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Boxing For Muay Thai: Boxing vs Muay Thai (Everything You Should Know)

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boxing Muay-Thai

Boxing and Muay Thai share some similarities, but there are just as many differences between the two sports. Muay Thai includes some elements of boxing. But. You can’t fight like a boxer when you switch to Muay Thai or bad things happen.  I’ve actually seen pure Russian boxers (who take Muay Thai training for a couple weeks while in Thailand) jump into a pro Muay Thai match down here and get absolutely annihilated by the other guy who would viciously leg kick the poor boxer at will.

Note, this is the first in my three part Boxing for Muay Thai series:

  1. Boxing vs Muay Thai
  2. How to Use Boxing Effectively in Muay Thai
  3. Best Boxing Combos Wickedly Effective for Muay Thai

Why should you care about the differences between Boxing and Muay Thai?

If you have a boxing background, knowing the key differences can help you better understand how to more effectively use your hands during Muay Thai sparring or fights.

Some of the best muay thai fighters in the world from Thailand have been high level (western boxers), which I fully believe helped them dominate Muay Thai during their careers. So, if boxing helped the best at Muay Thai become the best and stay the best, then maybe we should pay attention to this — the fundamentals of boxing can help your Muay Thai!

So what are the main differences between Boxing and Muay Thai besides the obvious fact that Muay Thai also includes kicks, knees, elbows, and clinching?

Well, that’s what we need this 2000 word article to find out!

Differences Between Muay Thai and Boxing

When you break both sports down a bit, you find there are a number of differences that have to do with the stances and hand positions.

Boxing vs Muay Thai Foot Stance

A basic overview of the difference between the boxing stance and muay thai stance.


muay thai vs boxing stance

[photo credit: picture on right taken from Johnny’s ExpertBoxing.com]

muay thai stance

boxing stance

The Muay Thai Leg Stance

The Muay Thai stance is typically very forward and square, hand straight with the tops above or just below forehead and forearms pointing towards opponent with elbows pointed out slightly, hips facing forward. This stance is allows you to throw lead and rear kicks, check kicks, and also throw elbows and knees. Because Muay Thai includes kicks, knees, elbows, punches, and clinching, the weight on both feet must shift back and forth at a split second notice.

IF you look at the two GIF pictures above, you’ll notice the boxer on the bottom picture (Canelo Alvarez) has a much longer foot stance than does Damien Alamos. Boxing tends to have a narrower and longer stance than the traditional Muay Thai stance, which is quite a bit shorter.

thai boxing stance  MTStance2 muaythaistance

Overview

  • Feet will be roughly shoulder width apart
  • Front foot slightly curved in, 10 degree angle
  • Rear foot slightly curved out, about 45 degree
  • Hip angle about 30-45 degrees; more traditional Muay Thai stances have you facing more forward while more hybrid stances have it towards 45 degrees
  • Weight slightly on the back foot and lighter on front foot.
  • Heel of rear foot slightly lifted

The Boxing Leg Stance

The basic boxing stance may typically be a bit more narrow than the Muay Thai stance with the hips much more pointed back at a 50-80 degree angle and the head and back slightly leaning forward. The stance tends to be longer than the traditional Muay Thai stance.

The placement of the hips is the major difference between boxing and Muay Thai stances, with the hips being MUCH more forward and square for Muay Thai so as to allow the checking of kicks and the ability to quickly kick from the back leg. Boxing stances generally aim to give as small a target to the opponent as possible (while still allowing stability) by turning the hips outward, counterclockwise. This means there is less body area shown to the opponent offering less of a target and more protection. This is not done in Muay Thai as it opens up the front leg to easy leg kicks.

