A boxer who packs a real punch

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton retained yesterday his IBO Light Welterweight boxing title by beating Jose Luis Castillo in four rounds in Las Vegas. Is this because he really hits his opponent very hard? According to engineers from the University of Manchester, the answer is a definitive yes. They showed that he packs a mighty punch by putting sensors in his punching bag. And they measured that he hits the target with an instantaneous force of about 400 kg. Not only he hits hard, but he is fast: the researchers clocked his movements at 32 mph (more than 50 kph). Hats off to Hatton, but I wouldn't like to meet him -- at least on a ring...

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton retained yesterday his IBO Light Welterweight boxing title by beating Jose Luis Castillo in four rounds in Las Vegas. Is this because he really hits his opponent very hard? According to engineers from the University of Manchester, the answer is a definitive yes. They showed that he packs a mighty punch by putting sensors in his punching bag. And they measured that he hits the target with an instantaneous force of about 400 kg. Not only he hits hard, but he is fast: the researchers clocked his movements at 32 mph (more than 50 kph). Hats off to Hatton, but I wouldn't like to meet him -- at least in a ring...

Ricky Hatton during training

You can see above a photo of Ricky Hatton during training. This picture has been posted on Flickr by loura and belongs to her. Here is a link to her her original photo of Richard Hatton posted on June 21, 2007.

But why did 'serious' researchers would like to analyze the power of a boxer? Probably because a sports TV channel, ITN Sports News asked them -- and paid for it. And also because Hatton is from Manchester. Anyway, a team led by Dr Qingming Li, from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) at the University of Manchester, worked with with biomechanics equipment specialists Biosense Medical Limited to gauge the strength and speed of Hatton' s best shots.

So how did they reach their conclusions? "The University worked with Biosense Medical and attached a force sensor to a 30Kg Lonsdale punch bag. The sensor was then wired to a laptop containing software to measure and analyse the incoming data." and they concluded that "Ricky had landed a blow with 400Kg of instantaneous force behind it."

The engineers also used special video technology to measure the speed at which Hatton threw his best shots. And they found that "Ricky' s gloves fly towards an opponent at an average top speed of 25mph -- giving them a reaction time of less than one tenth of second. His fastest effort was clocked at 32mph -- a blistering left hook that Hatton has previously used to floor his opponents." Frightening, isn't?

The engineers also looked at previously published papers and concluded that "Ricky' s punching force is more than twice the kicking force of a professional footballer."

And what was the reaction of the boxer after this very special training? "It was great working with the experts and the technology, and for me it was really interesting to see just how fast and hard I can hit."

Maybe his visit to the University of Manchester was of the reasons he beated his opponent yesterday...

Sources: University of Manchester news release, via EurekAlert!, June 22, 2007; and various websites

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