Are Kidney Punches Illegal in Boxing? US Law Insights

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Are Kidney Punches Illegal in Boxing scaled

In the realm of boxing, the legality of certain moves is often a topic of debate. Among these, kidney punches hold a controversial spot. This article delves into the legal status of kidney punches in boxing within the United States, exploring the specific laws and regulations that govern this aspect of the sport.

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What is a Kidney Punch?

A kidney punch is a blow delivered to the lower back area, where the kidneys are located. Due to the potential for serious injury, it is a move that garners scrutiny in boxing.

In the United States, the rules of professional boxing are governed by various state athletic commissions. The Unified Rules of Boxing, adopted by most states, explicitly prohibit kidney punches. This ban is due to the high risk of renal damage, which can be life-threatening. For instance, the California State Athletic Commission, under its boxing rules, considers kidney punches as fouls and can penalize boxers for such actions during a match.

Health Risks

The primary reason for the illegality of kidney punches in boxing is the health risk they pose. A strong blow to the kidney area can lead to severe internal injuries, including kidney trauma, which can be both acute and life-altering.

Enforcement in Matches

During boxing matches, referees are tasked with enforcing the rules, including the prohibition of kidney punches. Boxers found violating these rules can face immediate penalties, such as point deductions. Repeated or egregious violations can lead to disqualification, suspension, or fines, as determined by the overseeing athletic commission.


In summary, kidney punches are indeed illegal in the sport of boxing in the United States. This regulation is in place to protect athletes from severe injuries and uphold the integrity of the sport. While boxing is a contact sport with inherent risks, the rules set by athletic commissions aim to balance competitiveness with the safety and well-being of the boxers.

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