Tyrone Everett

boxing stance

image116boxing footwork

boxingstance1

[photo credits: Images taken from Rival’s Boxing Videos, others source unknown]

Overview

  • Feet a few inches wider than shoulder width
  • Lead foot curved at a 10-15 degree angle
  • Lead foot firmly planted on the ground and flat
  • Heel of rear foot lifted off ground slightly. Allows for quicker movements
  • Rear foot curved out at least 45 degrees and sometimes even 90 degrees, depending on the type of stance you maintain. In boxing, the back foot tends have more of an outward angle than in a muay thai stance.
  • Weight should be evenly distributed between front and back legs. This distribution can change — when approaching you rest a bit more weight on front foot for faster attacks and when defensive you rest more weight on your back foot to lean back faster.
  • Spine/back slightly bent; it should not be completely straight

Boxing Vs. Muay Thai Hip Placement Difference

Muay Thai Hip Position: While the foot position between Muay Thai and Boxing is somewhat similar. Traditional Muay Thai foot positioning favors allowing the hips to be very square, so the feet may be more forward than you would find in boxing, which allows for the rear foot to be turned out more and in some cases almost rest at a 90 degree angle.

thaiboxing

Boxing Hip Position: The hip position is where the biggest difference exists between Muay Thai and Boxing. In Muay Thai, to throw left and right kicks and to check kicks with your shins, you must have a very square stance with hips about 45 degrees.

Boxing allows a LOT more leeway here than Muay Thai with the hips often turning more outward around 60-80 degree angle. This presents the boxer’s side as a target rather than directly exposing the stomach and chest as it is exposed in Muay Thai. Keeping the hips outward also allows the boxer to easily utilize slipping to the right or to bob and weave by slightly ducking the head down then in a half circle motion back to the left. It also allows the boxer to move the head back out of punching range.

Basically, the boxing stance allows much more flexibility for head motion than does the Muay Thai stance.

boxing stance basic freddy roach on boxing stance

[photo credits: Rival Boxing and Title Boxing videos]

Boxing Vs. Muay Thai Hand Positions

Muay Thai Hand Position: Muay Thai has a number of different hand positions, but typically you often see a very square, high guard style hand position with either the hands close to face or extended out a bit. This basically entails keeping both your hands up over your face with the outside forearms pointing towards the opponent. There are a number of very good reason why this is the case with the two biggest ones being protection from elbows to the face and protection from head kicks. If one of these lands cleanly, it’s likely to be a fight-ending strike. Hence, a lot of emphasis is given in Muay Thai to keeping the hands up very high.

Often there is a fist or two fists of distance between each arm. This allows for some leeway for protecting your face from head kicks since they are not help touching your face. It’s also easier and faster to throw elbows since the hands are held high and out — the distance to your opponent is closer and you don’t need to raise your elbows as much when throwing one.

thai boxers hand stancemuay thai hand positionimagesf

Boxing Hand Position: There are a number of different hand positions. You have the high guard which you keep hand very high and covering the front of your face. Boxers often utilize this hand position when in very close or when on the defensive.You also have some more fancy hand positions where the lead arm is lowered to the waist while the right hand his held high protecting the chin (philly shell, etc).

In the typical traditional boxing stance, however, the right hand is touching the lower part of the right chin, the left arm is kept high with the chin tucking being the left arm’s shoulder and the head down, and the hips are pointed outward so that only the side of the body is exposed not the vulnerable stomach areas.

rocky boxing stance boxing stance and handsboxing hand position

Boxing vs Muay Thai Foot Work

Muay Thai: Footwork does exist in Muay Thai, but it’s not as utilized as it is in boxing due to the way Thai boxers have to deal with not only hand attacks, elbow, attacks, and knee attacks, but kicks and clinching. This means that footwork in Muay Thai is usually kept pretty simple, with Thai boxers creeping forward on the lead foot (same as boxing) but ready to check kicks or teep with the front foot at any moment. This means that the front foot usually has a lot less weight on it compared to the weight boxers put on the front foot. When stepping away  from an opponent, the back foot leads backwards, then the front foot follows (same as in Boxing). However, Thai boxers don’t tend to lean back hard on the back foot like boxers do unless stepping back from a kick.

