Kickboxing Vs. Boxing: Which One Is Better For You?

Boxing and kickboxing are two of the most popular sports in the world of fighting. Both have incredible recognition, with only a few minor differences that separate them from one another.

However, many people wonder, in kickboxing vs. boxing, which one is better, and the debate as to which one would win is always ongoing.

The main difference between kickboxing and boxing is that you can use punches and kicks when doing kickboxing. On the other hand, boxing is more focused on punching, and kicking is illegal in the rules of the sport. However, both of these sports teach you incredible fighting techniques and a variety of disciplines.

To find out which is better, we need to dive a bit deeper and get to grips with some of the skills and the rules of both sports.

We aim to share some insight into both sports, and while we might not be able to stop the debate between these two sports, we can give you some insight to help you decide which one is best for you.

I suggest shadowboxing if you are looking for a safer way to practice boxing. I encourage a whole article about the benefits of shadow boxing that I encourage you to read: Top 1 (It’s your time to get started!)

Boxing Vs. Kickboxing: Understanding The Origins

Before we even look at some of the differences and determine which one we believe is better, we should look at the origins of both these sports. You will be surprised to see that the origins are often similar for fighting sports.

Here is some insight into how each of these fighting arts materialized and evolved in the modern era:

Origin Of Boxing

With the first fist fighting dating back to 3000 BC, it is easy to see why boxing can claim to be the older of the two. In the modern era, boxing is by far the most popular of the two fighting arts, even more popular than wrestling, which is very popular in countries like the United States.

It is believed that modern boxing originated in England during the 17th Century, with the rules of the sport finalized in 1867 by the patronage of the Marquess of Queensbury. 

The idea of the sport is that fighters are allowed to hit each other with punches above the waist. However, the other fighter can protect themselves from these punches by using their gloves and hands.

Many consider it an art to open up to your opponent and land the killer blow, which Floyd Mayweather used to excel at.

Two Boxers Practicing –

Origin Of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a little more complicated, and we all understand that the sport encourages fighters to kick and punch one another. Unfortunately, the use of elbows, as we see in many UFC events, is outlawed, meaning only the hands and feet are permitted to fight.

The origins of kickboxing are vague, with two different branches claiming the inception. It is suggested that kickboxing first originated from Muay Thai in the 1920s. The idea is that the fighting techniques were incorporated with the western boxing, and gloves were added. The rules like rounds and the square rings also originated from boxing.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the Japanese, who claim a unified kickboxing version developed in the 1990s. It adopted the same fighting styles and some of the same rules, but some karate techniques were added.

The main reason for this was when Muay Thai fighters and Kyokushin Karate fought each other in the 1960s.

Nowadays, the Japanese and Muay Thai versions have been unified under a specific set of rules, which are still enforced to the modern day.

If you are interested in exploring the different types of karate, I encourage a whole article that I encourage you to read.

Two Kickboxers Practicing –

Key Differences Between Boxing And Kickboxing

Now that you better understand the origins, we should also dive deeper into the differences between these two sports.

There are many similarities, but a few differences make them stand out from one another.

1- The Rules

The rules of these sports are very similar. However, kickboxing allows the fighters to use their feet and hands to score the winning punches.

Boxing uses a scoring system similar to professional and amateur boxing. In amateur boxing, there are usually three rounds, each being 3-minutes long and having 1-minute rest.

For professional boxing, the rounds range between 4 and 12, with some matches often featuring 15-rounds. The time limit remains the same, and while a knockout is a preferred method of winning, a scoring system is present to determine a winner if no one knocks the other person out.

Kickboxing is very similar when we look at these rules, and you will find either 3-rounds or 5-round matches, with 1-minute of rest in between. Knockouts are still the most preferred winning method, but the same scoring system used in boxing will often be used for kickboxing.

2- Gear And Equipment

The gear and equipment used by fighters are very similar; both will use a glove to keep them protected and deliver shots.

In amateur boxing, fighters wear helmets, but mouthguards are mandatory in both sports. The main difference between the two sports arise in the footwear of the fighters.

Boxers are permitted to use shoes, and since footwork is such an important part of fighting, they often wear lightweight shoes to improve their maneuverability. These shoes will provid3 the boxer with good traction while also providing some stability to the fighter.

