It’s no secret that boxing can be a dangerous sport. As the old adage goes, “it’s not if you get hit, but when you get hit”—and when boxers get hit, they risk serious injury, including broken noses. Let’s dive deeper into this topic and explore the reality of nose injuries in boxing.
So how often do boxers break their noses? On average, there will be a broken nose in the ring about once every five to ten boxing matches. Of course, this number can vary greatly depending on the level of competition and intensity of the fight. Professional boxers tend to break their noses more often than amateur fighters due to the higher levels of skill and physical conditioning involved in professional bouts.
However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to broken noses in boxing.
The Frequency Of Broken Noses In Boxing
Fighters don’t break their noses that often, but it indeed happens. On average, professional boxers experience a broken nose more often than amateur boxers—usually about once every 5-6 fights.
Amateur fighters often wear headgear that can help protect their noses from damage. However, even then, they are still susceptible to broken noses. In amateur bouts with headgear, the incidence of a fighter breaking his nose is still around one in every 10-15 fights.
Additionally, not every time you see a nosebleed in a fight does that mean the fighter broke their nose. Nosebleeds are common in boxing and can be caused by various factors, including a simple bruise to the nose, a headbutt, or a punch that causes hyperextension.
When these types of injuries occur, the fighter usually experiences swelling and bruising in the area. Usually, it won’t suffer from a broken nose.
Amateur vs. Professional
The frequency of broken noses in boxing is significantly higher than in other contact sports such as football or rugby. This is because of the nature of the sport; punches in the face are necessary. According to one study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, approximately 1 in 4 professional boxers suffered a nasal fracture while competing.
Broken noses are way more common in professional boxing than in amateur boxing. This is because professional boxers are more experienced and have a better understanding of accurate and powerful punching techniques, which increases the risk of fractures.
Professional boxers also tend to use their jabs more often than amateurs, which increases their risk of suffering a broken nose. Amateur boxers often rely on hooks and wild haymakers, which don’t typically cause nasal fractures.
In addition to the type of punches that boxers use, the amount of head protection they wear can also impact the rate at which boxers break their noses. In amateur boxing, protective headgear is mandatory and can help reduce the number of facial injuries, including broken noses. On the other hand, professional boxers don’t wear headgear and are thus more susceptible to suffering a broken nose.
The Risk Factors For Breaking Your Nose When Boxing
Several factors can increase the risk of breaking your nose while boxing. Poor technique and inadequate head movement are two major ones. Suppose you don’t move your head enough and/or don’t block punches properly with your gloves.
In that case, it increases the likelihood that you will get hit in the face with an opponent’s punch and potentially break your nose as a result. Also, poor reflexes can increase the chances of getting punched into vulnerable areas such as your nose and having weak facial bones due to genetics or calcium deficiency issues.
Most Common Nasal Boxing Injuries
Nose bleeds are one of the most common nasal boxing injuries. Nose bleeds occur when the delicate blood vessels inside your nose become weak or damaged due to trauma, such as being hit by a punch during a match. Nosebleeds can be very painful and, if left untreated, can lead to more severe complications such as infection or even loss of consciousness.
Another common nasal boxing injury is a fractured nose. A fractured nose occurs when a break or crack in the bone or cartilage in the bridge of your nose is caused by direct trauma from another boxer’s punch or headbutt.
A fractured nose can be extremely painful and cause swelling around the eyes and cheeks, difficulty breathing, and bleeding from the nostrils. Recovery from a broken nose usually involves resting, icing the area, and taking pain relief medications.
For the nose to fully heal, it is often necessary to undergo surgery to fix the bone or cartilage. If the damage is less severe, your nose should return to normal in about 12 weeks.
The Saddle Nose
The Saddle Nose (also known as the boxer’s nose) is another common nasal boxing injury that results from repeated blows to the bridge of the nose over time. This type of injury causes the area between your eyes (the “bridge”) to become sunken inwards, creating what looks like a “saddle-shaped” depression across your face. The Saddle Nose can be complicated to treat since surgical intervention may be necessary to restore normal appearance, function, and feeling back into this area of your face once again.
