How To Recover From a Knockdown In a Boxing Match

How To Recover From a Knockdown In a Boxing Match

Boxer Iain Mackenzie talks about the process of recovering from a knockdown mid-fight and how to reorient yourself to stay in the ring and win the boxing match.

Published: April 7, 2022

Topics: Tips & Technique, Training

Author: Iain Mackenzie

Watching a boxer peel themselves off the canvas and come back to win the fight is one of the most iconic examples of an underdog story. But how do they do it? As someone who has been knocked down mid-fight and had to recover, I wanted to share the process that a boxer goes through to recover from a knockdown in a boxing match.

How To Recover From a Knockdown In a Boxing Match

“Take The 8”

This is a classic phrase you will hear commentators, especially those who have been fighters and coaches, repeat a lot. The meaning of the phrase is pretty simple: don’t get back on your feet until the count of 8. Before the referee starts counting, three (3) conditions must be met: the fighter has to be down on the canvas, the referee has to determine that the knockdown was caused by an opponent's punch and not just a slip, trip, or push, and the opponent has to go to the neutral corner. Once these conditions are met, the ref will start counting. Taking these eight seconds will give you time to catch your breath and reorient yourself before rising all the way back up. Stay on your knee until the eight-count is up, then stand up.

Show The Ref You’re Still Lucid

It is incredibly important to not just shell up after a knockdown in a boxing match. If you do nothing but stand there with your hands up like a punching bag, the referee will see it as you not being present enough to execute an effective defense, and they will stop the fight in order to protect you.

Focus on Lateral Movements

After a knockdown, it is important to give your body time to recover. Even if you feel lucid, the fact that you hit the mat is proof you took damage. Once the fight resumes, keep your movements active. Move side-to-side, keep your head off the line, and try to control the engagement for the rest of the round. Losing a round for inactivity is much better than losing the fight by knockout.

Jab and Grab

I’ll be honest, this isn’t exactly a crowd-pleaser, but it is an effective method to keep you on your feet in a round when you have been knocked down. The general strategy with the “jab and grab” is to disrupt the rhythm of the match by throwing jabs to constantly halt your opponent’s momentum. When they attempt to get inside the jab, you clinch, or grab, until the referee separates you. Then you go back to moving and jabbing.


Occasionally, it will be necessary to take the risk of being stopped to win the fight. For instance, you get knocked down in the last round of a fight that was otherwise close, and you need a knockdown to close the round. The best way to accomplish that is to capitalize on your opponent’s aggression and adrenaline as they move to finish you off. My personal favorite counterpunch for aggressive fighters is to throw a long jab while stepping back, then feint a jab. Once they attempt to step in on the feint, I throw a rear uppercut with all the power I have left. Whether it catches them to the body or the head, chances are, it will do serious damage since they’re stepping into it, hopefully flooring them.

Never Stop Fighting

Getting knocked down in a fight can be scary, but as long as you keep your head on straight and know how to recover efficiently and effectively, it's nothing you can’t come back from. It’s true that boxing is a sport for warriors, but it's also a sweet science, and knowing what to do when you’re hurt is a key part of that science.

Our mission at FightCamp is to get you and keep you, in the best shape possible–both in body and mind. Even if you never plan on entering the boxing ring, we all will experience knockdowns in life. By taking the time to recover and regain your strength and composure, just as in boxing, you’ll be able to come through and win your battle. Bring out that inner warrior and keep on fighting.

Are you ready to train like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.

Iain Mackenzie

Iain Mackenzie is a licensed amateur boxer. He discovered boxing through karate and saber fencing, and has trained in multiple gyms across Texas, competing in amateur tournaments such as Golden Gloves & the Houston Open.

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