Boxing vs Kickboxing – Which martial art is better?


Kickboxing and Boxing are both incredible martial arts that anyone should learn. However, many differences create a gap between them, and so while one may be more suitable for one individual, the latter may be ideal for another. Consequently, understanding the differences between them- may significantly assist you in choosing one to learn. 

The kickboxer will win a fight against a boxer since the first has a broader skillset. Because Kickboxing involves more fighting techniques, kicking in all its forms, the first will have a more comprehensive skill set and hence be more capable. 

Nonetheless, learning to box is incredibly effective both for self-defense and sports. Although I presented a straightforward answer in the previous section, comparing two martial arts is more complex than anyone can handle. Therefore, I based the solution on the techniques one will learn in each. 

This article will demonstrate the entire background of the two fighting styles. As a result, post-reading this information, you’ll be more capable than ever of making a wiser decision on which one you’ll begin to learn. Furthermore, by doing so, you’ll enjoy the learning process more than if you were to pick the other. 

Before diving in, I wrote an article on the deadliest martial arts you should learn. If you haven’t chosen one yet, I encourage reading as it’ll present various fighting styles you may not be aware exist.

SimilaritiesDifferencesBoxing & KickboxingThey’re both modern martial arts
They utilize punching
They’re suitable for self-defense
They use similar footwork movements
They use different fighting techniques
They utilize different movements
Their origin is different
The differences and similarities between Boxing and Kickboxing

Differences between Kickboxing and Boxing

Although they have a similar name, Kickboxing and Boxing have a wide gap between them. As a result, while one may suit you, the other might not. 

This section will demonstrate some of the differences between the two martial arts. If you’re struggling to choose one to learn, I recommend reading and rereading this section, as it’s critical for your situation. 

They use different fighting techniques.

The movements the martial art teaches- are the most influential factor. For instance, Muay-Thai is the study of kicking, punching, and grappling. Thus if you desire to learn these techniques, you ought to consider Muay-Thai as your primary fighting style.

While Kickboxing’s primary fighting movements are kicking and striking, Boxing focuses solely on punching techniques. As a result, if you’re interested in learning to kick as well, you ought to consider Kickboxing. However, if that doesn’t interest you, Boxing may be more suitable. 

Martial artist
Image by Barroa_Artworks from Pixabay

That should be the primary metric you follow when choosing a fighting style to learn. But, of course, it depends on what you want to know; you may want to practice kicking movements since you may find it interesting. Otherwise, one may fancy the idea of grappling, and therefore other martial arts may fit. 

Genuinely think with yourself; Which fighting techniques are you most interested in learning? If the answer includes kicking movements, Boxing may disappoint you. Nonetheless, learning to kickbox may be more suitable than one may initially think. 

Finally, Boxing utilizes punching and striking techniques, both the offensive and defensive. As a result, it’s simpler than one may initially consider. However, Kickboxing also involves various kicking techniques combined with striking. Thus it overall teaches more movements than the first. 

Kickboxing and Boxing utilize different movements.

Some martial arts include various movements, which we may call similar to another. Because of that, the gap between them and the other fighting style- is shortened. 

In Kickboxing, you use both punching and striking. Consequently, you’ll have more opportunities for the offense. Yet, you’ll be less inclined to defend yourself. With Boxing, the opposite is true. Because you have punching as your only move, you’ll be inclined to defend yourself more than the first. 

When discussing Kickboxing and Boxing, the movements are different at their core. Consequently, both martial arts will seem different when one watches two fighters fight

Understanding this difference may be the key to choosing one to learn. If you understand this gap, you may be more capable of picking one and starting your journey with it.

Next, I’ll include a video that demonstrates Kickboxing’s unique movements. If you desire to learn it, I encourage you to begin as soon as possible as you’ll notice more results earlier. 

