15 Best Kickboxers of All Time | MiddleEasy (2022)

Kickboxing is one of the most well known martial arts of all time and the sport has produced many legends throughout the history of the sport. In this article we will take a look at the top 10 Kickboxers of all time. However, remember this is just our opinion and let us know who you think is the greatest!

Top Kickboxers of All Time Ranked:

  1. Mark Hunt
  2. John Wayne Parr
  3. Rob Kaman
  4. Andy Souwer
  5. Peter Aerts
  6. Masato Kobayashi
  7. Buakaw Banchamek
  8. Alistair Overeem
  9. Badr Hari
  10. Jorina Baars
  11. Ramon Dekkers
  12. Rico Verhoeven
  13. Semmy Schilt
  14. Ernesto Hoost
  15. Giorgio Petrosyan

#15 Mark Hunt

  • Nationality: Australian
  • Record: 30-13 (13 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 1999 – 2008

Known for his walk off KO’s in MMA, Hunt started his career as a kickboxer. The Australian heavyweight was always a fan favorite in whichever sport he competed in due to his explosive fight style.

Hunt’s stand out moment in kickboxing was in 2001 where he won the K-1 World Grand Prix by beating Francisco Filho via unanimous decision. He was also involved in one of the best kickboxing fights in history vs Ray Sefo, where both fighters stopped defending punches in the middle of the fight, testing who’s chin can hold up.

The former K-1 World Grand Prix champion most recently competed in a boxing match against Paul Gallen in 2020 where he lost via unanimous decision. It’s now unclear what Hunt’s next move in combat sports will be.

#14 John Wayne Parr

  • Nationality: Australian
  • Record: 99-34-1 (46 KO’s)
  • Division: Middleweight
  • Years Active: 1997 – Active

https://www.instagram.com/p/CaAsoJEhDnn/

Parr is one of the most famous Kickboxers in the world today, he has been competing at the highest level for almost 2 decades now. The Australian has fought for some of the biggest combat sports organizations today such as ONE, Rizin and Bellator.

The Kickboxing veteran has won a combined 14 championships in 3 different sports, (Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Boxing) and has been competing with the best fighters in his weight class for all his career with fights against the likes of Buakaw and UFC lightweight contender Brad Riddell.

Aged 44 now, Parr is still going strong looking to get his 100th win in kickboxing and he has no plans of slowing down, with him competing most recently in April of 2021.

#13 Rob Kaman

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 97-12-1 2 NC (77 KO’s)
  • Division: Middleweight, Light Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 1978-1999
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One of the pioneers of Dutch Kickboxing, Kaman had an illustrious 21 year career full of achievements and titles. Also known as ‘Mr Low Kick’ because of how powerful his low kick was, Kaman won 9 fights via leg kicks.

The former Dutch Kickboxer was also one of the first Europeans to challenge the Muay Thai fighters in their own game in Thailand, which then paved the way for future generations. Kaman never backed down from a challenge in his fights and that led him to win 9 kickboxing titles during his career.

Kaman retired at 39 years of age in 1999 holding a very impressive KO rate of 79%. Now aged 61, he is still a part of Kickboxing by coaching the next generation of Kickboxers in the Netherlands.

#12 Andy Souwer

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 161-22-1 (98 KO’s)
  • Division: Welterweight
  • Years Active: 1999 – 2021

A K-1 Legend, Souwer defines the Dutch Kickboxing style. During his 22 fight career he was known to always move forward and put nonstop pressure on his opponents by throwing combos all the time until he got his opponents out of there.

His accomplishments inside the ring speak for themselves, the Dutch legend has 2 K-1 World Max Champion and was also a runner up twice. He also has several titles outside K-1 including the It’s Showtime 70MAX title.

Souwer had his last fight in October of 2021 and after the fight announced his retirement from the sport. Souwer will always be a Kickboxing legend and holds on of the most impressive kickboxing records with 161 wins and 98 KO’s.

#11 Peter Aerts

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 108-35-2 (81 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 1999 – 2020

‘Mr K-1’ as he was known in the 90s, Aerts has been a kickboxing great for as long as he’s been competing for. He was most famous for his devastating head kicks which knocked his opponents out in brutal fashion.

During Aerts legendary career he won many titles in Kickboxing, including the K-1 Grand Prix 3 times while also being a runner up multiple times. Aerts fought the best of the best in his career, having fights with the likes of Rico Verhoeven, Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem and much more.

Aerts has not officially retired from competition and competed as recently as 2020, however he is now 51 years old and will be interesting to see if the Heavyweight competes again. The 3 time K-1 Grand Prix champion also runs his own gym now called ‘Fight Institute Peter Aerts’.

