Monday, January 9, 2012

Common Aspects of Boxing and Kickboxing

Boxing and kickboxing are combat sports that have many common aspects. They both entail punching, blocking and evasion skills, and competitions take place in square, roped rings. The most obvious difference is that kickboxing allows fighters to strike with their feet as well as their hands, but there are other differences between the two sports that set them apart.
Professional Boxing
In boxing, a fighter can only strike with the knuckle area of the closed fist. Punches can be landed to the face, chest and abdomen. A boxer cannot punch his opponent's back or the back of his head. According to Ringside by Gus, professional boxing matches are divided into three-minute rounds, with one-minute rest periods between rounds. Professional boxers wear 8- to 10-oz. gloves, depending on their weight class. Scoring is done by three judges on the 10-Point Must System, in which the winner of the round earns 10 points and the loser earns 9 points or less.
Olympic Boxing
Olympic boxing follows an amalgam of international amateur boxing rules. Boxers wear 16-oz. gloves, and unlike professionals, they wear tank shirts in the ring. According to the Olympic Boxing Rules for Beijing 2008, matches consist of four, two-minute rounds divided by one-minute rest periods. Matches are scored by five judges using electronic devices. The device has a button representing each boxer, and the judge presses a specific boxer's button when he sees a punch land on the opponent. If three or more judges press the same button within one second, that boxer receives a point. Points are totaled at the end of the bout to declare the winner.
American Kickboxing
American kickboxing allows fighters to strike with their feet as well as their hands. Unlike boxers, kickboxers are not limited to punching with the knuckle area of the fist. They can also strike with the back of the first and the bottom of the first, also called "hammer hand." According to the World Kickboxing Network, American-style kickboxing allows fighters to deliver kicks to most areas above the belt. A fighter must throw at least eight kicks per round. A half-point is deducted from the fighter's score for each missed kick. Rounds are two minutes long. In addition to boxing gloves, kickboxers must wear foot pads that are open on the bottom.
European Kickboxing
European-style kickboxing is similar to the American style except for one important rule: European rules allow a fighter to kick his opponent's legs. Roundhouse kicks, in which the fighter strikes with his instep, are allowed to the opponent's inner and outer thighs and calf areas. Thrust kicks are not allowed below the belt, and no kicks are allow to the knee area. Kicks to the thigh can affect a fighter's balance and speed, which can significantly alter the outcome of a fight.
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a style of kickboxing created in Thailand. According to Train with Hank, the style is nicknamed the "Art of Eight Limbs," as a fighter can strike not only with his hands and feet, but with his elbows and knees as well. Hand and elbow strikes are legal above the belt. Kicks can be delivered to the face and midsection, as well as to the thighs and calves. Knee strikes can be delivered to the face and midsection. Unlike a boxer or a American- or European-style kickboxer, a Muay Thai fighter can legally grab his opponent behind the neck and pull his head downward into a knee strike.

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