Numerous other differences make KB different from Boxing. If I were to point to the central ones, it would be that KB involves kicking. Therefore, the entire stance and environment changes. For instance, kicking makes you keep your distance from your opponent. Yet, closing the distance in Boxing may be wiser in most scenarios. Thus they’re incredibly different. 

Their origin

All martial arts have an origin. It’s where the first group of people constructed its core movements. For instance, Karate is a traditional fighting style originating from Okinawa island in Japan. 

Although it shouldn’t influence your decision, it dramatically impacts martial art. But again, it ought not to influence your choice when choosing one to learn because if you fancy the movements, you’ll be solid for the rest of your fighting practice. 

While Kickboxing originates from Japan, Boxing first began in Britain. As a result, they both will be different because their core is distinguishable. Although it shouldn’t influence your decision, briefly knowing their history- will assist you in understanding them better. 

But, Boxing has a rich history, although it’s more modern than traditional. If you want to read more about the history of Boxing, I encourage you to follow the link to a fantastic piece of research about it. 

Japan and UK flags
Image by 13smok from Pixabay 

Similarities between Kickboxing and Boxing

Thus far, we have discussed the differences between Kickboxing and Boxing. I’m a big fan of both, yet you may not be. Because of that, understanding their similarities- will assist you in understanding them thoroughly. Eventually, it’ll help you in choosing one to study. 

The following sections will demonstrate how KB and Boxing are similar. 

They’re both modern martial arts.

Many martial arts go way back. Their history is rich, and thus they’re traditional ones. For instance, Karate and Kung fu are conventional martial arts. So let’s discuss our situation. 

Kickboxing and Boxing are modern martial arts since people have adapted them to the current world. As a result, they’re highly effective for the everyday situations you may face. For instance, many Kung fu styles are traditional since they don’t fit today’s world. 

To clarify, modern fighting styles, such as Muay-Thai, are adequate for the current situations you may face. For instance, back then, guns weren’t a threat. You’ll be surprised that some martial arts emphasize defense against such weapons. Consequently, they’re modern. 

Both Kickboxing and Boxing utilize punching.

As previously discussed, the fighting techniques each martial art practices should be your primary metric in choosing one. For example, if you’re interested in learning throwing grappling movements, Judo is for you. On the other hand, consider Wrestling if you want to study traditional grappling. 

Kickboxing and Boxing both utilize punching techniques. As a result, if you’re interested in learning it, you ought to consider both. Moreover, because punching is effective for all situations, it’ll also be suitable both for self-defense and general fighting. 

For that reason, both KB and Boxing are suitable for self-defense. First, however, let’s return to the fact that they teach different styles of the same techniques. 

Kickboxing utilizes kicking combined with punching. Thus the entire game changes. While in Boxing, you may want to close the distance between you and the opponent; the opposite applies to KB. Your desire should be to land a powerful kick to finish the fight. Hence you must be at an appropriate distance to generate sufficient force. 

As you can see, they’re different at their core. Yet, they both include punching. Thus if you’re interested in learning these techniques specifically, both KB and Boxing may suit your scenario. 

Both are suitable for self-defense.

When discussing self-defense, our pursuit changes from the previous one we held. While we want to know to fight, that isn’t the goal in this case. Let me explain what I mean. 

In self-defense, your goal is to disable the attacker as fast as possible. If you manage to do so, you’ll reach your goal. However, if we talk about fighting, the goal isn’t to disable the attacker as fast as possible. Instead, it’s to use both offense and defense to beat your opponent.

Kickboxing and Boxing are suitable for self-defense since they teach techniques to deal with attackers quickly. As a result, we accomplish our goal of disabling the attacker as fast as possible. For instance, you’ll learn to strike powerfully and thus finish a fight with a single punch. 

As you can tell, I’m rather passionate about self-defense. Although I haven’t been in such a situation where I had to disable an attacker as fast as possible, preparing for it- is crucial. You’ll become capable of using your body to inflict massive damage in a short period. How cool is that? 

