When it comes to the greatest kickboxers in history, there are a lot of names that could make a list. Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Karate have all produced some of the world’s most skilled and talented fighters. So, narrowing it down to just twenty was a challenging task. After careful deliberation, we have compiled what we believe to be the definitive list of the top greatest kickboxers of all time.
Arguably one of the most dangerous strikers in the world, Gokhan Saki is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of even the most experienced fighters. A former Muay Thai champion, Saki switched to kickboxing in 2006 and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
He has since compiled an impressive record of 82-16-1, with 59 of his wins coming by knockout. He was a K-1 World GP 2006 tournament finalist, a K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 champion, and a Glory Light Heavyweight Champion.
Mirko Cro Cop
A true legend of the sport, Mirko Cro Cop is a Croatian kickboxer and mixed martial artist who has competed at the highest level in both disciplines. He is a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion and is best known for his days in PRIDE. Cro Cop has a record of 26-8-0, with plenty of his wins coming from his famous left-leg high-kick.
He is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweight fighters in history. He has cemented his place as one of the greatest kickboxers. His famous quote: “Right leg hospital, left leg cemetery,” struck fear in the eyes of his opponents. He was also a member of Croatia’s elite Police Special Forces. Talk about a tough guy.
Alistair Overeem is a Dutch kickboxer and mixed martial artist who has competed at the highest level in both disciplines. He is a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion and has also held titles in Strikeforce and the DREAM.
Overeem has a not-so-impressive kickboxing record of 10-4 and an impressive MMA record of 47-19-1, with 25 of his wins coming by knockout. He is one of the most feared strikers in the world, and his knees caused havoc for his opponents. He has left the UFC and is currently set to face off against Badr Hari in a trilogy match on October 8, 2022, at Glory: Collision 4.
A true legend of the sport, Peter Aerts is a Dutch kickboxer widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in history. He is a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion and a former Heavyweight World Muay Thai champion.
Aerts retired from kickboxing in 2020 with 108 wins and 81 KOs/TKOs. He is one of the most decorated kickboxers of all time and is considered one of the best. His nickname was “The Lumberjack” and “Mr. K-1” due to dropping people down like pieces of lumber.
Tyrone Spong is a Dutch kickboxer and mixed martial artist who has competed at the highest level in both disciplines. He is competing in boxing, where he is the current WBC Latino and WBO Latino heavyweight champion with 14-0.
He is a former Glory Light Heavyweight Champion and has also held titles in “Its Showtime” and the WFCA. Spong has an impressive record of 107-7, with 73 of his wins coming from a knockout. He is one of the most feared strikers, which speaks to the fact that, at one time, he held the record for the hardest punch in the world.
Spong has won multiple world championships in all three disciplines, including the WBO cruiserweight title in boxing. He is widely considered one of the best strikers in combat sports history. During his Glory days, Spong was considered one of the top pound-for-pound kickboxers in the world and was ranked as high as number two by various media outlets.
Spong is known for his ferocious striking power and technique. He has knockout wins over some of the biggest names in combat sports, including Remy Bonjasky, Ray Sefo, and Peter Aerts. Spong has also shown his versatility by winning championships in multiple weight classes.
A true legend of the sport, Semmy Schilt is a Dutch kickboxer widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in history. He is a former four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and a former Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam Champion. Schilt has an impressive record of 43-6-1, with 14 wins coming by knockout.
He is one of the most decorated kickboxers of all and shares the record for most Grand Prix wins with Ernesto Hoost. He started his career in Kyokushin karate and later started competing in the Japanese promotion “Pancrase.” Moreover, Semmi is one of the tallest kickboxers in history of this sport with height of 6’11.
Andy Hug was one of the greatest kickboxers in history. He began his career in Kyokushin karate, winning European and World championships. In the K-1 ring, he was known for throwing wild and not-so-common techniques like axe kicks, tornado kicks, and spinning heel kicks. He was also able to land these moves and do damage to his opponents.