#10 Masato Kobayashi

  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Record: 55-6-2 (25 KO’s)
  • Division: Welterweight
  • Years Active: 1997 – 2009

One of the greatest Japanese kickboxers of all time, Masato originally wanted to be a boxer but failed his test for a professional boxing license. He then joined ‘Fuji Gym’ in Japan and started learning kickboxing aged 17 before taking his first fight aged 18 in 1997, he won the bout via KO in the first round.

Masato had a very successful kickboxing career winning the K-1 World MAX Japan Champion in 2002 & 2003 and twice winning the K-1 World MAX Champion in 2003 & 2008. His fight against Buakaw in 2004 is one of the best fights of the 2000’s and I’d recommend everyone to watch the fight! Masato was considered a pioneer in Kickboxing as his popularity led to K-1 having 154-pound fighters and not just heavyweights.

The former K-1 World MAX champion announced his retirement fight in 2009 where he would fight Dutch Kickboxer Andy Souwer in a third fight. Masato lost to Souwer the 2 times prior. The fight took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan with a sold-out crowd of 35,000. The Japanese would avenge his 2 losses and win a unanimous decision in his final fight ever.

#9 Buakaw Banchamek

  • Nationality: Thai
  • Record: 239-24-12 (73 KO’s)
  • Division: Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight
  • Years Active: 1999 – Present

A fighter since the age of 9, Banchamek is considered by many as one of the greats in Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Now, 39 years of age and showing no signs of slowing down, the Thai fighter is still competing at a high level in Kickboxing & Muay Thai.

Banchamek holds wins over some big names in combat sports such as John Wayne Parr, Mike Zambidis & Nieky Holzken. He is also a two time K-1 World MAX Champion (2004, 2006) and holds one of the most impressive records in combat sports history with over 200 wins.

The 2 time K-1 champion who is best known for his achievements in the ring also has many accomplishments outside the ring. In 2014, he signed for a professional soccer team in the third division of Thailand while still being a fighter. Banchamek also has impressive academic achievements, having received a masters of Science degree in Sports Science and a Ph.D. in Regional Development Strategies.

#8 Alistair Overeem

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 10-4 (7 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 1999 – 2010

Although Overeem is mostly known for his MMA career and he didn’t have that long of a career in Kickboxing, he is still one of the greats for what he did in such a short space of time.

The former UFC title challenger had his first Kickboxing fight in 1999, however his K-1 accomplishments in 2009 & 2010 is what cemented his place as a kickboxing legend. Overeem’s 2010 run to being a K-1 champion is considered one of the best runs to a title ever and was capped off with a first round KO of Peter Aerts.

His clinch work was some of the best clinch work in kickboxing history and due to how devastating he was in the clinch with knees, K-1 decided to limit its clinching rules. This shows how important Overeem’s kickboxing legacy was. He has now left the UFC and might be heading back to Kickboxing soon.

#7 Badr Hari

  • Nationality: Moroccan
  • Record: 106-15 1 NC (92 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 2000 – Active
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One of the most famous kickboxers with over 2.9 million Instagram followers, Hari has been fighting since 2000. He embodies the bad boy image which has helped his popularity outside the ring. However, he is still one of the most dangerous kickboxers ever.

He holds a very impressive record with a 87% finish rate. The Moroccan’s biggest achievement was knocking out Yusuke Fujimoto with a head kick in the first round to win the K1 Heavyweight title in 2007. He also holds wins over some of the biggest names in kickboxing such as Alistair Overeem, Gokhan Saki & Peter Aerts.

Even though Hari had his fair share of issues outside the ring and in his personal life he always brings it and would never back down. Still only 37 years old Badr is competing and is scheduled to rematch Arkadiusz Wrzosek on March 19th at Glory 80.

#6 Jorina Baars

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 47-1-3 (16 KO’s)
  • Division: Welterweight
  • Years Active: 2000 – Active

Baars is considered the greatest female Kickboxer of all time by a lot of people. Over her 20+ year career she only has one loss which was via split decision in 2019.

Her most famous bout was against the current Bellator Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg in 2014 where she outclassed her to a unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas. This is the fight that led to her mainstream popularity and resulted in her being the most viewed female fighter in 2014.

The Kickboxing champion is still going strong, competing most recently last August.

Baars is still only 33 years old and has no plans to retire anytime soon and is currently signed under the Las Vegas based Muay Thai promotion Lion Fight.

#5 Ramon Dekkers

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 186-36-2 (95 KO’s)
  • Division: Featherweight, Lightweght, Welterweight
  • Years Active: 1986 – 2006
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Dekkers’s might be the most violent and powerful kickboxers of all time. His nickname “Turbine From Hell” perfectly describes his fighting style. He was very explosive in his fights while throwing volume which would overwhelm his opponents and lead to them crumbling down.

The Dutch kickboxer was involved in one the best fights in kickboxing history against Muay Thai legend Orono Por Muang Ubon. Dekkers won an impressive 8 belts during his career which would further cement his place in kickboxing history forever.

Sadly, Ramon passed away in 2013 aged 43, but he left a huge mark in the sport that will never be forgotten.