Eventually, many martial arts are suitable for self-defense. Yet, I particularly like KB and Boxing since they provide simplicity. One of my goals in life is to keep it uncomplicated. Hence they help in achieving that.

If you decide to learn Boxing, you’ll become capable of using the techniques you’d know after a few weeks. With martial arts, it usually takes months until you can do so. However, Boxing allows us to accomplish this state faster than ever, as it’s simple. 

They use similar footwork movements.

First, I must mention that all fighting styles are different. Moreover, each one brings its pros and cons to the table. As a result, you may learn opposite techniques for the same topic. However, there are always some similarities in the movements.

Boxing and Kickboxing use similar footwork movements. Although KB involves kicking and thus the entire stance and footwork changes, there are some similarities. For instance, both martial arts generate force from the hips when using striking techniques, such as a straight punch. 

Although they’re somewhat different, it’s pleasant to notice such similarities in these two fighting styles. You’ll learn many techniques that apply to both martial arts. Therefore, it’s a sign that they work and are highly effective movements. 

When you want to generate more force for your punches, using body parts other than your hand will allow you to do so. For example, using your hips and legs in any punch- is critical for inflicting massive damage quickly. Thus it’s suitable for self-defense and all fighting- in general.

The following video demonstrates using the hips and the legs to generate more force with your punches. 

Which is better for self-defense, Kickboxing or Boxing?

Knowing various techniques will be more helpful for self-defense since there are no rules. For instance, one cannot tap out from a real fight. As a result, learning the core fighting techniques- punching, kicking, and primarily grappling- will be more helpful than you may think.

Kickboxing is more suitable for self-defense than Boxing since you’ll learn more techniques in training. In addition, as a result, you’ll become a more dynamic fighter than if you were to practice the latter. However, KB doesn’t involve any grappling movements, which are essential for self-defense. 

So again, there are no rules for this type of fighting. Consequently, any dangerous situation can escalate, and therefore you must have a broad skill set. Regardless, you’ll be capable of using the footwork for offensive and defensive moves. As a result, you’ll become a more skilled fighter. 

martial arts
Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

I must note that Kickboxing isn’t the best fighting style for self-defense. In fact, it lacks many central techniques- which are highly effective for self-defense. 

One of these movements is grappling. Although you learn a small portion of it in both Boxing and Kickboxing (clinching), it doesn’t suffice. In fact, combining these martial arts with other ones, such as Judo or Jiu-Jitsu- is the best option.

Today in the UFC, elite fighters combine the techniques and movements they learned both from Boxing and other martial arts, such as Jiu-Jitsu. Thus they become complete and are capable of disabling anyone exceptionally quickly. 

I wrote an article on the best martial arts that combine with Boxing, and I encourage you to read it as it closely correlates with this post. 

Which is better for street fights, Boxing or Kickboxing?

In the same manner as self-defense, street fights are a fantastic example of why you must be dynamic. But, again, street fights hold no rules, so you can execute whichever movement you want. So let’s examine which fighting style is better for that purpose. 

Kickboxing is better than Boxing for street fights since it involves more movements, kicking, and a small portion of grappling. Consequently, kickboxers are more dynamic and have a broader move-set than boxers. Yet, Boxing is highly effective for street fights as well. 

Throughout the last 4-years, I have been practicing Boxing. Thus, I can confidently say that I’m not biased toward martial art. However, I’m aware of the benefits and disadvantages of each style.

For your information, learning Boxing is as simple as martial arts training can get. At first, you may struggle with the techniques. However, the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll get. Moreover, it won’t take long until you can use the skills you learn to your advantage. 

Finally, both Kickboxing and Boxing are suitable martial arts for street fights since they teach highly effective movements for such a purpose.

Furthermore, because there are no rules involved in self-defense, you can use whichever technique that’ll lead you to victory, which may give you a massive advantage if you use it correctly. 

Is Kickboxing harder to learn than Boxing?

