Greatest Kickboxers of All Time


Ernesto Hoost in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: Ernesto Hoost

Here’s a list of the Top 11 Greatest Kickboxers of all time (Retired & Active):

1Buakaw Banchamek
2Badri Hari
3Giorgio Petrosyan
4Semmy Schilt
5Ernesto Hoost
6Peter Aerts
7Rico Verhoeven
8Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong
9Robin van Roosmalen
10Jérôme Le Banner
11Stefan Leko

1 – Buakaw Banchamek

Photo Credit: Faraz Khalvatiyan

Who is Buakaw Banchamek?

Sombat Banchamek who is more popular known as Buakaw Banchamek is a Thai Middleweight muay thai kickboxer. He was always an athlete growing up.

With that said, he still had a passion for the world of kickboxing. After attending a local Muay Thai show at the young age of 8, he was fascinated by the sport. A few days later, he started training in Muay Thai. Growing up he also played professional football as a forward for RBAC F.C. (The team no longer exists now) (Source).

In July 4th 2004 (at the age of 24) he became the K-1 MAX World champion. After that, he kept on grinding and won multiple-time WMC Champion, Omnoi Stadium Champion, WBC Muay Thai Diamond Champion, Shooto Boxing S-Cup World Champion, Thai Fight World Champion.

Other Accomplishments

Other than his very impressive fighting career. He actually holds a Masters degree in Sports Science and a PHD in Regional Development Strategies. (source).

Stats

Age38
DivisionMiddleweight
NationalityThai
Total Wins/Total Fights239/275

2- Badri Hari

Badr Hari surroneded by his crew and press.

Badr Hari is certainly and interesting Kickboxer and athlete. Born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents on December 1984, his dad made a wise decision and sent Badr to a local kickboxing gym to better defend himself against bullies in the neighbourhood at just 7 years old. Im sure he’s thankful for those bullies looking back at it now.

By the time he was 18, he had already been in in 50 fights as a junior. In 2005, he lost a fight against Stefan Leko after a long trash talk exchange between them and lost. Luckily for him, he got a chance to fight him a year later and got his revenge. A big moment for Badr.

Badr now competes in the super heavyweight division. So far, he has the following titles (source):

  • GFC Fight Series 1 Heavyweight Tournament Champion (2014)
  • K-1 World Grand Prix runner up (2009)
  • It’s Showtime Heavyweight champion +95 kg – 1st title defence (2009/2010)
  • K-1 World Grand Prix runner up (2008)
  • K-1 Heavyweight champion −100 kg – 1st title defence (2007/2008)
  • WPKL Dutch Muay Thai champion (2002)

Other Accomplishments

There a lot of controversies that Badr has been through in his life. But other than that, he got a glimpse of the music industry by releasing a hip-hop song with Dutch-Moroccan rapper Appa (source).

Stats

Age35
DivisionHeavyweight
NationalityDutch & Moroccan
Total Wins/Total Fights106/122

3- Giorgio Petrosyan

Giorgio Petrosyan in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: One Championship

Giorgio Petrosyan, also known as “The doctor” for his incredible precision and technical skills. He’s also known for his superior reflexes, a highly desired skill in the kickboxing world. As of June 2020, he is ranked 3rd for lightweight in the world by Combat Press (source). While his fighting experience is not lengthly and extensive as the other kickboxers on the list, he’s young packed with a ton of potential.

Giorgio had a rough upbringing. His family emigrated to Italy when he was 13 and were homeless in Milan. Shortly after a family took them in, he was working as brick layer but his passion for kickboxing at such a young age drove him to his success today. At the age of 14, he was turned away from a gym for being too small. His persistence led him to try again until he was eventually let into a gym and got his first fight at 16 (source).

He won his first fight when he was 16, breaking his toes while doing so, a true champ. He turned professional shortly after that. Here are some of his accomplishments (source):

  • WMC Intercontinental Welterweight Championship
  • WKN Intercontinental Welterweight Oriental Championship
  • MTA Italian Championship
  • MTA European Championship
  • K-1 World MAX 2009 World Championship Tournament Championship

Stats

Age34
DivisionMiddleweight
NationalityItalian & Armenian
Total Wins/Total Fights106/122

4- Semmy Schilt

Semmy Schilt in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: Trevor Williams

Semmy Schilt is a retired dutch kickboxer, is well known for being a four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and one-time Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam Champion. He is the only Kickboxer to have won 3 World Grand Prixs’ back-to-back. His legendary status put him up there with Ernesto Hoost (source).

What makes him unique is the fact that he is almost 7 feet tall, and with that, his technique and skills don’t suffer, unlike most kickboxers who have a size advantage. He’s ranked as the best heavyweight champion according to most media outlets (source).

