Muay Thai Vs Boxing – Which is Better?

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Muay Thai and boxing are two of the best striking arts in the world. 

The former has more weapons at its disposal, while the latter has its own unique advantages.

Both are awesome as martial arts on their own and as components of the hybrid art of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Obviously, both are also effective for use as self-defense.

However, one will have to ask the inevitable question – which one is better? Is it Muay Thai, which has 8 limbs as weapons, or is it boxing with its slicker defense and focus on punching?

A Short Background

Before we proceed with the comparison, let’s look at a short background of the two martial arts.

First of all, we need to recognize the fact that the two arts share several similarities. The most obvious one is that you can use some aspects of boxing in Muay Thai, such as the various punches and the footwork.

Those similarities pale in comparison to the differences, though. 

For one, you can only use your hands in boxing. Your arsenal is limited because you are forbidden to use your legs, knees, and elbows. This limits your offensive options considerably.

Boxing still offers advantages for its practitioners, though. Its footwork and defense are second to none. 

So let’s say you find yourself in a situation where you have no other choice but to fight someone. If you know how to box, you can easily evade or defend their attacks.

On the other hand, Muay Thai gives you the advantage of fighting your opponent from a distance. In a street fight, this is a significant advantage.

You can easily fend off your attacker by simply using the teep. Or create enough separation so you can escape and keep yourself from sustaining any serious damage. 

Training in the clinch is also a huge advantage because you’ll know what to do if you get tangled with your foe. It would be easy for you to gain an advantage and throw knee or elbow strikes or throw your opponent off of you and escape.

Muay Thai Vs Boxing: The Learning Curve

muay thai vs boxing

You are a total beginner and you want to try both, but which one is easier to learn? 

It really depends on what you want to focus on at the start of your learning process. If your aim is to be skilled in defending yourself, then you’ll be better off starting with boxing.

The basics involve learning how to throw punches properly and being able to defend those same punches. You’ll learn the proper way to slip, block, parry, roll, and evade. 

Martial arts training is often about building muscle memory through repetition. Generally speaking, Muay Thai’s learning curve is not as short as boxing’s. This is pretty obvious since the number of weapons is not just doubled but quadrupled. It takes more time to be proficient in each aspect of Muay Thai. 

However, both combat sports have straight-forward techniques that are easy enough to be learned by anyone

Muay Thai Vs Boxing: Which is Better for Fitness?

Now you want to become a better version of yourself by being fitter. Which of the two is the better option for you?

In terms of fitness, you can’t go wrong with either of these two. Both Muay Thai and boxing are awesome as fitness options.

Regardless of which you decide to train in, you’re bound to get a great aerobic and anaerobic workout. Your stamina and conditioning will get to a much higher level than before you trained.

Be warned, though. Focusing too much or solely on the fitness aspect might make you neglect the martial art or self defense side of any of the two arts. So you need to find a balance between fitness and technique.

As for what’s better for fitness between the two – well, it’s a draw!

Muay Thai Vs Boxing: Which is Better for Self-Defense?

muay thai vs boxing

Speaking of self-defense, it’s time we explore it.

Self-defense is more about the practical application of martial arts in the real world. Muay Thai and boxing are two of the best skills to have for defending yourself.

They are both practical and tested. 

But you will be more proficient in defending yourself in a shorter time with boxing. You’ll understand the use of space and how to time your attacker. If you don’t have that much time, then boxing is the self-defense skill for you.

With Muay Thai, you will learn how to deal with different types of attacks, with both close-range and medium-range techniques at your disposal.

The only issue is that you’ll need more time to learn and become any good with this type of self-defense.

Muay Thai Vs Boxing: Which is Better for the Street?

How about the street? Which of the two is better to use in a street fight? 

Not strictly in a self-defense sense, but one where you need to stand up and fight for yourself. A street fight could also mean that you and the other guy both decided to settle your differences with your fists.

Knowing how to box will give you an immediate edge, especially if your foe is not as skilled as you. If that’s the case, you can run rings around your opponent by simply using your footwork and head movement.If you’re fighting someone who has skills, then you can at least hold your own. 

 If you know Muay Thai, then you got more striking options. So if your foe has similar skills then you’re not at a disadvantage and can fight toe-to-toe. And if you’re fighting someone who doesn’t have any skills at all, then you have a definitive advantage.

One of the main concerns in a street fight is when it involves multiple opponents. It might have been a one-on-one fight that escalated and others just joined in. Or it could be a case where you’re facing several opponents right from the get-go.

In such a situation, you would understandably want to know how to use all available weapons. Muay Thai will allow you to do that plus help you maintain proper and therefore safe distance. 

All that said,  I always preach that the first rule of being attacked is to run, especially when you are outnumbered. 


So which one is better?

Is it Muay Thai or is it boxing? It really all boils down to the situation and what you are going to use it for. 

Your personal preference also comes into play and how much time you have in your hands to train. There is also no rule that says you can’t train both and many mixed martial artists actually do.

As to which will emerge victorious in a fight, again it depends on the circumstances. The rule-set that will be followed is the primary example. 

If it’s purely a boxing match, then the boxer will often out-punch and run circles around the Nak Muay. But if kicks, knees, and elbows are allowed then it likely won’t end well for the boxer.

Whichever one you choose or prefer, remember that the key is to have fun while remaining focused in your training. So pick the one that you can relate to more and enjoy watching more.

So what are you waiting for? Get to the gym and throw your first strike!

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2 thoughts on “Muay Thai Vs Boxing – Which is Better?”

  1. Boxing lays on interesting concepts. By never kicking one is always able to move. A boxer usually enjoys a better footwork than his equivalent Nak Muay, and is therefore more evasive (also: moving more may be better for cardio/fitness training). Moreover during a self-defense or street fight kicking is more often than not a bad idea (slipage!), however the teep and low-kick are much less of a concern.


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