Boxer Fist Wrapped

Is Boxing Good for Self Defense? Pros and Cons of Boxing

I've been asked if boxing is a good sport for self-defence by every single person I know who wants to start taking classes. They want to test their ability to protect themselves just through boxing techniques. So, this is how I typically respond to them:

Is boxing a good self-defence sport? Boxing is obviously an excellent sport for self-defence. That's a result of its assortment of defensive and offensive moves and its proficient footwork and distance management. Fighting against a skilled boxer gives an inexperienced guy little chance.

To defend yourself, you don't need to become a boxing genius or master. You'll be OK in a streetfight if you understand and can use the fundamental concepts:

  1. Keeping a distance or setting up combinations with your jab
  2. Using your footwork as a defensive move or to attack without sacrificing balance
  3. Being able to block, parry or slip punches with appropriate timing

You will be a formidable opponent for anyone who has never participated in combat sports, thanks to those three aspects.

In the following paragraphs, I discuss the main justifications for why boxing is and is not beneficial in situations that call for self-defence. I then compare boxing to other well-known self-defence sports like MMA, Muay Thai, and BJJ, and I offer some advice on how to employ boxing in a street fight.

Reasons Why Boxing is Useful in Real-Life Situations

1. Boxers Have Higher Chances of Delivering a One Punch Knock out

Even with ten or 8-oz gloves, well-known boxers like Mike Tyson are famous for being able to knock out their opponents with a single hit. Imagine the impact if they had used just their bare knuckles.

Boxers learn how to pivot their legs and spin their body to increase the strength of their punches, making them more powerful than fighters in any other combat sport.

In a self-defence situation, it's crucial to be able to knock out your opponent quickly and leave the area.

2. Boxers Deliver Faster, More Accurate Punches

Even after years of boxing practice, your hitting strength might not be that strong. This is due to the fact that you can somewhat boost it; your punching strength is primarily influenced by your physical characteristics, such as weight, the way your muscles attach to your bones, and the presence of fast-twitch muscle fibres.

However, even if, for instance, you are tiny and lack the ability to knock someone out with a single blow, you can still defeat them with speed, accuracy, and volume.

Boxers are noted for throwing faster and more accurate punches than any other kind.

3. Boxers Focus Hard on Defensive Moves

Boxing can save you from getting significant injuries in risky situations by improving your punch escape skills. The best-punching defence among stand-up combat sports belongs to boxers.

Additionally, from the beginning of your boxing training, you learn how to handle common street brawlers. No one can successfully catch a boxer with a wild overhand (the most common punch untrained people will throw).

And by learning to take a punch, you end up being confident in handling a variety of punches.

4. You Will Be More Confident on Your Feet

It makes sense to use wrestling in a street battle. However, you will find it easier to flee or watch your own back if you can maintain your balance during a streetfight. If you are confident in your ability to punch, stay.

5. You Can Handle Multiple Opponents

It's never in your favour when it's two against one. However, if you have the ability to knock out opponents with your blows, you will have a better chance of controlling two or more opponents. A wrestler's opponent and a friend may attempt to sneak up on you and attack.

6. Boxers Have Fighter Mentality

Boxers are combatants. Also, fighters are accustomed to shock, discomfort, being grabbed, and taking a beating. Being hit in the face occurs frequently during fights, and no one is more adept at taking a strike to the face than a boxer.

A person of this type will keep fighting even after taking a severe sucker punch to the face and will prevail over their enemies in circumstances where others would lose.

Reasons Why Boxing is Not Useful in Real-Life Situations

1. Boxers Are Not Prepared To Fight on the Ground

Your boxing abilities are practically useless when battles end on the ground. Maybe all it takes to defend some ground and pound is to keep your hands in front of your face.

Short-range boxers may be less effective in a street battle since their adversary can encircle them with their arms and knock them to the ground.

2. Most Boxers Are Too Used To Fighting With Their Gloves

Modern boxing is categorized as a ring sport that largely relies on having well-protected hands. Fighting without huge hand wraps and gloves is a whole different game; for instance, the high guard is far less effective without large gloves. He can far more easily locate weaknesses in your defence when you're battling with bare knuckles.