In his earlier days, Semmy won other mixed martial arts AND Karate championships like Daido Juku Hokutoki (Source) champion twice, 5 time International Budo Kai winner, and many more awards.

He entered the world of Martial Arts as he participated in Kyokushin kaikan (source) at the young age of 8, thanks to both of his parents who were heavily involved in the sport.

In one of his few losses in his career, Semmy lost to Badr Hari in 2009 when they fought in the It’s Showtime 2009 Amsterdam dutch kickboxing event, in the first round. However, Semmy got his revange later that year when they fought in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final (source).

Stats

Age46
DivisionHeavyweight
NationalityNetherlands
Total Wins/Total Fights43/50

Other Achievements

While some may not recognize him in the world of kickboxing, he’s been featured in some popular movies like Transporter 3, Amsterdam Heavy, Nova Zembia and Black Out (Source).

5- Ernesto Hoost

Ernesto Hoost in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: Ernesto Hoost

Ernesto Hoost is a legend in the world of Kickboxing and is one of the greatest kickboxers of our time, there is little debate over this. Nicknamed Mr. Perfect (source), after his K-1 Grand Prix ’93 title (source), Ernesto has amassed a lot of titles during his career.

In 1993, he earned the K-1 Grand Prix by beating Peter Aerts, in the semi finals he defeated Maurice Smith, and in the final he won by knocking out out Branko Cikatic (source). It can be argued that these players were in their prime at the time. Furthermore, the only time the K-1 organization held a K-2 tournament, Hoost shined again as he knocked out Changpuek Kiatsongrit in 4 rounds (source).

When Hoost announced his retirement and fought his final fight, he lost to Semmy Schilt, and was met with a standing ovation as he left the arena. A truly emotional moment for everyone in the sport (source).

What makes him such a legend? Well at the age of 48, he came out of retirement (having been out of the sport for 8 years), he defeated Thomas Stanley. Shortly after that, in the same year, he beat Peter Aerts again winning himself the WKO World Heavyweight Champion (source).

Stats

Age54
DivisionSuper Heavyweight
NationalityNetherlands
Total Wins/Total Fights99/121

6 – Peter Aerts

Peter Aerts holding his championship belts.
Photo Credit: Peter Aerts Shop

Peter Aerts, a former Dutch kickboxing legend, is known for his crazy good kicks which earned him the nickname “The Dutch Lumberjack” (Source).

Peter, now retired, started his first 7 years in sports playing soccer. At the age of 13, he began participating in Taekwondo, encouraged by his uncles and grandfathers history in martial arts and soon after won his first fight at the age of 19 (source).

During his career, he won (Source):

  • International Kick Boxing Federation championships (2)
  • K-1 World Grand Prix Champions (9)
  • Night of the Stars (1)
  • WMTA World Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship (6)

Stats

Age49
DivisionHeavyweight & Super Heavyweight
NationalityNetherlands
Total Wins/Total Fights106/143

Other Accomplishments

Peter played a role in the Dutch Comedy movie, New Kids Turbo (source).

7- Rico Verhoeven

Rico Verhoeven screaming happily in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: Glory Kickboxing

Rico Verhoeven is a Dutch kickboxer who is currently the Glory Heavy Weight Champion (source). As of the date of publish this post, he still is the number 1 heavyweight champion, since September 2014 according to Combat Press (Source 1 & 2).

It’s not far fetched to say that MMA & Kickboxing runs in his blood. His father, a karate black belt, taught him how to fight at just 5 years old. Shortly after that, he transitioned into the world of kickboxing. He began fighting against adults at the young age of 16 due to his massive size (source)

Ricos first championship didnt go as planned. While he managed to reach to the quarter-finals, he lost to Semmy Schilt at the Glory 4: Tokyo – 2012 Heavyweight Grand Slam.

Rico, determined as ever, continued to fight ans prove himself. One major fight that earned him a lot of respect in the world of kickboxing is wehn he defeated the former legend Peter Aerts at the Glory 13: Welterweight World Championship Tournament in Tokyo on 21st December 2013.

His fight against Badr Hari was long talked about as the hype was real. Rico fought Badr on December 2016 for the GLORY heavyweight championship. At the time, Badi Hadi, had won the 2015 GLORY heavyweight championship. Furthermore, Badr was taller, more experience, and more well known than Rico. During their trash talk (before the fight), Badr promised to knock out Rico in the first round. While Badr landed a strong punch on Rico in the first round, cutting Ricos nose. Rico continued the fight and knee hit Badr in a clinch. This injured Badr’s arm badly, to the point where he was unable to continue with the fight… meaning … Rico won the fight!

Other Accomplishments

Rico was invest in TV and movies. He acted in 3 television shows from 2015 – 2019. He also acted in 4 movies. In one of the television shows and one movie, he stared as himself and as a glory heavy weight champion, respectively.

