Boxing vs MMA pros and cons

Boxing vs MMA pros and cons

  • 19/12/2019

Boxing or MMA - pros & cons


Mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the sports with the greatest coverage in the world, surpassing even its most direct competition – boxing. One of the milestones of MMA and boxing was the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Conor McGregor, where the two great athletes met in a boxing ring. This legendary match happened in 2017. The confrontation reached sales of 4.6 million dollars in Pay Per View broadcasts, a figure that boxing can only compare with the fights of Mike Tyson and more recently with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.


The origins of boxing


Boxing is very old and it all started in Egypt around 3000 BC. Even then, only striking with bandaged fists was allowed and, as is still the case today, it was always a duel. In the following centuries, this sport spread increasingly around the world. For example, evidence of ancient fist fights can be found in ancient Greece, Russia, Asia and America, which documented the popularization of the sport. Fighters also used different equipment during their training and fights, depending on their boxing style. Check out more on and learn about all the different gear that fighters use.


In the last century, especially since 1950, classic boxing, kick boxing, muay thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) have developed. In addition to differences, they have something in common:

  • Fights take place in a defined area.
  • It is a duel.
  • A referee watches over rule violations.


The differences, on the other hand, lie primarily in the rules, which precisely define which parts of the body can be used to hit and receive hits in boxing.


The classic boxing


When boxing, only punches with closed fists are allowed. Kicks, knees and bites are completely prohibited. Also, only blows on the body area above the belt line count.


The boxing gloves used must comply with the standards of the respective organization during the competition. The sewn-on thumb and the very thick padding on the back of the hand are special features.


Because no kicks are allowed, when buying a punching bag you do not need to make sure that it is particularly long. Depending on your height, 47 inches (120 cm) long punching bags are sufficient to improve your punching techniques.


Mixed Martial Arts


Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA for short, are a hybrid of many different martial arts. In contrast to the other boxing and martial arts, MMA is characterized by the fact that there are very few regulations; for example, biting and attacking the genital area are taboo.


Many MMA fighters know various martial arts such as kickboxing, muay thai, taekwondo and jiu-jitsu, whereby kickboxing is generally mastered by all fighters. As with muay thai, Mixed Martial Arts allow clinching as well as throwing and ground fighting. As a result, MMA is a full contact sport and also one of the least restricted.


In contrast to the other martial arts, MMA gloves look like heavily padded cycling gloves. While the back of the hand and the inside of the hand are more padded, the fingers are not protected. This is the only way to grab the opponent and to clasp the opponent's extremities during ground combat.




Overall, these martial arts differ mainly in the permitted punching or kicking techniques and the gloves used. When training the respective sports, primarily high-quality standing punching bags, long hanging punching bags and the boxing dummy are suitable as training objects. In addition to the punching techniques, a variety of kicking techniques can be practiced and improved on these training devices.




Both contact disciplines, of course, carry their risk to the fighters. The danger seems to change due to the rules of each one.


In 2015 researchers at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta in Canada reviewed data from a decade of post-MMA and boxing medical exams. They published the results in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. Shelby Karpman, a specialist in sports medicine and responsible for the study, concluded: "You are more likely to get hurt if you participate in MMA, but the severity of the injury is generally lower than that in boxing."



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