How to Recover From a Liver Punch – ShortBoxing

    Rear hook to the body

    If this has ever happened to you, you’re probably wondering, is there a way to ease the pain after a hard hit to the liver? well, the easiest way is to bend over until the pain goes away. but that will be counted as a fall. so the best way is to place your right hand on the liver and lightly press it. that will cushion the impact of the blow a bit. but its drawback is that it will make you vulnerable to headshots. and it will also motivate your opponent to be more aggressive once he sees that you are hurt.

    In this article, we’ll look at ways to avoid getting hit in the liver, but first, let’s dive into what exactly liver hit is and why it’s so devastating.

    If you’re serious about boxing, check out my ultimate beginner’s guide to boxing or get a free pdf of a beginner boxing workout routine

    Are liver injections legal in boxing?

    In boxing, punches to the liver are completely legal. there is no rule that prohibits such hits. the only places it’s not legal to hit your opponent are in the back of the head and below the belt.

    and that’s why pro boxers wear such oversized shorts. makes his rivals think that if they hit them below the waist it will be an illegal shot (because it is below the belt). this is actually not true because, according to the rules of boxing, the belt is an imaginary line running through the boxer’s body from the top of the hip bones. so by wearing big shorts they make their bodies smaller targets. so they can get a psychological advantage over their rivals.

    If you ever decide to compete, even in an amateur boxing match, this is a great trick you can use to protect your body (even from liver injections).

    liver punch

    The liver is located below the rib cage on the right side of the torso. that’s why in boxing, liver shots are usually done with left hooks or uppercuts (simply because your right is your opponent’s left). In kicking sports, such as MMA, Muay Thai, or kickboxing, in stand-up fighting, these strikes can be delivered with a left kick or knee, or with a spinning right kick.

    There are three reasons liver injections are used:

    1. to slow down your opponent. Body shots (including liver shots) are really effective when you want to slow down the other fighter. because they can take the air out of him, which will decrease the oxygen that reaches his muscles. that will make him run out of gas much faster. doing this will take advantage, especially in the later rounds.
    2. to hurt the body: This is the most obvious reason liver shots are used. they can be really painful. sometimes they can even cause a TKO because the fighter just can’t continue due to the pain.
    3. catch them off guard. When you hit someone hard in the liver, they will most likely drop their guard to protect their body. then you can land some clean hits to the head. this technique works very well especially when you caught your opponent on the ropes or in the corner. it’s a more advanced technique, but it’s a very sneaky way to catch someone off guard.
    4. combinations

      It’s hard to throw a punch to the liver because the other fighter can easily see it from a mile away and block it. so you need to configure it with something. For example, if you are an orthodox boxer, you can throw a 1-2 combination (jab-cross) to the head and then a left uppercut to the liver. it’s really effective, especially if you’re attacking from a distance.

      When fighting from the inside, you can start by targeting the body, then the head, then the body again. by doing this you will make the other boxer guess what is coming next and eventually they will make a mistake and you will land the shot to the liver.


      If you’re a southpaw fighter, you can land liver shots with your power hand. which makes them even more devastating. my favorite combination to do this is a jab to the head and then a ranged uppercut to the liver. It is a fairly simple but very effective combo. the jab draws your opponent’s attention away from your left hand with which you can land the liver punch unexpectedly.

      and on the other hand, when fighting a southpaw, you have to be aware of this. most southpaws love this combination, so they will likely use it against you. To prevent that from happening, I recommend keeping your right elbow down toward your body so you can stop the left hook toward your liver. the other thing you can do is catch your opponent’s lead hand with your left hand. he just reaches out your arm and catches his glove. by doing so, he can stop the jab even before he launches.

      The only problem with southpaws is that their liver is closer to their opponents due to their stance. which can make you an easy target. so if you’re left-handed, keep that in mind. And when fighting someone in the opposite position, you can use the same tactics: catch the lead hand and keep your right elbow close to your body, so you can stop shots.

      why can’t your body take a punch to the liver?

      The liver is the largest internal organ of our body. weighs about 3.3 pounds. the main reason it is so painful to get hit there is that, unlike the lungs and heart, the liver is not protected by the rib cage. there is also not enough muscle mass around it, which can reduce the impact of blows.

      how do you feel?

      Even not-so-powerful punches can be really painful if they land right in the liver. after such injections, you may begin to feel fatigued and breathless or even as if you have no legs. that’s why when you get hit in the liver it’s so hard to stay on your feet. the power of your blows will decrease and so will your speed due to the excruciating pain.

      If the punch is strong enough, your body may even shut down. you will be fully aware and want to get up, but your body just won’t let you. that happens because of the nerve fibers that surround the liver. they stimulate the autonomic nervous system which caused a lot of complex events. and the most important is the drop in blood pressure.

      *here is a video that explains why this happens a bit more in depth:

      Because of this, your body can force itself to a horizontal position to restore blood pressure in major organs (more specifically, the brain). That’s why you see many boxers (or other combat sports practitioners) fall to the ground after a shot to the liver, no matter how hard they are. It is not only because of the pain but also because of the physiological processes caused by the blow.

      In the worst case, your brain may shut down as a survival tactic, due to low blood pressure. so it is possible to even lose consciousness after a blow to the liver.

      delayed impact

      In some cases, the impact of the injection on the liver may be delayed. you may not feel anything for the first 2 seconds, but then… you know what will happen.

      difference between a punch to the head and a punch to the liver

      When you get punched in the head, that can make you stunned or disoriented. but usually you don’t feel the pain at that moment, just because you’re stunned.

