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5 Tips For Developing A Knockout Punch

Tyson Knockout Punch
Written by Martin S

What are 5 ways to increase your knockout punch? After all, knockout punches sell shows, fill arenas and make for an unforgettable memory. Decision of a fight will often change based on that one shot that landed perfectly and rocked the opponent. Sometimes an underdog will come out on top in the last minute after unleashing a devastating blow. So what really does it take to become a hard puncher? Do you have to have certain genetics to become incredible puncher? Or can you increase your punching power by nailing down that technique.

Knockout Punch

To develop a knockout punch, first of all, it requires devotion, time and sweat. Without putting up a sacrifice, no one can develop a strong punch. Sure, you may see a fighter enter a gym without much fighting history and be a natural with his fists. Seemingly his punches are thrown better and they sting more. While genetics themselves can play a big factor in being a strong puncher, anyone can work on their punching to become better. At the end of the day, there is always someone out there with more superior footwork, technique, speed or power. If you look at Iron Mike, Julian “The Hawk” Jackson or “Sugar” Ray Leonard, they are at the top of power game. What can you do to fill that gap, and, perhaps, become one of the greats with an incredible knockout punch?

1. Technique

A properly executed punch should feel like a hot knife going through butter. What this means is it must feel so smooth and natural that there should be no personal resistance to the punch. This not equate to throwing punches wildly. This means that the punch itself feels like being one with your body. When technique suffers, your power will suffer. As that punch is thrown, incorrectly executed technique will hinder speed and power. Without nailing technique, you would not reach the full potential of the punching power. How to develop technique? Other than getting a coach, which is without a doubt the best way – there are a bunch of things that can help.

Number one is shadow boxing. Shadow boxing has been around for a long-long time and rightfully so. The aim of shadow boxing is to mimic a fight without having an actual opponent. What this allows is to become efficient with movement and practice punching (and defending) from different angles. The best way to practice shadow boxing is by actually imagining an opponent. When visualizing an opponent very vividly, your mind can’t really tell the difference whether you are visualizing punching someone or if it is a real opponent. With shadow boxing you are practicing technique to develop a muscle memory. Shadow boxing is also a great way for correcting punching technique because you can go through the motion slowly. For technique, here are some tips from the legendary trainer Freddie Roach:

2. Power Of Rotation

When a punch is properly executed, your torso goes through a twisting motion. The best way to test this is by attempting to throw a punch being completely still from the shoulders down. Extend your arm and throw a punch. It will feel incredibly weak in comparison to, when you add a twist to the motion. This twisting motion allows generating power and momentum that converts from your torso to your punch. Since rotation itself is incredibly important for strong punch, it must be continuously developed so you can create higher power from this rotation. This rotation involves an entire body but the biggest catalyst to this rotation is abs. With weak abs, rotation will be weak and as a result – the power of punch. There are a ton of exercises out there for abs. For inspiration, check out “Triple G” Gennady Golovkin’s ab workout. At the time of writing this article, his professional record stands at 37 Wins and 0 Losses. 33 of these wins came with a KO.

3. Power of legs

Power and explosiveness of legs is an incredibly important component for powerful punching. Without having that speed and power of pushing off the ground for a split second, it diminishes the potential of delivering a knockout punch. Why are legs so important for delivering power in your punches? Mainly it is about converting power. Legs obviously are a very big muscle group in comparison to your arms (unless you are Popeye). Because your legs have more muscle, it allows for a higher potential of generating power than your arms would. Squat world record will be always higher than bench world record. That’s simply because with more muscle fibre you can create more force.

Of course, without actually throwing the punch with your arm, there will be no impact. What leg power allows is to generate force that then converts into punch throw the rest of your body. Neglecting leg power will massively hinder any power in punches since the base will not be strong. We will not go into individual leg exercises but there are a ton of them out there. Mike Tyson really demonstrates in his training footage how he utilized legs to generate power. His transitions would consist of going down in a very short squat and then shooting up. This generates power and with properly executed technique – a knockout punch.

4. Stay Relaxed

You may ask - what staying relaxed has to do with punching? After all, aren’t we meant to put force in punch and that means getting tense? This is a tip that many fighters forget. This is an incredibly common mistake in novice boxers and this has to do with not understanding how power is generated. When your muscles are tensed – they contract. For example, flex your bicep and afterwards slowly extend your arm fully. What you will notice is that it does not feel natural and comfortable to extend the arm. This is because your bicep is doing the opposite job of what you are trying to achieve – it’s trying to contract your arm while you want to extend it at the same time.

By keeping your body relaxed and throwing punches from a non-tense manner, it will ensure you engage only those muscles in punching that are necessary. As a result, this will increase the power and speed at which that shot it thrown. It’s an easy mistake to make and it’s no surprise – you want to throw a hard shot so you make sure to engage your entire body and flex all the muscles. With experience, you will know exactly which muscles groups are engaged. Once you understand what muscle groups are engaged, it will be easier to stay relaxed and only use these muscle groups. Staying relaxed will ensure you don’t work against yourself when that punch is thrown.

5. Bag Work

When it comes to punching power and becoming one of the great knockout artists – you have to work the bag. Top boxers would spend hours punching speed bags and heavy bags to practice throwing a shot. Without continuously practicing throwing a shot, it is highly unlikely that anyone can develop a competitive punch and stop their opponent. Bag work is a perfect way to practice technique and develop strength at the same time. When your hand meets resistance while attempting to go through it – it gets used to it and builds power. Bag work is the best way to practice throwing shot on a body without having an actual body. You can practice precision and work the angles – these aspects are vital when you are actually in the fight itself. Your opponent will not stand still and allow you to deliver that shot you’ve been dreaming about. He will move, evade and throw counter-punches. That’s why you want to develop strength from all angles and have the ability to throw powerful shots in movement. Bag work is what allows you to do this.


These are just five of the top tips for developing a better punch. Throwing a knockout punch takes time to develop and is an art form. You don’t want to become a one trick pony that only has one shot in the book. That shot might never present its opportunity in the match and you might need to rely on other skills. All of the tips above will elevate your fighting game and we hope you found them useful.

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