When we watch combat sports we notice that certain fighters seem to regularly knockout their opponent and they have a higher number of knockouts on their record than other fighters. They land that one big punch and their opponent simply can’t get themselves back off the canvas, but is this their natural ability or do they just have a lucky punch?

A fighter with a knockout power punch is far from lucky, they may of won one or two fights with a punch they didn’t expect to be a knockout punch, especially if their opponent is considered to have a tough chin, but their power and skill to deliver it is built in them.

K1 Kickboxing Equipment

So, what is a punch?

Assuming we are not talking about Punch and Judy or a punch for a Halloween party, a punch is when you hit someone with a closed fist.

Is it important to have a knockout punch?

It is not necessary all important to have a knockout punch but it will certainly give confidence to a fighter, because even if they are down on the scorecards, the fight could turn around with one punch. It also prevents to have to go the distance on every fight. As much as fighters enjoy being in the ring, getting the buzz of winning, they won’t mind the fight had finished early. Also, the spectators love it when a fight is full of powerful punches, knockdowns and a knockout in boxing.

What is a powerful type of punch?

In boxing, there is only 4 typical punches which form an endless amount of combinations. The jab, which is an effective punch to use for either defensive or attacking. It can be thrown sharp but it is not considered a knockout punch and very few people have been knocked out with a jab. The hook, uppercut and cross punch are what are the powerful punches that make a knockout in boxing.

Read our article ‘What are the basic moves in boxing and kickboxing’ here.

How do i get a knockout punch?

A knockout punch comes down to a several factors and you will need an element of each to get such power. Genetics, technique, speed, intense training, weight and aggression all play a role in being able to punch hard. Also, if a boxer doesn’t have the most powerful of punch, if their opponent has whats considered as a glass chin, they will get knockout more easily.

  • Genetics – Genetics is a big part of who we are, even though we may not have identical features to our parents our genetics do form who we are. Your genetics also determine how responsive your body is to resistance training in general. It is what gives us higher hormone levels or aggressiveness that enable us to train harder or even develop more muscle mass. It would be hard to imagine the son of Arnold Schwarzenegger not to have any muscles.
  • Technique – The art of boxing is about punching correctly. When you have mastered the skill to punch with using your body weight simultaneously, that is when you see the most power.
  • Speed – Speed is a part of what generates force. Iron Mike Tyson didn’t knock people out just because of his build, he was also like lightening, especially for a heavyweight.
  • Weight – A heavier person will naturally throw harder punches but that doesn’t mean a lighter fighter can’t throw just as hard if they use their weight correctly.

Body weight / size

Some people can hit relatively hard from the minute they start boxing, this usually is the bigger guys, but it takes years of training to perfect a beautiful punch. Body weight and size is not everything to create a big punch because even the heavyweights themselves have different knockout records.

If you compare Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, the lightest being Deontay. He has the biggest knock out record, then Joshua and then Tyson Fury with the least amount of knockouts and he is naturally the biggest fighter. That doesn’t mean Fury can’t punch just as hard, let’s face it, no one would fancy a smack off him, but it is how he fights to why he doesn’t have a great knockout record. Joshua and Wilder are more aggressive fighters looking for that knockout punch.

See the top 10 fighters with the highest percentage of knockouts in boxing here.

Technique and speed

For a knockout in boxing, speed and technique are most important for a punch. This may seem crazy but most of the punch in fact comes from the legs and hips. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, but if you look at top golfers, they can drive a ball hundreds of yards and they don’t have huge muscles. This is because the speed they generate from their hips and hitting the precise part of the ball is what makes a long drive, This is the same principle for punching in boxing. When you punch with a cross, you twist your hips and come onto the ball of the back foot to push all of your energy forward.

Issac Newton came up with the formula to generate force with Newton’s second law of motion is F = ma, or force is equal to mass times acceleration. So, if you imagine a fighter throwing a punch, the basic physics behind it is his weight x the speed which equals the force of his punch. Also, the weight of the boxing gloves will slightly slow down your speed and the padding with make the punch less damaging.

Read our article ‘MMA gloves vs boxing gloves: Which hit harder?’ here.

Even with this formula it still doesn’t calculate the exact power as accuracy and timing also play a role. A punch needs to be aimed at the right target like the chin for it to be a knockout punch and timing is everything.

Accuracy and timing

There is a big difference between getting a knockout punch to throwing a knockout punch as it is great to have power on the punch bag but the timing needs to perfect in a real life scenario to generate the most power. As a punch is thrown it gains power with the acceleration until it reaches its peak before the force goes on a decline, this is the point to land the punch. Over extending or pulling the punches will reduce the power of a punch.

Also, you should imagine you are punching threw your target for the most impact. When all these areas are ticked, that’s when you will deliver a monstrous punch.

Tip: A good combination to practice on focus pads for powerful knockout punches is hook, cross, hook or cross, hook, cross as in this combination you can use your body in a pendulum effect, also called pendulum law in Physics. A law, discovered by Galileo in 1602, that describes the regular, swinging motion of a pendulum by the action of gravity and acquired momentum. In each punch twist your body and you will get momentum twisting the other way for the next punch.

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Final Thoughts

Try not to worry about trying to always to punch harder. If you concentrate on perfecting your technique and then improve your speed, the power will naturally come. Also, trying to gain weight just to punch harder is not the best solution as for a fighter, you will need to change your weight class.

Watch the video below for 10 great knockouts in boxing.