Body Shot Knockouts: Beginners in boxing are sometimes unduly focused on landing strong blows on their opponents’ heads in order to sell themselves to spectators with spectacular knockouts, but seasoned boxers realise that striking the body may be just as successful at halting fights.
Punches to the sternum can knock an opponent out cold, while hits to the sides of the body might result in rib damage. The liver blow, on the other hand, is the most lethal strike you can deliver to an opponent’s body. If you hit one of these, your opponent will be temporarily paralysed while they writhe in misery on the ground.
The 15 Deadliest Body Shot Knockouts in Boxing History
1) Roy Jones Jr Vs. Virgil Hill
Roy Jones won Knockout of the Year in 1998 for his horrific body shot knockouts of Hill. Jones relinquished the WBC light-heavyweight championship approximately a year before his fight with Hill in order to focus on the heavyweight category.
Jones later changed his mind and agreed to face Hill, a former unified light-heavyweight champion, for the vacant championship.
Jones seized command of the battle from the start, landing one of the most vicious body blows in boxing history, a right hook into Hill’s left side. The blow landed on Hill’s body like a cannon, and he shouted in anguish as he collapsed to the ground. Hill did his best to get back on his feet, but the anguish was too great for him. His rib was broken as a result of the punch.
2) Micky Ward Vs. Alfonso Sanchez
When Ward met Sanchez in 1997, he concluded with one of his career’s most amazing finishes. Ward was a big underdog against Sanchez, who was unbeaten and famous for his massive hands at the time. At the time, Sanchez had defeated 15 of his 16 professional opponents.
The general belief before the bout was that Sanchez would knock Ward out, but Ward had other intentions. Ward didn’t come out swinging like a lunatic, as he was known to do. Instead, he fought intelligently, but he still lost rounds against Sanchez. Sanchez appeared to have sealed his victory when he knocked Ward to the mat in the second round, but the Irishman wasn’t done battling.
Ward withstood the assault and then landed his hallmark combination in the seventh round, rocked Sanchez with a hook to the head followed by two powerful hooks to the liver.
3) Bernard Hopkins Vs. Oscar De La Hoya
Bernard Hopkins is best known as a defensive fighter, yet he used to be one of the sport’s most savage finishers. During his highly anticipated 2004 battle against de la Hoya, he scored one of the most stunning finishes of his career.
With de la Hoya standing in the pocket and dealing powerful blows with Hopkins, the fight couldn’t have been more thrilling. Hopkins, on the other hand, unleashed a devastating liver blow in the ninth round, sending de la Hoya to the knees in agony.
You might also be interested in reading this: 10 Best MMA Head Kick Knockouts in the History
4) Arturo Gatti Vs. Leonard Dorin
The 2004 title match between these two did not end in an all-out fight, as many fans had hoped, but it did result in a nasty body shot finish. Gatti only required two rounds to execute a stunning liver blow that rendered Dorin immobile. It was Dorin’s first defeat and the last time he walked inside the ring. Gatti went on to win two of his next six fights before retiring.
5) Ricky Hatton Vs. Jose Luis Castillo
Hatton’s performance against Castillo exemplifies why he acquired the moniker “The Hitman.” Hatton entered his battle against Castillo as the pound-for-pound king of the 140-pound division, and his ability to target the body was on full show.
During their title match, Castillo came out aggressively, but Hatton handled the pressure effectively. He ultimately delivered a powerful left hook to the liver in the fourth round, bringing Castillo to his knees and rendering him unable to continue fighting. Hatton earned the WBC International Super Lightweight championship with the victory, paving the way for a future bout with Floyd Mayweather.
6) Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Vs. Liam Smith
Canelo was already one of boxing’s top names when he went battle against Liam Smith in 2016. The sole blemish on his record at the time was a defeat to Floyd Mayweather, which was nothing to be embarrassed of.
Canelo knocked Smith down with an overhand right in the seventh round, and he completed the job in the ninth with a liver blow that knocked Smith out in pain. It was one of the best body shot knockouts to Smith, to his credit, tried to will himself up, but his body was sluggish to respond.
