The Raphael boss fight can start with Raphael going either left or right. You want to begin by holding right just in case he goes left, to quickly ground pound the pole and hit him. If he instead goes right, there's plenty of time to turn around and wait for him to cross the other pole. Sometimes he will troll you and stop though.
The general strategy for the 2nd and 3rd hits is to use the pole he is standing on when he starts moving, as he consistently will run at least halfway around the world. This strategy removes the element of luck from hitting him.