Boxing Footwork: At a high level in boxing, practically a dance, with each opponent jumping around lightly, pivoting, and bouncing, each boxer reacting to the rhythm of their opponent’s dance. Even at lower levels of boxing, there is heavy emphasis on footwork in fights. If you train pure boxing, you can tell right away how much emphasis is put on footwork — it’s drilled into you almost as much as punch technique is!

Just look at Muhammad Ali’s Legendary footwork. The man looks like he’s dancing while fighting:

Other Differences

Angles

There is also a difference in the position fighters place themselves to throw strikes. Muay Thai tends to be very square with opponents delivering strikes on a linear path. Fighters go forward or backwards and only deviate from this ‘line’ occasionally.  Boxing, however, is about fighting from angles and non-linear positions (where often the most powerful punches can be thrown and where it’s possible to sneak around the opponent’s defense).

Muay Thai Angles: There are angles in Muay Thai made possible by footwork, but usually (as an orthodox fighter facing an orthodox) this is limited to stepping back with the back foot and rotating in a counter clockwise position to throw a rear kick or rear knee.

Boxing Angles: Boxing is all about the angles and it’s not uncommon to see boxers rotate clockwise or counter clockwise on their feet to create additional angles. Good boxing makes an artform of utilizing angles to deliver effective strikes. Watch any proper boxer and they will take advantage of or directly create angles to deliver punishing blows. Some examples of angle fighting: uppercuts thrown by leaning to the left or right creating an angle for more power and penetration; slipping or weaving under punches create angles to strike from, etc.

Fight Rhythm

You’ll notice there is a different ”Rhythm” between Boxing and Muay Thai. In boxing, there’s a lot of bouncing movement in boxing, a lot more foot movement, and hands are thrown like machine gun bullets. It’s not uncommon to see 4,5,6 punch combos. Just look at James Toney batter his opponent with a shoeshine punch flurry:

shoeshine boxing punch combo

Muay Thai moves to a different beat, with fighters engaging for a burst of powerful 1-2 or 1-2-3 combos then either retreating back to guard or moving into the clinch position.

Watch these two boxers go at it and notice the pacing and rhythm is not the same as Muay Thai:

Another example of boxing rhythm in Manny Pacquiao‘s first pro fight:

Muay Thai, at least the traditional version as exists in Thailand, tends to move at a slower pace. There is a rhythm to it, but it’s not the all out balls-to-the-wall striking battles of a boxing match. Punch combos are usually short 1-2, or 1-2-3 (with the third being a hook or kick) with the fighters returning back to guard or moving straight into the clinch immediately after the hand combo ends.

Compare the movements of the two Muay Thai fighters below to the Pacquiao example above:

Defensive Movements

Muay Thai Defense: One of the biggest differences you’ll see between the two sports is how defense is handled by each perspective sport. Muay Thai has very little in the way of defensive movement; I would say it’s far more offensive than boxing, with 6 more limbs to deal damage with and limited defensive moments available. You don’t dodge punches, you block them. The Muay Thai defensive skill set pretty much consists of: stepping away from your opponent, leaning back to avoid kicks or punches, blocking kicks with shins, and blocking punches with your gloves. Basically, you don’t avoid damage. You tough it out and deliver it back in equal measures to your opponent.

Here’s a good Thai fight — watch how much damage these guys soak up and deliver during the fight (note, Traditional Thai matches don’t really get started till round 3):

Between the less skilled fighters, Muay Thai fights often come down to who can soak up the most punishment while still delivering enough return  punishment to squeeze out a KO or a point win. Few people walk away from a five round Muay Thai fight without pretty much limping from the ring (or being carried out).