A fighter could also get a broken hand in the initial moments of a fierce fistfight. The traditional bare-knuckle boxing system, which is considerably better for street battles and general self-defence, used entirely different strategies and blows.

Because they are not required to have such skills in the ring, the majority of current boxers do not know how to box bare-knuckled.

3. Boxers don’t train in clinch fighting

The majority of steer bouts either end or begin in a clinch. Someone can take you down there using dirty boxing, knees, or elbows. So practising your clinching techniques, as the Muay Thai fighters do, is great.

Boxers simply maintain their posture and wait for the referee to break up the contact.

Boxing Trainer Girl Preparing

4. Boxers don’t work on their takedown defence

Takedowns are not permitted in boxing, as opposed to in a street fight. A significant issue when employing boxing for self-defence is that boxers don't spend enough time on their takedown defence.

5. Boxers don’t work on their leg kick defence

Leg kicks are unquestionably the best weapon a Muay Thai fighter can use to defeat a boxer. They hurt, especially if you're not accustomed to them. Since boxers utilize their legs to generate such incredible power, multiple leg kicks will restrict the fighter's range of motion and weaken his punches.

Boxing Versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a Streetfight

The most effective martial art against unskilled individuals is BJJ.

Because he won't know what to do or what you are trying to do, a person who has never engaged in grappling won't be able to prevent you from submitting him. The best martial art for one-on-one self-defence is BJJ.

Suppose you are familiar with the fundamentals of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, such as maintaining a guard, passing a guard, and the submissions (rear-naked choke, armbar, kimura, Americana, guillotine). If that's the case, I can easily defeat a mediocre foe.

Although BJJ is an excellent sport, its emphasis is on submission and defence rather than taking people down and controlling them (like in wrestling, for example). Moreover, your chances of taking him down will be significantly reduced if your opponent is stronger than you and is familiar with the basics of takedown defence.

When battling numerous opponents or someone who is faster and stronger than you but has a shorter reach, boxing is a superior option. If so, you can simply out-box the opponent and knock him out or force him to submit with a few straight punches while keeping a safe distance from his swings. While it might not be a good idea to grapple with someone who is much stronger, especially if he can lift you up and slam you to the ground.

However, suppose you decide to specialize in boxing. In that case, it can take months or even a year (if you train seldom) to develop the abilities required to dispatch an average opponent quickly. However, that period of time will be significantly shorter with BJJ (several months).


Boxing is a better strategy if you're going up against someone you can't take down. Pure BJJ practitioners seriously lack takedown skills, as I have mentioned. Therefore, you might be unable to subdue the assailant if he is big, strong, and aware of what he shouldn't do to maintain his balance. If so, your only recourse is to defeat him by stand-up combat.

Boxing is a superior choice when you need to protect yourself against multiple opponents. BJJ is meaningless if someone is trying to submit his friend while kicking you in the head. On the other hand, you can force the attackers to change their minds about trying to attack you by using the boxing technique, keeping your distance, and throwing straight punches.

When engaging in one-on-one combat, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu is preferable. An inexperienced BJJ practitioner will be unable to stop a submission due to “ their lack of expertise.

Boxing Versus Kickboxing or Muay Thai in a Streetfight

Learning Muay Thai or kickboxing will improve your body and leg kicks, which can be a simple approach to stopping an opponent without causing brain damage (which is more likely to happen when using boxing techniques).

You will learn how to use your knees and elbows effectively through those combat sports.

In a street battle, it is dangerous to employ a lot of kicks or knees since you could be knocked down. If your kicks are too slow, an opponent could grasp your leg and knock you to the ground quickly.

You'll probably be able to block punches better if you understand boxing. You would concentrate on timing, spacing, and reading your opponent using your hands. However, using boxing defence strategies, such as bobbing and weaving, may not be a good idea when kicking and knee are involved because a head kick or knee may intercept you.

You will acquire the information necessary to defend yourself from an enemy who can kick expertly by Muay Thai. Kickboxing or Muay Thai emphasizes parrying and blocking more. Compared to boxing, there is substantially less head movement.

Although you shouldn't use too many kicks during street fights, an unexpected, powerful leg kick might break up a fight before it begins, as I explained.


