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Kickboxing vs. Boxing: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 12, 2024
Kickboxing combines punching and kicking techniques, while boxing is a sport focusing solely on punching and defense with the upper body.

Key Differences

Kickboxing is a martial art that blends punching and kicking maneuvers. In contrast, boxing strictly involves the use of hands for punching and defense.
Kickboxing allows strikes with feet, knees, and sometimes elbows, offering a wider range of attacks. Boxing, however, is confined to punches, jabs, hooks, and uppercuts.
In kickboxing, athletes must defend against both punches and kicks, requiring versatile movement and agility. Boxers focus on footwork and upper body movement for defense.
Kickboxing includes various styles like Muay Thai and American kickboxing, each with unique rules. Boxing is more uniform globally, with well-established rules and techniques.
Training in kickboxing involves mastering both hand and leg techniques. Boxing training concentrates on hand speed, punch power, and endurance.

Comparison Chart


Punches and kicks
Only punches

Allowed Strikes

Hands, feet, knees, elbows (varies)
Hands only

Defensive Focus

Upper and lower body
Primarily upper body

Style Variations

Multiple styles with different rules
Mostly uniform rules globally

Training Emphasis

Hand and leg techniques
Hand speed, punch power, endurance

Kickboxing and Boxing Definitions


Kickboxing involves stand-up fighting and clinch fighting techniques.
In her kickboxing match, she used a mix of jabs and high kicks.


It's a sport where two people wear gloves and throw punches at each other.
Boxing requires not only strength but also strategy and endurance.


It's a martial art that emphasizes strikes using both hands and feet.
Kickboxing classes are popular for their full-body workout benefits.


Boxing focuses on punch technique, defense, and footwork.
His boxing style is admired for its swift footwork and agility.


Kickboxing is a combat sport combining punching and kicking.
He trains in kickboxing to improve his overall fighting skills.


Boxing is a combat sport involving fighting with fists.
The boxing match was won by a knockout in the third round.


Kickboxing includes elements of various martial arts like karate and Muay Thai.
He incorporates Muay Thai kicks into his kickboxing routine.


It's a regulated sport with rounds, governed by strict rules.
Professional boxing matches often attract large audiences.


It's a sport where athletes use kicks and punches in a ring.
Kickboxing tournaments often showcase diverse fighting styles.


Boxing is known for its training in punch power and speed.
She took up boxing to develop her upper body strength.


A martial art in which competitors wear boxing gloves and throw punches as in boxing and kick with their bare feet as in karate.


A container typically constructed with four sides perpendicular to the base and often having a lid or cover.


(martial arts) A hybrid martial art derived from Muay Thai, karate and especially boxing during the 1960s to 1970s; more generally, any stand-up combat sport that combines kicks and punches.
The Japanese kickboxing gym, recently opened in the Thai capital, had been a great success (Black Belt Magazine, March 1973, p. 13)


The amount or quantity that such a container can hold.


What is boxing?

A combat sport focused on fighting with fists, under specific rules.

Are kicks allowed in boxing?

No, boxing only allows punches.

Is kickboxing good for self-defense?

Yes, it teaches effective striking and defensive techniques.

How do I start training in boxing?

Find a local boxing gym and start with basic classes.

Is boxing effective for fitness?

Absolutely, it improves cardiovascular health and muscle strength.

What is kickboxing?

A stand-up combat sport involving both punching and kicking.

Can kickboxers punch?

Yes, punches are a fundamental part of kickboxing.

What equipment is essential for boxing?

Gloves, hand wraps, and a mouthguard are essential for boxing.

What gear is needed for kickboxing?

Similar to boxing, but often includes shin guards.

How do I start learning kickboxing?

Join a gym or a martial arts academy that offers kickboxing classes.

Do kickboxing and boxing require different training routines?

Yes, kickboxing focuses more on leg strength and flexibility, while boxing concentrates on upper body and punching techniques.

Are there weight classes in both sports?

Yes, both sports have weight classes to ensure fair competition.

Is kickboxing part of the Olympic Games?

As of my last update, kickboxing is not an Olympic sport, unlike boxing.

Can kickboxing help in losing weight?

Yes, it's an intense workout that can aid in weight loss.

What's the primary objective in a boxing match?

To score points or achieve a knockout through punching.

Can I practice both kickboxing and boxing?

Certainly, practicing both can enhance overall fighting skills.

What's the main goal in a kickboxing match?

To outstrike the opponent using both kicks and punches.

What are the major boxing organizations?

WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO are among the major boxing organizations.

Is boxing safe for all ages?

With proper training and precautions, it can be safe for various ages.

Are there different styles within kickboxing?

Yes, including American, Japanese, and Muay Thai styles.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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