Boxing Tip #22 - How to Knock Someone Out

This boxing tip might be a bit controversial. Some people believe you have to be born with knockout power in order to knock someone out. I, on the other hand, believe you can be taught how to knock someone out.

What is a Knockout?

Well, first, there is a difference between a knockout (KO) and technical knockout (TKO). A technical knockout is what happens when the referee or a boxer's corner in a boxing match decides the boxer can no longer safely continue. A full knockout is what happens when a boxer is simply physically unable to continue fighting following any legal strike.

Knocked Out!
Photo by superwebdeveloper

Most anyone will associate a knockout with a sudden loss of consciousness where the boxer falls limp to the mat. This usually happens following a wicked shot to the head, but body shots such as those to the liver can also induce pain that results in a KO.

What Causes a Knockout?

Your brain is kind of floating inside your skull. All around the outside of your brain - between your brain and your skull - is a liquid cushion (mostly water). This cushion keeps your brain from bouncing off your skull during most activities.

When you get hit in the head in boxing, you experience a cerebral concussion where the cushion is not able to stop your brain from smashing into your skull. Everytime this happens you experience some degree of brain damage. Repeated blows to the head result in a lot of brain damage and you eventually end with the consequences - punch drunk is the term often used.

Now the impact is not believed to be the main cause of the knockout, although it probably has something to do with it. It is generally agreed on that a knockout is caused by some trauma to the brain stem. This trauma is caused by punches that cause you to twist your head violently. The same motion will also induce your brain to smash against your skull.

Combining the two is a recipe for a knockout as it causes a disruption in your body's electrical system which basically causes everything to shut down instantly. I'm sure that's over simplified, but it's the jist of how a knockout occurs.

Kinds of Knockouts

Not all knockouts are created equal. There are three types:

  1. Typical Knockout - characterized by lasting loss of consciousness. When you come back from lala land, you generally have no memory of the event.
  2. Flash Knockout - lasts less than three seconds and you retain memory of the combat that caused it. I experienced this one myself in the gym one day. I got smoked and one of my legs suddenly gave out staggering me a bit along with a tingling feeling. I remember it all and instantly knew how close to hitting the canvas I had come.
  3. Stunning Knockout - here you don't actually lose consciousness, you're just rendered totally inept. The blow leaves you unable to hear, see, or do much of anything - you're stunned temporarily until you can shake it off...
  4. How to Knock Someone Out

    Top Ten Boxing Knockouts

    Now the moment you've been waiting for. I'm going to teach you how to knock someone out (by punching). My argument for why anyone can learn how to throw a knockout punch is based on the fact that a knockout actually does not require a whole lot of power. A properly placed punch with sufficient power that is more than your opponent can handle will knock him out.

    Problem here is that everyone is different. The amount of power it takes to knock me out isn't necessarily the same as what it would take to knock you out. That's why boxing commentators will often make reference to how good a chin a boxer has - meaning his ability to withstand a knockout punch.

    There are two things you can do (and one thing your opponent can do) to make it much more likely that you will knock them out:

    1. Pinpoint Accuracy (Technique) - the chances of knocking someone out are much more likely if you cause a violent turn of the head. This twist happens much more naturally if your punch lands on the chin or temple compared to the cheek or further back. The neck simply is weaker in preventing the twisting motion. If you want to spin a wheel, do you spin it from the center or from an edge - the edge is much easier - same principle applies.
    2. Speed - knockout power isn't a result of massive arms - it's a result of how fast you can accelerate those massive arms into an opponent's head. Knockout power is a result of speed and technique moving a given mass. Mass has a part in the equation, but speed matters more and you can get more powerful punches faster by perfecting your technique to increase your speed.
    3. Dehydration - This is the one your opponent can do. If they are dehydrating themselves - say in the later rounds - that thin layer of cushioning in the brain gets even thinner meaning every punch causes that much more damage. So, stay hydrated.

    That's why I believe anyone can learn how to knock someone out. Show them the proper technique and have them practice to the point where they have sufficient speed and can hit precisely on a target and a knockout is inevitable within reason. I say within reason, because there are some big dudes out there that can take quite a punch - but by the same token there are plenty of big dudes who can't.

    To make it simple:

    (Speed + Technique) > Opponent's Resistance = Knockout

    What You Can Do To Increase Your Chances of Knocking Someone Out

    To make it more likely that your punches are going to have that knockout power, do the following:

    1. Work on Your Core - Strong abs and obliques will enable you to twist your body with greater force which is a key part of the pivot principle. More pivot equals more power. Crunches, oblique crunches, hanging leg raises, side bends and roman twists will get this are functioning correctly.
    2. Work on Your Accuracy - Head on over to your heavy bag and put a couple of marks on it about chin and temple height. Now as you dance around the bag, aim to hit those spots dead on, everytime from different angles. You can also put marks or tape something to your double end bag to try and hit. Because it's moving wildly, you'll develop your accuracy and hand eye coordination.
    3. Hit the Gym - while not the only factor, more strength generally means more speed and more mass. All of that together will make you more powerful as long as the added muscle isn't just for show (needs to be functional muscle). If you strength train, ensure you're throwing some bodyweight exercises into the mix as well. Total control of your body is what you're looking for and the ability to explosively move the muscles that matter.
    4. In Summary

      There you have it - your complete guide to learning how to knock someone out. With enough practice, determination, skill, power, and luck in terms of your opponent - you could be the victor standing over a twitching mass on the floor one day. Good Luck.

