late, for each boxer, the ratio of victories
that boxer scored against orthodox and
southpaw opponents.
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350 Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz, Sławomir Wacewicz
We also conducted a second anal-
ysis in September 2014. We collected
the data for the total of 2549 boxers for
whom data on stance were available: top
150 in each of the 17 weight divisions
(except for minimum weight, where data
on stance were available for 149 boxers).
We used these data to calculate whether
better boxers are more often southpaw
than worse boxers.
Results
Of the 340 boxers in the sample, 255
(75%) used the orthodox, and 85 (25%)
the southpaw stance. The boxers had,
on average, 22.5 bouts in their record
(SD=10.07), and won approximately
87% of them (SD=12%). The stance had
no effect on the ratio of victories in our
sample of top 340 professional boxers
[the average ratio for orthodox boxers
was 0.88 (88%), SD=0.12; the aver-
age ratio for southpaw boxers was 0.87
(87%), SD=0.11; F1, 308=0.13, p=0.71,
ŋp2 < 0.01].
The above analysis, however, does not
take into account the stance of the antag-
onist, as it does not distinguish between
the bouts fought against orthodox and
southpaw opponents. To address this,
in our next step we checked whether
the victory ratio of boxers in our sample
was different for orthodox versus south-
paw opponents. The analysis showed
that both the orthodox and the south-
paw boxers had a higher victory ratio
against their orthodox (0.89 on average,
SD=0.11) than southpaw opponents
(0.85 on average, SD=0.21); F1, 308=9,88,
p<0.002, ŋp2=.03. Interestingly, there
was no effect of own stance relative to
Fig. 1. Own stance, opponent’s stance, and the percentage of wins in professional boxers
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Boxing stance and boxers’ performance 351
the stance of the opponent F1,308=0.19,
p=0.66, ŋp2 <.01 (Fig. 1).
Summing up, the southpaw boxers in
our sample did not win more often that
the orthodox ones. Nevertheless, the or-
thodox and southpaw boxers alike scored
more victories when ghting against an
orthodox opponent than asouthpaw. An-
other statistical measure (χ2 test) yielded
the same pattern of results.
In the second analysis, we found that
of the 2549 boxers included in the sam-
ple, 2027 (80%) used the orthodox, and
522 (20%) the southpaw stance. We also
found that across all the analyzed divi-
sions among:
a) best rated 50 boxers this ratio was:
201 southpaw vs. 649 orthodox (24%
southpaw);
b) boxers rated from 51 to 100 position
this ratio was: 167 southpaw vs. 683
orthodox (20% southpaw);
c) boxer rated from 101 to 150 position
this ratio was: 154 southpaw vs. 705
orthodox (18% southpaw).
The proportion of southpaw boxers
was higher among better rated boxers
than among worse rated boxers; χ2=9.05;
p=0.01.
Discussion
Our analysis showed that 25% of the top
340 professional boxers (20 in each of
the 17 weigh divisions) and 20% of the
top 2549 professional boxers (150 in
each of the 17 weigh divisions) fought in
asouthpaw stance. That gure is much
higher than expected from the proportion
of left-handers in the general population
(10–13%; e.g. Raymond et al. 1996),
suggesting that ghting in a southpaw
stance natural to left-handers is condu-
cive to better performance in boxing. Of
course, it is possible that boxing schools
might preferentially draft left-handers, or
that coaches may choose to convert their
right-handed trainees to southpaws early
in their boxing careers. It is important to
note, however, that those explanations
still turn on the assumption that being
left-handed or ghting in asouthpaw
stance characteristic of left-handers –
constitutes an advantage in boxing. This
is supported by our follow up analysis,
which revealed that there were propor-
tionally more southpaws among the
higher ranking boxers than among lower
ranking boxers.
The main purpose of this study was to
examine how the boxing stance inuenc-
es performance in boxing. Our analyses
showed that in the sample of top pro-
fessional boxers there was no signicant
difference between the victory ratio of
orthodox and southpaw boxers. Howev-
er, we also found that southpaw compet-
itors scored a higher percentage of vic-
tories against orthodox than southpaw
opponents. This apparent contradiction
can be easily resolved. Since our sample
consisted of the best active professional
boxers, who only lost very rarely, we can
expect astatistical phenomenon known
as the ceiling effect to occur. The world’s
elite boxers all have a very high victory
ratio (of almost 90% on average), with
very limited scope for variation that
could be accounted for by handedness or
stance. Still, even for those boxers it was
somewhat easier to win against an ortho-
dox than asouthpaw rival. As each of the
boxers in our sample fought twenty or so
bouts, it was possible that it was early in
their careers.
