Kickboxing Vs Boxing: What’s the difference between kickboxing and boxing?

Kickboxing and Boxing are two combat sports that are really popular and interesting to watch. Both sports have been around for years and will continue to keep the crowd engaged for years to come. Want to know about Kickboxing vs Boxing? What are the main differences between kickboxing and boxing?

Generally, the easiest and most obvious difference between kickboxing and boxing is the fact that kickboxing introduces a blend of punches and kicks, while boxing allows only boxing in the ring. What’s the difference between both combat sports? Keep reading!

Boxing and Kickboxing: What is Kickboxing?

Before jumping into the main differences, we need to take a good look at the meaning of each term. So what is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing is an exciting and energetic combat sport that combines elements from traditional boxing and various kicking techniques. Fighters in kickboxing are equipped with the skills to use both their hands and legs to strike their opponents. This blend of techniques creates a dynamic and intense fighting style that engages both the upper and lower body.

In kickboxing, participants use their fists to throw punches similar to boxing, but they also incorporate kicks aimed at the opponent’s midsection and legs. This variety of strikes makes kickboxing a versatile sport that requires fighters to be adept in multiple forms of attack and defense. Interesting, right? Now, let’s take a look at boxing. What’s really special about boxing anyway?

What is Boxing?

Boxing, on the other hand, is a classic combat sport that focuses solely on punches. Boxers rely on their handwork and precise punching techniques to navigate the ring and defeat their opponents. The emphasis in boxing is on the art of punching, footwork, and head movement.

In a boxing match, participants use padded gloves to throw a range of punches including jabs, hooks, and uppercuts. Defense in boxing is equally important, with fighters using head and body movement to avoid incoming punches. The simplicity of using only punches in boxing allows for a deeper exploration of punch variations, timing, and strategic planning.

Now that we know the basic difference between boxing and kickboxing, let’s take an in-depth look at the differences.

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Read Also: Is Boxing a Martial Art? Reasons Why Boxing is Considered a Martial Art

Kickboxing Vs Boxing: Key Differences Between Boxing and Kickboxing

The most noticeable distinction between kickboxing and boxing lies in the types of strikes permitted. Kickboxing allows participants to use their hands and legs for striking, resulting in a broader array of offensive options. Boxers, on the other hand, are confined to using punches alone. This fundamental difference in allowable techniques influences the entire dynamic of each sport.

Kickboxers can unleash a combination of punches, kicks, and knee strikes, creating a fast-paced and multi-dimensional fighting style. Boxers, due to their limitation to punches, tend to focus more on perfecting their punching techniques and defensive maneuvers.

Let’s take a look at a few more areas and see the distinction that exists between Kickboxing and Boxing.

History and origins

The origins of kickboxing can be traced back to various martial arts traditions and cultures across the world. However, one of the most influential forms of martial art is Muay Thai from Thailand, which dates back centuries. Muay Thai, often referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” incorporates punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes. It was developed as a means of self-defense and combat training for Thai warriors.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of kickboxing as a competitive sport began to emerge. Japanese martial artists adapted Muay Thai techniques and combined them with elements of karate and boxing to create a new form of kickboxing. This modern kickboxing gained popularity and spread internationally, eventually leading to the establishment of various kickboxing organizations and rule sets. Today, kickboxing is practiced in different styles and disciplines worldwide, each with its own unique blend of techniques and rules.

Boxing, with its roots in ancient history, evolved over time to become the sport we recognize today. The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia and Egypt, where depictions of fist-fighting were discovered on artifacts. Ancient Greek and Roman societies also had variations of boxing, often as a brutal sport without many of today’s rules.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, boxing transformed into a more organized and regulated sport in England. Rules were established to prevent excessive brutality, and gloves were introduced to protect the fighters’ hands. The Marquess of Queensberry rules, created in the mid-19th century, significantly shaped modern boxing by introducing rounds, weight classes, and the concept of fair play.

Boxing’s popularity continued to grow, and it became an integral part of the Olympic Games in 1904. Over time, the sport spread globally, producing legendary fighters and iconic matches. Today, pure boxing is a widely recognized and regulated sport with a rich history that spans cultures and centuries.

Both sports have evolved from their historical roots into globally recognized and celebrated combat disciplines.


In Kickboxing matches, fighters can use a variety of strikes including jabs, hooks, and kicks to the head, body, and legs. However, elbows and knees are not allowed for striking. Clinching (a form of holding) is permitted but limited in duration, and knockdowns prompt referees to initiate a count; fighters must rise before the count of ten. 

What about scoring? Scoring is based on effective strikes, defense, and control, with judges awarding higher points for impactful kicks. Matches can end in decisions, knockouts, or technical knockouts, and fighters must wear gloves, mouthguards, and protective gear including shin guards for kicks.

Similar to Kickboxing, during boxing, fighters are allowed to use various types of punches—such as jabs, hooks, and uppercuts—targeting the front of the head and body. Be aware that kicks, elbows, knees, and strikes below the belt are strictly forbidden.

