5 Setups For The Liver Hook In Boxing

The liver hook is one of the most potent, game-changing techniques a boxer could have in their arsenal. It is a stealthy technique that targets one of the most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy: the liver. The punch typically targets right below your opponent’s rib cage, and it’s often enough to stop anyone in their tracks, regardless of how tough they are.

The effects of a hard blow to the liver are overwhelming. The punch triggers a shockwave that moves throughout the opponent’s body, temporarily paralyzing their muscles and leaving them in agony. There’s no poker face to be made when you get hit on the liver. You’re instantly hurt, and your opponent knows it. A liver punch doesn’t have to be thrown with all your strength to be effective; the technique’s effectiveness lies in timing and precision.

This article will closely examine the liver punch and how to set it up during your fights to increase your chances of landing this fight-ending technique.


Five Ways To Set Up The Liver Punch

The liver punch is one of the most powerful punches a boxer can master. It requires a good understanding of human anatomy and the precision to hit the target. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and it’s located on the right side of the body, right below the rib cage. The liver is susceptible to impact because of its many roles in the body, like helping regulate blood flow, digest food, and produce immune factors.

A hard blow to the liver triggers an involuntary reaction all over the body, like a rapid increase in blood pressure in the liver, which leads to intense pain. The pain response can lead to a drop in blood pressure all over the body due to a sharp decrease in heart rate, leading to temporary paralysis of the legs or, in some cases, a loss of consciousness.

Body punches like the liver shot are easier to land than punches aimed at the head since many boxers instinctively keep their hands up. The pain caused by the blow makes it virtually impossible for the recipient to continue fighting. The attacker will have a significant advantage if they somehow will themselves back up to their feet before the count ends.

Now that we’ve gone over how the liver shot works and its effects on the body, let’s explore some of the more popular ways to set it up.


1) Left Hook To The Head

Landing left hooks on your opponent’s head is one of the common ways to set up a liver shot. You don’t have to throw a left hook to the body immediately after throwing one to the head to set it up. It’s more about getting your opponent to anticipate a left hook while you fire the punch to the liver.

Gervonta Davis’s liver shot finish of Ryan Garcia during the seventh round of their 2023 showdown is a perfect example of how to set it up with left hooks to the head. Davis landed hard left hooks often during the bout and sent Garcia to the canvas during the second round with one. This led Garcia to raise his guard in anticipation of a left hook to the head as he closed the distance in the seventh round, while Davis went for a left hook to the liver that put him away.

That’s the idea of setting it up with a left hook to the head. While immediately following up on one with a left hook to the body can also work sometimes, the more effective approach is to get your opponent thinking about your left hooks to their head before committing to a hard punch to the liver.


2) To Counter Right Hands

Another effective way to land a shot to the liver is as a counter to a right-hand punch. You slip to the outside, which puts you in a position to target the liver. You can add a pivot to create an even better angle before throwing your punch. This approach aims to throw your liver punch while your opponent is vulnerable because of the punch they threw.


3) Fast Jabs

A series of fast jabs can also effectively allow orthodox fighters to set up liver shots. Get your opponent to focus on your jab by throwing it often, then feint a jab before stepping in and following up with a liver shot. The key to this setup is convincing your opponent to believe a jab is coming their way, forcing them to bring their hands to the front of their face to protect themselves. Doing so moves their elbows away from their torso, exposing the liver area.


4) Right Hook, Left Hook Combination

Here is another way to land a hard liver shot on unsuspecting opponents. The right hook, left hook combo is one of the basic combinations boxers learn, and it’s an effective way to land a liver shot. The goal is to get your opponent to anticipate headshots while you aim for the target right below their rib cage.

The key to setting up the perfect liver shot with this combination is to go to the body sparingly so your opponent isn’t thinking about protecting their liver when you target it. It’s an excellent setup for heavy-handed boxers who present a legitimate knockout threat with their head punches. Many boxers tend to overcommit protecting their heads when dealing with heavy hitters.


5) Double Jabs To The Head

Throwing two consecutive shots with your left hand is another effective way to set up the liver shot. You can use hooks or cross after the jabs to the head just make sure you load them up with lots of power. Throwing two hard punches to the head sets your opponent up to expect your left hand to target their head as well. That’s when you fire right below their ribs and send them to the canvas.


Every Boxer Should Know How To Target The Liver

Some of the best finishers in boxing history often look to the liver shot to put opponents away. It only takes one punch targeted at the area to take all the fight out of anyone. The technique is equally effective in self-defense scenarios. Some would say even more so since real-life fights typically don’t involve any body shots.


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