It’s common sense that the more techniques a fighting style include, the harder it’ll be to learn and combine them in real-time. Additionally, some movements are more challenging to learn than others. This section will answer which of the following is harder to study.

Kickboxing is harder to learn than Boxing since it involves kicking and some grappling techniques. As a result, it’ll be longer for kickboxers rather than boxers to use the skills they learned. For clarification, Boxing solely involves punching, which is fewer techniques than Kickboxing. 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Boxing is one of the simplest martial arts one can learn since it doesn’t involve many techniques. In comparison, Muay-Thai and Kickboxing are harder to learn as they incorporate more movements, such as kicking and grappling. 

That said, some may find the movements in Kickboxing more intuitive than in Boxing. Thus they’ll have a more manageable time learning the latter rather than the first. However, the paragraph I previously wrote, which is more challenging to learn- generalizes the situation and thus is more accurate for more people. 

Is Boxing safer to learn than Kickboxing?

Fighting- in general, is a dangerous area. Therefore, considering it safe- will never be accurate. However, I wrote an article on the safest martial arts, and I encourage reading it if that’s your pursuit. 

Both Boxing and Kickboxing aren’t safe since they include sparring sessions in their training. Thus calling both safe- is simply inaccurate. Moreover, injuring yourself in practice is expected, and it can also be harmful in the long term. 

“The most commonly injured body region was the head/neck/face (89.8%), followed by the upper extremities (7.4%). Specifically, injuries to the eye region (45.8%) and concussion (15.9%) were the most common. About three quarters of all injuries were lacerations/open wounds or superficial.” 


As you can see, there’s a wide variety of injuries boxers can stumble upon. Because of that, attending a qualified school that will keep you safe- even when sparring and training, is incredibly critical. 

“On average, kickboxing has an injury rate of about 40 for every 1,000 minutes of playing time, or about 2.5 injuries an hour, the study of U.S. competitions found.” 


Eventually, doing any martial art- may lead to injuries. Because of that, you must keep yourself as safe as possible, both in training and post it. For instance, keeping your body rested and recovered- may be detrimental to avoiding injuries. (Read more on how much recovery your body needs in martial arts)

Which martial art is most popular?

Knowing which martial art is most popular- may not influence your decision on which one you’ll learn. However, there’s one primary aspect we ought to look at. So let’s examine which one is most prevalent and why it should matter to you. 

Boxing is more popular than Kickboxing. As a result, there’ll be more qualified schools worldwide that teach it. Moreover, there’ll be more online and offline discussions on this martial art. As a result, you may find it easier to stay consistent with your training. 

I wrote an article on the most popular martial arts worldwide, and I encourage you to read it if you’re interested in this topic. 

Eventually, it would be best if you cared about which fighting style is most popular since it’ll assist you in knowing whether you’ll be capable of finding a solid fighting school. For instance, you may find it more challenging to find a qualified Kali school than a Boxing one, which is effortless. 

Final words

This article has been close to my heart for a prolonged period. I’ve been thinking about how I should structure it so anyone can benefit from reading it. Whether you’re struggling to choose which one to learn or reading for your self-enjoyment, I hope you enjoyed this piece of research. 

Both Boxing and Kickboxing are incredible martial arts. They’re suitable for self-defense and involve various techniques- effective for fighting. Because of that, one will benefit greatly from learning them- as they provide physical and mental benefits, such as better physical condition. 

I’ve had my time learning Boxing. Although I don’t strive to compete, I believe I know plenty about it. Consequently, I hope I influenced your decision on the one you’ll begin doing. Choosing which martial art you’ll spend your precious time doing- is more complex than the training itself. 

On my website, I wrote similar articles that compare two martial arts. If you’re interested in reading more about them, I encourage you to follow the link to read about the deadliest martial arts worldwide that you should learn

Lastly, if you’re interested in learning how to progress outside your fighting gym, I wrote a complete guide to training martial arts at home. I recommend reading it as it’s one of my best pieces of research. 


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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