Sports like boxing: Here is a comprehensive list of sports similar to boxing

Sports like boxing: Here is a comprehensive list of sports similar to boxing

Grace Waruguru
April 12, 2024 at 10:00 AM
In this article:
Boxing Club

Boxing is a form of martial arts primarily involving physical contest, speed, and skill. How many sports like boxing do you know? Many sports similar to boxing have been invented in recent years, leading to the rise of several professionals in particular fields.

Sports like boxing
Sports like Judo, Karate, and Taekwondo are similar to boxing in several ways. Photo: @fit_kickboxing, @worldtaekwondo, @RuvenMenik (Modified by author)
Source: Twitter

Table of Сontents:

According to Legends Boxing, the sport started over 2000 years ago in Egypt. It is the most popular combat sport worldwide. Boxing was reportedly abolished in 393 AD for being too savage. However, it resurfaced in the 16th century and has undergone numerous modifications. What sports are like boxing?

A comprehensive list of sports like boxing

What sports are related to boxing? These contact sports involve opponents battling it out in a ring, popularly known as combat sports. Although they have distinct styles, they measure an individual's strength, speed, and skill. Here are the top 10 other sports, like boxing, and what they entail.

Sports like boxing




Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

Muay Thai



Kung Fu


10. Judo

Sports like boxing Judo
France's Teddy Riner (Blue) figths against Japan's Tatsuru Saito (white) in the Men's +100kg Final match during the Antalya Grand Slam judo tournament in Antalya on March 31, 2024. Photo: Oner San
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: 1882
  • Place of origin: Japan
  • Prominence: Japan, France, Canada, Russia and Brazil.
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

Judo, or Judokas, was developed by Japanese Professor Jigoro Kano and is among the sports similar to boxing. Rules of Sport states that judo adopted several techniques from Jujitsu, which developed in 1532. Judo is among the most popular martial arts today, attracting athletes like Vladimir Putin.

The All-Japan Judo Championships premiered in 1930, and two years later, the sport was one of the exhibition sports at the Los Angeles Olympics. In 1964, judo became an official men's Olympic sport. In 1992, it became an official women's sport. Unlike boxing, judo takes place on a mat known as a tatami.

9. Karate

Sports like boxing Karate
Karate athletes during the Paris Open Karate - Premier League - Day 3 at Salle Pierre Coubertin on January 28, 2024, in Paris, France. Photo: Loic Baratoux
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: 17th century
  • Place of origin: Okinawa, Japan
  • Prominence: Worldwide
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

Karate, a Japanese term that means ''empty-handed,'' is among the popular sports that are like boxing. According to Tutorials Point, karate combines Jujitsu and Chinese kung fu. It has several forms that athletes can select based on their interests.

Karate has several classes and expertise levels, symbolized by different belt colours. The lowest cadre is a white belt, while black represents the highest level.

8. Taekwondo

Sports like boxing Taekwondo
Chloe Blitek (blue) vs Teeyah Guei in Final -62 Kg during the French Senior Taekwondo Championship on February 18, 2024, in Montpellier, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: 1940s
  • Place of origin: Korea
  • Prominence: South Korea, China, Iran, Europe, USA
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

Taekwondo is an Olympic sport. The word means "the way of the foot and the fist" and is a combat sport involving blows and kicks. Athletes land blows or kick their opponent's torso or head to win by knockout and score points. The blows are delivered using straight punching and a tightly clenched fist.

The kicks must be by any part of the foot below the ankle bone. Taekwondo contestants must be within the same weight category. Competitors must wear complete uniforms and protective gear to reduce injuries. Players must also wear their belts, symbolizing their level of expertise.

7. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Sports like boxing MMA
Salahdine Parnasse (L) of France during the KSW93 event at Adidas Arena on April 6, 2024, in Paris, France. Photo: Thomas Proisy
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: 650 BC
  • Place of origin: Greece
  • Prominence: United States of America, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, Canada, Netherlands
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

According to Evolve, MMA is the fastest-growing combat sport worldwide. It has fewer restrictions, allowing participants to explore different styles as they test their skills.

Diaz Combat Sports revealed that mixed martial arts began around 650 BC in ancient Greece. Modern MMA developed in the 20th century in Japan. MMA combines kicks, punches, elbows, knees, grapples, and punches. Fighters win by submission, knockout, disqualification, and decision.

6. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

Sports like boxing BJJ
Fans watch as Jiu-Jitsu athletes compete during the first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu invitational tournament in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 11, 2023. Photo: Patrick Meinthard
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around 1460
  • Place of origin: Japan
  • Prominence: Japan, Brazil, USA, UAE, UK, Australia, Japan, Poland
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

Jiu-jitsu is a Japanese term meaning "gentle art." It is a ground-based martial art that uses angles, timing, and pressure to push the opponent to a nonviolent submission. BJJ focuses on close-contact grappling, chokes, and joint manipulations.

