Ike Quartey and His Bazooka Jab

In my last entry, I mentioned the significance of video analysis in boxing. In the time since, I have received several emails from aspiring fighters looking for suggestions on boxers to study. For instance, I’ve had three people ask for examples of a properly thrown jab. With that in mind, I will use this entry to highlight one of my favorite examples of an effective jab. Ike “Bazooka” Quartey had one of the best jabs in recent history. Almost any young fighter will benefit by studying his brutally effective lead hand. 

More Than Height

Ike Quartey’s jab makes for an excellent case study not just because of its effectiveness, but also because of the man behind it. Quartey did not have the body that’s typically associated with a world class jab. Standing at just 5′ 7½″, he hardly ever had a height advantage over his opponents. His build was entirely different from other boxers who were known for their jabs (ex. Holmes, Ali, Hearns, Lewis, etc.). Quartey is truly the perfect example of a shorter boxer’s potential to snap an effective jab. He proved beyond doubt that there is more to boxing than height.

As for examples of Quartey in action, several of his fights can be found on Youtube. One of my favorites however is when he fought the always rugged Jose Luis Lopez. The story behind the fight was that Quartey was suffering from malaria when it took place. His team had advised him to postpone the bout, but Quartey did not want to miss out on the opportunity. To preserve energy, he fought much of the bout with one hand. He repeatedly pumped the lead hand, setting a CompuBox record with 313 landed jabs.

In describing the fight, Quartey’s trainer Dan Odamtten stated the following:

“He fought with one hand, his left jab, for most of the fight, because I wanted him to save his strength.”

The entire Quartey vs. Lopez bout can be seen in the video below.

It Starts In The Gym

Quartey clearly snapped an effective jab against Lopez. More of that jab can be seen by studying Quartey in the gym. In the video below, you will see Quartey repeatedly snap the jab in training. Notice how he is balanced, athletic, and compact. There’s legitimate snap behind the punch. It was the type of jab that always earned his opponent’s attention and respect. Quartey’s jab was not just a throwaway punch or range finder. It was snapped with purpose.

Improve YOUR jab

There’s no doubt that every boxer has a unique style. As the great Angelo Dundee once said:

“I’ve never seen two of the same fighters.”

With that said, not every boxer is going to develop Quartey’s jab. What you can do however is practice pumping the jab with the same conviction as him. For instance, study Quartey’s shoulder action, the bend in his knee, and the small step that often accompanies his power jab. When you are hitting the bag, think about how Quartey would be snapping the bag with his jab. Simply getting that in your head will often lead you to focus more attention to your jab.

I might even tell a boxer to pretend that he’s hitting the bag with Quartey standing next to him. Try to impress him with your jab. And while such an instruction may sound silly, you’ll be surprised at how much more attention a young fighter will put towards snapping his jab. That young fighter may never jab like Quartey, but he can surely improve by utilizing some of the techniques that produced one of the best jabs in the sport’s history.




  1. I’m reminded of this fight in the Hajime No Ippo series. While the entire fight isn’t shown here, it demonstrates how having an ultra developed left hand can rule the boxing ring. Quartey and Lopez’s early exchange is HEAVILY reminding me of what transpires in this scene. To put it another way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Quartey v Lopez fight is what this fight is based on!

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