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Boxing vs Muay Thai

Comparing Boxing vs Muay Thai: Do You Understand the Differences?

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Boxing vs Muay Thai!

What is the difference?

Well without a doubt, they have some striking (pun intended) similarities that we will eventually discuss. But the differences are quite vast. The fighters that participate in each sport are not necessarily interchangeable.

For instance, John is your typical Boxer. John would have a hell of a time trying to compete with a Muay Thai athlete. However, Ron would have very little trouble transitioning from Muay Thai to boxing. In fact, it is arguably less work!

If John went after Ron… there would be some dire consequences for the unfortunate boxer.

The importance of knowing the differences from a boxing background can help you understand more fully how to effectively apply rules and moves in Muay Thai sparring.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom for boxers taking a shot at Muay Thai. There are things that can translate quite well from boxing that will certainly help out in Thai boxing.

So let’s dive into these main differences.

Boxing vs Muay Thai: Foot Positions

When it comes to stances, there are some fundamental differences between boxing vs Muay Thai.

This is good common Boxing footing (Fig.1):

Boxing vs Muay Thai

This is a good common Muay Thai Footwork (Fig.2):

Boxing vs Muay Thai

Notice how the feet in Fig. 1 almost positioned in a way that braces the fighter. The back foot is turned in a way that can seemingly withstand a bull rush.

However, the Muay Thai Footwork is more open. The main reason for this is that since Muay Thai Boxing is so geared toward kicking, the fighter must be light on his feet. The 2nd stance lends more to this because of the distribution of weight.

For example, it would be much harder for someone like me to life my right foot to deliver a devastating kick if most of my weight is on the back foot. With the stance, the way it is in Fig. 2 almost either foot can come up for a strike at any time.

Boxing Vs Muay Thai: Leg Stance

Unlike boxing where your punches power almost entirely comes from your legs and their placement, in Muay Thia the stance is more forward and square. With this stance, you are able to deliver rear kicks, check kicks, lead kicks.

As mentioned earlier, a Muay Thai fighter needs to be able to shift his weight quick and in a hurry. The stance with your legs is crucial in this aspect because in boxing the stance is more narrow than in Muay Thai where it tends to be more like a box.

Boxing vs Muay Thai: Placement of the Hips

Due to the positioning of the feet and legs, this affords the hips to be very square when it comes to Muay Thai.

However, in classic boxing, the hips are placed in a way to deliver more force with punches. So they tend to face away from the target.

Since the boxers hips are mainly facing out at an angle away from the target, the affords boxers more freedom to move, bob, and weave. This is perfect since that is essentially what a boxer does to protect them. But there is also no chance at receiving a kick!

Notice the angles of the hips. Boxing vs Muay Thai

This is all necessary to preserve the quickness that is needed when getting ready to protect or strike.


Boxing vs Muay Thai: Hand Position

It goes without saying that hand positioning in Muay Thai vs Boxing is completely different ideologies. They all make sense for their prospective sports and fighting styles, but the differences are night and day.

In boxing, your hands are in place to protect your money maker, your face. Any fighter in any arena can tell you that no matter how big or how strong a guy is, you hit him a few good times to the head and they all come crumbling down. Boxing has a high need for its heads because the main focus is to beat that head into a pulp.

Boxing vs Muay Thai

Ignore the terrible crudity of the image, but focus on the hands and the placement.

In Muay Thai boxing, typically the position of the hands are very square and much higher on a regular basis, not just to protect like in boxing. This also includes keeping your hands very near to the face as pictured below:

Boxing vs Muay Thai

Becuase of the mixed bag of attacks you get in Muay Thai, this stance will protect you pretty well from elbows and head kicks. Which most time is an automatic KO if you are unable to withstand it.

Notice how the front hand and back hand, even though the elbows are apart, are close to each other. This helps defend against kicks and jabs to the face.

Another cool thing is that this also has an offensive benefit keeping the hands so high. You are much more able to deliver quick elbows since the hands are likely in a place to strike quickly.


Boxing vs Muay Thai: Footwork

in boxing, footwork is pretty essential. Think Muhammed Ali floating like a butterfly. He was simply amazing at it. This afforded him lighting quickness and the ability to dodge very quickly.

If you really think about it, it is a dance. In boxing, the constant bouncing and reacting to opponent movement, it is a choreographed dance.

When learning to box, basic footwork is typcally what is taught first. It helps protect you. The importance of it is not to be understated,

Now, Muay Thai is a bit different.

Muay Thai has footwork, but it is in no way like it is in boxing. This is because fighters do not just have to worry with jabs and uppercuts. They have to worry about elbows, knees, legs, kicks, clinching etc…

As a result, footwork in Muay Thai is kept simple. As mentioned earlier with foot and leg positioning and stances, the weight distribution also plays a role to the classic stances we see in Muay Thai. The ability to deliver and dodge quickly from all types of attacks lend well to you winning the match.


Boxing vs Muay Thai: Conclusion

You are reading here because you likely had an idea to begin with that the two are different. Unfortunately, it is widely accepted that the two sports are the same. Muay Thai and Boxing are very different sports. Due to what is allowed in each, certain stances and positionings are necessary to protect you as a fighter.

I hoped you have learned that Muay Thai and Boxing are very different sports with very different priorities. Due to what is allowed in each, certain stances and positionings are necessary to protect you as a fighter.

Due to what is allowed in each, certain stances and positionings are necessary to protect you as a fighter.

Now with that said, having a background in both does not hurt. Even when you are specifically training to learn Muay Thai techniques, boxing fundamentals can give you a proper basis to fill in the gaps.

I like to think of boxing like checkers and Muay Thai as chess.

Checkers is has a lot of strategies but is basically one thing… skipping over pieces to eliminate your opponent.

Chess is a thinking man’s game. With so many pieces that can do so many things, you have to account for all of it.

Same with Boxing vs Muay Thai. Boxing is the one trick pony and Muay Thai is the whole kitchen sink, then some!

Check out more techniques by reading up on Muay Thai by clicking here!

Boxing vs Muay ThaiBoxing vs Muay Thai

Please join the discussion and comment down below!

What do you think? Be sure to comment down below and let me know how you feel the sports are different? or is there even a difference at all?

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