the science of a boxing knockout

The Science Of A Knockout In Boxing

Witnessing a fighter get knocked out is the most exciting thing a boxing crowd can experience. A study suggests that KO blows may be harmful to a boxer's short- and long-term health in addition to hurting their sense of self-worth. The long-term effects of repeated brain damage might include dementia and personality issues. The combatant may pass away if the punches are powerful enough to cause uncontrollable cerebral haemorrhage or edema.

The place of contact for a clean knockout is frequently a fist to the chin or jaw. The chin or jaw alone does not cause the opponent to doze off.

When the head is hit, the brain is agitated and bumps up against the inner skull walls. This occasionally causes concussion-like symptoms, such as blurred vision and weakness in the legs. However, excessive shaking can make someone fall asleep since it shuts down their brain.

The chin and jaw are the most common places to be struck because they induce the most head movement, sending the brain into a rattling frenzy and most likely leading to a quick knockout. The chin is the ideal sweet spot because it commands attention right away.

The top of your opponent's head and the front of their face, which will cause bloody noses and swollen eyes, are the areas that cause the least head movement. The sides of the head experience more "brain-rattling," and the temples are softer, weaker regions as well.

Because of how it seems, a single blow may result in a knockout early on in the fight. However, the bulk of the time, they are caused by repetitive hits that send the brain-rattling in slow motion and mild concussions throughout each round.

When boxing, keep your chin down and your hands up at all times. This is one of the best defences against a knockout. Additionally, it's imperative to brace for impact since your head will snap much more severely if you are caught off guard, and your neck and shoulders are too relaxed.

Many fighters and coaches advise strengthening the muscles in your neck and shoulders because a strong, stable neck helps minimise the force of a punch. According to doctors and scientists, the advantageous architecture that helps athletes avoid knockouts is mainly inherited.

As hard as you physically can be enough to knock somebody out, especially if you aim for their temple. It is a very sensitive area of the head, and you don’t have to be insanely strong to cause considerable damage.


Chin – Striking someone on the chin can knock someone out because it forces the head to twist so suddenly and severely that it rattles the brain. 14. Temple – As a chin hit, a strong punch to a soft temple can cause extreme brain trauma that can easily knock someone unconscious.


Brain trauma is bad news and generally not the sort you wake up from later without major complications. So the answer is between 144lbs to 186lbs of force to knock someone out.


As for using a fist is very easy to knock people out if you are a heavy hitter. Every time I hit someone in the head, down they are usually knocked out. Like someone else mentioned, punch all the way through and hit the person on the jaw or in the eye. Train yourself by working out on a heavy bag and lifting weights.


There is no easier opponent to knock out than the aggressive opponent. All you need is the confidence to stand with him, a little bit of technique, and the timing to make your counters count. He goes forward. You keep your head down and put launch the biggest right cross you got into his face.


What Happens In The Brain When You Get Knocked Out In A Boxing Match?

A well-placed punch can knock you out before you even touch the ground in an instant. Of course, that is what every professional boxer desires — or, if he is unfortunate enough to get a blow, dread. But what actually transpires in the brain after such trauma?

The brain is extremely delicate. It is mostly composed of nerves and blood vessels. So what we're talking about is a soft, squishy mass of tissue that commands you as a person and regulates all higher neurological activities. Despite this flaw, the brain is highly robust to trauma, and "blackouts" aid in this by serving as a kind of defence mechanism.

All of this gooey matter is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, a clear, colourless fluid that shields the brain from coming into contact with the skull. However, the acceleration from the punch and the deceleration from the muscles and tendons trying to stop the head from spinning further could cause the brain to slam into the skull if the punch is strong enough.

Brain cells begin to die as a result of the physical stress when the brain bangs into the skull. This occurs repeatedly when the brain hits the skull's inside walls until the force of the blow has subsided.

