Boxing vs Kickboxing Analyzed: Which One Should You Go For And Why?

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Last Updated on February 21, 2021

Although boxing and kickboxing might look analogous, they are two very different sports. The fundamental difference between the two is that the former involves only fist-based action while in the latter, payers throw out punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and so on.

Simply put...

Boxing involves punches and blocks, while kickboxing uses fists and kicks (in addition to other maneuvers). In this article, I will lay down the major discrepancies between the two, so let’s get started with kickboxing vs boxing.

Spoiler alert! 

I won’t be announcing any winners or losers, instead, I will only point out which discipline will serve your specific needs the best.

The Main Differences: Boxing VS Kickboxing

The main differences between boxing vs kickboxing are:

  • Boxing is more or less based on striking with fists, whereas kickboxing goes beyond the punch-only approach.
  • In boxing, players don’t actively use their lower body for striking, whereas kickboxing involves pummeling with legs and as well as arms.
  • Boxing employs a universal-style, whereas kickboxing uses numerous contemporary and old-school methods, hence it is more varied.
  • Boxing is favorable for starters, whereas kickboxing is comparably more challenging.
  • In boxing, players evade punches by ducking and dodging, whereas, in kickboxing, ducking may result in you getting seriously whacked by repeated kicks.
  • In boxing, clashing below the belt is invalid (this is where the phrase actually comes from), whereas this is not the case with kickboxing.
  • In boxing, a left jab is reasonably shielding whereas in kickboxing, not so much.
  • In boxing, players attempt to strike each other’s head, whereas kickboxers are not restricted as such.

This sums up the basic differences between kickboxing and boxing, let’s move on and compare these two in practical situations. Also, based on these comparisons, I will highlight which discipline would be more suited for you.

Comparing Kickboxing VS Boxing For Fighting

What if we pin players from each discipline against one another? How will a boxer vs kickboxer fight go? 

If you’re thinking of a standard fight, then the comparison is impossible since both sports have very different rules. However, for a street fight scenario, we can imagine how it might play out. 

Both of them have different tools and gears that can either be used during training and the actual fight. A classic example will be a pair of top-quality pair of shoes designed for each discipline, as well as a pair of gloves. And of course, not to forget that fighters need to wear the best mouthguard for boxing or kickboxing.


Boxing is completely based on punches and fistfights, the major goal being knocking out your opponent to gain victory. A skilled boxer punches strategically and forcefully, so much so that this impressed the legendary Brue Lee enough to include this component in his self-created discipline: “Jeet Kun Do.”

The other part of the sport is avoiding direct hits from your opponent and for this, a player learns to master distance management and evading strikes. A boxer will be much faster than his opponent when it comes to landing some solid punches.

However, this is not to say that this will determine the outcome of a possible fight, boxing is, after all, limited to fist-fights.


Kickboxing, on the other hand, explores an expanse of tools and procedures. Kickboxers not only train their fists but furthermore the rest of their bodies, especially the destructive lower half which can unleash a series of devastating kicks.

It is comparatively more sophisticated and diverse as it consists of vast strategies to attack an opponent with. However, with so many parts to train, one cannot help but wonder if a kickboxer can land his punches as well as a boxer can.


While both disciplines are perfect in their own senses, in a practical confrontation, a kickboxer (if well-trained) will take the edge. Why? Because this art is simply more expansive. While a boxer restricts his offensive in the upper half of his body, a kickboxer does not.

Of course, if a boxer manages to land his best punch on the other person, the fight may end before it’s begun. But that is not to say that a kickboxer might not anticipate such a move and use evasive maneuvers.

In the end, a kickboxer will be more practical when it comes to a street confrontation.

Comparing Kickboxing VS Boxing For Fitness

Both kickboxing and boxing have a versatile and complex training process. There would be a lot to face if you were only to go through the warm-up routine for either one. Let’s analyze the difference between kickboxing and boxing for fitness:


Boxing will extensively benefit you with hand-eye coordination, cardio persistence, weight loss, and advancement of upper-body strength. The exercise drills will be simple but not easy, you will be running, weightlifting, skipping ropes, punching bags, may even use a boxing reflex bag, cycling, and pretty much everything that would’ve killed Humpty Dumpty, had he not taken that fall first. 😉


Kickboxing includes a similar outlay of exercises, although different trainers may focus on specific parts of the workout. Needless to say, if you were looking for an easy way into either one, I hate to break it to you: there isn’t one.


Both of these disciplines provide vascular training as well as endurance-building. Besides all the physical potency, these martial arts will help lessen stress by striking things instead of the people you hate.

Comparing Kickboxing VS Boxing For Self-Defense

Both boxing and kickboxing are martial arts and competitive sports, their fundamental purpose is to face off against an opponent in the ring and not defending against an attacker on the street. 

However, the skills can be translated into practical situations to help you protect yourself against a perp. 


Boxing teaches you how to incredibly wreck a foe. In a street mugging case, you will be better off by throwing a punch or two at the perp and then making a quick escape. However, your attacker may have anticipated some resistance, and unless you’re really good with your punches, I wouldn’t recommend that you waste your efforts this way.

PS, a street mugger or a drunk assaulter will not be too keen to adhere to some arbitrary rules of the ring, so you can expect some serious blows below the belt if things do go to a fist-fight. Of course, you can knock out a person if you’re skilled enough but in some cases, it won’t be morally justified.

For instance, a drunk attacker certainly does not deserve some serious blows to his head. This may also incriminate you in battery charges.


Kickboxing is known as a combat sport and its moves are more applicable in a street fight. However, it too is not a self-defense art but rather a competitive sport.

A skilled kickboxer can easily disable an attacker, but since you’re not taught any grappling procedures in this discipline, there is no way of neutralizing the attacker without causing some serious bodily harm, which may lead to similar outcomes to those described above.


You might be too appalled to react at first, but you can indeed put your skills to good use for self-defense. 

It is best to use timely maneuvers to disarm and knock out your enemy (or temporarily incapacitate), and then make a run for it. There is no point in standing up and fighting unless you’ve no place to run.

Bottom Line

In my sentiment, boxing is adequate for amateurs who have not undergone any martial arts training before. Boxing is simpler (although not easier), has a universal style, and involves a central mark point to hit.

Kickboxing will be best suited for those who are okay with employing several techniques and using multiple portions of the body to neutralize the opponent. Of the two, it is the harder one to master but is worth it once you’re through.

Of course, in an ideal case, you would cover them both, but if you can only manage one at a time, I would recommend boxing first due to its simplicity.

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