Boxing vs Muay Thai | Which Is Better Really?

Boxing and Muay Thai, two of the best striking arts period. No other martial arts come close when it comes to pure hand to hand combat in my opinion.

But the lingering question still remains.

Boxing VS Muay Thai, which one is better?

In this article, we’ll explore both martial arts in different angles, to try and shed a light on why one maybe better than the other.

Let’s settle this!

boxing vs muay thai

Differences Between Boxing and Muay Thai

What Is Boxing?

Boxing, by Wiki’s definition, is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

While it’s fundamentally true, there’s a lot more to boxing then just throwing punches at each other.

There’s a reason boxing is called the sweet science. It involves the use of footwork, upper body movements like bobbing and weaving, roll under, pull back and slipping, combined with variety of punches like jab, cross, hook, overhand, and uppercuts.

The primary goal of boxing is to hit and not get hit, but I guess it’s a goal for all combat sports.

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing. Similar to boxing, modern day muay thai is a combat sport in which two people wearing boxing gloves, fighting each other in a ring for a predetermined amount of time.

The difference however, is in another name muay thai is known for, which is “The Art of Eight Limbs”. Because of its use of fists, elbows, knees and shins.

Compared to boxing, muay thai not only utilizes fist punches, but also elbows, kicks and knees. Muay thai also has great deal of clinching, where competitors throw mean elbows and knees at each other in a clinch.

boxing vs muay thai

Another notable difference between boxing and muay thai, is the fighting stance.

Boxing stance tends to be narrower, more sideways, and lower, which leaves less target for the opponents to attack, also helps the boxer to jump in and out of range and putting more power behind the punches using planted feet and rotation of body.

Muay thai favours more of squared, tall stance. This allows the fighter to easily check kicks thrown at them, also makes it easy to throw kicks from both sides.

Boxing vs Muay Thai for Self-defense

Both are some of the best martial arts for self-defense.

Which is better depends on the situation.

If it was a one on one fight, I’d favour Muay thai due to its use of more variety of strikes.

However, in your usual chaotic Saturday night bar fight, I’d favour the boxer as using their in and out footwork and accurate punches, they can often end a fight in a flash.

Boxing vs Muay thai for MMA

While both boxing and muay thai are great base for MMA, if I had to pick one, I’d probably go with muay thai. This is mainly due to muay thai’s superior striking arsenal. As proven more often than not, kicks, knees and elbows are highly effective in MMA.

Some of the best fighters in the UFC use muay thai as their choice of striking art. Former long time featherweight champ Jose Aldo, one of the best fighters in MMA former UFC middleweight champ, Spider Anderson Silva, and arguably the best MMA fighter of all time, former light heavyweight champ Jon Bones Jones.

Boxing vs Muay Thai for Fitness

As you can probably tell by physics of boxers and muay thai fighters, both of these martial arts are excellent for fitness. Purely on conditioning though, I’d give boxers a slight edge, just because most professional boxing bouts are 12×3 minute rounds, whereas muay thai bouts are 5×3 minute rounds.

However, if you have trained in any combat sports that requires sparring, you’ll know it’s a different kind of fitness level you’ll obtain that’s unmatched by any other type of sports.

Boxing VS Muay Thai, Who Would Win in a Street Fight?

This is a tough one to call. It really depends on the person, not the art. As mentioned above, all things being equal, I think the muay thai fighter will have the edge in a one on one fight.

Although most street fights happen in a flash in a close proximity, which would favor the boxer with their ability to fire fast, accurate punches in succession which will often end the fight.

If I had to pick one though, based on what I have seen and experienced, with all things being equal, I think boxing has a slight edge.


Boxing and muay thai are two of the best martial arts to learn when it comes to self-defense, MMA, or just general fitness.

The Bottom Line:

If you’d like to learn the sweet science of throwing punches with elegant footwork and defense, then go with boxing. There’s simply no other martial art teaches you how to throw hands better than boxing.

Be sure to check out our articles on the best boxing gloves for heavy bag training and the best boxing gloves for sparring, before getting started on your boxing journey!

If you’d like to learn the art of eight limbs, utilizing more parts of your body, learning more variety of strikes while compromising a little on your punching skills, then go with muay thai.