What makes the perfect punch?

There are few sights in sport as shocking and unforgettable as witnessing a one-punch knockout. Boxers have a wide variety of favourite types of punches, and there are many different kinds of knockouts. But what components combine to produce perfection? Is power as important as technique, and does timing beat speed?

David Haye, the former WBA heavyweight champion:

In my experience, people who can move from one point to another quickly cannot only punch hard, but knock out their opponents.

It is hard to counter someone without speed, unless you are very lucky and just wing a punch that your opponent doesn’t see. Timing is vital. Speed and timing are both key, but if your timing is out, you can’t land your punch. Good balance is a crucial element of throwing a knockout punch. You need to be able to explode from your feet, using every ounce of your weight. It is not about how strong your arms are – the key is to have a strong core, in terms of your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

You need to generate power to explode through your target. It is not about how hard you can hit that person, it is the velocity of the movement coming through the target that causes maximum impact. People who have high knockout ratios do not look to punch at their opponent’s chin, they look to punch 12 inches through the chin, and that motion is what leads to the knockout.


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