Essential Jiu Jitsu states that the sport has roots in Brazil and is also known as ''human chess'' because it engages the body and mind. The sport's primary goal was to strengthen and train smaller-bodied individuals to defend themselves against larger-bodied individuals.

5. Muay Thai

Sports like boxing Muay Thai
Muay Thai fighters Kaokanok (L) and Kana (C) during a Rajadamnern World Series Muay Thai tournament on March 9, 2024. Muay Thai Day occurs on March 17. Photo: Valeria Mongelli
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around the 13th century
  • Place of origin: Thailand
  • Prominence: Thailand, Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan
  • Venue: Outdoor and indoor

Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a Thai martial art that uses the entire body as a weapon. Some sources have described it as ''The Art of Eight Limbs'' because it uses eight body points of contact. Today, Muay Thai is known as slam boxing. It recently became an Olympic sport.

4. Wrestling

Sports like boxing wrestling
Cody Rhodes (L) competes with Roman Reigns during Night Two of WrestleMania 40 at Lincoln Financial Field on April 7, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: WWE
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around 776 BBC
  • Place of origin: Greece
  • Prominence: Worldwide
  • Venue: Indoor and outdoor

Wrestling is a martial art involving various grappling techniques, clinching, throwing, takedowns, pins, and joint locks. It is similar to boxing and aims to gain a superior position over the opponent and incapacitate them using the body as a weapon.

Many wrestlers proceed to Mixed Martial Arts after their amateur careers. Wrestling is divided into Greco-Roman wrestling and free wrestling.

3. Kickboxing

Sports like boxing Kickboxing
Nili Block of Israel competes against Helene Connart of Belgium during the Kickboxing World Championship at Grand Palais Epehemere on February 08, 2024, in Paris, France. Photo: Franco Arland
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around the 14th century
  • Place of origin: Thailand
  • Prominence: Asia, Europe, North America
  • Venue: Outdoor and indoor

Kickboxing originated in Thailand and came from Muay Thai. The modern form of kickboxing originated in Japan in the 1960s. The full-contact sport takes place in a boxing ring and has timed rounds. It is popular among fitness enthusiasts to boost cardiovascular and physical health.

Kickboxing involves punching and kicking. The fists and forearms act as weapons and shields, while the feet are spears and swords. The kicks should be as high as possible to create the required force to pin down the opponent.

2. Kung Fu

Sports like boxing Kung Fu
Russian teenager ice hockey players learn about kung fu during their visit to Beijing Huijia Private School on June 11, 2018, in Beijing, China. Photo: Liu Guanguan
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around 527 AD
  • Place of origin: China
  • Prominence: Asia
  • Venue: Outdoor and indoor

Kung Fu is an ancient martial art that originated in China. It is a form of personal combat with movements similar to animal fighting styles. Kung fu has five basic foot positions.

Notable kung fu styles include Shaolin, Wing Chu, and Tai Chi. In addition to self-defence and physical fitness, kung fu is an incredible way to train mentally. Athletes earn Kung Fu belts based on their level of expertise.

1. Capoeira

Sports like boxing Capoeira
Capoeira athletes demonstrate in the street during the Fiestas of El Pilar in Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain, on October 14, 2023. Photo: Nano Calvo
Source: Getty Images
  • Founded: Around the 16th century
  • Place of origin: Brazil
  • Prominence: South America, Europe
  • Venue: Outdoor and indoor

Capoeira is a musical game played between two athletes dancing to a rhythm. The sport focuses on skill rather than knocking down the opponent. The participants, known as capoeiristas, leave room for the competitor to recover before returning to the game.

Capoeira players use capoeira movements, combining self-defence kicks and moves with playful acrobatics and dance moves to confuse their opponents and catch them off-guard. The sport was developed in Brazil by enslaved Africans who invented it to communicate among themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sports are similar to boxing? Over the years, several sports similar to boxing have evolved, displaying creativity and a representation of different cultures. Here are some frequently asked questions about these sports:

Is Mixed Martial Arts similar to boxing?

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) combines several styles to fight the opponent and has minimal restrictions. It is the closest martial art to a real fight and boxing.

What does kickboxing entail?

Kickboxing is a contact sport that helps with physical fitness and cardiovascular health. The sport involves kicking and punching the opponent.

Final word

Sports like boxing have attracted numerous fans worldwide. Some are part of the Olympic Games, where athletes compete for medals. Most are self-defence sports, while others are multi-purpose, enhancing physical and mental fitness.

READ ALSO: The different types of martial arts worldwide

Sports Brief published an article listing the martial arts types learned for competition and self-defence. Most have their origins in Japan, China, and Korea. Which are some of these sports?

Krav Maga originated in Israel and was developed in the 1940s by the Defence Forces. Dambe, a Nigerian martial art, involves fists and grapples to knock down opponents. Check out the complete list of martial arts in the above article.

Grace Waruguru photo
Grace Waruguru
Grace has over 4 years of experience in article writing and digital media content creation for various local and global brands. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication (Public Relations) from Daystar University, Kenya.