The analyses performed in this study
corroborate the results of Gursoy (2008),
who found left-handers in his sample of
boxers to perform better than right-hand-
ers. Our research, in addition to over-
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352 Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz, Sławomir Wacewicz
coming some of the methodological
problems of that study, also offers com-
plementary data, since unlike Gursoy’s
(2008) sample consisting of amateurs
and semi-pros, our sample comprised
top professional boxers. In conclusion, it
is likely that handedness – and the choice
of stance based on handedness – plays
acertain role in the amateur or early pro-
fessional boxing career, but is not impor-
tant for performance when competing on
the top level.
Generally, our results support the
evolutionary hypothesis on left handed-
ness adaptiveness. As we discussed in
the Introduction, previous studies sug-
gested that left handedness increases
ghting ability, because the opponent is
not accustomed to his rival’s movements
and techniques (Raymond et al. 1996).
Additionally, left handedness might be
related with to elevated level of testos-
terone (Faurie et al. 2010). Furthermore,
previous research clearly shows that
the frequency-dependent advantage of
left-handers may be interpreted in a wider
context of human conicts. For instance,
the proportion of left handers positively
correlates with the frequency of aggres-
sive incidents, such as homicides (Faurie
and Raymond 2005). Superior perfor-
mance of left handed individuals should
be therefore observed not only in cricket
(Brooks 2004), table tennis (Wood and
Aggleton 1989) or evenmixed martial
arts (Pollet et al. 2013; but see: Doch-
termann et al. 2014), but particularly in
boxing, as we showed in this study.
Authors’ contributions
Idea of the study: PS SW AS Collected
the data: PS, SW Analyzed the data: PS
Wrote the paper: PS AS SW.
Conict of interest
The Authors declare that there is no
Conict of interest.
Corresponding author
Piotr Sorokowski, Uniwersytet Wrocław-
ski, Dawida 1, Wrocław 50-527
e-mail address:
sorokowskipiotr@yahoo.co.uk
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... The term "orthodox stance" refers to the positioning of the boxer's hands and feet with the left foot and left hand forward, and the right foot and right hand back -natural to a right-handed person. The term "southpaw", natural to left-handers, refers to having one's right foot and right hand in the front: a reverse of the orthodox stance [1,5]. Especially in the preparation season, to make some biomechanical analysis of the punch techniques and types would be very helpful information to the athletes and coaches. ...
... This situation can provide more defensive status than the production of offshore forces as well as the collateral damage. Sorokowski et al. [5] mentioned that each boxer had a preferred stance, which was usually determined by keeping the stronger hand in the back. They believed that because the stronger hand was used for delivering power punches that require more space, whereas the weaker hand, kept in the front, was used for quicker jabs intended to keep the opponent at bay and break down the defences [5]. ...
... Sorokowski et al. [5] mentioned that each boxer had a preferred stance, which was usually determined by keeping the stronger hand in the back. They believed that because the stronger hand was used for delivering power punches that require more space, whereas the weaker hand, kept in the front, was used for quicker jabs intended to keep the opponent at bay and break down the defences [5]. ...
... A commonly held view in boxing is that competing against a southpaw boxer may present a more difficult task than competing against an orthodox boxer. This view chiefly relates to there being fewer southpaw boxers [37], a theory confirmed by only~10% southpaw representation in title bouts in the present study. This would inevitably mean there is less opportunity to train against boxers with an opposite foot and hand positioning [37]. ...
... This view chiefly relates to there being fewer southpaw boxers [37], a theory confirmed by only~10% southpaw representation in title bouts in the present study. This would inevitably mean there is less opportunity to train against boxers with an opposite foot and hand positioning [37]. Two studies in amateur boxing [10,38] have concluded an advantage for southpaw boxers over orthodox boxers; however, both studies analysed small sample sizes, with one study analysing mixed ability boxers from a single gym [38]. ...
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... Our finding that left-handed fighters have better records than right-handed fighters in both male boxers and MMA fighters contrasts to most previous studies 18,20,21 , (but see 19 ). Two factors may have played a role. ...
... Firstly, the effect is small and may only be detectable in large samples such as ours. Second, it may not be detectable in datasets with low variance in fighting ability, such as when studies use samples of only elite fighters 18 . The fact that we find similar results in both win percentages and BoxRec scores, which are a more complete measure of fighting ability, lead us to believe our results are robust. ...