Knockdowns prompt referees to start a count; if a boxer fails to rise before the count of ten, it results in a knockout. Scoring relies on clean and effective punches, defensive techniques, and ring control. Judges reward successful punches while also considering blocking and evading. In a case where the round concludes without a knockout, it can end in decisions. Technical knockouts or knockouts lead to victory. The significant difference between kickboxing and boxing here is that you need to think of a knockout if you truly want to win.


When it comes to equipment, both kickboxing and boxing require fighters to wear gloves, hand wraps, and mouthguards. These safety measures help protect the hands, wrists, and teeth during fights, boxing workouts, or cardio kickboxing workout sessions. The gloves also play a crucial role in minimizing the impact of strikes.

In kickboxing, fighters also wear shin guards to protect their lower legs and shins when delivering kicks. Since kicks involve a significant amount of force, these guards are essential for preventing injuries.

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Objectives and Techniques

Kickboxers aim to mix both punches and kicks to create a diverse range of attacking options. The combination of punches and kicks adds complexity to their fighting style, enabling them to keep opponents guessing and maintain a higher tempo of combat. The art of kickboxing also teaches self defense and equips everyone to stand for themselves in case of a street fight.

Boxers have a more focused objective of using punches to score points and potentially knock out their opponents. The precision of punches, along with defensive boxing techniques like slipping and blocking, is their primary strategy for victory.


Another difference between these two sports is stance. Kickboxers often adopt a stance that allows them to swiftly transition between punches and kicks. This typically means a more squared stance, which provides balance and flexibility for executing a variety of strikes.

Boxers, on the other hand, favor a narrower stance that emphasizes quick footwork and precise punching range. The focus is on maintaining distance while using footwork to maneuver around opponents. You need to get the stance right if you want to excel in both sports.


When it comes to footwork, there’s more of a similarity here than difference. Both sports, boxing or kickboxing, rely on footwork for movement, balance, and strategic positioning, however, effective footwork is more needed in boxing. For a kickboxer, the foot becomes more of a weapon and there’s little focus on footwork. In boxing, one needs precise and strategic footwork. Since boxers rely solely on punches, their footwork is focused on maintaining the right distance from the opponent to deliver effective punches while evading incoming strikes. Boxers often adopt a narrower stance that promotes quick and agile movement.

Effective footwork enables fighters to evade attacks, create angles for strikes, and control the pace of the fight.

Now, I’m sure we can all see the difference between kickboxing and boxing!

Kickboxing Vs Boxing: Reasons why Kickboxing may be the perfect choice for you

Kickboxing is an excellent choice if you’re seeking a comprehensive workout that engages various muscle groups. The combination of punches, kicks, and defensive moves offers a full-body workout that enhances cardio fitness, strength, and flexibility. Additionally, kickboxing is an exciting way to develop self-defense skills, as it equips you with techniques to handle different types of attacks.

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Kickboxing Vs Boxing: Reasons why Boxing is the better sport

Boxing offers a refined and clean approach to combat sports. Focusing solely on punches, boxing encourages fighters to take a good look into the various punching techniques, footwork, and head movement. This specialization can lead to an unparalleled understanding of the art of delivering and evading punches.

The precision required in boxing trains fighters to be keenly aware of their positioning and timing. Defensive tactics are paramount, which involves slipping, ducking, and blocking punches. The combination of technical prowess and strategic planning makes boxing an intellectual and physically demanding sport.

Which is better for self-defense: kickboxing or boxing?

Both kickboxing and boxing can be effective for self-defense, but they have different strengths. Kickboxing offers a broader range of strikes, including kicks that can create distance and keep attackers at bay. It also incorporates clinching techniques that could help control an opponent. On the other hand, boxing focuses intensely on punch precision, footwork, and defensive skills, which are vital in close-quarters situations. Both sports can enhance self-confidence and situational awareness. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences, mindset, and the specific self-defense skills you wish to develop.

MMA Boxing or Kickboxing: Should I Learn Boxing or Kickboxing?

Selecting between boxing and kickboxing as a beginner hinges on your personal preferences and goals. If you’re drawn to an all-encompassing workout that encompasses both kicks and punches, kickboxing is an excellent fit. It offers a diverse array of movements that challenge different muscle groups and cardiovascular endurance.

Conversely, if your aim is to truly master the intricacies of punches and defensive strategies, boxing might be more suitable. The concentrated focus on punches, footwork, and defensive maneuvers can provide a solid foundation for combat sports and self-defense techniques. Learn boxing or kickboxing today.

To summarize, kickboxing brings together a mix of punches and kicks, delivering a high-energy full-body workout and boosting self-defense capabilities. Meanwhile, boxing concentrates on the art of punches, cultivating refined striking techniques and defensive prowess. Your choice between the two depends on your fitness aspirations and interests. Kickboxing vs Boxing: Begin your journey into Kickboxing or Boxing today with Fierce Fight Gear.


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