Three key strategies for winning a kickboxing fight

Image courtesy and copyright of Duncan Grisby 2013

A kickboxing bout can be regulated by different rules and levels of contact; what seems to be growing fast and well applying to amateur athletes is the so called Light Contact or Light Continuous.  In my experience the term light probably had a different meaning when this style was first defined 20 years or so ago. Light contact was originally created as a softer version of a continuous full contact bout but, in 2013, light contact kickboxing is not as light as its name suggests.

To the contrary to what inexperienced people might assume winning a light contact fight is not about knocking somebody down but applying a strategy that aims at scoring more points than your opponent.  In fact a KO victory is just possible by accident and anybody trying to finish a fight early by KO, as it could be applied when fighting in other styles, will be subject to disciplinary actions.

In light contact the winning strategy is about keeping a nice level of pressure with attacks that actually score and a guard/defence that avoids much scoring from your opponent.  Judges will score all attacks landing in scoring areas but also take into account who is actually attacking most and who is dominating the fight.  It is always preferable for you to set the pace and the style of the bout you are fighting but, if your opponent starts very aggressively since the beginning and tries to impose his/her strategy, you might need to quickly control his/her enthusiasm.

As we are talking about kickboxing fight we should remember that a good looking fight should have attacks that combine and alternate both punches and kicks.

Here a few strategies that could help you winning:

Machine gun attack

If you have lots of stamina you could simply keep attacking and putting positive pressure on the opponent; if you are facing a less fit opponent he/she will soon close into a defensive guard and you’ll have an easy victory. If your opponent is as fit as you or more you might need to adapt your strategy to one of the next ones.


It a simple strategy based on keeping the distance and launching attacks based on combinations of kicks and punches; you blitz into reaching distance, hit a few times possibly scoring once or twice and get back out of range.  If you manage to impose your own attacks and force the opponent to accept your strategy you will look as the dominating fighter in the ring and, as long as you land a few scores per round while keeping a decent guard, you will win.  This second strategy works well if your fitness is good but not enough to implement and maintain the machine gun attack

Wait and counter

This strategy requires excellent timing skills so that you can intercept or anticipate your opponent’s attacks and score while he/she is attacking you.  You should have enough speed to catch them unprepared and enough power to disrupt their strategy when they are trying to implement a machine gun or blitzing attack.  This strategy could be the one requiring the least amount of stamina but you should never underestimate how fit and powerful your opponent might be and where he/she will be pushing the fight.

I cannot think of a fight where just one of this strategies could be applied on its own; also you can make all plans of this world but if they do not fit with your opponent you must be prepared to have a plan B.

CUKBS wins Varsity Kickboxing 2013

(L to R) Kostas, Charlie, Tim, Maeve, Ollie, Konstantin, Phil and Massimo

CUKBS Varsity Team 2013

Yesterday we had a very exciting day when the Cambridge University Kickboxing Society (CUKBS) won, once more, the Varsity Kickboxing tournament against Oxford University Kickboxing.

After a smooth and relaxing trip to Oxford and a quick warm up we found ourselves with a bad start as two of our fighters were considerably over their stated weight and requested to forfeit by the organisers 🙁  We managed to compromise and get to an agreement by shuffling around a couple of our athletes to accommodate their requests.  So we started with one loss without even throwing a single punch that is less than ideal for morale and motivation.

The show started with two a demo fights; one between two Oxford University Kickboxing girls and one with our Maeve Doherty which resulted in a draw and did not contributed to the result.

The two opening fights were however a boost for morale for us all as they saw Tim Williamson, after a shy start, quickly developing a winning strategy based on many front kicks and good combinations of punching securing the first victory.

Charlie Samson also managed to impose his strategy based on long leading hook punches and nice kicks, winning the second point for Cambridge.

Phil Richardson, fighting an opponent 9 Kg heavier, as part of the rearrangement previously mentioned, managed to put together some nice combinations of punches but was simply outscored by an opponent whose strategy relied heavily on his weight advantage.