Some of the highest level Muay Thai guys do add boxing defensive movements once in a while, but it’s rare. Here is one guy who is able to slip punches like a boxer during Muay Thai fights: Samrak Khamsing. However, Samrak, besides being a legend of Muay Thai also won the Olympic Gold Medal for boxing, so he is in fact a boxer.

samrak slipping punches muay thai

 

Boxing Defense: Boxing on the other hand elevates defense to an art-form. You can for example slip, bob & weave, parry punches, block punches, duck, lean away, shoulder roll punches, and step back from strikes. Boxing can be defensive at it’s core where it’s not just about blocking but avoiding the strike entirely to deliver a counter punch. Some of the best boxers were/are in fact purely defensive boxers with strong offense: James Toney, Sweet Pea, Floyd Mayweather Jr, etc.

Let’s look at the boxing defense movements of a famous Thai boxer, Samart, who managed to become the WBC Boxing Champion of the World while also being a Muay Thai Lumpinee champion. Here’s a clip of his defensive movements during a (western) boxing match:

samart boxing

Here’s another clip showing just how a good boxer can’t even be touched:

great boxing defense

And just look at Tyson’s amazing defense. It doesn’t get more beautiful than this:

Check out the master of boxing defense, James Toney, show how it’s done right:

Check out Tyson’s Defense:

The Final Word

Boxing and Muay Thai are two different sports — you have to modify some of the boxing techniques if you want to box effectively in Muay Thai. I see too many people caught up with arguing which one is the better martial art. But this is comparing apples and oranges — Boxing and Muay Thai are NOT the same sport. Should you cross train boxing to improve your hands? I feel the answer is, absolutely, yes! A proper foundation in boxing can make you a more dangerous Muay Thai fighter. Of course, it’s not necessary to have good hands to be effective when you spar or fight Muay Thai, but having good hands will make you a more dangerous and more well-rounded Thai Boxer.

If you enjoyed reading this article you should check out our new books Muay Thai Strategy and Counters. These books are designed to help you build a complete Muay Thai game and Counter any opponent you might face in the ring (including good boxers.)

Make sure you read our follow up article on How to Use Boxing Effectively In Muay Thai.

If any of you have done boxing then switched to Muay Thai or Kickboxing, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about the differences between the two arts in the comment section!

About Author

Ben has been living, training, and fighting in Thailand for the past 3 years. He has fought in a number of different combat arts such as MMA, BJJ, Muay Thai, and Western Boxing. Ben follows the latest fitness and nutrition research and is especially interested in how it can apply to combat sports to improve a fighter's performance in the ring. You can read Ben's full bio page here.

27 Comments

    • Thanks mate! Glad you find the article interesting. I love both Muay Thai and Boxing, so I’ve it’s a pleasure for me to break down some of the differences between each of these two great sports when you compare them.

      Cheers

  1. jamesoliver8952@hotmail.co.uk'
    James Oliver on

    Again very good article. Its nice to see experienced thai boxers actually realise that boxing and thai boxing are completely different sports! I was a boxer, so am I going to go into an A class fight straight away? Course not! But im sure as hell going to use boxing to my advantage. Would an A-class fighter go into professional boxing straight away? Absolutely not as they would get their heads boxed off. Different arts that can have some limited crossover and both beautiful sports.

    • Completely agree with you. Both sports are completely different! Too many people get caught up in the whole ‘MMA > Muay Thai > Boxing’ debates, which are completely pointless. I find boxing a beautiful sport; in fact, watching two high level boxers fight is like watching a dance of sorts. In general, I feel Muay Thai practitioners can learn a LOT from boxing. It’s a fact that down here in Thailand, Thai’s tend to be great at everything Muay Thai, except their boxing. If you come into a Muay Thai match against a better Thai opponent who can outpoint you by kicking, knees, and the clinch, it’s going to be your BOXING skills that help deliver you the win, hands down. I’ve seen this over and over. Great boxing can completely throw a Thai off their game plan.

      Cheers!