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Left-handedness is a costly, sexually dimorphic trait found in all human populations. How the handedness polymorphism is maintained is unclear. The fighting hypothesis argues that left-handed men have a negative frequency-dependent advantage in fighting giving them a selective advantage. In support of this, many studies have found that left-handed men are overrepresented in combat sports, but studies typically find no difference in fighting success between left and right-handed fighters. We studied over 9800 professional boxers and mixed martial arts fighters of varying abilities in three of the largest samples to test this hypothesis to date, finding robust evidence that left-handed fighters have greater fighting success. This held for both male and female fighters and when considering percentage of fights won, and objective measures of fighting ability. We replicated previous results showing the left-handed fighters are strongly overrepresented in professional combat sports, but left-handed fighters did not show greater variance in fighting ability, a hypothesis suggested in previous studies. Overall we find strong evidence consistent with the fighting hypothesis.
... In the field of sports, literature on sports performance of left and right handed players are available. Researchers like Porozovs et al. (2011) [1] , Harung et al. (2011) [2] , Baker and Schorer (2013) [3] , Sorokowski (2014) [4] compared winning or loosing percentage, motor control, psycho motor abilities, visuo motor abilities of left and right handed players. It is noticeable that the results regarding the effect of brain hemisphere dominance on sports performance are somewhat contradictory and expressed in terms of negative frequency and innate superiority hypothesis. ...
... In the field of sports, literature on sports performance of left and right handed players are available. Researchers like Porozovs et al. (2011) [1] , Harung et al. (2011) [2] , Baker and Schorer (2013) [3] , Sorokowski (2014) [4] compared winning or loosing percentage, motor control, psycho motor abilities, visuo motor abilities of left and right handed players. It is noticeable that the results regarding the effect of brain hemisphere dominance on sports performance are somewhat contradictory and expressed in terms of negative frequency and innate superiority hypothesis. ...
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The present study was conducted to compare overall performance of artistic female gymnasts on the basis of their hemispheric preference. To conduct the study, 50 female gymnasts (Ave. age 21.34 yrs) who took part in inter-university artistic gymnastics competition were selected as sample through convenience sampling method. Brain Hemisphere Domination Test (B.H.D.T.) prepared by Agashe and Helode (2007) was used to assess left, right and integrated brain hemisphere dominance of selected female gymnasts. To assess performance of female gymnasts, scores on floor exercise, vaulting table, uneven bars and balance beam events were summed up and used as performance scores of female gymnasts. Results reveal no statistically significant impact of brain hemisphere domination on performance of female gymnasts although it was observed that female gymnasts with right brain hemisphere dominance performed better collectively on all the apparatus as compared to selected female gymnasts with left and integrated brain hemisphere dominance. It was concluded that brain hemisphere dominance can predict performance of female gymnasts but to a certain extent.
... Left-handedness is the preferential use of the left hand [24]. Literature has shown a relationship between laterality and sport, mainly between laterality and an over-representation of left-handed athletes, and many authors have focused on the over-representation of left-handers in certain sports compared to the general population; for instance, in tennis [17,[25][26][27][28], in fencing [11,29,30], in judo [31], in wrestling [32], in boxing [33,34], in taekwondo [35,36], in cricket [37], in ice hockey [38], in baseball [17], in volleyball [39], or in different sports [3,11,21,[40][41][42]. ...
... The importance of combat stance in Judo and its relationship with success and sporting level was also shown in other studies [70]. Similar results were found in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) [71] and in boxing [34] where the southpaw boxers did not win more often than the orthodox ones, but both of them scored more victories when they confronted an orthodox opponent. ...
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Literature has shown a relationship between laterality and an over-representation of left-handed athletes in certain sports, and especially in sports one against one, such as judo, tennis, boxing or fencing; the main explanation has been attributed to greater chance of success. Some authors have explained it through a genetic or innate superiority hypothesis, however others defend the strategic advantage hypothesis. The study aim is an overview about laterality, sporting success, over-representation of left-dominant athletes executing techniques, and the possibility of modulating that over-representation through training and based on negative frequency-dependent selection hypothesis, given that in sports such as fencing, boxing or judo, tactical designs and training actions have been developed based on the opponent’s predominant side while executing skills. It is hypothesized that if there is some sort of relationship between laterality and sporting success, and the laterality executing sporting skills has been acquired, then it can be modified by different learning and/or training methodologies; one of them is based on bilateral transfer processes of motor skills, but it is lacking on experimental research. We suggest that the notion of creating or making athletes from the perspective of the lateral preference running sporting skills and in sporting behaviours based on laterality, could modify the frequency-dependent selection hypothesis, especially in certain sports.
... Since psycho-motor domain is located in right brain hemisphere, it is believed that sportsperson with right brain hemisphere dominance i.e. left handed players have advantage in sports. This fact is also highlighted by Harung et al. (2011), Baker andSchorer (2013), Sorokowski (2014) and they reported that importance of brain laterality in execution of psycho-motor skills. _____________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ Available online at www.lbp.world 2 ...
