With incredible speed and the capability of causing serious damage to the human body, a professional boxer’s punch is certainly something to be feared. Calculated in pounds per square inch (psi), some of the sport’s greatest heavyweights have been able to make history with the power of their punches and break records with the numbers of their psi.
But how hard can a professional boxer really punch? And what makes the impact so devastating compared to a regular person’s hit?
Join us as we look at the numbers behind boxers’ punches and how fighters have trained to maximise the ultimate weapon in the sport.
How Hard Do Professional Boxers Punch?
Whilst the figures differ between fighter weight classes inside the squared circle, the average heavyweight boxer can throw a punch between 1,200-1,700 psi.
Considering that the average person’s hitting force is at 120-170 psi, professional boxers can punch roughly ten times harder than the average human.
A boxer hitting someone directly at 1,400 psi would be the equivalent of being hit by a sports car going between 10-15mph, some of the sport’s hardest heavyweight hitters have been able to punch at even greater strengths, further showing the potentially lethal element of the sport.
How Hard Does a Boxer Punch in PSI?
Whilst the average heavyweight boxer punches between 1,200 – 1,700 psi, there are considerable differences in hitting power from the different weight divisions.
The average ‘elite level’ boxer is expected to range between 700-800 psi, however, this can differ depending on the fighter’s weight, speed and overall technique. This is a stark contrast to the average person who can hit roughly 150 psi.
Slightly higher than the average flyweight psi is the bantamweight’s who average between 500-700 psi whilst welterweights are even higher at the 700-1,000 psi region.
Compared to the lower weight classes, heavyweights and superheavyweights are in a league of their own, averaging an incredible 1,200-1,700 psi. Legendary boxer Mike Tyson could punch up to 1,800 psi during his outstanding career, earning himself the nickname ‘Iron Mike’ and winning 44 of his 58 professional fights by knock-out.
How Hard Does a Heavyweight Boxer Punch?
As the average heavyweight boxer can punch between 1,200 to 1,700 psi, this means that those on the lower side can still hit with more pressure than double a fully-grown lion’s bite (650 psi).
At 1,700 psi, boxers within this range have the ability to punch at the same power as an industrial pressure washer that would dent a car if used to wash it.
Alongside boxer’s punches, animal bite force is one of the most accurate readers for psi with some of the most dangerous animals on the planet sharing similar bite force readings with the punches of a professional fighter.
The hardest-hitting boxer in history, Mike Tyson, was rumoured to hit around the 1,800 psi figure, a punch as powerful as an African hippo’s bite force.
Whilst fighters in the lower weight divisions such as flyweight can hit around the 450-500 psi mark, this is still twice as powerful as the average dog’s bite which further shows the power of which boxers can punch at.
How Do Boxers Punch So Hard?
According to research, boxers are able to punch with incredible power due to a combination of their accurate technique, speed and weight. The more mass a fighter has mixed with a greater speed leads to a stronger impact, this is why heavyweight fighters can punch with the highest psi in all the divisions.
Boxing Science analysed that despite having different styles of boxing, some of the biggest hitters from the past 20 years have been able to knock out their opponents due to their larger mass and impressive speed.
Gennady Golovkin and Mike Tyson are two names that instantly come to boxing fans’ minds when thinking of great knock-out champions. These boxers’ explosive punches and dangerous speed earned them strong reputations in the boxing community.
American fighter Deontay Wilder’s boxing style is the most recent to reinforce this theory, with the ‘Bronze Bomber’ winning 41 of his 45 fights by knock-out thanks to the size, speed and mass that support his punches. Wilder’s trilogy fight with Tyson Fury was one of boxing’s biggest rivalries, and his knock-out power was a threat throughout.
How Do Boxers Take Punches?
The most common method of taking hits in boxing is certainly rolling with the punches, a tactic that involves the art of a boxer spinning their head or body away from your punch to decrease the damage.
Making it nearly impossible for a boxer to be hit square on, rolling with the punches can be an extremely difficult skill to master. The hardest part about rotating the body and head for a boxer is predicting where the opponent is attempting to strike, this method favours boxers with quick reflexes and reactions.
When taking shots to the body, a familiar method amongst many boxing coaches will be for the fighters to stiffen up their muscles and breath. This creates a harder surface area around the stomach, lessening the chance of the boxer being winded and unable to continue from a strong body hit. Boxers often train for this by bracing their body when having someone either pound their stomach with punches or a medicine ball for maximum results.
How Do Boxers Train Their Chin?
Boxers can train their chin by performing exercises that activate the deep anterior neck muscles, these workouts include tucking the chin when lifting weights or working on their core to create what many trainers call a ‘standing neck retraction’.
A commonly identified ‘glass jaw’ is when a boxer is vulnerable to knock-out punches, further suggesting they are a weaker fighter. Losing by knock-out can damage a fighter’s reputation as a potential career-ending problem so it is important for boxers to ‘train their chin’ in order to avoid losses in this manner.
Although a standing neck retraction is believed to be the strongest method for training a boxer’s chin, researchers have yet to find a way for a boxer to completely train the chin to withstand knock-out punches at the highest psi.