Boxing vs Muay Thai

Both boxing and Muay Thai are often perceived as great fighting styles when we talk about striking. The two arts share several things in common, but they differ a lot from each other, with each one having its own pros and cons.

However, have you ever thought about how boxing and Muay Thai match would play out? Or which one is the most efficient and why? This article provides a decent comparison between these two styles.

Table of Contents

boxing vs muay thai

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is also known as the “art of eight limbs“, That’s because fighters should learn clinching and sweeping methods and how to use their shins, elbows, knees, and fists – not a walk in the park.

Further, they have to go through many grueling drills. There is no doubt that Muay Thai fighters have an attractive lean, and mean physique for which many men would kill for. That is because being correctly conditioned is vital to the art of eight limbs.  

What Is Boxing?

Boxing is a combat sport in which fighters fight with their fists only. Boxing has traditionally been called pugilism, or “fist fighting.” During a fight, there is a ring, and timed rounds are conducted.

Victories are achieved through points or knockouts. Judges outside the ring determine who wins the match, while a referee runs the fight inside the ring.

What’s The Difference Between Boxing And Muay Thai?

This is a common question asked about boxing versus Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is more efficient than boxing in many aspects of fighting, as it’s a more versatile style. What it brings to the table is striking along with all eight limbs, making it a total striking art. Further, students learn advanced punching tactics, how to throw vicious kicks, elbows, and knees.

On the other hand, boxing teaches you how to use only your hands to strike above the waist. Even though limited, you should not disregard how efficient boxing can be, even better than Muay Thai in other aspects.

Is Muay Thai More Effective Than Boxing?

It depends. Boxing may be simpler and more straightforward to learn, but it’s not a martial art in the same sense as, say, Muay Thai, karate, taekwondo, or kung fu. On top of that, boxing only concentrates on punches while Muay Thai has more efficient techniques useful to self-defense like elbows, knees, kicks, and especially the Muay Thai clinch, that’s more efficient than boxing overall.

There are reasons why Muay Thai is one of the best and simplest martial arts to learn:

  • It has simple techniques: It is composed entirely of elbows, knees, kicks, and punches, which make its techniques simple to learn. You can also find several methods that need extreme levels of flexibility, dexterity, and athleticism to perform, like overly fancy movements, jumping kicks, and spinning kicks.
  • Proper training equipment is required: Some of the most famous and best Muay Thai fighters in Thailand and the world came up training in poor regions of Thailand like Issan, where they had poor equipment. In practice, training equipment for Muay Thai includes Thai boxing gloves, Muay Thai pads, leggings, a suitable bag for equipment, and more.

Can Boxing Beat Muay Thai?

A boxer can’t beat a Muay Thai fighter as the latter won’t simply use punches but will also be using a variety of knee strikes, elbow strikes, foot jabs, and kicks, all of which a boxer will be not familiar with and not able to defend efficiently.

The good thing about Muay fighters is that they are super conditioned. Their training regime is one of the most grueling in martial arts. At an advanced level, a Muay Thai fighter is conditioned to absorb kicks and blows. Not duck, slip, or roll as boxers are trained to do.

Which Is Better For Fitness Boxing Or Muay Thai?

Would you like to become a better version of yourself by becoming fitter? You may be considering which of the two is a good option for you.

When it comes to fitness, you cannot go wrong with either of these two. Both boxing and Muay Thai are good fitness options. Irrespective of which you prefer to train, you are bound to get an awesome anaerobic and aerobic workout. On top of that, your conditioning and stamina will get to a higher level than before you trained.

Just keep in mind that focusing too much or solely on the fitness part might make you ignore the martial art or self-defense aspect of the two arts. Thus, it’s important that you find the necessary balance between technique and fitness.

Is Boxing Harder Than Muay Thai?

Both are striking arts. Nevertheless, Muay Thai is different than boxing as it’s a combination of kicking and punching. Boxers should master the use of both hands, while Muay Thai fighters should master how to use their feet, knees, elbows, hands, and shins. 

Boxing Gear vs Muay Thai Gear

I’m sure you’ve noticed the huge variety of different boxing gear available. When it comes to Muay Thai gear, the amount of equipment that is available could be described as small but there are still some differences compared to boxing equipment.

Let’s have a look at these differences and compare them with the boxing standard gear you are already familiar with.

Boxing Gloves Compared To Muay Thai Gloves

In boxing, you train for 12 rounds and use 8oz or 10oz boxing gloves. Usually, a pair of hand wraps is enough to protect your wrist and give some stability when hitting the heavy bag or a focus mitt.

In Muay Thai on the other hand, you can have up to 6 rounds in a fight. For this reason, you need more protection for your hands. Thai boxing gloves are usually heavier than boxing gloves and will give you better protection when hitting the heavy bag, focus mitts, or other training partners.

Boxing Shorts Compared To Muay Thai Shorts

The big difference between boxing and Muay Thai is the length of the shorts. In boxing, you wear boxing shorts that go down to your knees so they protect your legs from low kicks when training or in a fight.

However, Muay Thai shorts are shorter because it’s not allowed to kick above the waist in a real fight.

The length varies but in most cases, they come down to your knees. This also provides better movement when kicking the leg of your opponent, like in MMA for example.

Boxing Headgear Compared To Muay Thai Headgear

The last big difference between boxing gear and Muay Thai gear is the headgear. In most cases, you’ll wear boxing headgear for training but you can also use it in a fight if your opponent doesn’t want to clinch with you.

In Muay Thai however, there are no 12oz gloves so there’s no need for a lot of padding around your head except when you are fighting with MMA gloves in Thailand.

In this case, you’ll wear Thai headgear which has no protection for your face but comes down to the sides to protect from punches and elbows coming from all angles.

Should I Learn Boxing Or Muay Thai First?

Keep in mind that both boxing and Muay Thai are great for self-defense and worth practicing and learning. However, would you like to learn both, but you aren’t certain what you must train first or if it even matters?

Both of these styles have different stances. Boxing has punches, so if you pick it, you will pick up bad habits, which will harm your Muay Thai. On the other hand, it’s simpler to adapt to boxing for a Muay Thai fighter than the other way around, as boxing comes naturally to Thai boxing. Don’t forget that boxing is a part of Muay Thai.

Moreover, Muay Thai is a comprehensive fighting system that has a lot of foundations. One of those foundations is boxing.

Visit a Muay Thai gym, and you will often find classes that only concentrate on boxing. Given that it’s the art of eight limbs, boxing is about one-fourth of Muay Thai. Thus, every Muay Thai fighter will have a decent understanding of it.

That is not the same with boxers. These fighters don’t have an answer to the leg kick and aren’t used to dealing with strikes that don’t punch, such as kicks and knees.

With boxing, you’ll spend zero time learning how to defend against and attack with elbows, knees, or kicks. Thus, if you transition eventually into Muay Thai, you’ll understand that everything will be new to you and will take a very long time to catch up.