The most significant highlight of his career came in 1996 by winning the K-1 World Grand Prix title when he defeated Mike Bernardo. He also had wins over kickboxing legends such as Peter Aerts, Ray Safo, Ernesto Hoost, and Sam Greco. Unfortunately, Andy lost his battle with leukemia in 2000 at only 35 years of age.
Rico Verhoeven is a Dutch heavyweight kickboxer and current Glory Heavyweight Champion. He is a very technical and calculated fighter known for his excellent timing, precision, and defense.
Rico Verhoeven is one of the most dominant heavyweights in kickboxing today. He has an impressive professional record of 59 wins and ten losses, with 19 of his wins coming by way of knockout. He has been the reigning Glory Heavyweight champion since 2014.
Alex Pereira is a Brazilian mixed martial artist who competes in the middleweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Pereira is a former Glory middleweight and light heavyweight champion and the current number 5 in the UFC middleweight rankings. He started training relatively late to get rid of his alcohol addiction. Alex holds some big wins over established kickboxing veterans such as Jason Wilnis, Yousri Belgaroui, and Artem Vakhitov.
He is also the person who defeated Israel Adensaya twice, the current UFC middleweight champion. His nickname “Poatan” means stone hands, which fits him nicely due to the tremendous power in his left hook. His current kickboxing record is 33-7.
Giorgio Petrosyan is an Armenian-Italian kickboxer who competes in the welterweight division. Giorgio Petrosyan is widely considered to be the most technical kickboxer of all time. His tactics and precise fighting style had earned him the nickname “The Doctor.”
Petrosyan became famous during his K-1 days when he went without defeat for the first 5 years of his K-1 career. During those 5 years, he fought against and won over some of the best fighters in the world, including Mike Zambidis, Albert Kraus, and Andy Souwer. He won the K-1 World MAX tournament two times, the ONE kickboxing Grand Prix and WKN and WMC Muay Thai championships.
Petrosyan has won multiple world titles in five weight classes throughout his career. His current record is a very impressive 105-3-2, with 42 wins coming either by KO or TKO. He also had a lot of success competing against the best Thai boxers at Lumpinee stadium.
Badr Hari is a Moroccan-Dutch kickboxer who competes in the heavyweight division. Badr Hari (124-16-2) has been fighting on the professional kickboxing scene for 20 years. He is a kickboxer who will remain inscribed in the history of this sport with capital letters.
Hari was one of the best in the world for many years, and he also won over fans worldwide with his style. He has always fought mercilessly, regardless of who is on the other side. Hari knew that this approach cost him dearly, but much more often, he profited from it all.
He is also quite a douchebag and often has trouble with the law due to his aggressive demeanor. His next fight is against Alistar Overeem; we hope Reem puts him to sleep with a bang. (Update 2023: yes, Alistar won the fight with a couple of good shots)
Artem Vakhitov is a Russian kickboxer who competed in the heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions before his contract got canceled due to the Russian aggression over Ukraine. He was the then-current Glory Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion.
Vakhitov has a record of 22-6-0, with 8 wins coming by knockout. He is one of the best strikers Glory has ever seen, and we hope to see him again in action soon.
John Wayne Parr
John Wayne Parr, or JWP commonly referred to, is an Australian professional kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter. He is a multiple-time World Muay Thai Champion across five different weight classes. John is regarded as among the best Muay Thai/Kickboxers fighters.
JWP has fought some of the biggest names in Muay Thai and Kickboxing Legendary names such as Buakaw Banchamek multiple times, Giorgio Petrosyan, Yodsanklai Fairtex, and Andy Souwer. He has also had success fighting in Thailand, where he has won multiple titles at the famous Lumpinee Stadium.
His record stands at 99 – 34, with 46 wins coming via KO or TKO. He is widely respected as a sports legend in the kickboxing/Muay Thai world.
Ramon “The Diamond” Dekkers is an eight-time world champion in Muay Thai and the most famous foreigner to ever fight in Thailand. He was instrumental in the evolution of this sport into what it is today.
In the 20 years of his fighting career, he recorded as many as 186 victories (95 by knockout) and only 33 defeats, according to K-1 and Muay Thai rules. The last time he was in the ring was in 2006, when he was better than him, thanks to the referee’s decision by the Dutchman Joeri Mes. He sadly passed away in 2013 due to a stroke.