#4 Rico Verhoeven

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 59-10 (19 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 2005 – Active

Considered one of the best pound for pound kickboxers right now Verhoeven is the Glory Heavyweight Champion. One of his best weapons is his jab, to which he said that he learned to be effective with it through training with Tyson Fury.

Verhoeven has been Glory’s Heavyweight Champion for over 8 years now with 10 successful title defenses, it’s the longest title reign in kickboxing history, which speaks to the level that the Heavyweight has reached while he is still improving with each fight.

Amazingly he is still only 32 years old and still looking to create more history. The dutcDutchh champion is coming off a KO victory against Jamal Ben Saddik in what was one of the best fights of 2021. He was supposed to fight Alistair Overeem but the former UFC fighter had to withdraw due to an injury, so let’s see if this fight can be rebooked for sometime in 2022.

#3 Semmy Schilt

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 43-6-1 (20 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 2002 – 2013
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Another Dutch Heavyweight kickboxer, Schilt was considered the best in the world when he was in his prime. Standing 6 feet 11 inches tall his size was perfect for his gameplan, he would use his long range to pick fighter a part while making himself very hard to be hit.

Schilt is one of the most accomplished kickboxers ever, he is one of 2 fighters to win the K-1 Championship three times in consecutive years and the joint record holder for the number of Grand Prixs. He also had an impressive MMA career fighting for UFC, Pride and other organizations.

Unfortunately, the kickboxing legend was forced to retire in 2013 due to a heart condition discovered by his medical team. However, he left on top by knocking out Daniel Ghiță with a head kick and winning the Glory 2012 Heavyweight Grand Slam Tournament Champion.

#2 Ernesto Hoost

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Record: 99-21-1 (62 KO’s)
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Years Active: 1983 – 2014
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One of the very first Dutch Kickboxing champions, Hoost is among the greatest kickboxers of all time. His nickname, Mr Perfect resembles his fighting style of trying to fight the perfect fight by not getting hit.

Hoost has a list of accomplishments in the ring, he is tied with Schilt as the only other fighter to win the K-1 Championship three times in consecutive years and would overall win over 20 world titles. He also beat the best there is to offer with victories over Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Peter Aerts & Ray Sefo.

The Dutch legend is now retired from fighting. Hoost has inspired many of the newer generation such as Overeem and Verhoeven which speaks to the impact he had on Kickboxing.

#1 Giorgio Petrosyan

  • Nationality: Italian/Armenian
  • Record: 104-3-2 (41 KO’s)
  • Division: Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight & Middleweight
  • Years Active: 2003 – Active

Arguably the greatest Kickboxer of all time, Petrosyan is known for his genius defensive fighting. His record also speaks for itself with over 100 wins and just 3 losses. The veteran started out as a Muay Thai fighter then moved to kickboxing in 2008.

His achievements also are extraordinary winning almost every championship possible including, K-1 World MAX World Championship Tournament twice, the Glory 2012 70kg Slam Tournament Championship and much more. He also has many impressive wins over the likes of Yoshihiro Sato, Mike Zambidis, Sammy Hana and Andy Sower.

Still only 35 years old Petrosyan is competing at the top of his game and showing no signs of slowing down. Petrosyan is expected to compete in his home country of Italy on the 30th of April for PetrosyanMania.

What is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing is a martial art that was invented by Japanese boxing promoter Tatsuo Yamada in the 1950s, he created the term in an effort to make a sport that is a combination of Muay Thai boxing and Karate. However, the sport gained traction in the 1970s when it was introduced to the North American market.

As a sport Kickboxing is a fascinating combat sport as it’s a mix between Karate, Muay Thai and Boxing. The sport itself has a high physical demand which has resulted in many gyms worldwide offering kickboxing classes as a form of exercise, as Kickboxing can be used for cardio, self defense or just improving one’s fitness.

The sport has now been around for around 70 years and the popularity of the sport keeps getting bigger due to the exciting fights and the big names competing in the sport. Many organizations hold kickboxing events with the biggest being K-1 whose style of a grand prix every year intrigues fans to find out who is the best. The next K-1 event is scheduled for February 27 in Tokyo, Japan.

Also Read:

  • 10 Best Female Grapplers Ever
  • Top Muay Thai Fighters

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kickboxing better than Boxing?

The biggest advantage Kickboxing has over Boxing is its range of tools. In Kickboxing you can use punches, kicks, knees & elbows while also learning how to defend effectively against each one.

Is Kickboxing good for beginners?

Kickboxing is very beneficial for people wishing to increase their fitness level or burn some calories. Kickboxing is considered a high intensity workout so beginners are advised to start slowly with a professional.

Can I learn kickboxing at any age?

Absolutely! There are people in their 40s and 50s who start kickboxing as a way of keeping their cardio level up. However, the older you are you might not be as fast or as efficient as people younger.

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