Boxing is less dangerous because there are no kicks or knees that could knock you down. Boxers employ a wilder stance than Muay-Thai fighters, making them difficult to take down, making it far more successful while fighting against wrestlers or anyone trying to take you down with a good ground game. Plus, their footwork is significantly better.

Your danger level will increase if you practice kickboxing or muay thai due to the greater diversity of attacks. Additionally, using leg kicks to beat someone will prevent more serious injuries. When boxing and Muay Thai are involved, the Thai fighter will prevail 7-8 times out of every ten occasions by exclusively employing leg kicks.

Boxing Versus Wrestling in a Streetfight

In wrestling, you can put your opponent under control with holds and locks. Because of this, MMA fighters who are just skilled in wrestling often succeed. They are controlling the other warriors by forcing them to the ground and using their skills to do so. That is effective whether they are engaged in combat with boxers, kickboxers, or BJJ practitioners (as long as their BJJ defence is on point).

However, only being able to dominate your opponent in a street fight might not be sufficient if he has allies who can assist him. You want to fast end the fight and leave in these circumstances. One of the finest ways to do that is through boxing.


If your opponent is bigger than you, boxing is a superior option. On the ground, larger opponents clearly have the upper hand.

Boxers are much better at finishing out their foes.

Wrestling is a better choice if your opponent is your size or smaller. If you are physically superior to someone, you can easily place him in a headlock and potentially stop the conflict.

Every other martial art can be neutralized better through wrestling. Wrestlers can defeat boxers, kickboxers, and Muay Thai fighters if they can get them to the ground. It can be very dangerous for them if they are battling a BJJ expert since they could get submitted.

Boxing Training Workout Silhouettes

Boxing Versus Mixed Martial Arts in a Streetfight

The best elements of each sport—Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, BJJ, Taekwondo, Judo, Karate, and others—are combined in mixed martial arts to produce the ideal combat sport.


Boxing is not as successful in a street battle as MMA. If you're curious about what would happen in a fight between a boxer and an MMA fighter, you may read this article: Boxer versus MMA Fighter: Who Would Win?

How To Use Boxing in a Streetfight Scenario

Use your movement and jabs to exhaust your opponent until you can finish him in a street battle. Keep some distance from your adversary, especially if they are bigger.

Avoid attempting any body shots because they require getting too near to your opponent and are, therefore, too dangerous. And if you get too near, your opponent may grab you or just smack you in the head to deflect your blows.

Catch your opponent with an uppercut if he is dodging your blows.

Make sure only to throw straight punches (quick lead hooks are an exception). Avoid using dangerous back hooks and overhands. Since they are more difficult to escape than hooks and overhands, straight punches will be effective against an inexperienced foe. They will also assist you in maintaining a safe distance from your adversary.

What to combine boxing with to be most effective in a street fight?

Combining your boxing prowess with the requisite wrestling prowess makes you extremely dangerous to everyone. For instance, if you are fighting a Muy Thai fighter, you can simply stop his leg kick by grabbing it, knocking him to the ground, where you can control him and end him with ground and pound.

And if you encounter a skilled ground opponent, you may easily fend off his takedown attempts and keep the conflict on the ground, where you are more advantageous.

One of the finest ways to enable you to defend yourself in a streetfight or other risky situation successfully is to learn boxing. Anyone of any age, gender, or size may learn several excellent boxing methods since they are straightforward and uncomplicated.

Anyone who is willing to invest the time and effort can learn it rapidly. For individuals who make an effort to study and master the essentials first, starting training is simple. Knowing the concepts will surely help you defend yourself in a street fight.

The majority of street battles, however, end up on the ground, and most boxers are not trained to fight on the ground. Knowing boxing and wrestling may give you a sense of more security while you stroll through the evening's pitch-black streets.

Additionally, it's important to maintain good physical health. You should, therefore, not just concentrate on your skills but also on your conditioning. To improve your punching and wrestling, engage in cardio workouts like running, swimming, and sprinting as well as free weight exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, and dips.

Never forget that practising should always be done. Even if you believe you have perfected your boxing techniques, keep training.

There is always room for improvement. You will feel safer as you develop your talents further.

Five Things to Remember if You Bring Boxing to a Street Fight:

Stay on Your Feet - Boxing won't help if you are overcome and fall to the ground. You're hard to jab off of.

