A liver shot or liver punch is a punch, kick, or knee strike to the right side of the ribcage that damages the liver. Blunt force to the liver can be excruciatingly painful, and an especially effective shot will incapacitate a person. Thus, in combat sports, liver shots often result in technical knockouts (TKOs).
A liver punch is usually made with the left hand, or the left hook in infighting, or the regular short body hook, in a short and quick manner. The drive is usually made under and to the front of the ninth and tenth ribs upward to the base of the shoulder blade toward the spine. The punch shocks the liver, the largest gland organ, and a center of blood circulation, and causes the victim to lose focus and drive, and can cause a breathless feeling in the victim. It is usually delivered when feinting an opponent to lead with his right, which leaves the body exposed; the attacker then steps in and delivers a short, stiff uppercut, over the liver, which will usually put the average man out of commission at once. Most of the time, however, a liver punch is unintentional. It begins as a left hook to the body, but as the defending boxer puts his elbow down and begins to roll with the punch, the back is exposed. Thus, the attacking boxer is frequently offered either the arm or the back of the ribs, the latter of which he will usually take instead of the arm.
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Notable examples of liver shots in combat sport include:
- Bas Rutten repeatedly knocked down Jason DeLucia with liver punches during their 1996 Pancrase fight, rupturing DeLucia's liver and earning a TKO victory.
- Daniel Geale sent Darren Barker to the canvas in the sixth round of their 2013 fight with a liver shot.
- A fight doctor explains the effectiveness of liver shots, plus some techniques on YouTube
- The 10 Best Signature Moves in MMA Bas Rutten's liver shot is #1.