Top 10 kickboxers of all time

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans | just for fighters

We always ask; who is the best? Who are the best Boxers, Kickboxers, Mai Thai fighters, etc?

Should be a person who we can say that he’s the best? And if so, how he looks like? as a result of that people by the human nature like the idea of one idol, they always trying to determine who is the best, but the fact is each group of people having their own idol, and they argue with others to prove that their idol is the best. The strange thing is if you listen to any group of them, they can convince you of their point of view!

Personally, if you ask me who is the best Kickboxer ever? My answer always will be “It depends!”, Because the best fighter choice will vary according to the criteria that we’ll choose accordingly.

let’s say that We’ll choose the one who’ve never lost, maybe we will find one who never lost any of the 30 fights that he fought, but can we say that he is better than who played 50 fights and lost once!?
If we will choose the highest KOs ratio, maybe we’ll find someone who has 100% KO percentage of the 10 fights he won out of 20 fights he fought.

therefore, I spent a lot of time thinking about the criteria that I can choose the best fighters accordingly, I found that 2 common factors are the most important for all the fight sports fans, so I selected my top 10 accordingly, and hereunder those 2 factors.

  • The percentage of wins out of total fights.
  • The percentage of wins by KO, for sure all of us love to see KOs!

Hereunder the way I used to select and sort the top 10 kickboxers

  1. Collected a big list of all the kickboxers who played at least 50 fights.
  2. Chose the 10 highest percentage of wins.
  3. Used the points method to sort them, by giving each of them a score from 1 to 10 according to his wins percentage, then another score from 1 to 10 for the KOs percentage out of his wins, then I compiled the 2 scores and sorted them according to the total score. Ex. The score of a fighter is 15 (8 wins score + 7 KOs score).

NB: I added the raw data that I used at the end of the blog, you can take a look on it.

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | For fight sports fans

#10 Buakaw Banchamek

Nationality: Thai
Height: 1.74 m
Weight: 69.5 kg
Divisions: Lightweight, Featherweight, and Welterweight
Age: 35 years old
Record: 229-23-12 (68 KOs)
Years active: 1990 – Present

Personally, I’m shocked when I found him number 10 on my list, but I speak now about Buakaw as a kickboxer, if I speak about him as a Mai Thai fighter, defiantly his rank would be different. Indeed this rank is due to the big number of fights he fought, as he has the highest number of fights and wins out of them.

I’m sure if the rest of the top 10 fighters played a similar number of fights, he would have been between the top 3, and I’m sure that his record of fights and wins won’t be broken easily.

Buakaw is originally a Mai Thai fighter, he started his career at the age of eight, his physical structure is very solid and shredded, which giving him unbelievable stamina, so he can easily get hit and contain the fighting.
His fighting style is very simple and aggressive, he always moving forward and pressing on his contenders which are the default of most of the Mai Thai fighters (I will write another blog about Mai Thai).

We can’t speak about Buakaw without mentioning his Deadly fast kick, if you see how easily he breaks a banana tree with his leg, you’ll know the meaning of deadly kick.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2004, and 2006 K-1 World MAX Champion
  • 2005 K-1 World MAX Runner Up
  • 2014 K-1 World MAX Championship Tournament Runner Up
  • 2015 Wu Lin Feng World Championship

Top 10 fighters of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#9 Masato Kobayashi

Nationality: Japanese
Height: 1.75 m
Weight: 69.9 KG
Divisions: Welterweight
Age: 38 years old
Record: 55-6-2 (25 KOs)
Years active: 1997 – 2009

“The Rebellious Charisma”, this is how they used to introduce him, but he hated this nickname and asked them to stop using it because he didn’t understand the purpose of saying Rebellious!

As well as he is the 9th fighter in my list; he is defiantly the best Japanese kickboxer ever. He tried to start his career as a professional boxer when he was 17 years old, but he failed to get the professional boxing license, then he started training kickboxing because just he thought it’s more useful in the street fights.

After he succeeded to get his professional kickboxing license, under AJKF (All Japan Kickboxing Federation), he started his real professional kickboxing career on March 23, 1997, by knocking Hutoshi Takehara out in the 1st round.

