What makes the perfect punch?

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1. The quest for perfection

The night air crackled with tension. In the ring, the two protagonists were engaged in boxing’s equivalent of a chess match – cagey, tactical, back and forth. Then everything changed. The champion detonated a huge right hand, perfectly timed, onto the chin of the challenger, and the fight was over. Carl Froch had defeated George Groves in their rematch in May 2014 and the 80,000 Wembley crowd exploded at the raw, brutal closure of the contest.

There are few sights in sport as shocking and unforgettable as witnessing a one-punch knockout. Boxers have a wide variety of favourite types of punches, and there are many different kinds of knockouts. But what components combine to produce perfection? Is power as important as technique, and does timing beat speed?

Former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye, who is facing Tony Bellew in their rematch on 5 May, is ideally qualified to answer these questions, as he explains: "I have plenty of personal experience of knockouts, as 26 of my 28 career victories to date have come by way of KO. So what does it take to land the perfect punch?"

2. Speed kills

David Haye explains what makes the perfect punch:

A misconception exists that a huge muscular guy can punch harder than a skinny guy. In my experience, people who can move from one point to another quickly cannot only punch hard, but knock out their opponents. Throughout my career I have focused on being able to punch very fast and hit people where they can’t see the punch. If you hit someone where they’re not aware there is going to be a punch landing, they can’t brace for it, so the impact is much greater.

It is hard to counter someone without speed, unless you are very lucky and just wing a punch that your opponent doesn’t see. Timing is vital. Speed and timing are both key, but if your timing is out, you can’t land your punch. Good balance is a crucial element of throwing a knockout punch. You need to be able to explode from your feet, using every ounce of your weight. It is not about how strong your arms are - the key is to have a strong core, in terms of your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

You need to generate power to explode through your target. It is not about how hard you can hit that person, it is the velocity of the movement coming through the target that causes maximum impact. People who have high knockout ratios do not look to punch at their opponent's chin, they look to punch 12 inches through the chin, and that motion is what leads to the knockout.

3. Breaking down a knockout

Use the arrows to scroll through a slow motion video of Carl Froch's KO of George Groves at Wembley. Rob McCracken, who coached Froch throughout his career, explains the key elements that led to the knockout.

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MOBILE USERS – once you open the scrubbable, click on the small arrow on the right of the screen to reveal the text from Rob McCracken. (Fight footage courtesy of Sky Sports)

4. Boxing basics: First steps to a perfect punch

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Hit the pointer on the left hand side and then click on each of the labels to reveal more secrets to finding the perfect punch.

5. What it feels like to be knocked out

Former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Julius Francis describes what it was like facing Mike Tyson when they fought in Manchester on 29 January 2000:

Coming across the ring towards me, Tyson had this unbelievable intensity and ferocity about him. My plan went straight out the window. If someone hits me, I want to hit him back, that's the sort of person I am. But it's different against Tyson. He hit me immediately with a big right and I was shocked by the speed and power of the punches that followed.

I was knocked down in the first round. I got up, he carried on and the rest of the fight was a bit of a blur. He was hitting me with all sorts of body and head shots; he even lifted me off the ground with some of them and I weighed 17 stone! It was relentless. The angles he got into me from were incredible. People always talk about his punching power, but his technique and timing are also excellent. He always gets inside you and can outbox and out-jab you. He was such a gifted fighter.

When I was interviewed afterwards, they told me I had been knocked down five times and I was amazed. I didn't believe them until I watched it on a monitor. I wasn't really thinking about it at the time and just kept on getting back up. The pain didn't kick in properly until I was back in the hotel, after the press conference; then I was in all sorts of agony. I lay in the bath for hours recovering. I won't forget the pain in a hurry.