Kickboxing has been influenced by a combination of Muay Thai and other Martial Arts including Karate and Boxing. Kickboxing is fairly new to the Western World - only about 30 years old compared to Boxing which is nearly 200 years old. In Kickboxing the outcome is determined by kick-knockout, knockout, judge's decision or draw, or a technical equivalent of the same, much as in professional boxing. Participants are required to wear padded gloves and foot gear, and must execute a specific number of above-the-belt kicks per round. Chokes, head butts, knee and elbow strikes, biting, holding and striking, and striking when an opponent is down are prohibited. Matches are conducted in a 16-20 square foot roped ring, similar to boxing, and range from 3 two minute rounds (for amateurs) to 12 rounds (for professional world championships) in length, with a one-minute rest period between rounds. Each bout is controlled by a referee, monitored by an attending physician, and scored by three judges. The introduction of padded gloves and foot gear at the sport's inception to minimize unsightly facial cuts.

Full-contact karate first surfaced as American kick-boxing in January 1970 when Joe Lewis (known as the Father of American Kickboxing), influenced by his training sessions in boxing and with Bruce Lee, staged the first contact bout, knocking out Greg Baines to become the first heavyweight champion.

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