... The term "orthodox stance" refers to the positioning of the boxer's hands and feet with the left foot and hand forward, and the right foot and hand backwhich is natural to a right-handed person. The term "southpaw stance" which is natural to left-handers, refers to having one's right foot and hand in the front, ie a reverse of the orthodox stance (Sorokowski, Sabiniewicz, & Wacewicz, 2014;Busko et al., 2014). These standing positions are very important for the force to have an effective impact and analysis of the kinematic characteristics of punch type and punch combination modalities will help to inform coaches and athletes when preparing for a competition (Piorkowski, Lees, & Barton, 2011). ...
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of biomechanic factors to teach different hook punches in boxing. Eight light middleweight boxing athletes (mean age±SD 19.00±2.00 yrs, mean height±SD 173.88±3.89 cm, mean weight±SD 64.25±4.66 kg) participated in this study. Athletes performed a trial using three different hook punch techniques on a sandbag. The techniques were recorded using eight cameras using a frequency of 120 Hz. Qualisys Track Manager was used to analysis on motion. Mean acceleration of the sandbag, stride length, angles of the knee, shoulder, and elbow were calculated. The forces of impact were also calculated. Hook punch data were compared with Friedman test using SPSS 20.0. The results indicated a significant difference was found only in stride length. Stride length using a southpaw stance was shorter than the other stances (p<0.05). Athletes need more practice increasing stride length and use a repeating method in Mitt workout, models, sandbag trainings, self- monitoring and regional trainings.
... Apparently, the prevalence of lefthanded individuals is higher in various sports than in the general population. In boxing, left-handed athletes (those with southpaw stance) seem to have some advantage over right-handers, and the rate of southpaw stance among male professional boxers is 25% (24,53). Ziyagil et al. (60) assessed handedness of 440 elite wrestlers who attended 2 world championships in wrestling. ...
Article
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ANALYSIS IS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THERE IS A LEFT FOOT ADVANTAGE IN SOCCER PERFORMANCE. THE OUTCOME OF THE REVIEWED ARTICLES SUGGESTS THAT THERE IS A LEFT FOOT ADVANTAGE IN SOCCER, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THAT MAY BE. NEVERTHELESS, THIS CONCLUSION MAY BE TENTATIVE BECAUSE LITTLE WORK WAS CONDUCTED IN THIS AREA AND THE FOCUS IS VERY DIVERSE. THE CURRENT REVIEW RAISES IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE WORK. THE EXAMINATION OF THE TEMPORAL OCCLUSION PARADIGM AND THE COMPARISON OF SPATIAL ORIENTATIONS AND THE ATTENTIONAL ABILITIES OF RIGHT- AND LEFT-FOOTED SOCCER PLAYERS MAY GENERATE EMPIRICAL WORK IN THE FIELD.
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Background: Asymmetrical posture maintained over long training periods may affect phenotypic plasticity, resulting functional to sporting goal but negative to the locomotor system. Aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate these long-term effects in competitive boxers. Methods: Baropodometric analysis was used to assess 20 competitive boxers and 20 non-sportsmen in upright bipedal posture for 5 s and for 51.2 s with open (OE) and closed (CE) eyes. Results: The boxers' group (BOX) showed a larger total foot load (TFL) (p=0.022) on the right foot and a larger rearfoot load (RfL) (P=0.011) on the left foot compared to non-sport controls (CTR). Moreover, a larger forefoot load (FfL) (P=0.001) on the right foot respect to left one was found in the BOX group, with the inversion of the RfL to FfL ratio (P=0.001) between two feet, while no significant differences were found in the CTR group. These findings, associated to a significantly larger center of foot angle (COF) in the BOX group, may indicate an anticlockwise rotation of the anatomical structures above the ankle joint of the right hemisoma respect to the left one, that appears to be consistent with the orthodox stance. Eventually, the BOX group showed a larger centre-of-pressure sway area (COPsa) in the OE condition than what measured in the CE and a significant difference in Romberg Index (BOX< CTR). Conclusions: The results of this study seem to confirm the theory of neuromuscular plasticity imprinted by the repetitive movements and long-lasting postures. Moreover, competitive boxers show an increase of proprioceptive function and a decrease of visual dependence on the postural control.
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•We tested the ‘fighting hypothesis’ using data from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).•This hypothesis posits that human left-handedness is maintained via advantages in male–male combat.•Previous research found equivocal support for this hypothesis.•In our analysis, left-handed fighters reached the UFC more easily but had no advantage once there.•Inferior training and/or overrepresentation of left-handed fighters in the UFC may eliminate a rareness advantage.
