How Dangerous Is Boxing Compared To Other Martial Arts?

There are many different types of martial arts in the world. Each one has its own unique set of benefits and dangers. Both grappling and striking martial arts alike can be dangerous if used correctly. Boxing is one of the most popular forms of martial arts, but is it more dangerous than other styles?

In general, boxing is less bloody but more dangerous than other martial arts. Especially to the fighters in the long term. Boxers lose their consciousness during fights twice as much as mixed martial art fighters. They also suffer higher rates of CTE and concussions. On average, boxers also have more hematomas, nasal fractures, and dental injuries than other martial artists.

There are many different opinions on this topic. Some people believe that boxing is the most dangerous martial art because of the potential for head injuries. Others believe that other martial arts are more dangerous. It is because they involve more joint manipulation and can result in serious injuries.

The truth is that any form of martial arts can be dangerous if you are not trained properly. Injuries can occur during training or even in a real fight situation. The best way to stay safe is to always use caution when practicing or sparring. And never try to do something that you are not comfortable with.

How Dangerous Is Boxing Really

Well, in the long term, it can be quite dangerous for your wellbeing. Especially if you started sparring and fighting at a young age. Your brain is still developing till you reach the age of 25. However, if you start sparring and fighting by the age of 12, you could face some serious problems later on.

A new study out of the University of Alabama showcases that boxers face a loss of conciseness twice as much as other martial artists do. During the fight, boxers lose conciseness more often (7.1% compared to 4.2%). Boxers are also more likely to receive medical suspensions after the fight due to the injuries suffered during it.

Boxing is more dangerous than other sports because most of the blows fighters receive go straight to the head. We all know the head is the most vulnerable part of your body. While yes, some boxers like to throw a lot of body shots. They are nowhere near as dangerous as the shots fighters receive to their head.

After receiving a lot of headshots, boxers might develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, violent outbursts, or CTE.
There is a lot of discussion around CTE in boxing and whether it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Some people feel that the sport is too dangerous and that steps need to be taken to make it safer. Others feel that the risk of CTE is simply a part of the game and that there is no way to make it completely safe.

What Is CTE

CTE is a type of brain injury that can occur from repetitive head trauma. This could be from playing contact sports, being in a car accident, or any other situation where the head is hit repeatedly. Symptoms of CTE can include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, mood swings, and depression.

As of now, there is no cure for CTE. And there is no way to prevent it from happening besides avoiding getting hit in the head too often. CTE is quite common in older boxers with a lot of fights under their belt. Since they have been in so many fights, they accumulated thousands and thousands of hits to the head.

CTE has been found in many former boxers. And some believe that it is caused by repeated head injuries that are common in the sport. There have been some changes made recently to try to address this issue. These are the changes such as new rules about how often fighters can punch each other in the head.

However, many people feel that these changes are not enough and that more needs to be done. To protect fighters from the risk of CTE more steps need to be taken. There is a lot of debate about this issue. It is something that will continue to be discussed as we learn more about CTE and its effects on the brain.

CTE could be avoided to an extent by not hitting your training partner in the head during training. Sparring sessions should also be limited to the body mostly and only very light hits to the head. Another measure would be to fight fewer fights, but that is quite hard for someone who wants to be a professional boxer.

Even some MMA fighters have voiced concerns regarding brain damage and CTE. Fighters like Donald Cerrone and Max Holloway have stopped sparring altogether. They believe they can get sufficient training and preparation through technique practice, pad work, and heavy bag work.

How Dangerous Is MMA Compared To Boxing

While MMA fighters might suffer the same injuries as boxers do, they can also suffer from other injuries boxers do not suffer from. MMA fighters often have minor injuries that heal quite quickly. While boxers suffer more long-term injuries from repeat head trauma.

The injuries suffered most from boxers are concussions, broken noses, broken orbital bones, and eye injuries. In comparison, the most common injuries in MMA are bloody noses or facial cuts. MMA is bloodier than boxing since you can hit your opponent with a surface that isn’t padded.

The unpadded surfaces like knees, elbows, and feet can cause quite a cut on the fighter’s face. MMA fighters, together with kickboxers, face a serious injury that doesn’t exist in boxing. The injury I am talking about is breaking your shin when hitting your opponent with your leg. If the bones in your leg aren’t strong enough, they could snap.

Or, if your shins aren’t conditioned enough or recovered fully they could also snap. Prime examples of this happening to MMA fighters are Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman who both suffered a shin break. There is always the chance of injuries that are not caused by strikes.

