Martial Arts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students and teachers of all martial arts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference in the physiological mechanics for a knockout caused by an impact to the head and a knockout caused by an impact to the liver?

share|improve this question
Do you have any examples of a liver KO? I've never seen anyone actually lose consciousness, just collapse from pain. – Dave Liepmann May 28 '12 at 1:19
In wikipedia here the is two reference of what they call liver knockout " Bernard Hopkins' knockout of Oscar de la Hoya in 2004, or the 2007 knockout of José Luis Castillo by Ricky Hatton." – aberration May 28 '12 at 1:36
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Head shots - knock out

Impact to the head can cause actual loss of consciousness, by brain trauma.

Liver shots - knock down

Hitting the liver can be devastating, but does not cause loss of consciousness. As shown here in the Hatton/Castillo fight, or here, with de la Hoya getting hit by Bernard Hopkins, liver strikes can be so incredibly painful that even hardened fighters will give up--turning away, taking a knee, writhing in pain--but nobody passes out from them.

Even when Bas Rutten hit Jason Delucia in the liver five times, rupturing the organ, nobody passed out. Jason is just stunned and collapses from the enormous amount of pain.

My understanding is that it is somewhat easier to hit the liver with smaller gloves or no gloves. For this reason it is a popular target in Kyokushin karate, as seen here: kyokushin liver punch knockdown

For further information, I recommend this overview by two doctors, in the context of muay Thai, self-defense, boxing, and mixed martial arts. They contend that strikes to the liver are the most debilitating out of any target on the body (excluding the head).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.