Kickboxers will wear no shoes, and they have to go at it barefoot. The reason for this is that kicks could be compromised when wearing certain footwear.

Many fighters would simply wrap their ankles to help provide some stability. Shin protection is permitted, but it may not serve as a support to the fighter.

3- Techniques

As you can probably guess, the variations in fighting techniques are significant between boxers and kickboxers.

Kickboxers need to figure out how they can incorporate kicking into their fighting style without leaving themselves vulnerable. You will often see different methods of defending and using kicks in kickboxing.

In terms of the punching aspect, both of these sports will use the same methods and techniques to defend punches. The only difference is the kickboxers can often counterattack with a kick instead of having to continue using their hands. This could often give them a slight advantage when it comes to winning.

The differences between kickboxing and boxing fighting techniques mostly come down to kicking. While boxing is purer and focused on punching, kickboxers will borrow some of their kicking styles and techniques from sports like Karate and even Muay Thai.

4- Importance of Footwork

In boxing, footwork is more critical, and a boxer must always try to acquire a more favorable angle from the opponent. However, kickboxing requires less sophisticated footwork since the legs become both a target and a weapon.

Boxing typically involves punching and the usage of footwork for movement. Boxers are renowned for dancing around the ring; however, they generally punch only using their hands.

Kickboxing mixes footwork and punching with kicking. Kickboxing also offers more flexibility about where you can land your kicks and punches.

On the other hand, kickboxing equips you with various arsenal by teaching you how to kick and defend, which can be an excellent advantage when fighting on the street. Remember to be careful performing kicks on the street, as you can slip.

You might also enjoy reading: Krav Maga Vs. Kickboxing: What Are The Differences?

Kickboxing Vs. Boxing: Which One Is Better For Self-Defense?

Once you understand the differences, you might be wondering which one of these sports should you consider doing. If self-defense is your main reason, you could opt for both kickboxing and boxing to keep you protected.

It is hard to directly determine which one is better, but from some personal analysis, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1- Untrained Opponent

Regardless of which one you choose, you will have a definitive edge over any untrained opponent. Boxers will be warier and understand punches while having good defense to ensure they can win.

Kickboxing is similar and pure knowledge, and training that goes into both of the fighting arts will win you over against an untrained opponent.

2- Diversity

Boxers are professional punchers and often have lightning speed with their hands, while the impressive footwork will keep them close to counter the feet of the kickboxer.

However, kickboxing trains you to create some distance and to incorporate your feet to ensure you can have some additional functionality.

In terms of your fighting arsenal, you would have far more diversity in your fighting arsenal when using kickboxing, and this is due to the additional training you would receive.

In a straight one-on-one fight, the kickboxer will have more tools to use against the boxer, which might give them the upper hand on paper.

Kickboxing Vs. Boxing: Which One Would Win In A Fight?

Kickboxing and boxing are pretty similar, and there is no risk of making a mistake choosing any of the two. I recommend boxing for a beginner as it is less complex and easier to learn. You can focus on building a strong base and solid skills between 6 months and one year. And then, you can move to learn kickboxing and various martial arts techniques.

One reason that many people read these articles is to find out what opinion the writer has and if they can agree with the opinion. It is hard to determine which one would win in an outright fight; regardless of your fighting art, experience is essential. A boxer with 20 years of experience could outsmart a kickboxer of 5 years.

The main aim of the sport is not to be aggressive outside of the ring, which means you won’t see them face off. However, the fight could go either way. On paper, the kickboxer might have a few more tools in their arsenal, but we have all watched the Karate Kid movie and should note that “heart” plays an important role.

Is Kickboxing Harder To Learn Than Boxing?

Boxing is easier to learn than kickboxing because it is more complex. Kickboxing integrates kicking and punching techniques, making it harder to learn. In contrast, boxing has fewer techniques; thus easier to learn. A well-trained kickboxer can also be a good boxer.

Learning kickboxing is excellent for self-defense as it will teach you considerable physical and mental skills needed to handle a real-life fight.

You might wonder why is kickboxing not as popular as boxing? One of the reasons is that kickboxing is less advertised than boxing. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you like kickboxing or traditional boxing, there is no arguing the efficacy of bother these sports. Essentially, it would come down to which one you prefer and enjoy the most.

One thing I would like to find out in the comment section is if you think a boxer could ever win against a kickboxer of similar training and stature.

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