Is Kickboxing in the Olympics?

Kickboxing has never appeared in the Olympics, even though it is a popular combat sport practiced by over 6 million people worldwide. Indeed, It is a fantastic striking martial art practiced for fitness, self-defense, and competition worldwide.

Furthermore, Kickboxing was developed in Japan in 1960 by combining Karate, Boxing, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate. This article will explain why Kickboxing is not an Olympic sport, among other things. Stay tuned!

Is Kickboxing an Olympic Sport?

can i learn kickboxing at home

Unlike wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, and other sports, Kickboxing is not an Olympic sport. Yet, kickboxing is gaining popularity in competition and has strong media coverage, fitness, and self-defense.

The basic Kickboxing form was formed in Japan from 1950 to 1960 by combining Karate, Boxing, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate. The work of Tatsuo Yamada, a Japanese karateka, laid the formation of new punching and kicking martial art sport with unique rules.

Then, The first kickboxing tournament was staged in Osaka in 1965, and by the 1970s and 1980s, the sport had spread outside Japan, reaching North America and Europe.

Many of the most notable regulating organizations were created during this period, such as WAKO (1977) and Japanese K-1 (1993).

Today, the Japanese K-1 promotion dominates the sport, with minor resistance from other pre-existing regulating bodies.

Also, the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) plays a massive role in developing and supporting the kickboxing sport growth globally. It has over 135 member countries with over 6 million practitioners from all five continents.

The WAKO has worked tirelessly to include Kickboxing in the Olympics, but much more work still needs to be done.

Recommended: The ultimate list of martial arts Olympic sports

Kickboxing Competition Format

Kickboxing takes place in a ring, with kickboxers wearing boxing gloves and mouthguards. Otherwise, kickboxers fight in different weight groups to maintain a level playing field for all participants while preventing severe injuries.

Source: GLORY Kickboxing

Depending on the governing organization and the kind of kickboxing discipline, a kickboxing battle is governed by various regulations. Yet, kickboxers must land efficient punches and kicks to knock out the opponent or get more points.

Recommended: ONE Championship Weight Classes (Explained!)

Why Is Kickboxing Not an Olympic Sport?

Kickboxing was developed from 1950 to 1960 by Japanese karateka Tatsuo Yamada combining techniques from Karate, Muay Thai, Boxing, Taekwondo, and other martial arts. Although, Kickboxing roots date back 2000 years ago when Muay Thai Kickboxing was practiced as a self-defense discipline.

Even though Kickboxing is an ancient combat sport with immense popularity, it isn’t included in the Olympics. Why?

Kickboxing is not an Olympic sport since it is considered a violent and aggressive combat sport, which contradicts the ideals of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Otherwise, there are several forms of kickboxing (K1 kickboxing, full contact, etc.) without standard regulations. And there are various kickboxing organizations, each with its own rules.

Aside from that, the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) is working hard to include a less violent Kickboxing style in the Olympics. The WAKO uses several positive points to strengthen its Olympic case, such as:

  • WAKO includes more than 135 member countries from all five continents.
  • Kickboxing has around 6 million female and male practitioners globally.
  • Because of the advent of mixed martial arts, the style of Kickboxing has become a well-known fighting sport with millions of followers.
  • This fight draws numerous well-known media businesses, attracting significant sponsors.

Will Kickboxing Be Included in the 2024 Olympics?


Kickboxing will not contest at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. However, Judo, Taekwondo, and Wrestling are included in the 2024 Olympics.

Recommended: Martial Arts in the Paris Olympics 2024

Will Kickboxing Be Included in the 2028 Olympics?

Kickboxing has been invited to make a presentation requesting inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

Aside from that, Kickboxing, under WAKO regulations, is recognized by the National Olympic Committee and the relevant National Government Sports Authority.

As a result, the 2028 Olympics represent an excellent opportunity for Kickboxing to make its Olympic debut.


Kickboxing is one of the world’s most popular striking martial arts, combining techniques from Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, and other disciplines. It is an ancient fighting combat developed between 1950 and 1960 by the Japanese karateka Tatsuo Yamada.

Over the years, the art of Kickboxing has developed a strong reputation and popularity among youth and adults, thanks to the rise of MMA. Today, there are over 6 million Kickboxers worldwide across 130 countries.

Despite this, Kickboxing is not one of the martial arts Olympic sports because it is considered a violent and aggressive combat sport, which contradicts the International Olympic Committee’s ideals (IOC).

This article discussed why kickboxing is not in the Olympics; we hope it was enlightening.

Related Article: Kickboxing Weight Classes (All You Need to Know!)