Research Article

The damaging punch.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 291 doi: (Published 21 December 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:1756
  1. J Atha,
  2. M R Yeadon,
  3. J Sandover,
  4. K C Parsons


    The mechanical properties of a boxing punch have been determined using several techniques. The results are consistent with the medical consequences of boxing discussed in the report of the Board of Science and Education Working Party on boxing. Data were gathered from a world ranked British professional heavyweight, Frank Bruno, as he punched an instrumented, padded target mass suspended as a ballistic pendulum. Within 0.1 s of the start the punch had travelled 0.49 m and attained a velocity on impact of 8.9 m/s. The peak force on impact of 4096N (0.4 ton), attained within 14 ms of contact, represents a blow to the human head of up to 6320N (0.63 ton). The transmitted impulse generated an acceleration of 520 m/s2 (53 g) in the target head. For comparison an equivalent blow would be delivered by a padded wooden mallet with a mass of 6 kg (13 lbs) if swung at 20 mph.