Stats

Age31
DivisionSuper Heavyweight
NationalityNetherlands
Total Wins/Total Fights56/66

8 – Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong

Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong Pre Fight
Photo Credit: legendashow

Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong is a Thai kickboxer and is a former GLORY light weight champion and currently ranked 2nd best lightweight in the world.

Having had come from a financially poor family, Sitthichai fought in thailand and earned thousands of dollars. He sent his money to his parents who worked as farmers.

To support his family, he dropped out of school in the 9th grade to presue a career in mixed martial arts. A decision that surely paid off. Prior to dropping out, Believe it or not, he had his first fight at the age of 11 (source). He continued to fight as a young kid and continued to earn money to send to his family who worked.

Learn more about what age can kids start kickboxing.

His first fights were predominately in Thailand, eventually becoming a champion of Thailand’s iconic Lumpini Stadium (The ultimate championship in Thailand) (source)

He started fighting abroad in 2010. His international career started great. Winning his first in France in 2010 beating Fabio Pinca (source). He eventually won his first GLORY fight against Davit Kiria at GLORY 22 (source). He eventually won GLORY 31 Amsterdam, the first Thai Champion (source).

He eventually made enough money that his parents are now invested in land near their home and are almost finished constructing a new house (source). He truly is an amazing fighter, and most important, a truly honourable man.

Stats

Age28
DivisionWelterweight & Super Welterweight
NationalityThai
Total Wins/Total Fights124/160

9 – Robin van Roosmalen

Robin van Roosmalen flexing.
Photo Credit: Low Kick MMA

Robin Van Roosmalen is a Dutch kickboxer who competes in the Featherweight division. Growing up, he started joining his dad at the kickboxing gym at the young age of 3. His dad of course is a well established kickboxer, William van Roosmalen, known to be the only fighter to have knocked out Vitali Klitschko. (source) He is definitely blessed to have a father so engrained in the sport.

To this day, his father is by his side training him and one of his main trainers. While Robin is shorter that most kickboxers, he stands out by his superior conditioning and “explosive” punches (source).

In the Glory 3: Rome – 2012 Middleweight Slam Final 8, he made it to the finals by beating Sanny Dahlbeck in the third round the Semi Finals. He eventually went to the finals to fight against  Giorgio Petrosyan, but lost due to an unanimous decision loss (source)

In November 2014, Robin competed in Glory 18: Oklahoma under the lightweight Division by beating David Kiria. This is when he earned the GLORY lightweight Title. Shortly after that, he competed in the Glory 20: Dubai where he beat Andy Ristie to keep his lightweight title. (source)

Stats

Age30
DivisionFeather lightweight, Lightweight, Welterlight
NationalityDutch
Total Wins/Total Fights51/71
Jérôme Le Banner in the fighting ring.
Photo Credit: Peter Aerts

Born in France, Jérôme began training in Judo at the age of 5. At the age of 14, he was heavily influenced by Bruce Lee’s movie, Fist of Fury, which got him intrigued and started to incorporate Jeet Kune Do (a type of martial art that is primarily focused on Bruce Lee’s teachings and philosophies) techniques. At the age of 18, he took on MMA. (source)

His knock out power and career achievements is what turly makes huim stand out from the crowd. To put things in perspective, here’s a list of some well-known fighters that Jérôme beat in his career (source):

  • Ernesto Hoost (twice)
  • Francisco Filho
  • Mark Hunt (three times)
  • Sam Greco
  • Peter Aerts
  • Mike Bernardo (twice)
  • Stefan Leko

Other Achievements

Jérôme as some of the kickboxers in this list, also had an extensive acting career. In total, he acted in 15 movies from 2007 – 2019 (source).

Stats

Age47
DivisionSuper Heavyweight
NationalityFrench
Total Wins/Total Fights86/111

11- Stefan Leko

Stefan Leko in the fighting ring, when he fought Ikuhisa Minowa
Photo Credit: CLUB MMA PRIDE

Stefan Leko, nicknamed “blitz” (meaning lightning in German) is a German heavyweight kickboxer. As of 2020, he is the current WKA Super heavyweight champion in kickboxing.

Born in Germany, in 1947, he began his fighting journey at the age of 7 as he was involved in karate. At the age of 17, he was discovered by Klaus Waschkewitz and his career skyrocketed ever since.

One of the highlights of his career was his ability to knock out and beat Badr Hari in the first round for the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2005. Although Badri Hari got his revenge later that year.

Stefan Leko has earned:

  • K-1 Championships (x5)
  • International Kick Boxing Federation (x2)
  • World Muay Thai Association
  • World Kickboxing Network
  • World Kickboxing Association
Age46
DivisionHeavyweight
NationalityGerman
Total Wins/Total Fights69/108

Recent Content

© 2020 Copyright Cooper Kickboxing