7) Gerry Cooney Vs. Ron Lyle
Gerry Cooney’s title bout with Lyle was hyped as a classic old lion vs. young tiger contest, with Cooney predicted to win. Cooney was 23-0 at the time, but others questioned if the youthful slugger had what it takes to beat the seasoned and burly Lyle.
Canelo dropped Smith with an overhand right in the seventh round and completed the job in the ninth with a liver blow that knocked Smith out in pain. Smith tried to will himself back to his feet, but his body was reluctant to respond.
8) Gennadiy Golovkin Vs. Matthew Macklin
It would be incomplete without GGG’s devastating body blow finish of Matthew Macklin. GGG is one of boxing’s strongest punchers, having won 37 of his 42 fights by knockout, with his only two losses coming to Canelo.
GGG was unbeaten into his title bout with Macklin, having finished his previous 13 opponents. During the third round of their championship fight, he gave Macklin a taste of his striking prowess, knocking him to the ground with a blow to the liver that ended the fight.
9) Marco Antonio Barrera Vs. Jesse Benavides
Barrera entered his title battle against Benavides with a 42-0 record, with the majority of his victories coming by knockout. He was the favourite going into the battle, and he fought like one, dominating the fight from the opening bell until he sent him to the canvas with a powerful body punch to terminate the fight in the third round.
10) Vasyl Lomachenko Vs. Jorge Linares
Lomachenko is one of the most elegant fighters to ever enter the ring. His footwork is unrivalled, as are his punch combinations. But it wasn’t his remarkable footwork or mobility that won the day when he fought Jorge Linares. Linares was unable to continue due to a devastating hook to the liver.
Linares, to his credit, fared better than most guys who have been unlucky enough to share a ring with Lomachenko, but he couldn’t get back to his feet once he absorbed the full weight of Lomachenko’s power.
11) Gerald McClellan Vs. James Williamson
McClellan, who trained under Emanuel Steward, was one of the most feared punchers in boxing at the time, and his power was on full show against Williamson. McClellan finished the bout in the first round with one of the most exquisite shovel hooks to the liver ever thrown in boxing. Watch the end if you want to learn how to throw a shovel hook effectively.
Williamson was left writhing all over the mat in pain after the blow landed so perfectly. He eventually went down on all fours.
12) Ryan Garcia Vs. Luke Campbell
Garcia faced difficulties in his battle against Campbell, as he was knocked down for the first time in his career in the second round. He survived the hit and went on to outbox Campbell until finishing him with a hook to the liver in the seventh round. Garcia’s perfect record was preserved, setting up a rematch with Tank Davis.
13) Terrance Crawford Vs. Julius Indongo
In 2017, these two fought to unify Indongo’s WBA and IBF championships with Crawford’s WBC and WBO crowns.
Crawford was the overwhelming favourite going into the battle, but Indongo was not going down without a fight. He knocked Indongo to the mat in the first round, but the referee judged it a slip. Crawford finished Indongo in the third round, hitting him with a vicious left hook-right hook combo to the body that left Indongo howling in pain. The first blow, ironically, did not connect cleanly, and the right hook to the body appeared to inflict the greatest damage.
14) Amir Khan Vs. Marcos Maidana
When Amir Khan fought Maidana in 2010, he was on the verge of one of the most spectacular finishes of his career. Their battle was tight in the first round, but Khan stole the show in the last seconds with a powerful right hook-left hook combo to the body.
Given his suffering level, Maidana would have been unable to beat the count, but he was spared by the bell. To his credit, Maidana was able to re-enter the battle and even rocked Khan during the seventh round. Khan eventually won the bout by decision.
15) Marcos Maidana Vs. Victor Cayo
When they shared a cage in 2010, Maidana handed Cayo his first defeat. Maidana’s attempts to negotiate a bout with Paulie Malignaggi were unsuccessful. This left him with Cayo, who had a 24-0 record and a 75% knockout percentage at the time.
However, it was Maidana who added another knockout to his record, when he knocked Cayo out with a powerful right uppercut to the sternum that rendered him unconscious. Maidana went on to face other great names including Amir Khan, which landed him a match against Floyd Mayweather. Maidaina’s first bout versus Mayweather is largely regarded as the closest anyone came to defeating him during the latter portion of his career.
So these are the 15 Deadliest Body Shot Knockouts in Boxing History. Let us know your views in comment section.