      Have you been knocked out or knocked someone out? Let's hear about it. Maybe you don't agree with me that you can teach knockout power? Let's debate it. Leave a comment.


this was so helpful-& im not being sarcastic

I believe you! :-)

The video definitely supports what you said in this boxing tip. I may have seen one body punch that resulted in a knockout, but most were extremely quick jabs that resulted in a "head snap". Awesome!

Great Tip, i'm gunna abide by this tip to the max. GG

I couldn't see the video. It said it was private.

hi this helped telling me where to hit but i'm short and not very strong you im only 15 but i spar people about 18 and scrape a win on points. we have occasional fight nights when people come and watch and its embarrassing when im too short to hit the persons face i hate fighting on the inside but i dont have much choice any advice?

p.s how should my feet be positioned im a southpaw fighter and my footwork isnt that good

hi mate im only 5:9 and im a heavyweight im 16stone and i but im fast and powerful for my weight .. i have problems with tall people and the best thing to do is attack and keep attacking the body dont leave them get in close and power through them.. eventaully they will lean down step back and hit the head shot.... hope this helps

Hello Dan now you may not know me but i was reading your statement and to be honest im only 5ft 6 and i box grown ups that are way bigger than me and i still come out succesful. SO dan depending on how tall you are if their is someone that is bigger than you go for that body it will taje away their breath and make them lean and then you take your shot.

If you have anymore questions you can reach me at @kyledixonfridaythe13

Nice site you got here, very informative. I've been punched plenty of times bareknuckle but the hardest I remember ever getting hit was by some dude at a gym who cheapshotted me in a sparring match. I told him right before we started I wasn't gonna him hard and I guess he thought I was bragging or something, but I was being literal. I head nothing but gym rent a gloves. He had wraps , mouothpiece and better gloves and actually competed in amateur boxing. Anyway, the round starts and first thing he does is throw the most vicious straight right left hook my eye. I was seeing STARS, I know he intended to lay me out. Unsportsmanlike but goddamn that really hurt. I recovered quick enough and he ran to the coach and said I was out for revenge. He ended up kinda letting me hit him one back and I hit him as hard as I had said I would, those shots you are supposed to be able to take. People like that ruin training in all types of combat sports. In MMA gyms you often get wrestlers who come in and want to body slam damn near everyone.

It's because that's what the wrestlers know what to do... Why would you use a technique in a fight that your opponent is better at? Would you? I know I wouldn't. They slam you (I'm assuming you mean throwing wise) because you didn't take the time to teach them how to strike.

hey guys, i bare knuckle fight and box my friends alot and im curious as to what would be the best way to end the fight quick without breaking bones, and to the comment above about the cheapshot, mma fighters are stupid really, when in a real serious street fight do you use arm and leg locks? you will look an idiot. p.s im 15

One reason you might want to use an armbar or leg lock in a street fight is that they have potential to break a limb, which would prevent that person from using that limb against you, which ultimately, would result in you winning the serious street fight... I think it would make the other person look like an idiot if they tried to jump some guy and got their arm broken... But whatever makes you happy...

You won't look like an idiot when you snap your opponent's arm/leg. That's what the arm and leg locks do. It's a very practical way to end a street fight actually

Is there any workouts to prevent from getting KO?

There are lots of great workouts that will help prevent you from getting knocked out and they all focus on the fundamentals of boxing defense. If you have a good defense and dialed in technique, chances are far less that your opponent is going to be able to land an accurate shot that turns into a knockout punch. So focus on developing a good defense and keeping your head/chin and vital body parts protected at all times.

If you're thinking there might be some workout where you can practice taking shots to the head and body that will lessen your susceptibility to knockout punches - the answer is no and in fact, repeated blows to the head can result in concussion and make you even more susceptible to knockouts in the future.

Your best option is to avoid getting hit in the first place and lessening the blows of punches that do land.

I've knocked out ppl in and out of the ring and no one ever taught me how to do it. U can't teach it cuz it's sum u have to learn on ur own. U gotta learn ur own technique, strength, and speed. Once u figured dat out knocking ppl out will be like 2nd nature,well for me it was anyway.

I have stunned 2 huge guys before, with the same technique, parry their punch then a strong right hook to the chin, left them stunned and looking like an idiot. Quite surprising.

Thanksss. Been wanting to knock out this caca for years. (y)

I'm fighting today MMA matchup with a taller opponent and I need a little motivation and how I should land a knockout punch at the right time. Thanks

Well im a taller fighter myself and i can tell you its harder to duck a punch so dont get too much distance if you dont have to. Just fight him like you would someone your height keeping in mind what i just said and play to your strengths. Hit him when he least expects it. If he doesnt have time to lock his neck up there will be much more pivot and much more sleepiness

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