Lacerations and Bruising
Lacerations and bruising can also occur when a boxer gets hit in the nose during a match. Lacerations are cuts or tears in the skin caused by trauma. At the same time, bruising is discoloration of the skin due to blood pooling underneath it. These injuries usually heal on their own within a few days. Still, they will cause considerable pain and swelling until they do so.
Preventing Nasal Fractures When Boxing
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the chances of breaking your nose while boxing. The most obvious way is to wear protective gear such as a mouth guard or headgear. This equipment provides extra cushioning around your face.
It should be worn every time you spar or compete in an amateur bout. You might wonder: “How can a mouthguard help me with my nose?” The answer is that biting down the mouthguard will keep your overall jaw, mouth, and nose in alignment.
Additionally, proper training and technique development are critical. Working on defensive strategies such as footwork, slipping punches effectively, keeping up good guard positions, and avoiding unnecessary risks.
All these can help reduce the chance of getting hit with an accidental blow directly to your nasal area. Strong neck muscles will also help support your head and make it harder for an opponent’s punch to knock you off balance. Finally, improving overall fitness can make the punches thrown by your opponents feel less intense when they land on you.
As a beginner boxer, one of the most important things you will learn is how to prevent serious injury during training and sparring sessions. One way to do this is by properly massaging your nose before each session. This massage helps increase blood circulation around the nasal area. It helps reduce the likelihood of broken or fractured noses during ordinary training sessions.
To perform this massage, gently rub your nose with your fingers for several minutes before adding slight pressure while massaging with gloves. Rotate your nose to one side and then to the other, and massage in a circular motion around the nose. This massage helps to soften the cartilage of your nose, making it more flexible and less prone to fracture due to heavy impact.
It’s important to note that punching your nose with boxing gloves isn’t necessary. It’s simply simulating what would happen if you were hit in the face during sparring or fighting. You’ll want to spend at least three minutes massaging your nose for maximum benefits before beginning any boxing activity.
This technique has been proven to reduce pain after being struck in the face by a punch and structural damage due to blows incurred during training or competition fights.
A Well-Known Myth
I have often heard of boxers with their “nose bone” surgically removed to prevent future nasal fractures. This is a well-known myth since there isn’t such a thing as a “nose bone” – the nasal area is made up of cartilage, not bone. Removing any part of your nose will only cause more harm than good. It should never be considered a preventative measure.
Fighters who get their nose broken once will most likely suffer the same injury again in the future since the cartilage in their nose is already weakened. Because of that, it seems they do not have a “nose bone” like the rest of us, but this is simply not true.
The best way to prevent future nasal fractures is to wear protective gear, have proper training and technique development, maintain good guard positions, avoid unnecessary risks and massage your nose before each session.
However, sometimes it is unforeseeable and unavoidable. Even the most experienced fighters can suffer from a broken nose regardless of their preparation. It is important to remember that having a broken nose does not mean the end of your boxing career. It just means that you have to take extra precautions to protect yourself in the future.
Worst Broken Nose Injuries
While boxers may have their noses broken occasionally, some have suffered far worse than others. Some of the worst injuries include cartilage and bone fractures, leading to disfigurement or a permanently crooked nose.
One of the worst injuries I have ever seen happened not to a boxer but to an MMA fighter named Blake Perry. He was hit in the first round of his fight and suffered a double fracture of his nose, resulting in two separate pieces that were both hanging by a thread. He had to undergo reconstructive surgery after the fight and is still dealing with issues related to the injury today.
The injury was so bad that his nose moved under his right eye, and he suffered internal and external damage. This is an extreme example of a broken nose injury. Still, it reminds all fighters that proper training and preparation are necessary to avoid such injuries.
Mike Perry is another fighter that had his nose broken multiple times. He is known for his aggressive fighting style, which often results in him getting hit with powerful punches to the nose. The last name, “Perry,” seems to be cursed regarding broken noses.
Boxers break their noses often, but this injury can be minimized with the right protective gear and training techniques. Wearing a mouthguard and massaging your nose before each session will help reduce the risk of getting a broken nose while sparring or fighting. Also, proper technique development is essential to defend against punches that could injure your nose effectively.