Masato became the new champion of AJKF when he was 20 years old, after knocking Tomoharu Chiba out in the 3rd round. Then he started his international career by defeating Eval Denton from the USA, after that he left the AJKF, to be independent with his team “Silver Wolf”, and completed his international career winning most of the fights he fought.

In my opinion, his fight with Buakaw is one of the best kickboxing fights in the last 15 years, the 3rd round finished by drawing, then he lost by decision after the 4th round.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 1999 AJKF Welterweight Champion
  • 2000 ISKA Oriental World Welterweight Champion
  • 2002, and 2003 K-1 World MAX Japan Champion
  • 2003, and 2008 K-1 World MAX Champion
  • 2004, and 2007 K-1 World MAX Runner-up

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#8 Nieky Holzken

Nationality: Dutch
Height: 1.82 m
Weight: 77.1 KG
Divisions: Welterweight, Middleweight
Age: 33
Record: 90-13-0 (46 KOs)
Years active: 2001 – Present

If I’ll summarize his fighting style in one sentence, I say “He knows how to win”, he doesn’t throw a lot of hits, but he’s very accurate in timing. He makes a good use of the counter-attack, as well as he keeps pressing on his contenders and makes use of their mistakes.

His main competitive advantages are the low kicks, Knee kicks, left hook, and the accurate punches to the body.
As many of kickboxers, Holzken is not just a kickboxing champion, he’s 2 times European Mai Thai champion, and a professional boxer as well.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2007 SIMTA 72 kg European champion
  • 2007 K-1 MAX North European Qualification champion
  • 2011 WFCA K-1 Rules Super Middleweight World Champion
  • 2013 Glory Welterweight (-77 kg/169.8 lb) World Championship Tournament Champion
  • 2015 Glory Welterweight (-77 kg/169.8 lb) Contender Tournament Winner

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#7 Artem Levin

Nationality: Russian
Height: 1.91 m
Weight: 84.8 KG
Divisions: Light Heavyweight, and Middleweight
Age: 30
Record: 90-8-2 (35 KOs)
Years active: 2003 – Present

He is “The Lion” of kickboxing, we can say he is the best in the middleweight division, as he has beaten most of the fighters in this division. Speed is not one of his weapons, but he fights in a smart way with high self-confidence.

If we break down his fighting style, we’ll find that he is from the smartest fighters who can attack and keep cautious on the defense in the same time. He smartly defends himself from the counter attack if he fails to land a punch or kick by catching the contender and move around him, or by using the spinning back fist (in my opinion he is the best in using it).

Levin usually moves forward while throwing some low power punches just to force his contenders to close their defense and be blind, then surprise them with a knee to the body or the head.

Another smart technique he uses to pull his contenders up, by moving two steps back, and surprise them by a knee to the head, or a low kick to the front leg to stop them, then land a left hook to the body or the head.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2007 WMC EMF European title at 76 kg
  • 2007 WMC Intercontinental title at 76 kg
  • 2008 Battle of Champions Tournament World Champion
  • 2010 It’s Showtime 77 MAX World Champion
  • 2013 Glory Middleweight (-85 kg/187.4 lb) World Championship Tournament Runner-up
  • 2014 Glory Middleweight (-85 kg/187.4 lb) Last Man Standing Tournament Champion
  • Glory Middleweight (-85 kg/187.4 lb) Championship

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#6 Gokhan Saki

Nationality: Turkish, and Dutch
Height: 1.82 m
Weight: 103.50 KG
Divisions: Heavyweight, and light heavyweight
Age: 33 years old
Record: 83-12-0 (59 KOs)
Years active: 2000 – 2017

The “Turkish Tyson” is not just a nickname, exactly like Mike Tyson, when you see him for the 1st time in front of one of the giants’ fighters, you feel he is small for a heavyweight fighter, but when you see his powerful punches and kicks, you know that he has the ability to easily destroy any other bigger fighter.