A huge number of neurotransmitters fire at once as a result of the trauma. This behaviour results in temporary paralysis because it overloads the neurological system, which leads to a system crash.

Boxing Brains

A squishy, mushy organ covered in blood and linked with arteries, nerves, and veins is contained under the protective shell of your skull. A neurochemical response that results in cell death in the brain cells starts when you receive a blow to the head that is so severe that it renders you unconscious. A study in the journal Neurology journal found that the amount of brain tissue decreases as more cells perish. It could explain why people who have head injuries never entirely recover.

The duration of their unconsciousness and, more significantly, the force of the strike will all be factors. A professional boxer can punch with a power of about 400 kg at speeds of up to 32 mph and 25 mph, respectively. The ordinary individual can only exert one-tenth of a professional boxer's force without any boxing training, which helps put the magnitude of their power into perspective.

KO-quality punches frequently leave their victims with memory issues, mood swings, bewilderment, and a decreased rate of information processing. White matter, the tissue that forms the brain's communication network and is crucial for effective processing, is lost in the frontal and posterior brain areas. According to specialists, even a loss of five to ten per cent, which may appear insignificant, will significantly impact the brain.

The fabled knockout is the match's crowning delight, and without connecting with a gloved hand, the boxers' performances are underwhelming. "A boxer's victory is achieved in blood," a first-century boxer is quoted as saying in Greek literature. With millions of dollars and the honour of being a champion, Mayweather and Pacquiao will aim for blood and brain damage.

The Scientific Formula For Knockout Power

the science of a boxing knockout3

In terms of physics, I think the following equation is crucial in relation to KO power:

Kinetic Energy (KE) = 1/2 mass x velocity^2

KE is the amount of energy in your fist that you want to maximise at the point of contact. To maximise the KE:

  • Maximise the amount of weight behind the punch
  • More importantly, maximise the VELOCITY of your fist

Because velocity is squared in the equation, I contend that it is more significant. You multiply it by itself when you square something to all those without a mathematical aptitude or the Chinese math brain that I am so fortunate to have been blessed with.

So if velocity is 3, plug it into this equation, and you get 3^2 = 3×3 = 9.

If the velocity is 4, you get 4^2 = 4×4 = 16.

Velocity is exponential, whereas mass is linear.

Returning to the "snap back" myth, pulling your fist back will decrease the force with which you strike your opponent. Simply said, your fist cannot quickly change its trajectory at the point of impact due to physical limitations. Additionally, as I already stated, this is irrelevant due to the bounce between the head and fist.

Now that we've dispelled a major myth regarding punching power and one of my earlier misconceptions (sorry, but I'm always learning, too), let's move on.

Since velocity is squared in the KE equation, getting knockouts is more crucial and is the factor we have the most control over.

How Can A Punch Knock You Out?

To explain how consciousness can be quickly lost and then spontaneously returned after mechanical head trauma, a number of theories have been put forth over time. As a reasonably uniform type of traumatic brain injury, the knockout punch in boxing can be used to test the predictions of these hypotheses.

The pore development upon stretching of the axonal cell membrane mechanoporation is a leading contender, despite the fact that none of the proposed ideas can be regarded as fully proven. Here, we make the case that a comparison to the experimental technique of electroporation helps enhance the theoretical underpinnings of mechanoporation.

The Facts

The force of a professional boxer's punch is comparable to the impact of a 9 kg bowling ball hitting someone's skull at 32 km/h.

It should come as no surprise that research indicates that over 90% of professional boxers will experience brain damage at some point in their career. In the meanwhile, multiple studies have discovered that 15% to 40% of boxers had symptoms of a persistent brain injury.

As a result, there were roughly 488 boxing-related fatalities between 1960 and 2011, with head and neck injuries accounting for 66% of them.

The Devastating Effects

Combat sports deaths remain a very frightening reality despite recent significant advancements in concussion protocols and management.

