MUAY THAI VS BOXING
The art of boxing has many different forms in the modern day of amatuer, and professional combat. Professional boxing and martial arts like kick boxing, muay thai, kung fu, and French savate are all prominent styles of striking. The popularity of these types of Martial Arts have reached optimum levels in this day and age, and this is due to significant headway in the seventies with Bruce Lee Martial Arts movies. The striking arts became even more prominent in the nineties after the culmination of the UFC, which bred many different types of hybrid combat athletes. After seeing how effective brazilian jiu jitsu was inside of the cage, other striking art forms would further develop their styles to become more deadly against all styles of combat.
Professional boxing, and traditional muay thai boxing are two of the most prominent striking Martial Arts, aside from kick boxing in the world. Both of these forms of combat utilise a vast array of punching techniques to outmaneuver, and attack their opponents. Pitting these two styles against each other is quite similar to boxing vs kung fu, and this is due to the broader range of striking that kung fu has in its arsenal. Muay thai is very similar in the fact that they utilise the eight limb system, which is a series of punches, kicks, knees, and elbow strikes. Both of these styles of combat have extremely proficient systems of striking, and determining which style is better, or which style will win, will always heavily rely upon the skill level of each individual athlete.
What this article covers:
- The Origin of Muay Thai
- The Origin of Boxing
- The Differences Between These Two Martial Arts
- Boxing and Muay Thai in Mixed Martial Arts
- Who Would Win Between a Thai Fighter and a Boxer
THE ORIGIN OF MUAY THAI
The origin surrounding muay thai dates back to the sixteenth century, as this art form was trained by the soldiers of King Naresuan, the King of Thailand. He was one of Thailand's most admired monarchs, as his triumphs were etched into the history books for his campaigns that freed Ayutthaya from the slavery of the Taungoo empire. This style of combat was made famous during 1765 and 1767, when the Burmese and Siamese war took place. The art back then was called muay boran, and was a more comprehensive, and brutal fighting system used in real tactical warfare. This form of combat became a sport, where many thai people would go and spectate through these high calibre, and brutal combat events.
This form of muay contest would slowly become an important part of many local festivals, and celebrations, with many fights being held at temples throughout Thailand. This prominent form of striking was a bare knuckled sport, but eventually the thai monarchy began phasing out the brutality, and adding in different rule sets to modernise the sporting system. Athletes would then wear lengths of hemp rope around their hands, and their forearms in a match that was called muay khat chueak. The ascension to the throne of King Chulalongkorn in 1868 triggered an age of prosperity for the Thai people, and due to the king's personal interest in the sport of muay, this form of combat progressed to a completely new level. The country was at peace, and the functionality of muay changed its focus from war to a means of physical exercise, self defense, and a way to achieve personal advancement.
Between 1925 and 1935 King Rama VII ushered in a new codified series of rules, and in 1921 the first boxing ring was constructed in Suan Kulap in Thailand. This also brought in the introduction of referees to adjudicate the matches, and rounds that had specific time limits, which only modernised the art even further. The traditional rope binding was tied into knots, making the hands of these athletes a hardened, and dangerous striking component. This binding was extremely abrasive, but did protect the hands of the athlete, but after the death of a fighter the binding was replaced with conventional boxing gloves. This was around the same time that the term muay thai became the prominent name for this Martial Art, as the previous muay boran became purely an exhibition form of Martial Arts.
THE ORIGIN OF BOXING
Boxing originates from thousands of years ago, as depictions show many different cultures like Egyptian, African, Northern Iraqi, Greek, and Roman all using some form of hand to hand boxing combat. The most prominent period of early boxing happened in the sixth century, as ancient Greek athletes would engage in fights to the death against their opponents. This form of combat was extremely barbaric, but was revered by the entire Greek nation. Many of these grueling contests would happen in the olympiad, as the brutality of this style of boxing, and Martial Arts was notorious throughout all of Europe. This form was so interesting that many other cultures took notice, and began molding their own structured combat around Greek boxing.
As Roman culture began to take effect they also took many of the stylings from Greek boxing, and further modernised this form of combat. The Romans added in different rule sets to make this sport safer for athletes, and easier on the eyes to watch. This brought about change to the art of boxing, as it began to move towards a more modernised system of striking. As the centuries rolled on, so did the development of this boxing combat, as generations of future athletes added their own innovations to help improve the overall quality of the combat sport. At this time boxing was also heavily ingrained into Chinese culture, as many eastern styles of Martial Art utilised different fundamental concepts from boxing principles.
Boxing then reached the shores of England, and the United States of America, but the landscape of the sport was completely different. The scope of boxing in the nineteenth century saw the sport as an illegitimate form of combat, which led to many underground prize fighting events infiltrated by the authorities. The illegal nature of the sport, which included gambling, match fixing, and a barbaric form of bare knuckle fighting was highly criticized by society. By 1967 the Marquess of Queensberry rules were implemented, which incorporated timed rounds, a square boxing ring surrounded by ropes, and the use of sixteen ounce boxing gloves, making the sport much safer for the athletes. This development helped to push boxing into the future, as it became widely known as a competitive, and Olympic sport. Nowadays boxing is a multi billion dollar commercial enterprise that features some of the world's best fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Andy Ruiz Jr, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Tyson Fury.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THESE TWO MARTIAL ARTS
There are multiple differences between these two forms of combat with the first, and most notable being the stance. A boxer will weigh up boxing southpaw vs orthodox stance, and both of these stances involve the boxer having one foot slightly forwards, with their power hand slightly backwards, and their non dominant hand slightly forwards, and vice versa for their southpaw stance. This will allow a boxer to step in and out of range, and use lateral shuffling, or diagonal movements to avoid strikes, and trap their opponent in the pocket, so they can utilise their powerful display of boxing combinations. Using speed vs power boxing is the balance that all boxers will be searching for, in order to be more successful inside of the ring.