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Male-male competition can shape some behavioral or morphological traits of males. Here we investigate if this competition could play a role in the persistence of the polymorphism of handedness in human populations. A negative frequency-dependent selection mechanism has been hypothesized, based on the fact that left-handed men may benefit from a "surprise" advantage during fighting interactions because they are rare in human populations. This advantage may thereby enhance the probability of survival of left- handed men and/or their reproductive success through an increase in social status. In this study, we first explored the association between hand preference and lifetime fighting behavior in a population of 1,161 French men. No effect of hand preference on the probability of fighting was detected, suggesting that the innate propensity to fight does not differ between left- and right-handers. However, among men who had been involved in at least one fight during their lifetime, left-handers reported significantly more fights than right-handers. To explore the biological basis of this behavior, we also investigated the testosterone concentration in saliva samples from 64 French university students. Consistent with frequencies of fights, we found a significantly higher average testosterone concentration in left-handers than in right-handers. We suggest that these behavioral and hormonal differences may be acquired throughout life due to previous experiences in a social context and may favor the persistence of left-handers in humans.
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It has been reported that there is a high proportion of left-handers among top athletes in different sports. In this study, the goal was to examine the rate of left-handedness in the top wrestlers at the world championships for achievement by left-handed wrestlers. The rate of left-handedness was higher in wrestlers with medal honors compared to wrestlers without medals for both men and women. The winning numbers and match degrees were higher in the left-handed wrestlers than in both right- and mixed-handed wrestlers among top international wrestlers.
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Recent studies show that in the sport of fencing left-handers have an advantage over right-handers. This was recognised by fencing masters as early as the sixteenth century. They also agreed that the advantage was due to left-handers' numbers-that being a minority gave them more opportunities to compete against right-handers than right-handers had against them. Fencing masters today have reached the same conclusion, as have laterality researchers, who see the advantage as an example of what is now called a "frequency-dependent" effect. However, some researchers have also suggested other possibilities that relate the advantage to natural differences in ability. This article presents a sampling of views of fencing masters from the past, along with a summary and analysis of explanations, old and new.
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As compared with their prevalence in the general population, left-handers are overrepresented in the expert domain of many interactive sports. This study examined to what extent this is due to negative perceptual frequency effects--that is, whether the greater frequency of tennis matches with right-handed opponents makes it possible to discriminate the stroke movements of right-handed players more precisely. Fifty-four right-handed and 54 left-handed males in three equal-sized groups of varying levels of tennis expertise (national league experts, local league intermediates, and novices) completed a tennis anticipation test in which they had to predict the subsequent direction of an opponent's temporally occluded tennis strokes on a computer screen. The results showed that all three groups were better at predicting the direction of strokes by right-handed players. This supports the hypothesis that the overrepresentation of left-handers in the expert domain is partly due to perceptual frequency effects.
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Given the heritability of human left-handedness and its purported associations with fitness-lowering traits, the persistence of the minority of left-handedness in human populations is an evolutionary puzzle. The fighting hypothesis proposes that these negative fitness costs are offset by fitness gains for left-handers when involved in fights with right-handers, as being a minority would generate a surprise effect increasing the chance of winning. The finding that left-handers are overrepresented in many combat sports is interpreted as evidence for this hypothesis. However, few studies have examined sports that show good similarity with realistic fights and analysed winning chances in relation to handedness of both fighters. We examined both, in a sample of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a fierce fighting sport hardly constrained by rules. Left-handers were strongly overrepresented as compared to the general male population but no advantage for left-handers when facing right-handers was found, providing only partial evidence for the fighting hypothesis.
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High ball speeds and close distances between competitors require athletes in interactive sports to correctly anticipate an opponent's intentions in order to render appropriate reactions. Although it is considered crucial for successful performance, such skill appears impaired when athletes are confronted with a left-handed opponent, possibly because of athletes' reduced perceptual familiarity with rarely encountered left-handed actions. To test this negative perceptual frequency effect hypothesis, we invited 18 skilled and 18 novice volleyball players to predict shot directions of left- and right-handed attacks in a video-based visual anticipation task. In accordance with our predictions, and with recent reports on laterality differences in visual perception, the outcome of left-handed actions was significantly less accurately predicted than the outcome of right-handed attacks. In addition, this left-right bias was most distinct when predictions had to be based on preimpact (i.e., before hand-ball contact) kinematic cues, and skilled players were generally more affected by the opponents' handedness than were novices. The study's findings corroborate the assumption that skilled visual perception is attuned to more frequently encountered actions.