      • Jonathanpavemaster@hotmail.com'
        Jonathan george on

        a lot of Thai fighters don’t practice enough punching/boxing which is the fundamentals of fighting nd if you have good boxing it’s sometimes easier to knock somebody out with a punch instead of going the distance with somebody and getting kicked and exchanging elbows. And knees. I’m a pro Thai boxer and I think if you want a great career you have to practice boxing. And Thai boxing. 1 you need good boxing to save energy in the fight and angles and defense 2 if your doing Thai and box somebody’s head off and they keep kicking you you lose because the point system requires kicks to the upper body. BUT. If you knock your opponent out because he keeps his chin up no defense and moves backwards and doesn’t use many angles you out classes him with out even a kick. Boxing is a must. For all types of fighters Thai boxing. And kickboxing and mma. A lot of mma fighters on ufc have terrible boxing my opinion doesn’t matter I knock people out with punches. And have a long career because my body doesn’t go all 5 rounds. Save my your career learn to box and get knock out wins easy learn how to follow thru and learn how to stay covered up while fighting.

  2. jamesoliver8952@hotmail.co.uk'
    james oliver on

    Speaking of the MMA trumps everything else debate, have you seen an amateur mma or low level pro mma bout recently? Alot, not all, but alot of the time the striking ability is just god awful. Alot look like theyve done a few lessons in muay thai and their ready to be anderson! You can guarantee that the best mma fighters are well versed in fighting k1 and muay thai

    • Yea, I see the MMA > all argument thrown around by UFC fan boys, especially on places like sherdog. I did around three years straight of pure MMA myself and competed in local MMA tournaments, so I appreciate the aspects of the sport, the dedication, and the skill it takes to become competent in what amounts to three arts (standup arts like Muay Thai, Boxing, or Kickboxing, takedowns arts like Judi or Wrestling, and ground fighting). Because you have to become GOOD (enough) at three arts, you can’t become a master specialist at one thing, much like a boxer only has to master hands.

      And yes, MMA guys (even at the highest level) tend to have, as you put it, ‘god-awful’ boxing. I remember a few years, on of the UFC darlings, Nick Diaz (who was always praised for having great boxing [sic] during his UFC fights) was tossing around the possibility of switching to boxing from MMA or having a pro boxing debut of some sort. Well, I watched him boxing spar a proper boxer on Youtube and it was pretty clear, Diaz should give that idea up and stick to MMA; he’d get destroyed by any low level boxer in a pure boxing match: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP726Hsrdrc

      There are very few MMA guys with even mediocre-level boxing, let alone high level boxing. If I had to choose a couple standouts for decent boxing, I would say Fankie Edgar has good boxing, modified to suite an MMA style, and Anderson Silva who with his slick head movements and fluid punches from all angles MOVED and fought a bit like a proper boxer. Mind you, apparently Silva has fought (some) pro boxing matches, so I can see it in his movements. I will say from my own experience training and fighting MMA matches, I myself never put a lot of focus into pure boxing or my hands as there was a lot of other stuff to take up your time, like jujitsu and muay thai (for mma). As a result, when I was active in MMA and competing, my boxing was terrible and I didn’t do basic things like keeping my hands up; my focus was more on submission fighting.

      I’m not trying to rag on the MMA guys for having bad boxing. I believe there are some reasons.

      1. When you train MMA, you don’t just focus on hands. You’ve tend to train everything. A boxer is a master specialist at one thing only (hands!). MMA guys, if they train as fighters, put in 5-6 days a week, multiple times a day often. But likely they only spend one or two of those days working on boxing only. A boxer will put in 5-6 days a week, 1-2 times a day ONLY training boxing. Right away you see how much more time boxers spend learning to master their hands over MMA guys. This same argument applies to Muay Thai guys. Often Muay Thai guys have weak boxing. Why? Because they train boxing as a subset of Muay Thai and very little focus is given directly on ONLY the hands.