Like in MMA, BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, or some other grappling-based martial art. Injuries like dropping to the floor too hard or in a bad position. There is also the chance of your joints being injured due to some submissions. Broken fingers are also not uncommon. Both you and your training partner will be safe if you go light during most of your sparring sessions and respect and protect each other.

How To Avoid Brain Damage While Boxing

The first step is to make sure that you’re always wearing a helmet. A good helmet will protect your head from both concussions and skull fractures. It’s also important to wear mouthguards and padded gloves. Mouthguards are a must since one wrong hit to the face could knock most of your teeth out and cause serious pain.

Wearing padded gloves is also very important during sparring sessions. Wearing 16 oz gloves is advisable, and even 18 oz if you are in one of the upper weight classes. These will help to protect your hands and wrists from injuries. And one important thing to mention is not to escalate sparring sessions.

What does that mean? Well, if you hit your sparring partner too hard, he will probably retaliate in the same manner. Then you will hit even harder, and the circle will continue. Soon enough, you two will no longer be sparring but trying to knock each other out. Try to avoid this at all costs.

Going hard during a sparring session doesn’t prove you are tough. It just proves you lack self-control. Not only will this cause you and your partner unnecessary damage, but it will also make people not want to spar with you. Sometimes some hard punches are a mistake, and they cannot be avoided but try to do your best and keep them at a minimum.

Who Is At Most Danger While Practicing Martial Arts

You are probably wondering if the injuries suffered by martial artists are the same for everyone. The answer is no, of course. Younger practitioners suffer lower rates of injuries. And we have athletes who are 18 years old and older and have been practicing the sport for more than three years.

They have one of the highest rates of injuries. Both severe and many injuries. The reason for that is that competitions start getting harsher, and so does training. They have also accumulated several injuries during their previous training sessions and fights. Which might cause more severe injuries down the line.

For example, if you were cut before by a punch. And after a while you get hit again on the same spot, it is more likely that the spot will open up quicker than the last time. Since not all of the damage you have accumulated can be reversed or fully healed.

There is no significant difference between the number of injuries suffered by male athletes and female athletes.

How To Avoid Some Common Injuries In Boxing

Some of the more common injuries in boxing are teeth damage, groin injuries, and small concussions. But they are for the most part avoidable if taken proper steps.

Groin Injuries

Groin injuries are a common occurrence in martial arts. They can range from a mild strain to a complete tear of the muscle. The groin is a vulnerable area, and it’s important to take steps to protect it. This includes warming up properly before training and using appropriate techniques and equipment.

If you do suffer a groin injury, it’s important to seek treatment right away. This will help ensure a speedy recovery. Groin injuries can be very painful and debilitating. If you’re experiencing any discomfort or swelling in this area, please see your doctor as soon as possible. There are many effective treatments available, so there’s no need to suffer unnecessarily.

Teeth Damage

Teeth damage can occur in many different ways while practicing martial arts. One of the most common ways teeth are damaged is by being hit with a hard object. This can happen when someone is punched in the mouth or when they hit their opponent’s head with their own head.

The first step in protecting your teeth is to invest in a good quality mouthguard. Do not cheap out on mouthguards since they will save you from going to the dentist. And believe me, dentists aren’t cheap. The best ones can be about 50 dollars, but they are worth every penny.

If you are a martial artist and have sustained damage to your teeth, you must seek medical attention. Damage to teeth can cause pain and lead to further health problems if not treated properly. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your mouth, please see a doctor immediately.

Smaller Concussions

A few tips to avoid smaller and maybe even more severe concussions are:

  • Always wear headgear
  • Avoid hits to the head
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take breaks often

These tips will help keep you safe while boxing and decrease your chances of getting a concussion. It is easier said than done to avoid hits in the head, but you can make it your specialty. You can see a clear difference between the fighters who practice dodging punches and the ones who juggernaut through them. Be one of the smarter ones.

Remember to always listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately. Safety should always be the number one priority in any sport.


Boxing as a sport is one of the most dangerous ones. It is up there with the likes of rugby, Muay Thai and MMA. It is also less bloody than MMA but more dangerous for the fighters in the long term. Repeat hits to the head cause brain damage, and with quite enough hits to the head, they can even cause CTE.

CTE is a major problem for boxers who suffer from it. Boxers have fewer injuries like damaged joints or broken shins since they do not use submissions or kick. Injuries like this are more common in MMA, Muay Thai, or BJJ.

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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