Remy Bonjasky is a former Dutch kickboxer who competed in the heavyweight division. He is a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion. His nickname “The Flying Gentleman” was bestowed upon him by the fans, who were amazed by his frequent and effective use of flying kicks and knee attacks.
His most effective weapon was his kicks which he used significantly to win many of his fights. Bonjasky retired from kickboxing in 2017 after a long and successful career, with a final record totaling 78-20.
Jerome Le Banner
Probably the best French K-1 fighter of all time, Jerome Le Banner has had an illustrious career in the sport. Born in Normandy in 1972, Le Banner started his martial arts training at 5. He began with Judo and later added kickboxing and Muay Thai to his repertoire. Early on, Jerome had a talent for fighting as he quickly began winning competitions. Le Banner was big and strong, hence his non-technical fighting style.
His fighting style was a treat for the fans since he was a brawler who liked to engage in wild exchanges. This made for thrilling fights, and Le Banner soon became a fan favorite. He won ISK and WKN World titles despite never winning the K-1 Grand Prix. His record stands at 86-22.
Ernesto Hoost was born in 1965 in the Netherlands. His fighting style is kickboxing. He boxed for the first time at age 15 and began training in Sokundo Ton Vriend’s gym, where he stayed for six years.
Then the first fight in C class followed. His opponent was Wim Scharrenberg, who was knocked out in the second round by the young, until then unknown, Hoost. After that fight, Mister Perfect ended the next nine fights with a knockout, and he moved up to the A class, where he remains. In 1988, Hoost became professional and won the Savate and Muay Thai titles.
In 1993, he performed for the first time at the K-1 Grand Prix in Japan; he was the only middleweight among the heavyweights. He won his first title at the K-1 tournament in 1997, defeating Andy Hugo in the final. After that, he had health problems, so he returned to the ring in 1999. Still, he beats out Peter Aerts and Maurice Smith.
In 1999 he defeated everyone and proved again that he was number one in K-1. In 2000 and 2002, he won the third and fourth titles at the Grand Prix in Tokyo. He reached the third title while almost losing the fourth one.
Namely, in the fourth tournament, he lost the first fight, but his opponent Bob Sapp broke his arm, so he could not continue the competition. Let’s just mention that Sapp weighed 170 kilograms and Hoost 100 kg. According to the K-1 rules, Hoost moved on. He won the K-1 Prix by defeating Le Banner. His record stands at 99-21, with 62 wins either by KO or TKO.
Rob Kaman is one of the most influential Dutch-style kickboxers in history. He won 9 world titles in both kickboxing and Muay Thai and is known for his powerful leg kicks. Kaman’s background in soccer helped him develop his fast and powerful kicks, which became a signature move in his fighting style.
After retiring in 1999, Kaman has continued to train other fighters and help spread Dutch-style kickboxing worldwide. His record stands at 97-12, with 77 of those wins coming by KO or TKO.
Known as one of the best Muay Thai fighters of all time, Buakaw Banchamek has become a mainstream star in the western world. He is widely respected for his accomplishments in kickboxing, where he has won two K-1 World MAX titles and several other championships.
Buakaw is known for his explosive athleticism, technical prowess, and fast kicks, which have led him to victory in many fights both in and outside Thailand. His record stands at an astonishing 240-24, with 73 wins coming by TKO/KO. In his prime, he was a force to be reckoned with and remained one of the most accomplished martial artists in the world.
Andy Souwer is a Dutch kickboxing icon. He won the K-1 World MAX title twice, in 2005 and 2007, and is a four-time “Shootboxing” champion. Souwer was known for his relentless pace and accuracy inside the ring. He was unstoppable when moving towards his opponent, throwing jabs and crosses and finishing each combo with a hard low kick or knee up the middle.
Souwer didn’t have enormous striking power as some of the fighters above, but he more than made up for it with his relentless pace. His opponents found it hard to keep up with him. Souwer retired with an incredible 161 wins on his record, 98 knockouts, and 22 losses.
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