A muay thai stance is more squared up, as these athletes will have more of their weight evenly distributed between both of their feet. Both of their hands will be up high guarding their face, with their elbows protecting their ribs. A muay thai fighter does this so they can execute thai clinches, and so their elbows are in a position to throw dominant elbow strikes. Their feet are more squared up so they can check incoming kicks, and also so they can throw a higher amount of devastating leg attacks. A muay thai fighter relies more on forward movement than evasive footwork, because moving backwards is unheard of, and will usually result in the loss of points from the judges.
Another major difference between these two arts is the fact that boxers will only use punching combinations, and muay thai fighters will use a combination of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. Boxing athletes will incorporate evasive movements into their fighting structures, like rolling under punches, slipping to the side of punches, changing levels, and using lateral and diagonal movements. A muay thai fighter uses a more prominent forward movement, so they can strike straight down the line, and use their knees and their legs to attack their opponents. Another clear difference between the art forms is that a muay thai fighter uses a thai clinch, so they can control their opponents posture, as they attack with knee strikes, and elbow strikes.
Another distinctive difference is the range that both of these athletes will utilise. A boxer uses a much closer range, and this is because they have no fear of a kick, and can tailor their game style to suit the punching capabilities within an exchange. A muay thai fighter will incorporate a longer distance, because they are constantly looking to use front kicks, rear kicks, or switch kicks. It is important to keep distance when an athlete is using kicking techniques, and a muay thai fighter will use this method to perfection. Another difference is how each of these combat athletes will train. A boxer focuses on footwork drills, punching speed, punching fluency, punching power, and overall cardiovascular fitness. A muay thai fighter is well known for a more brutal form of training that involves high intensity full contact sparring, heavy conditioning methods including toughening up their shins, and a high velocity of combinations and pad work. Both forms of combat are extremely effective, and extremely formidable, and both are highly unique with their own set of concepts.
BOXING AND MUAY THAI IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
Mixed Martial Arts is a platform that incorporates many different styles of Martial Arts against each other. Common matchups include boxing vs wrestling, kick boxing vs jiu jitsu, and basically any style vs a pure Mixed Martial Artist. In the modern form of MMA athletes will tend to be more all round, as they commonly will be good at wrestling, striking, and submission moves. There have been many good boxing athletes competing in Mixed Martial Arts, with the likes of Connor McGregor, Junior Dos Santos, Nate Diaz, and Israel Adesanya. Boxing has become extremely successful inside of the cage, with athletes utilising strategic footwork, and powerful movements to close down the range of their opponents, and execute dynamic striking capabilities.
Muay thai fighters have also achieved success inside of the MMA arena, with exceptional athletes like Mauricio Shogun Rua, Edson Barboza, Jon Jones, Ciryl Gane, and Thiago Alves all showcasing dominant forms of striking ability. Muay thai is more suited to MMA than boxing, and this is because thai fighters are experts at leg kicks, as well as being capable of utilising elbow, and knee strikes. A clinch in muay thai is also relatable to Mixed Martial Arts, because of the high likelihood of turning a clinch into a takedown maneuver. Muay thai also uses a series of full contact striking, which will condition an athlete extremely well for the hardcore nature that MMA presents.
WHO WOULD WIN BETWEEN A THAI FIGHTER AND A BOXER
Like most styles of combat it will always come down to the skill level, the strategy, and the conditioning of each individual athlete. Having one certain style of striking does not mean they are guaranteed to win, all athletes must have a game plan, and a capability to execute that game plan. In terms of Mixed Martial Arts, both styles have the ability to defeat each other, and this has already been displayed regularly throughout the history of all MMA platforms. Muay Thai has the advantage over boxing, and this is only because they can execute a series of combinations that include elbow strikes, knee strikes, and kicking techniques. A muay thai fighter is also more equipped to deal with the unorthodox nature that is apparent in the Mixed Martial Arts game.
In a pure boxing versus muay thai fight, there are a few different factors to consider. Even though a muay thai fighter can utilise elbow strikes, knee strikes, and kicking maneuvers, this doesn't mean they have a definitive advantage over a boxer. A boxer has an impeccable system of movements, which incorporates dynamic footwork, and incredible evasive skills, and when they do not have to worry about being taken down to the mat, a boxer could have an extremely good advantage over a muay thai fighter. This is a fight that is very evenly matched in terms of striking ability, as both of these athletes are incredibly well conditioned, and will utilise full contact striking techniques inside of their training aspects. The winner of this fight is evenly split down the middle, with possibly a slight edge in favour of a muay thai fighter due to the nature of its brutality.
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