Clinching is a rough form of grappling and occurs when the distance between both fighters has closed and straight punches cannot be employed. In this situation, the boxer attempts to hold or "tie up" the opponent's hands so he is unable to throw hooks or uppercuts. To perform a clinch, the boxer loops both hands around the outside of the opponent's shoulders, scooping back under the forearms to grasp the opponent's arms tightly against his own body. In this position, the opponent's arms are pinned and cannot be used to attack. Clinching is a temporary match state and is quickly dissipated by the referee. Clinching is technically against the rules, and in amateur fights points are deducted fairly quickly for it. It is unlikely, however, to see points deducted for a clinch in professional boxing.
Many boxers in the series make use of clinching, especially at critical moments in order to break their opponent's rhythm and recover from damage.
Kobashi Kenta was especially infamous for his frequent use of clinches. By making use of jabs and clinches, Kobashi dominated opponents by interrupting their rhythm and winning on points. His strategy was largely unpopular with crowds due to its dullness.
Clinching does not guarantee a safe period, however. Fighters like Makunouchi Ippo are able to land powerful short blows and force their way out of a clinch.