Are Liver Shots Legal in Boxing? | Easily Explained

There are a variety of strikes that are allowed in Boxing, but are liver shots legal?

In this page, we will explain whether or not liver shots are legal in boxing, why they hurt, and examples of Boxers throwing the shot.

Table of Contents

Are Liver Shots Legal in Boxing?

Liver shots are absolutely legal for a boxer to throw at an opponent. The liver is protected by the ribs, so it's not an easy strike to land. It takes a tremendous amount of timing and skill. However, once a liver shot lands, it's almost a guarantee that the opponent will collapse, as it is a knock out blow.

liver shots in boxing

Some people wonder why the liver shot is legal but the kidney shot isn't. The reason for that is simple.

In order for a boxer to strike the kidney, they would have to hit the back of their opponent, which would be illegal.

In a similar way, this is why 'Rabbit Punches', punches to the back of the head are not legal, but punches to the front and side of the head are.

Why Do Liver Shots Hurt?

Liver Shots hurt due to a punch to the liver directly affects the vagus nerve, the nerve in control of digestion and rest.


When that nerve is hit, the fighter will feel their heart rate & blood pressure decrease, and will immediately feel dizzy and nauseous.

Add that on top of the unbearable pain that immediately collapses a fighter to the floor, and it's clear why it is devastating.

Boxer Landing the Liver Shot

Last year, Ryan Garcia was able to land a liver shot that debilitated and finished his opponent almost immediately.

After landing the shot, it took several seconds before his opponent fully felt the pain of the liver shot.

Once he felt it, he immediately went down to the canvas.

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