      2. You can’t fight like a boxer in an MMA match. If you look at the MMA stance, it’s very forward, hands held high, weight sort of leaning on front foot. Frankly, it’s a very awkward stance to engage in a pure boxing match with and leaves very little options for defensive movements in the back direction (leaning back to right or left, etc). There is a reason why though. You can’t engage in a pure style of boxing when your opponent can at any point try and take you to the ground or clinch. And that’s ignoring the fact that you can be kicked or kneed. SO like boxing for Muay Thai, boxing for MMA has to be radically modified as well. If you are going to box in an MMA match, you’ve got to eliminate a lot of the defensive movements and keep a forwardish stance to prevent takedowns. This is similar to Muay Thai in a way, but in my experience, MMA guys don’t have the level of knee ability and kick ability that Muay Thai guys have, so you have less to worry about there. But this is made up for the fact you know if you try laying it on with your hands, you will get taken down or clinched in a MMA match.

      Whew, long long reply.

      Cheers

  3. jdpeters@gmail.com'

    The fact of the matter is, with MMA, what is considered good boxing/striking is very different from what is considered good striking in Muay Thai or boxing. The size of the gloves and the sheer number of variables change things considerably. If you try to strike like a traditional MT or boxer, you will get eaten up in mma.

  4. lawrence.le@gmail.com'

    Thank you, great article! I’m actually going from Muay Thai to boxing, and this article explains clearly some of the habits my boxing trainer has been trying to get me to change.

  5. hsg@gmail.com'

    Now hear this !

    Boxing punches are way different than muay thai hitting !!

    Do not loose sight of all the permissible wrestling like hand fighting mandated in a muay thai bout . outsiders call standard thai fighting dirty boxing ,
    Furthemore there are those excellent elbows .
    its a totally different world and many are allowing them selfs to be confussed and then delude them selfs because they see hand strikes in muay thai.
    Ultimatly thai hitting uses a lunge step and continues the motion after hitting to make other strikes.
    I call this continuation – chain moves . Combinations are to much like western boxing.
    Foot work – let any boxer get hammered onto there legs and have them dance around the ring.

  6. seub123456@hotmail.com'

    wow just found this gem of an article… I’ve always liked boxing the most, but I found muay thai better suited for me… I started in judo, so my stance was always square and rigid… but for sparring I liked muay thai it was nice and slow and I wasn’t lost in clinching because of my grappling… but man boxing is soooooo fast, I sparred against a 17 year old kid two weight classes below and just got lit up… at least muay thai you can clinch to slow it down, but man totally different sports and this article really explains that well…. I think a muay thai fighter with the snappy punches of a boxer and head movement (slipping not so much ducking and weaving) would really light up most of their opponents

    • Glad you found the article useful. Boxing and Muay Thai really are different sports. Someone who trains in pure boxing will absolutely smash a Muay Thai fighter in a hands only battle (I see this all the time here in Thailand) under the rules of boxing (no clinching, elbows, knees, or kicks). However, take that same boxer and allow Muay Thai rules, and unless the boxer modifies the style, he will get smashed with leg kicks, knees and all manner of strikes.

      But, take a Muay Thai fighter and give him awesome boxing (modified of course for Muay Thai) and wow, you have a very dangerous fighter

      • lefeuetlapoudre@gmail.com'

        Hi, I’m 25, I live in France and I’m planning to start a martial art in September.

        I can’t make up my mind though as I would absolutely love to learn Muay Thai (for its devastating blows), Boxing (for the beauty of its movement, the footwork and the incredible defense) or Judo (I just love it).

        I have never trained in a martial art before, all I’ve done is football (soccer) and basketball my entire life. At the moment my conditioning is far from great but I know that I can adapt (I’m still “only” 25).

        Could you help me choose between the 3? I’m leaning towards MT because of its efficacity but I don’t want to suck at punches and movement… What’s your take on that? Also I’d rather not get damage on my face (lol) I don’t mind getting hit with a helmet on though/or in the body (I just don’t want to get my nose or my teeth broken that’s all I’m asking).

