Is the Kidney Punch Illegal in Boxing? A Clear Answer

Many boxers are concerned about the legality of a kidney punch in boxing. While there are many vulnerable targets in combat sports, the kidney is one of the most dangerous areas to be hit.

Beginner boxers might think that getting hit in the chin is the worst-case scenario, but experienced boxers know that the liver or back of the head via a rabbit punch can be even more dangerous. In this article, we will explore whether a kidney punch is legal in boxing, the effects of this type of punch, and how to recover from it.

Key Takeaways

  • The kidney punch is a dangerous area to be hit in boxing.
  • The legality of the kidney punch is a topic of concern for many boxers.
  • Recovering from a kidney punch can be difficult and requires proper care.

What Is A Kidney Punch?

A kidney punch is a type of punch that targets the lower back area where the kidneys are located. This punch is not a legal move in boxing, and it is considered a foul. The kidneys are vital organs that filter blood and regulate blood pressure and fluid intake. They are also responsible for producing Vitamin D for the bones.

Is The Kidney Punch Legal In Boxing?

According to boxing rules and regulations, a kidney punch is illegal. Unlike a liver shot, which is legal, the lower back area is not protected by any bones or muscles, making it a vulnerable spot for a punch. Referees are trained to stop the fight whenever a boxer turns their back on their opponent to prevent any accidental shots going to the lower back area or to the back of the head.

Boxers who intentionally hit their opponents in the kidney area can be disqualified, and point deductions can be made against them. Referees have the discretion to decide whether a punch is intentional or not and give warnings or take away points accordingly.

Effects of the Kidney Punch

Getting hit with a kidney punch can have severe consequences. The kidneys are fragile organs with little to no protection, and a hard enough hit to the kidney can lead to serious injury and even death by kidney rupture or organ failure. Even a mild case of a bruised kidney can lead to severe health problems in the long term, such as erratic blood pressure.

If a boxer is hit with a good kidney punch, sometimes the effects are immediate, while other times, they won’t feel the full effects until after they’re done fighting and the adrenaline is gone. Recovering from a kidney punch requires taking a break from boxing and getting some bed rest, which can take anywhere from one to two weeks.

If there’s urine in the boxer’s blood, they should seek immediate medical attention and treatment. This points to internal bleeding, which is always serious. A doctor will need to stop the bleeding inside and monitor the boxer’s blood pressure over a period of months.

How To Recover From A Kidney Punch

To recover from a kidney punch, the boxer should take a break from boxing and get some bed rest. If it’s a mild injury and they’re getting back into sparring, they should let their partner know so that they’ll focus on other parts of their body.

It’s hard to train the back muscles to protect the kidneys and prevent a future injury. The best practice is to be aware of this attack and not show the back to the opponent. However, if the boxer is in a clinch, there’s little they can do except to get out of that bind as quickly as possible.

In conclusion, kidney punches are illegal punches in boxing, and they can cause severe injuries to the kidneys, which are vital organs. Boxers who intentionally hit their opponents in the kidney area can be disqualified, and point deductions can be made against them. Recovering from a kidney punch requires taking a break from boxing and getting some bed rest, and seeking immediate medical attention if there’s urine in the boxer’s blood.


Knowing about the risks of kidney punches in boxing is crucial for boxers to protect themselves from serious injuries. While there is little one can do to protect oneself from a kidney punch during a clinch, being aware of this dangerous punch can help boxers prioritize their self-defense. In addition to self-defense, choosing the right boxing equipment is also important to ensure safety during training and competition. Boxers can check out the best boxing jump ropes, gloves, hand wraps, head gear, shoes, and groin protectors to make informed decisions on what equipment to use. For more information on boxing, check out the FAQs section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Year Were Kidney Punches Banned in Professional Boxing?

Kidney punches were officially banned in professional boxing in 1983. Since then, any punch that lands on the back or side of the opponent below the ribcage is considered illegal.

What Is the Reasoning Behind Prohibiting Kidney Punches in Boxing?

The kidneys are vital organs that filter waste and excess water from the blood. A punch to the kidneys can cause severe damage, including kidney failure, internal bleeding, and even death. To protect the health and safety of boxers, kidney punches were banned in professional boxing.

Are Liver Punches Considered Legal While Kidney Punches Are Not in Boxing?

Yes, liver punches are legal in boxing. A liver punch is a punch to the right side of the body, just below the ribcage. While these punches can be painful, they are not as dangerous as kidney punches.

What Are the Consequences of a Boxer Using a Kidney Punch During a Match?

If a boxer uses a kidney punch during a match, they can be penalized by the referee. The first offense typically results in a warning, while subsequent offenses can lead to point deductions, disqualification, or even suspension. In addition to the immediate consequences, a boxer who repeatedly uses kidney punches can suffer long-term health problems.

What Other Types of Punches Are Deemed Illegal in Boxing?

In addition to kidney punches, there are several other types of punches that are illegal in boxing. These include:

  • Rabbit punch: A punch to the back of the head or neck.
  • Headbutt: Intentionally striking an opponent with the head.
  • Low blow: A punch to the groin area.
  • Holding and hitting: Grabbing an opponent and then hitting them.
  • Elbow strike: Using the elbow to strike an opponent.

How Can a Punch to the Kidney Area Affect a Boxer’s Health?

A punch to the kidney area can cause serious damage to the kidneys, including bruising, bleeding, and even kidney failure. In addition, a hard punch to the kidney area can cause severe pain, which can affect a boxer’s ability to continue fighting. Boxers who repeatedly receive punches to the kidney area can suffer long-term health problems, including chronic pain and kidney damage.

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