Boxing vs. Wrestling

Boxing vs. Wrestling

Between boxing and wrestling, you couldn’t find two different fighting styles than these two. There’s been numerous age-old debates about which style is tougher and who would win in a match.

Let’s break it down and go over how a boxing vs. wrestling match would most likely play out. Check out everything about these fighting styles below and learn a little about their histories.

Boxing vs. Wrestling: The Histories

Boxing and wrestling are two of the oldest fighting styles in existence with centuries of history between them. Here’s a short breakdown of the histories of boxing and wrestling.

The History of Boxing 

Boxing History

Boxing is one of the oldest sports that has ever existed. Nearly every culture has practiced some form of boxing and still practices them to this day.

The modern sport of boxing began being developed between the 1700s and 1800s. Throughout North America and Europe, hard men would take part in brutal bare knuckle boxing matches.

As these boxing matches got more popular, organizers realized that official rules and regulations needed to be established. This modernization led to the Queensberry Rules being established in the late 1800s.

Along with official rules, boxing organizations were formed, which introduced everything from boxing rings, gloves, and official weight classes.

This modernization led to the sport of boxing to explode in popularity and the fighting art to be internationally practiced. Since the 1900s, tens of thousands of boxing fans have been filling stadiums to see the best boxers fight.

Along with the popularity of the sport also led to the art of boxing being internationally practiced. Today, there are millions of boxing practitioners around the world and on every continent.

It is not only one of the most practiced forms of combat, but also one of the world’s most watched sports.

The History of Wrestling

Wrestling History

Wrestling is just as old as boxing, which also has a rich history. Just like with boxing, every culture that has ever existed has practiced some form of wrestling. 

From the Greeks in Europe to the Mongols in Mongolia. Humans love to wrestle and have developed numerous wrestling styles in our existence.

The most practiced and modern forms of wrestling began being developed over the last 300 years. Greco-Roman wrestling was established during the 1800s by a French soldier named Jean Exbrayat.

Exbrayat established the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling in 1846 and it became quite popular within Europe and Russia. This style of wrestling became one of the first modern Olympic sports added to the inaugural 1896 Olympic Games.

During this time, there was another form of wrestling widely practiced called catch or catch-as-catch-can wrestling. This was a form of submission wrestling, which was supposed to be added to the 2nd Olympic games in 1904.

Unfortunately, it was not included due to the submissions. This led to the creation of what would be known as freestyle wrestling, which was added to the 1904 Olympics.

Freestyle would soon be equally as popular as Greco-Roman wrestling and be internationally practiced. Today, these are by far, the two most practiced modern forms of wrestling in the world.

Boxing vs. Wrestling: The Differences

Boxing and wrestling are obviously vastly different combat sports with little to nothing in common. Here are the biggest differences between boxing vs. wrestling.

Striking vs. Grappling 

The most obvious difference between the two styles is boxing is striking and wrestling is grappling. In boxing, all of the techniques are performed from standing, while the objective of wrestling is to take your opponent down.

Boxing is all striking and footwork, whereas wrestling is holds, takedowns, and controls. You could not find two different forms of combat.


The uniforms worn within boxing and wrestling competitions also differ. In boxing, boxers wear shorts, boxing gloves, and boxing shoes.

A wrestler’s required uniform is a singles, wrestling shoes, and an optional headgear depending on the level of competition.

Fight Areas 

Boxers compete and practice in a boxing ring, while wrestlers practice and compete on open mats.

Time Limits 

The time limits of the matches within boxing and wrestling matches are different from one another. In boxing, boxers fight in 3-minute rounds that last between 4-12 rounds, pending on the pro level.

Matches within freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling consist of 3 periods that are 2 minutes each.

Different Forms of Wrestling

Another big difference between the two styles is that there is more than one form of wrestling. The most practiced styles of wrestling include freestyle, Greco-Roman, and folkstyle which is used in American colleges.

There are different styles of boxing around the world, but they all generally follow the same rule sets.

Boxing vs. Wrestling: The Similarities

You might be surprised to find out that boxing and wrestling do have a few similarities between each other. Here are some things that boxing and wrestling do have in common. 

The First Martial Arts & Sports 

Boxing and wrestling share the commonality of being two of the first martial arts humans created. They are also two of the very first sports ever created with tens of thousands of years of history.

If you look back at ancient texts and artifacts depicting and describing their sports, it was either wrestling or boxing. Since people first existed, we have been wrestling and boxing each other. 

This is one special thing that the two styles do have in common.

Olympic Sports

Both boxing and wrestling have the honor of being official Olympic sports. When the modern Olympics were established in the late 1800s, these two combat sports were two of the first added.

Greco-Roman wrestling was added to the first modern Olympics in 1896. Then in 1904, both boxing and freestyle wrestling were added as official Olympic games.

Similar Shoes

You could also argue that wrestling and boxing share the similarity of using similar shoes. Boxing and wrestling shoes have similar designs with both styles being lightweight, while gripping the mat and providing ankle protection.

Boxing vs. Wrestling: The Fight Game Plans 

When you have two polar opposite fighting styles like boxing vs. wrestling, the game plans are very specific. Here are the game plans that a boxer and wrestler must follow.

The Boxer’s Game Plan 

If you’re a boxer facing a wrestler, you already know that the wrestler is going for a takedown. You’re going to have to get on your bike and be ready for the shot.

To win this fight, you’re going to have to follow the same plan that Derrick Lewis used to KO Curtis Blaydes. Time the wrestler’s shot and hit them with an uppercut coming in. That is the only chance a boxer has for winning this match.

The Wrestler’s Game Plan


As a wrestler, you know that a boxer has no answer for your takedowns. You would be foolish to even for a second attempt to trade punches with a boxer. 

This is why you must take the boxer down as quickly as possible and impose your will. Every second a wrestler stays on their feet with a boxer gives the boxer a better chance at winning.

The Verdict

From the early days of MMA, we already saw how a boxing vs. wrestling match would play out. The wrestler would dive in, avoiding the boxer’s punches, and put them on the ground.

We’ve seen this countless times in matches, where a striker with no grappling training fights a grappler. This isn’t a knock on wrestling, but just reality.

Boxing is a great combat sport that is fun to practice and effective for learning some self defense. It would be wise to pursue a more well-rounded self-defense and practice both wrestling and boxing. Knowing both will better improve your abilities to protect yourself.