The knockout punch can simply be described as a beautiful disaster. It can cause tremendous devastation on impact, ending any fight abruptly. In an instant, it can birth superstars and shatter dreams. At the same time, it is also a joy to behold, a technical masterpiece steeped in beauty.
Landing the knockout punch is a work of art.
Fans love knockouts because of the exciting potential they introduce into any given fight. They are fast and can come out of nowhere, and they can change the complexion of any bout at any moment.
When a strong knockout punch lands, you know it instantly. One guy is almost immediately on unsteady footing, shuffling into survival mode, or sent crashing to the canvas in split seconds.
If you’re working on your boxing and want to know everything there is to know about increasing the power in your punches, you’ve come to the right place. There is a level of science and technique to landing a strong knockout punch.
We’ve come up with a few pointers to help you turn your punches into devastating knockout blows. Today, Evolve Daily shares the five factors of a good knockout punch.
1. Learning the Fundamentals
In any sport, fundamentals are extremely important. You’ll be surprised at how many fighters don’t have a firm grasp of the basics. Having a strong foundation built on fundamentals will ensure your power potential is maximised.
A lot of beginners don’t throw their punches properly. Punches should have the weight of the body behind it, and should make use of the shoulders and the hips. Failure to do so will result in an underwhelming attack, more commonly known as ‘arm punching.’
To maximise power, coaches will always ask fighters to ‘turn into the punch,’ turning the torso toward the target while rotating the rear foot inward. This creates a smooth motion that will effectively transfer power from the base to the fist.
It is also advised to land punches using the two largest knuckles on the fist closest to the thumb. This will give the punch a solid point of contact. In addition, there are many small and brittle bones on the human hand that may not be able to handle impact if a punch lands incorrectly.
2. Focus on Speed
Another huge factor in the knockout punch is speed. When delivering punches, the focus must be on throwing with ample velocity, rather than exclusively just the weight of a punch. Velocity equals power.
Some of the fastest boxers in history were known to have tremendous knockout power. Former undisputed heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, one of the fastest big men in boxing comes to mind. Filipino firebrand Manny Pacquiao, an incredibly fast southpaw, had deceptive power that most of his opponents had difficulty processing.
If a punch is executed correctly, with the proper weight transfer and technique, and delivered with speed and velocity in mind, power potential is maximised.
3. Train Explosiveness
Another great quality powerful boxers possess is explosiveness, and it can be honed in gym drills such as the heavy bag or uppercut bag, among others.
As explained previously, power is generated in the base, which is why coaches often ask their fighters to ‘sit down’ on their punches. This will create the sturdy foundation from which they can generate power.
This is next transferred via weight shifting upwards through the torso and into the shoulders. Using the rotator cuff to launch the forearm and the fist as a projectile, and then ultimately connecting on the knuckles is the textbook method. These are the tools used in delivering a knockout punch.
Boxers can strengthen these tools through the standard boxing drills, or through resistance training with light weights, such as weighted shadow boxing.
If you want to improve your punching power, you have to train your body to be explosive.
4. Understand the Punch Variations
Boxers looking to improve punching power also need to gain a better understanding of the different punch variations, as every punch is executed differently.
You have the basic punches such as the jab, straight, hook, and uppercut, which all have their own technical nuances. A straight punch must be delivered fluidly down the middle, for example, or a hook has to be compact and explosive. As is with any technique, constant drilling and practice are key to mastery.
There are also advanced punch techniques such as the overhand, the check hook, and the shovel hook. All of these are important techniques to add to your punching repertoire.
All variations of punches should be part of a boxer’s offensive arsenal. Even if un-utilised in a fight, it is still worthwhile to understand these punch techniques, if only to develop defences against them.
Last but certainly not least, punches need to hit the mark in order to be effective, and for power to actually matter. In boxing, you can’t knock out what you can’t hit, so training for accuracy should be a priority.
Boxing drills such as the focus mitts, the double-ended bag, and the speed bag will all train for timing and accuracy. Sparring is also a great training tool to improve accuracy. Strive to diversify your combinations, to keep opponents unable to predict your output.
Improving your accuracy will increase your connect rate, scoring major points in the eyes of fans and judges alike. Of course, connecting cleanly will also increase the likelihood of landing a knockout punch and scoring a stoppage victory.
It can be argued that, above all else, accuracy is the most significant factor in landing a knockout punch. Not many opponents can survive being hit cleanly with a haymaker on the chin, or a thunderous liver shot.