Three professional boxers died from knockout punches they received during planned matches in 2014 alone. Tesshin Okada of Japan, Oscar Gonzalez of Mexico, and Phindile Mwelase of South Africa all passed away after being knocked out and never regaining consciousness.

Biomechanics Of A Knockout Punch

What then constitutes a knockout punch? In the first place, the technique is king. This lecture won't focus on the technical aspects of producing punch power because combat sports instructors have spent a lifetime mastering them. Understanding the biomechanics of the punch, however, sheds light on the necessity to train various movement patterns as well as how to do so.

Power Production – From the Ground Up

Anyone who practises striking arts intuitively knows that they will generate more force if they "twist the hips" or "place their body behind the blow." Just seems more powerful. In a landmark study published in 1985, Filimonov and colleagues investigated the impact of various body parts on the punching power of different levels of boxing competitors. They discovered that higher-level athletes used their legs more to produce power in their punches. Analysis of the shot put throw, which is biomechanically comparable to the punch, has also shown conclusions that are similar.

Contraction Types

Both tests with and without an eccentric component should be used to evaluate muscle power. The types of workouts to be done at various stages of a fighter's programme should be determined using the results of these examinations. However, it's also important to take into account how the muscles work during fighting.

A contraction of the eccentric muscle normally occurs before the lower body moves. For instance, setting up the lower body to throw an assault is typically done before throwing a fist. The hip, knee, and ankle first flexed (eccentric loading), then extended (concentric movement) to generate force.

Symptoms of a Punch

the science of a boxing knockout2

Even if a blow to the head does not knock the victim unconscious, the condition may nevertheless cause slowness of thought and disorientation. Since it resembles a person who has had too much grog, an alcoholic beverage, this is also known as being sleepy. Additionally, the gait may be impacted, at which point the person is described as having "spaghetti legs." This poses a risk for a boxer because it makes it harder to parry further blows.

A heavier blow may result in a loss of consciousness, which usually starts very immediately. It may be inferred from watching film clips of knockouts that the target of the strike is typically unconscious before a subsequent punch can connect. The boxer typically collapses to the ground as a result of a total lack of muscle tone.

Fortunately, within a few minutes or fewer, consciousness usually returns on its own. Early researchers called a loss of consciousness followed by a quick recovery "commotio cerebri" (a shaken brain). They distinguished it from cerebral contusion (brain bruise), in which the function was permanently lost (2, 3). This can also be seen in boxing, where knockout boxers occasionally lose consciousness and pass away from their wounds.

But whether or whether awareness returns, it is obvious that the force of the incoming hit must damage the brain areas in charge of preserving consciousness.

What Is The Difference Between Being Knocked Out And Suffering A Concussion?

Although they differ, they are connected. People once believed, for instance, that if you didn't lose consciousness, you didn't need to worry about concussion. Concussion research has now revealed, however, that roughly 90% of diagnosed concussions do not result in a loss of consciousness.

A similar phenomenon occurs when the head is severely struck. The brain goes into crisis as a result of the damage, circuit breaks, and twisting. However, several brain regions can be impacted. As the circuits supporting these tasks weaken, concussions, for instance, frequently result in vision impairments, disorientation, memory loss, headaches, balance problems, and a variety of other illnesses. But there is no assurance that you will be unconscious as long as the area of the brain that controls consciousness is not severely damaged.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Being Knocked Unconscious?

Depending on how severe the injury is. 75% to 90% of patients who experience a brief loss of consciousness and a concussion will fully recover in a few months. However, serious brain injury can render a person unconscious for days, weeks, or even longer. Surgery may be required to release pressure on the brain if there is internal bleeding or brain edema.

Depending on the parts of the brain damaged, severe injuries can also result in long-term repercussions that can range from memory loss to paralysis to seizures to long-term behavioural or cognitive abnormalities. But in many situations, being unconscious is a sign of injury rather than the origin of long-term problems.


Scroll to Top