Are Liver Shots Legal In Boxing? A Mini Guide To Boxing Rules

Are Liver Shots Legal In Boxing

Boxing is categorized in most places as an extreme sport; that is why there are so many laws guiding the places or parts of the body where you can hit the opponent. Most disqualifications during boxing bouts occur when an opponent delivers repeated fouling, including low bouts, head-butting, biting, and rabbit punches. The referee will first warn offenders through verbal warning, and sometimes, points are deducted for repeated offenses until the referee can no longer condone such behaviors.

So, are Liver Punches Legal in Boxing?

Yes, Liver punches or shots are legal in boxing though it is illegal to hit an opponent at the back of the head or below the neck.

How You Can Recover From A Liver Punch

After the chin, the liver is perhaps the second most dangerous part of the body to get hit. You can only know what it feels like if you ever take a punch near your liver. Most times, the excruciating pain you get after getting hit at the liver will make you stop a fight.

If you have ever taken a hit at your liver and you wonder if there is a way to ease the pain as quickly as you can, then the following tip is for you. According to sports experts, the easiest way to recover from a liver shot is to crouch down and allow the pain to ease off.

If you are into competitive boxing, crouching down after a liver punch will be counted as a knockdown; hence the best thing to do is raise your right hand on the liver and press it lightly. Pressing the liver lightly will deaden the shock of the shot a little. The main disadvantage of this is that it will make you vulnerable to more punches from your opponent as it can make the opponent more aggressive, seeing that you are hurt.

To recover very well from a liver shot as a professional boxer, you need to create some space between you and the opponent or find a way to hold them down while you recover.

The Legality Of Liver Shots In Boxing

Liver shots are legal in boxing, and no rules forbid such. These shots could be one of the reasons why professional boxers wear big shots, making it appear that any blow or shot below the big shot will count as a foul.

According to the boxing rules, the beltline is an imaginary line appearing on the boxer’s body from the top of the hip bones. Wearing big shots will make a boxer’s body appear shorter for the target. This could provide a psychological advantage for the boxer wearing the shot.

Why Are Liver Punches Used?

Your liver is located under the rib cage and on the right side of your torso. This could be why liver punches are made with the left hooks or the uppercuts in boxing. Keep in mind that your right part is always your opponent’s left.   

Liver shots are often made with the knee or left kick in kickboxing and stand-up fighting. Sometimes, a spinning right kick can also make liver punches. There are three main reasons why liver shots are used, these are;

§  To slow down an opponent

§  To hurt someone, and

§  To catch someone off-guard

§  To Slow Down Opponent

Liver shots are part of the body punches that effectively slow down an opponent. The reason is that liver shots can decrease Oxygen delivered to the muscles, making the opponent gas out quickly. One can take advantage of this blow on the opponent’s latter rounds of a match.

To Hurt Someone- Liver shots can hurt the body. This is probably the most typical reason why such shots are taken. Liver shots can be excruciating, and sometimes the pain can lead to a total knockout because the opponent can no longer continue with the fight.

To Catch an Opponent Off Guard- When you inflict a liver shot on an opponent, there are chances that they will lower their guard to ease off the pain on the liver quickly. When they lower their guard, you can easily land more punches on other safer parts of the body, including the head. This technique often works better when an opponent is trapped against the ropes or in the ring corner.

Though this is an advanced technique, it is more of a sneaky way of trapping your opponent to lower their guard.

Combining Liver Shots With Other Strategies

It can be hard to land a liver shot because an opponent can sense it even from far away; this is the reason it is often combined with some other strategies. If you are a competitive boxer, for instance, you can throw a few jab-crosses to your opponent’s head before throwing the left uppercut against the liver. This combination strategy can be highly effective when attacking from a distance.

Combination techniques involving liver shots with other techniques can confuse your opponent as they will find it difficult to guess right.

Other Things You Should Know About Liver Shots

The following are the information you should know about the liver and liver shots;

1. The Liver is the Largest Internal Organ in the Body

The liver remains the largest organ in the human body, and it weighs about 3.3 lbs. This could be one of the reasons why it produces much pain when it is hit. Unlike other organs like the heart and lungs, the liver is not protected by the rib cage. Also, there are very few muscles around the liver that can reduce the impact of liver shots.

2.How Does the Liver Shot Feels?

Punches can become more stressful for your liver, especially when that region is badly hit heavily with more pressure. Once the liver shot is delivered, you may begin to feel fatigued and short of breath, as if your legs don’t exist. It can be difficult to remain on your feet when you are hit at the liver. It will lead to a decrease in your punch power and speed due to the excruciating pain.

If the liver shot is hard enough, your entire body may shut down. You may enter into an unconscious state because your body will not support your efforts to get back up. The punch will affect the nerve fibers around your liver, and these fibers stimulate the body’s autonomic nervous system that can lead to some complex events. One of the most significant effects of an autonomous nervous breakdown is a sharp decline in blood pressure.

To deal with the effects of liver shots, your body will try to force you into a horizontal position so that the drop in blood pressure is recovered. This is the reason why you see many professional boxers remain on the ground after heavy liver shots.

In the worst scenario, the brain may shut down temporarily to combat the extremely low pressure. It is, therefore, possible to lose consciousness after a liver shot.

The delayed impact can happen in some cases. This means you may not feel any impact after the first few seconds of the liver shot.

3. There is a Difference Between Liver Shots and Punches to the Head

A punch to the head may stun or disorient you, and because you are stunned, you may not feel any pain in your head for a moment.

A hard-hook or uppercut to your liver, your mind remains clear; hence you can feel the pain almost instantly. This is the reason why liver shots are more painful than head punches. Head blows, however, tend to be more dangerous because brain damage may occur when the punches are too heavy to bear.

4. Liver Injuries and Their Symptoms

The liver handles many important processes in the body; protein synthesis and detoxification are a few of such. Sometimes you may think you have a liver injury, but the issue may be a bruised or a broken rib. This is quite normal because ribs and liver overlap each other somehow, and it can be difficult to pinpoint where the pain comes from.

If you are a boxer or you were hit on the liver, and you have persistent pain that lasts more than 12 hours, you should consider seeing a doctor.


Getting a liver shot treatment may not be necessary if the pain dissipates within a few minutes or hours after hit. If you still feel pained, you may want to take pain relief medications that are recommended, and if the pain refuses to go, you should see doctor.

There are certain exercises that can reduce the impact of liver shots on your body, and these include; Jackknife sit-ups, planks, and crunches. You can also use the “medicine ball” treatment to condition your abs to be more protective of your liver.

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