      And when a hard uppercut or uppercut hits your liver, it’s just the opposite. most of the time your mind is clear so you process the pain. That’s why a shot to the liver can be much more painful than a punch to the head, despite the fact that blows to the head are more dangerous (because of the brain damage they cause).

      liver lesions

      The liver is responsible for many important processes in the human body. processes such as detoxification, protein synthesis, etc. there is no possibility of surviving without this organ. so it can be really dangerous to injure the liver.


      Sometimes you may think you have a liver injury, but in reality, the real problem may be a bruised (or even broken) rib. that’s normal because the ribs and liver overlap each other. so it’s hard to say where exactly it hurts.

      That’s why I recommend seeing a doctor if you’re still in pain several days after a fight or boxing match. and if the pain is really extreme, you should see a doctor immediately after the fight. because you can have broken ribs or a ruptured liver, which is really dangerous.

      cause of the injuries

      The liver is a flexible organ. so when you get hit from one side, the other side compresses. if the punch is powerful enough, it can cause breakage. And if the trauma is severe enough, you’ll probably need surgery.

      an interesting fact is that even a punch at a speed of 5 meters per second can damage the liver. and an average man can hit 6 meters per second, while professional boxers can hit twice as fast.

      liver injection treatment

      Ok, now we know what liver stroke is and why it is so painful. but what to do when one hits us?

      Actually, there are several things we can do to lessen the impact of the punch and ease the pain. some of them we can do before the actual fight – to condition our bodies. others immediately after they hit us, to ease the pain. and there are also some things we can do after the fight is over to speed up our recovery. let’s dive into them.

      before the fight

      The obliques and abdominal muscles are the ones that can lessen the impact of the blow to the liver, of course, only if we train them correctly. here are some great exercises to do that:

      • plank
      • creak
      • razor crunches
      • Another great way to condition your abs is to use a medicine ball. just ask someone to throw the ball to your abs. boxers like myke tyson did this exercise a lot.

        If you don’t have a medicine ball, you can ask your sparring partner to throw some hooks and uppercuts at your body using 50-60% of their strength. that’s also a very effective way to condition your body to resist liver shock.

        during the fight

        It is very important that after taking a hit to the liver you do not show your opponent that you are hurt. I know that’s easier said than done, but you really don’t want the other fighter to know that your body is damaged. because he can use it against you. he may start throwing more punches to your liver or he may fake a body shot just to make you react and then land a clean head shot. which can cause a knockout.

        so if you get hurt after a hit like that, you have 2 options:

        1. create distance: in such situations, every second counts. depending on the power of the hit, you’ll need up to half a minute to recover (if, of course, the hits aren’t really devastating). so a good tactic is to try to create some distance between yourself and the other boxer until he recovers. use your footwork – circle around him. you can also use your jab to keep your opponent at a distance.
        2. getting into a clinch: This is riskier, because your opponent can still land some body shots. so he tries to hold her hands. if it’s sparring, you can hold it until you recover. and if it’s a boxing match, the referee will separate you, but that still gives you a few extra seconds to recover.
        3. If the blow is too hard, you may not be able to hide your pain or get into a clinch. this is what you can do in such situations:

          1. open your right hand and place it on the liver
          2. try to breathe normally
          3. press lightly where you placed your right hand
          4. When you do this, the impact caused by the punch will resonate.

            To lessen the amount of punches you take to the liver, you can wear big shorts, so your body is a smaller target (like pro boxers do). another really offensive way to lessen the liver hits you take is to become a body hitter yourself. then no one will want to get into body shot exchanges with you.

            after the fight

            There really isn’t much to do after the fight is over. because most liver injuries require just enough time for the organ to recover. (but of course, if you feel really extreme pain, you better go to the doctor).

            To ease the pain a little you can take aspirin, but the most important thing is to rest. take your time to recover. otherwise, it can get even worse and may eventually even require surgery.

            So what I recommend is no sparring sessions for a week after a heavy liver injection. Of course, you can still do exercises like shadow boxing, heavy bag work, or pad work. And if you’re still in pain, it’s best not to do any exercise before it goes away, or at least just do light cardio.

            recovery time

            Recovery time after a liver injection can vary widely. It depends on the precision and power of the blow and your physical condition. for example, if you have blood pressure problems, that may be a factor.

            It also depends on the damage to your liver. if it is badly broken, it will take months to recover, simply because it will require surgery.

            and if you took a not so powerful but accurate punch to the liver, several minutes is enough. if the blow is more powerful, it may take several days at most.

            how to block a punch to the liver

            This article is more about what to do after getting hit in the liver, not how to stop injections into the liver, but the best way to treat a punch there is to prevent it from happening. here are some tips on how to do it:

            1. keep elbows down : keep your hands up but your elbows down. By doing this, you can protect both your head and your body.
            2. strong guard: arms should be close to the body so you can block punches
            3. Stay away: When someone tries to catch you with body shots, try to create distance using your lead hand and footwork
            4. Spin On Hits: Doing this will decrease the impact of hits. it is a more advanced technique but you can master it by sparring
            5. exhale: this way you will avoid being sucked out of air.
            6. flex your muscles: time the punch and use your abs and obliques to cushion it.
            7. lean your stance : don’t stay glued to your opponent. try to take advantage of an angle so they can’t catch you easily.
            8. Condition your forearms: If you block body shots correctly, you are likely to take a lot of forearm hits. that can be quite painful. so it’s a good idea to condition them. You can do this by training them with light weights, doing pull-ups, or other free-weight exercises. another way that athletes who play combat sports like muay thai or mma love is to hit the heavy bag with their forearms. something like elbow bumps. also by blocking punches during combat, that can also strengthen your forearms.

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