What Is Kidney Punch In Boxing? (Explained!)

Last Updated on October 15, 2023 by Alex PT

A kidney punch in boxing is a blow targeting the opponent’s lower back, just above the waistline, aiming to impact the kidneys. It’s illegal in modern boxing due to its potential to cause serious injury.

What’s a Kidney Punch?

A kidney punch, also known as a “rabbit punch,” is a type of strike in combat sports, often delivered in boxing and martial arts. It involves targeting the opponent’s lower back, specifically the area just above the waistline on either side of the spine, where the kidneys are located. The objective of a kidney punch is to inflict pain, discomfort, or potentially serious injury to the kidneys, which can disrupt an opponent’s balance, cause intense pain, and potentially lead to significant health issues.

Here are some key details about kidney punches:

  1. Illegal in Modern Boxing: Kidney punches are generally illegal in modern boxing, as they pose a high risk of causing serious harm to the opponent. Most boxing organizations have strict rules and regulations prohibiting kidney punches.
  2. Dangers of Kidney Punches: Targeting the kidneys can result in severe consequences, including kidney damage, internal bleeding, and even life-threatening injuries. Striking the kidneys can cause the organs to bruise or bleed, which may lead to long-term health issues.
  3. Ban in Combat Sports: Kidney punches are also prohibited in other combat sports like mixed martial arts (MMA) and kickboxing due to their potential to cause injury and jeopardize the fighters’ well-being.
  4. Historical Significance: In the early days of boxing and other combat sports, kidney punches were not as strictly regulated, and fighters used various techniques to attack an opponent’s vital areas. However, as the understanding of health and safety improved, rules were established to protect fighters.
  5. Penalties: In contemporary combat sports, delivering a kidney punch can result in penalties, including warnings, point deductions, or even disqualification, depending on the severity and intent of the strike.
  6. Protective Measures: Fighters are required to wear kidney protectors or padded trunks to minimize the risk of kidney injury, although this protection is not foolproof.

Kidney Punch Technique

 Kidney Punch Technique

During A Clinch 

In a fighting stance like this, fighters are usually positioned body-to-body. Then, follow the steps below to throw a kidney punch during grappling. 

1. Slightly rotate the hips of your opponent to reveal his lower back as you grab him at the back of his neck. 

2. Use your legs to block the leg of your attacker to avoid kicks in MMA or real-life street fights. 

3. Then, use a sharp and powerful punch to strike the kidney 

During A Stand-Up Fight

During A Stand Up Fight

Try to reach the lower back of your opponent, moving closer with the right technique as you position yourself in his front. Follow these steps to throw a powerful kidney punch during a stand-up fight. 

1. Moving towards the right side, approach your opponent 

2. Prevent a potential attack by locking your arm with your opponent’s 

3. In a tactical way, slightly rotate their torso to expose the lower back and the side

4. Punch the kidney area as powerfully as you can with your right hand 

5. Throw other body punches to avoid a counterattack from your opponent 

Make sure you know when to escape when using either of the two approaches of throwing kidney punches. The technique of throwing a kidney punch can make you vulnerable to counterattacks as it requires you to move really close to your opponent. 

How to Avoid a Kidney Punch in Boxing

1. Maintain a Defensive Stance

The first rule to avoid a kidney punch is to maintain an active defensive stance throughout the fight. The boxer should keep their elbows in and try to close any openings that might expose the lower back.

2. Enhance Your Footwork

Good footwork can prevent a boxer from being cornered and suffering body shots such as a kidney punch. Skillful dancing around the ring not only makes a boxer a difficult target but also gives them a better control over the fight.

3. Adjust Your Guard Position

Keep varying the guard position. This maneuver misleads the opponent and can protect the boxer from possible kidney punches.

4. Practice Regular Sparring

Sparring encourages a boxer to get used to different types of punches including the kidney punches. It is an effective way to learn how to defend oneself and avoid such hits.

5. Strengthen Your Core

A strong core can help in absorbing a punch and reducing its impact. Regular exercises like sit-ups, crunches and other core exercises can help in developing endurance and resilience.

6. Use Counter Attacks

A timely counter attack not only saves the boxer from a kidney punch but also puts the opponent on backfoot.

Defensive StanceShuts off openings
Enhanced FootworkKeeps the boxer mobile
Guard PositionMisleads the opponent
Regular SparringGets boxer used to different punches
Strengthened CoreReduces the impact of a punch
Counter AttacksPuts the opponent on the backfoot

Consequences Of A Kidney Punch

Just like every other punching technique, you should expect a kidney punch to be distinct in pain level. If a kidney punch isn’t executed properly, it will only hurt an opponent a little. However, a well-executed punch can knock down your opponent. Normally, even the best boxers take a barricade of punches on the head but fall flat when he receive a powerful kidney punch. That’s to tell you that this punching technique is quite powerful and dangerous to the health of boxers.


Is A Kidney Punch Legal In Competition?

No! Kidney punch is an illegal punch in most combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts and boxing. You’re not allowed to intentionally strike the lower back of your opponent. The referee will give you a warning when he notices such a punching technique in a professional boxing match. If a fighter or a boxer repeats such illegal activity, he may be penalized or disqualified. In most cases, if it is unintentional and your opponent can continue the fight, you may be pardoned by the referee and escape a point deduction. In a situation where you’re only trying to hit a fighter at his core, and he turns and gets hit on his kidney area, you will likely escape punishment and as it wasn’t an intentional kidney punch.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Kidney Punch?

How long it will take you to recover from a kidney punch depends on how hard you were hit. If you notice any blood traces in your urine, then there’s a bleeding in your kidney as a result of the punch impact. When there’s a complication, an injured fighter might have internal bleeding, a decrease in blood pressure, and even kidney failure. But on norms, severe injuries can take up to 12 months while a mild kidney bruise normally takes up to three weeks to recover. 

What Happens When You Get A Kidney Punch?

When you hit your opponent with a kidney punch on the lower back, a kidney contusion, normally called a kidney bruise occurs. The inside of the kidney may start to bleed, depending on how hard the impact was. There may also be pain, tenderness, and discoloration of the skin. 

What Is The Most Painful Punch In Boxing?

The liver punch still remains the most painful punching technique in boxing. It involves throwing a powerful punch to the right side of the ribcage that causes injury to the liver. A powerful strike to the liver area of the body is quite painful and can incapacitate an opponent immediately. 

Final Thoughts 

This punching technique is an illegal punch in boxing that targets the kidney area of an opponent. It is better executed when the fighter turns his or her back to the opponent, exposing his kidney area. We won’t recommend this type of punching technique to anyone who’s just starting out with boxing since it is illegal. However, if you’re looking for a powerful punching technique for self-defense, then the kidney punch would be perfect. We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good resources in your quest to know what kidney punch means in boxing. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks.



Leave a Comment