Boxing Vs Wrestling: What’s The Difference?


Boxing and wrestling are two of the most popular combat sports today. In this article I go over some of the things that make these sports similar, and other things that make them different.

What Is The Difference Between Boxing And Wrestling

Here are key differences between boxing and wrestling:

  • Boxers fight standing whereas wrestlers fight primarily on the ground.
  • Boxers fight in a ring whereas wrestlers fight on wrestling mats.
  • Boxers wear big heavy gloves, wrestlers wear no gloves.
  • Boxing involves punching, wrestling involves grappling.

Boxers Fight Standing Whereas Wrestlers Fight Primarily On The Ground

If you have watched a boxing match you have probably realized that the fighters never go to the ground. You can’t even hold your opponent in boxing.

In wrestling, however, the whole purpose of the sport is to grab, toss and pin your opponent to the ground.

Most of the scoring in wrestling happens on the ground with things such as takedowns and pins and so this is why most of the fighting takes place on the ground rather than standing up.

Boxers Fight In A Ring Whereas Wrestlers Fight On Wrestling Mats

When it comes to boxing, the fighting takes place in a square ring. Ropes are surrounding this square and there is no escape for either fighter once they enter into this area of combat.

Wrestling on the other hand does not have such an enclosure. As a result, wrestlers can escape from their opponent’s holds by simply stepping out of bounds.

This is why wrestling mats are circular and not square.

Boxers Wear Big Heavy Gloves, Wrestlers Wear No Gloves

Boxing gloves are big and heavy, meant to protect the fighter’s hands as they punch their opponent.

Wrestling does not use gloves because there is no need for them. Wrestlers rely on their grip and ability to hold onto their opponent to control them.

Boxing Involves Punching, Wrestling Involves Grappling

In boxing, punching is everything. To win a match you need to land more punches than your opponent does or at least land the most powerful punch of all, a knockout.

In wrestling, grappling is key. You can win a match by taking your opponent to the ground and pinning them there for a few seconds.

This is why boxing and wrestling are two very different sports.

Although there are several differences between the two sports, there are also many similarities as well. Let’s touch on those below.

What Are Similarities Between Boxing And Wrestling?

Here are some of the similarities between boxing and wrestling:

  • Both have timed rounds.
  • Both have similar training regimens.
  • Both have a point system for scoring.
  • Both involve 1v1 combat.
  • Both have ways to win a match instantly.
  • Both have weight classes.

Both Have Time Rounds

Both boxing and wrestling have timed rounds. In professional boxing, most fights will be between 10 and 12 rounds with each round lasting 3 minutes.

In wrestling on the other hand there are 3 rounds with the 1st round lasting 3 minutes and the last 2 rounds lasting 2 minutes each.

Both Have Similar Training Regimens

Although the fighting styles of both boxing and wrestling are very different, the training regimens are often very similar. This is because both sports require speed, agility, endurance, power, and stamina.

For this reason, both boxers and wrestlers will focus on things such as jumping rope and jogging to improve both their quickness and endurance.

Both Sports Have A Point System For Scoring

In both boxing and wrestling fighters score points throughout their matches. These scores are then added up at the end of the match and the fighter with the most points wins the match.

In professional boxing, a boxer will earn points each round from the judges depending on how well they fight (typically 10 points for the winner and 9 points for the loser of the round).

In wrestling, fighters earn points for things such as takedowns, reversals, and escapes. At the end of the match, the wrestler who scores the most points wins.

Both Involve One Versus One Combat

Although boxing and wrestling are two different sports, they both involve one fighter pitted against another.

Even though there are wrestling teams, these fighters are never in the same match at the same time. When you box or wrestle it is just you and the person in front of you.

Both Have Ways To Win A Match Instantly

In boxing, a knockout is the most obvious way to win a match. If you hit your opponent hard enough and they are unable to continue fighting, you win the match.

In wrestling, you can also win a match instantly by pinning your opponent.

This means that in both wrestling and boxing you always have a shot at winning no matter how behind you may be.

Both Have Weight Classes

In both boxing and wrestling, there are weight classes that fighters compete in. This is to make the fights more balanced and to protect the fighters as well.

Unlike other combat sports, weight is a major factor in both boxing and wrestling.

Which Is Better For Self Defense: Boxing Or Wrestling?

Wrestling is better than boxing when it comes to self-defense. This is because 73% of street fights end up on the ground according to studies. Although boxing is useful for self-defense, wrestling is better since most fights end up on the ground.

However, this is not to say that boxing is ineffective or that the skills you learn in boxing will be ineffective in a street fight.

A big part of self-defense is knowing how to take a punch or how to endure an attack from your opponent and boxing definitely teaches that.

But with 73% of street fights ending up on the ground, it’s a good idea to learn how to fight from a grounded position since most fights tend to go that way.

Which Is Easier To Learn: Boxing Or Wrestling?

Boxing is easier to learn than wrestling because it involves less technique. Wrestling involves several moves and a complex scoring system that fighters have to learn. Boxing moves are less complex and you can be an effective fighter by only knowing a few basic punches (jab, hook, cross).

I’m not saying that boxing is easy, it’s not, but it is easier to become proficient at boxing than it is at wrestling.

Which Is More Dangerous: Boxing Or Wrestling?

Wrestling is more dangerous than boxing. According to a study done by The Journal Of Sports Science And Medicine, when injuries in several combat sports were compared, “wrestling had the highest rate of injuries followed by boxing.”

In the study, strains, sprains, and dislocations were much more common in wrestling than they were in boxing or martial arts.

This is not to say that wrestling is dangerous, but when you compare the two combat sports then wrestling does tend to lead to more injuries than boxing does.

With that being said, things such as concussions, bruises, and cuts were more common in boxing than they were in wrestling.

It’s fair to say that both sports are physical and anytime you compete in a physical sport there is a greater chance of injury.

Just make sure that if you do train wrestling or boxing that you are taking proper precautions to protect yourself as this will lower your risk of injury.

Which Is More Fun: Boxing Or Wrestling?

Boxing tends to be more fun than wrestling for most people as both a viewer and a fighter. This is because boxing matches tend to go on for longer periods of time, and they are more exciting to watch. The excessive grappling that occurs in wrestling can sometimes make the sport less entertaining.

However, at the end of the day, it just depends on how you like to fight and train. If you prefer fighting on your feet then you will like boxing more. If you like grappling, then wrestling is the way to go.

Should You Learn Boxing Or Wrestling?

If you want to learn a martial art that is good for self-defense and will help you win in a fight then wrestling is the better option. If you are looking for a martial art that is safer, easier and more fun then boxing is the better option.

As you have seen throughout, both boxing and wrestling have their pros and cons, their similarities, and their differences.

At the end of the day, it’s best to choose a martial art that you will enjoy and that you feel will protect you if you ever have to use it.

However, I will say that if you are interested in competing in MMA competitions then wrestling is absolutely the way to go.

Many MMA fighters have backgrounds in wrestling and things that you learn in wrestling transfer very well over to MMA.

But again, do what feels right to you.

Sources

https://www.highpercentagemartialarts.com/blog/2019/3/23/almost-all-fights-go-to-the-ground-and-we-can-prove-it

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809053/

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