Be Selective About Ducking - Keeping your head down makes you more vulnerable to a kick or knee. Slipping is good, and swaying is right, but bringing your head into close proximity to something sharp is bad. Keep in mind that your opponent doesn't care whether he uses his feet, knees, elbows, or fists. In real life, you're not only watching for punches.

Disrupt Attacks - Use your jab to stop your attackers' forward momentum. All the boxing prowess in the world won't save you if they try to get a hold of you.

Keep Moving - highly useful outside of the ring and highly effective inside. You are more likely to get damaged if you are a static target.

Try Not to Break Your Hands - Your jabs will be more accurate if you have boxing skills. This implies that you will be less likely to strike something like a forehead and more likely to smash anything that will hurt your opponent rather than yourself. So, be prepared for your hands to suffer severe damage. It is dangerous to punch without protective gloves, and even seasoned boxers risk breaking their hands. Unless you are certain you will hit the target you aim for, you are better off using open-palm blows.

More Self Defense

You should be ready to fight from the ground and have at least a basic skill set to protect yourself against knockdowns. Boxing by itself can keep a battle from ending, but if your opponent succeeds in knocking you out, you'll find yourself in a difficult situation if you don't know what to do. Spend some time learning a strategy that works in all circumstances if you're learning to box as a self-defence technique.

A Mindset for Self Defense

The physical ability to defend yourself in a dangerous situation or knowing how to fight is only half the battle. We prepare for a scenario with rules when we practice being boxers or MMA fighters, and there is typically a third man in the ring who is prepared to break up a fight if things get out of hand.

Even though we like to think of ourselves as warriors, at that point, we are actually athletes. When you accept the idea that street fighting is an actual conflict, you are a warrior. No referee is present. You and your opponent are engaged in a struggle for survival.

It is over when you knock your opponent unconscious permanently or long enough to leave the fight.

Prepare your mind and body for combat (in the ring and out of it).


What are some of the best ways to practice boxing for self-defence?

Some of the best ways to practice boxing for self-defence include:

  • Taking classes from a qualified instructor. This will give you the opportunity to learn the proper techniques and how to use them in a safe and effective way.
  • Shadow boxing. Shadowboxing is a great way to practice your boxing skills without a partner.
  • Sparring. Sparring is a great way to test your boxing skills against a live opponent.
  • Using a punching bag. A punching bag can be a great way to improve your punching power and accuracy.
  • Working on your footwork and head movement. Good footwork and head movement are essential for self-defence, so it is important to practice them regularly.

What are the most typical boxing-for-self-defense mistakes?

Common boxing self-defence mistakes include:

  • Attempting to defend against a larger or stronger assailant. Run away from a bigger or stronger attacker.
  • Self-defense-unsuitable boxing. In a street fight, throwing a haymaker punch can knock you unconscious.
  • Too near to your attacker. To prevent being hit in self-defence, keep your distance from your assailant.
  • Unawareness of surroundings. You may not see an attacker or escape a dangerous situation if you are unaware of your surroundings.
  • Going down. Self-defence on the ground puts you at a disadvantage. Stay on your feet and box to defend yourself.

What self-defence boxing abilities are essential?

Important self-defence boxing abilities include:

  • Punching: Self-defense requires punching accurately and powerfully.
  • Blocking: Effectively blocking punches can protect you.
  • Footwork: Good footwork keeps you agile and prevents hits.
  • Head movement: Avoiding punches by moving your head can save your life in self-defence.
  • Danger awareness: Knowing your environment and potential threats can help you avoid conflict.

What other self-defence methods are useful?

Many other self-defence techniques are good to know in addition to boxing. These include:

  • Krav Maga: A self-defence system that focuses on real-world scenarios.
  • Jiu-Jitsu: A grappling-based martial art that teaches you how to take down and control an attacker.
  • Muay Thai: A striking-based martial art that teaches you how to use your fists, elbows, knees, and shins to defend yourself.

What are the drawbacks of self-defence boxing?

Self-defence boxing has downsides. These are:

  • Boxing is a contact sport with injury risks.
  • Boxing lessons are costly.
  • Boxing may not work in self-defence.
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