60-Second Science

Pro Boxer's Punch Carries Heavy Weight

Analysis of a world champion welterweight's punching force found it to be 10 times that of your average person's. Steve Mirsky reports.

Back on our May 2nd episode, we talked about the brain damage suffered even by amateur boxers who wear headgear.  Now imagine going into the ring bareheaded against a professional boxer, a world champion no less.  Researchers at the University of Manchester in England were curious about just how much force a top boxer can generate with a punch.  So they enlisted local boxer Ricky Hatton, an undefeated 28 year old light welterweight and welterweight world champ.  And they had him hit a 30 kilogram punching bag with sensors attached. 

The results should make any spectators who figure they could last a while in the ring with a pro think again.  Because Ricky Hatton, who’s nickname is The Hitman, generated a force of about 400 kilograms.  An average person with no boxing training can generate only about one tenth that much force with a punch. 

Slow motion video found that Hatton could typically generate punch speeds of 25 miles per hour, with one blow reaching 32 mph.  The best punch speed that one of the researchers could achieve was about 15 miles per hour. 

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