Kostas Ziovas, at his first external fight, managed to have a fairly balanced fight where his opponent had a reach and height advantage but Kostas compensated with footwork and good guard; at the end of the fight it was difficult to say who the winner was and the judges were of the same opinion, concluding this match with a draw result.

Konstantin Semeniuk, the most experienced fighter in the CUKBS team, took part in this Varsity match following a long period of absence from training due to illness and his performance were not as brilliant as we saw him in the past.  He began fairly slowly allowing his opponent to score a few times but then he increased the pace, started to impose his unique strategy based on fast double kicks with the same leg and scoring many times securing the third point for CUKBS.

Ollie Osunkunle, current vice-president of CUKBS, was in great shape and well prepared for the fight but a slightly taller opponent with an unusual style managed to score more points to Ollie than he managed to score back.  Ollie had a great control of the ring and offered a show that was very pleasant to watch but did not secure a victory.

Draws are no fun; both teams agreed on that.  After a long debated last minute decision we agreed for a rematch for Charlie against his original fighter, 5 Kg lighter than him.  Charlie previously fought over an hours before, all the adrenaline was gone and felt visibly tired; it took him lots of courage to step back into the ring for a deciding match but it was worth the effort.  Following an initial setback where Charlie got a couple strong punches that momentarily put him on the floor (and an official warning was issued for his opponent) he started to reapply his strategy based on long leading punches and kicks while putting maximum effort and concentration in holding a tight guard. Charlie managed to brilliantly win the final match and achieve the victory for the whole team.

It was great to receive, one fight after the other, compliments from both referee and judges about good style and consisted level of control demonstrated by all CUKBS fighters.

Yesterday we saw a great team work that brought the 3rd consecutive Varsity Kickboxing victory for CUKBS.   Congratulations to Maeve, Tim, Charlie, Phil, Kostas, Konstantin and Ollie that together contributed to this victory.  A great thank you to all members of CUKBS, ARUKBC and CARISMA which helped with training and preparation for these fighters as training sessions over the last few weeks were really much geared around this very event.  A super special thanks goes also to Duncan, Georgios, Heley, James and Jarek which all helped and contributed, with their expertise and efforts, to train and prepare these fighters.  Videos of the fights will follow in due course.

CARISMA Town vs. Gown 2013 – the results

TG2010We had a great show on Saturday 16 February at the CARISMA Town vs. Gown Kickboxing 2013; I was particularly proud to see the variety of experiences and ages in the show that all contributed to a great result.  Here is the summary of fights and club scores:

ARUKBC: 0 win, 3 loss: 3 points
CARISMA: 7 win, 6 loss: 27 points (winners)
CUKBS: 6 win, 7 loss: 25 points

And here the list of all fights with respective winner:

Club Fighter Club Fighter Winner
CA Yiwen Hon vs. CA Natasha Taylor Natasha
CA Ksenia Titorenko vs. CU Maeve Doherty Ksenia
CA Saniya Patil vs. CA Penka Petrova Penka
CU Tim Williamson vs. CU Kostas Ziovas Tim
CU Naz Paudyhal vs. AR Andy Martin Naz
CU Charlie Samson vs. AR Pavel Solomein Charlie
CU Raz Jabary vs. CA Simone Masiero Raz
CU Samuel Dahan vs. CA Alex Kaus Alex
CU Isaac Elliott vs. CA Theo Morton Theo
CU Joe Bates vs. CU Anton Marusenko Joe
CU Matt Clarkson vs. CA Alexey Kravets Alexey
CU Alex Elliott vs. CA Felix Schmitten Felix
AR Yasmeen Mansour vs. CU Francesca Benzi Francesca

Many of the fighters entering this competition had just a few months of experience as they joined their respective clubs in September or October 2012.  All fights were well balanced and a few of the athletes have surprised us with performance beyond their usual standards.  It takes a lot of courage to train, get ready and step into a ring for the first time so a big well done to everybody fighting in this edition of Town vs. Gown, particularly those at their first experience.  Videos and pictures to follow.