In my opinion, Saki’s competitive advantage is not the hitting power, it’s the amazing speed in comparison to any other heavyweight fighter, as he can throw a lot of accurate punches in seconds, which easily can finish any fight.
Saki is not just a kickboxing champion; he’s two times European Mai Thai champion, and now an MMA fighter.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2006 K-1 World Grand Prix in Amsterdam runner-up
  • 2008 K-1 World GP in Hawaii champion
  • 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix Final 3rd place
  • 2009 K-1 Heavyweight (−100 kg) tournament runner-up
  • 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Final 3rd place
  • 2010 United Glory World Series heavyweight tournament champion
  • 2014 Glory Light Heavyweight Championship
  • 2014 Glory Light Heavyweight World Championship Tournament Champion

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#5 Andy Souwer

Nationality: Dutch
Height: 1.76 m
Weight: 70 KG
Divisions: Welterweight
Age: 34
Record: 160-19-1 (98 KOs)
Years active: 1998 – Present

“The Destroyer” of the kickboxing, he has the 2nd highest number of fights & wins of my list, and the highest number of KOs. As he started to play kickboxing since he was 7 years old, and he had 3 different world titles when he was just 18 years old. I think it’s enough to mention that he has beaten 2 fighters from the top 10, as he fought 3 times with Buakaw, 3 with Masato and defeated each of them twice!

Souwer has great punching power and speed, “Souwer power” is one of his nicknames, he usually besieges his opponents in the corner, throw a lot of punches, and most of the times he finishes the fights this way.

Besides his professional kickboxing titles, Souwer is four times Shoot boxing world champion (I’ll write about Shoot boxing in another blog), he has 1 professional boxing fight and 3 MMA fights in his career, but he never mentioned that he will move to any of them completely.

Kickboxing titles:

  • It’s Showtime World Champion (70 kg)
  • W.M.T.A. World Super Welterweight Champion
  •  W.K.A. World Super Welterweight Champion
  • I.S.K.A. World Super Welterweight Champion
  • W.P.K.A. World Super Welterweight Champion
  • F.I.M.C. World Super Welterweight Champion
  • A.R.D.D.D. World Super Welterweight Champion
  • 2005, and 2007 K-1 World MAX Champion
  • 2006, and 2009 K-1 World MAX Runner Up
  • 2012 it’s Showtime “- 70 kg” World Champion
  • 2014 W.F.C.A. World K-1 Junior Middleweight Champion

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#4 Giorgio Petrosyan

Nationality: Italian
Height: 1.78 m
Weight: 70 KG
Divisions: Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, and Middleweight
Age: 31
Record: 85-2-2 (38 KOs)
Years active: 2002 – Present

“The Doctor” is the best description of his fighting style especially the punching accuracy, he doesn’t use kicks as much as many fighters, but every kick he throws knows its destination.

In my opinion, his main competitive advantage is the body movement and footwork while defending or attacking, when I mention footwork I don’t mean kicking, I mean the usage of his feet to move around his contender to open a gap in his defense and throw accurate punches through it.

His body movement as well makes him very hard to be targeted, which gives him the advantage of the counter attack in return. His fighting style is close to “The Matrix” of boxing (Vasyl Lomachenko) but not exactly!

Despite he isn’t number one according to my criteria, I’m sure that he will be the undisputed number one soon, as well as he will be the icon of kickboxing for a long time, and indeed many lists are ranking him the best due to his outstanding record, as he just lost twice out of 89 fights, which gives him the highest winning percentage (95.51%).

Kickboxing titles:

  • WKN Intercontinental Welterweight Oriental Championship
  • Hero Legends Championship
  • 2006 JFN Tournament Championship
  • 2007 JFN Tournament Championship
  • 2009, and 2010 K-1 World MAX World Championship Tournament Championship
  • 2012 Glory Slam Tournament Championship
  • World version W5 World Champion-71 kg

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#3 Rob Kaman

Nationality: Dutch
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 82 KG
Divisions: Heavyweight, and light heavyweight
Age: 56 years old
Record: 97-12-1 (77 KOs)
Years active: 1978 – 1999

He is The Dutch Man, for who don’t know Kaman, we can say that he’s the godfather of the kickboxing Tweet!. He is the man who played in all different styles, and defeated almost everybody in his era.