        There are several quality clubs near my place in those 3 disciplines but yes I’m kind of lost. Help me out?

        Great article btw

        • Hi. This really depends on your situation — how much time you have, how much money you have to put into training, and what you really want to learn.

          Boxing is completely different than Mauy Thai. If anything, I would say start with Muay Thai because it’s a more complete art (kicking, punching, elbows, knees, clinching) while boxing is ONLY the hands. I personally find boxing more beautiful to watch since it’s so much more focused and while boxers may not be masters of every striking part of their body, they bring mastery of two things to a whole level (fists). Then there is the timing, the footwork, the defensive head movement.

          If you can, cross train between boxing and Muay Thai. If you can’t do that, then focus on Muay Thai — you can always work on boxing later. Boxing gyms, at least in Canada and the US, are very very cheap compared to MT or MMA gyms, but they are very much learn-on-your-own schools of thoughts, you don’t do huge group classes like MT and MMA.

          If you want to do Judo, then you should just look at doing an MMA gym which will have Brazilian Jujitsu AND wrestling combined (not Judo, but in that realm). Muay Thai (usually not good Muay Thai, but you’ll learn some), and Boxing. I find MMA gyms are usually pretty good at BJJ and Boxing (they often hire boxing coaches — the better gyms), but The Muay Thai is usually crappy.

          If you are in France, there are some top class pure Muay Thai gyms. NOt sure where you live, but Damien Alamos’s uncle owns a top MT gym somewhere in France. Damien is/was the only foreigner to win the Thai Lumpinee title and defend it multiple times.

          Good luck and let me know what you decide.

          • lefeuetlapoudre@gmail.com'

            I live in Paris. I talked to the boxing coach and told him I was eager to cross train boxing with muay thai but he insisted I shouldn’t do that, insteas he advised me to pick one of the two unless I wanted to be “average at both”. He told me to come 5x/week in his gym and also that he was very confident that -if I was motivated- he could turn me into a decent boxer given that he wouldn’t need to make me change my stance, forget old habits etc…(since I’ve never practiced any martial art).

            MT tends to be more expensive though I’ve found a club where it’s cheaper (problem is you can’t go train as often though -only two times a week because they also have a Savate section).
            It’s still the martial art that attracts me the most though.

            Judo is the cheapest though the club I’m interesting in has a very solid rep. I’m definitely not planning to join an MMA gym though, I’d rather specialize myself in one area and then learn a new one.

            My question to you is: in your opinion is it easier to transition from boxing to MT or the other way around?

          • Boxing to Muay THai is easier than MT to Boxing. The reason why is MT’s stances and footwork is completely different and the hand work is not the same at all. Someone who is good at MT who does something like only boxing sparring will usually getten eaten alive by someone who is only decent at pure boxing (I see this ALL the time, living in Thailand and sparring with all types of Muay Thai guys)

            It’s easier to train boxing, get your boxing footwork, your rhythm, your headmovement, your hand combos, speed, and power down pat (this will take a year or two likely, though even doing 6 months will do wonders) then cross over to Muay Thai. You will have to modify your stance and your movement to adjust for kicks and clinching, but you will have deadly hands — and these are ALWAYS useful in MUay Thai.

            Going from MT to Boxing, you won’t have good angles, footwork, rhym and all of that and it would take a lot more time to unlearn all the MT stuff for boxing.

            SO, it’s my opinion that you should get a foundation in boxing (and I mean FOOTWORK, combos, power, slipping, etc) then start training in MT.

            I don’t agree that cross training won’t help you though. Train primarily boxing, but if you can just put in 1-2 times a week doing MT, you can really learn that style while also mastering boxing and you will be able to mesh them together without having to learn one, then unlearn the other when focusing on the other.

            Good luck!