“Mr.Low kicks” is another nickname and description of the smart technique of his low kicks. Most of the kickboxers throw the low kicks to the front leg because it’s near and easy to target, but Kaman used to check which of the contender’s legs containing the center of gravity (Standing on it) in a certain moment and throw a strong kick to it directly to break his balance, then follows with a right hook to the head.

Kaman also was known as “Hammer kick”, as he always chooses the right timing and distance to throw a deadly left kick to the head directly, and if he did, the contender sleeps in the moment 😀

Kickboxing titles:

  • 1983 W.K.A. Full-Contact Middleweight World Champion
  • 1984 P.K.A. Full Contact European Champion
  • 1988, and 1989 W.K.A. Full Contact Light Heavyweight World Champion
  • 1992 W.K.A. Full Contact Super Light Heavyweight World Champion
  • 1992 I.S.K.A. Full Contact Super Middleweight World Champion
  • 1992 I.S.K.A. Oriental Rules Light Heavyweight World Champion
  • 1995 K-2 France Grand Prix ’95 Champion

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#2 Tyrone Spong

Nationality: Surinamese, and Dutch
Height: 1.88 m
Weight: 105 KG
Divisions: Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight, and Super Heavyweight
Age: 31
Record: 74-7-1 (46 KOs)
Years active: 2001 – 2016

He is “The King Of The Ring”, like many fighters, he came to the kickboxing world from the street, he started training kickboxing when he was 13 years old, and he won his 1st world title when he was 20 years old.

When you observe his fighting style, you’ll easily notice his punching power and accuracy, he is from the top fighters who have the one punch KO ability, as he can finish any fight by just a Right Hook!
His body is very solid, so he can get hit and keep fighting, he doesn’t use kicks as much as many fighters, but he makes very good use of the knee kicks.

Spong’s kickboxing retirement was in 2016, but he still fighting as a professional boxer since he started in 2015, now he has a professional boxing record of 9 wins by KOs, as well as he started an MMA career in 2012, but till now he has a record of just 2 wins and 1 KO.

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2005 W.P.K.L. European Middleweight champion
  • 2005 A1 World League winner
  • 2007 1st SLAMM Events 79 kg class champion
  • 2008 KO World Series ’08 Oceania winner
  • 2008 1st It’s Showtime World 95MAX champion
  • 2013 Glory 95kg Slam Tournament Champion
  • 2014 Glory Light Heavyweight World Championship Tournament Runner-up

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

#1 Badr Hari

Nationality: Moroccan, and Dutch
Height: 1.98 m
Weight: 114.5 KG
Divisions: Super Heavyweight
Age: 32
Record: 106-13-0 (92 KOs)
Years active: 2000 – Present

He deserved to be the “Golden Boy”. When I listened to his talk about his career in his documentary movie I felt I’m watching a motivational movie, he had a few dramatically loses at the beginning of his career which gave him tough life lessons and the passion for becoming a kickboxing legend.

Badr started to train kickboxing when he was 7, as many fighters he learned kickboxing to stop getting his ass kicked in the street, but he started his professional career early by fighting Alexey Ignashov when he was just 17 years old, he lost the fight but won the respect.

Hari was young and crazy, after every fight, he grows up as a person and fighter, he said:

“It’s hard to say I became a man, I’m trying to become a man every day” Tweet!

He had problems in his life inside & outside the ring. kickboxing was for him the way to revenge from the life, that’s shown clearly in his fighting style, which can be described in one sentence; “He Is Angry”.

Badr is the toughest fighter inside the ring, he always hungry to knock people out, when his anger combines with his great punching power, you see that dangerous guy who feared by everyone in his division.

His fighting style is very simple, as he just keeps pressing on his contenders and throws deadly punches, kicks and knee kicks to their bodies or heads till he knocks them out! So that he has the highest KOs percentage (86.79%) out of his wins.
His philosophy is:

“Make sure you knock people out and then they will like you anyway” Tweet!

Kickboxing titles:

  • 2007 K-1 Heavyweight champion
  • 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up
  • 2009 It’s Showtime Heavyweight champion
  • 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up
  • 2014 GFC Fight Series 1 Heavyweight Tournament Champion

The raw data

Top 10 kickboxers of all time by fights hub | for fight sports fans

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