  7. Marco@group101.nl'

    Great article! I’ve been doing Muay Thai for a looong time and had quite some boxing training last year. The big difference is the stance indeed! I never really got around the boxing stance, since the Muay Thai stance has become my natural movement. But I also learned a good boxer is a force to be reckoned with! Those punches are sharp!

    Tip on how to handle a boxer: cut corners in the ring, lock him into a corner and get close enough to land your punches from a position where he cannot move as much.

    Oh, and lowkick the basterd as much as you can 😀

    • Glad you like it!

      Good tips there.

      Yep, the classic low kick the boxer till he cries technique — can’t beat that one 😉

  8. crash3049@yahoo.com'

    The big question for me is….
    Between a boxer and a Thai fighter, with K1 or Thai rules, who would win?
    Essentially a striking match with all weapons allowed.
    Assuming both fighters are excellent.

    My assumption is the Thai boxer would win, due to more weapons at his disposal.
    The boxer’s style would be nullified from a distance with vicious kicks. In fact with kicks and knees alone the boxer would be killed on the spot.

    • Agreed. When all weapons are available, the fighter who has more options will always have the advantage. The Muay Thai fighter would win against all other styles if he the fighter has enough experience and skill to take advantage of those weapons.

    • under K1 or Thai rules, a Thai fighter would win. There is absolutely no question about this. Short of the boxer getting lucky with a knockout punch, the rules of Muay thai with elbows, kicks, and clinching allow the thai fighter proficiency in so many different areas — areas the boxer wont’ have any skill in. Even K1 rules with no clinch and elbows, the kicks (and short knees from brief clinching) and kicks will change the game completely.

      Put a K1 fighter or thai boxer in a boxing match with a real boxer, and the boxer will almost always win.

      Different rules, different martial arts.

  9. racic.ivan@gmail.com'

    i’ve trained boxing (for recreation) for few years and for the past year and a half i’m training muay thai. what brought me to this article is my problem with balance. i just know that if i fix my stance and balance i will be so much better at punching and striking. i just cant find a good balance and since it’s recreational training, trainers often dont have the time to correct you every time they see you do something wrong. but when i train something i want to give my best and learn as better as possible so this bothers me. also most of them concentrate on kicks and punches not the stance and the hip movement/positioning. i would actually rather pay whole month of balance and movement training than to hit the bag until i fix this. this article explains it alot but then i stand in my room try to move and stand in a stance and i actually push myself with my own hand and fall out of it so easily. all the videos i’ve watched on yt and tried to copy them just dont seem to apply. to sum it up: if you want to be a good martial artist you should perfect balance. everything else will be so much better, faster and more powerful. if you have any other video or something i could read to teach about stance and balance, please do share. wish you all the best.

    • The Muay Thai Stance is very very different than the classic boxing style stance. Kickboxing has a sort of hybrid stance between the two, depending on the flavor (Dutch Kickboxing say) and how hand heavy the practitioner is.

      I will say watch how some of the old school Muay Thai Practitioners move (Somrak, Samart) in some of their fights on youtube. You’ll notice the distribution of weight in Muay Thai between the rear and front foot is different than Boxing as is the hip position (Muay Thai is a LOT more square). Both boxing and Muay Thai though, you move in the direction with the closest foot in the direction you want to move (footwork).

      Many of the traditional muay thai gyms spend a long time teaching young Muay Thai kids just how to do what’s called the ‘Muay Thai walk’ which is how to MOVE back, forward, and to the side while maintaining balance and rhythm. You may want to look into this.

      The bottom line is, this sort of thing isn’t something you just pick up watching a video. You’ll have to work on it for months and months and, daresay, have an expert actually watch you to correct. At the very least, you’ll just have to practice on your own as best as you can (and use references on watching how some of the fighters do it in their fights).

      Best

      Ben

  10. teamyavuz@gmail.com'

    Awesome job! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and all that detailed research with us in a very well-written style. Very informative…! As a martial arts enthusiast, I enjoyed every line…!

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