As anybody in the boxing business will tell you, kickboxers know nothing about defense because they think that kicks are enough to keep opponents away. Also, most kickboxers cannot punch properly and that’s why a hook to the jaw thrown by one of them is not as effective as a punch thrown by a boxer. In fact, the kickboxers who made it in the boxing ring can be counted on one hand: Troy Dorsey, James Warring and Khalid Rahilou; the most famous of them is, by far, Troy Dorsey.

Troy Dorsey Born on November 19, 1962 in Mansfield (Texas), he was nicknamed The Destroyer because he was just that … at least in the kickboxing ring. Not many people know that his first big success was in Europe. In 1985 he participated at the world amateur championships organized in London by the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations and won the gold medal in both point fighting and full contact competition. He was the only man to accomplish two big wins in two kickboxing styles during the same event and the news was widely covered by European ring sports magazines. That same year he even came to Italy as special guest to a martial arts show. Two years later, in 1987, he won again the WAKO world amateur title, in Munich (Germany). In 1989, when he started having success in boxing – winning the NABF featherweight title – European magazines wrote many articles about him. In fact, my very first boxing article was a portrait of Troy Dorsey; it was published on November 1990. During his kickboxing career, The Destroyer compiled a professional record of 33 wins (24 KOs) and just 2 losses. He won his first world title on August 8, 1987, beating Felipe Garcia for the ISKA bantamweight championship. In 1989 Dorsey moved to Gothenburg (Sweden) to add the PKO belt to his collection. In 1994 he became a three-time champion defeating Mechell Rochette for the ISKA lightweight crown. But in 1994, Troy was already more famous as a boxer. His style was so exciting that promoters always booked him for major fights. Troy Dorsey threw hundreds of punches without ever taking a breath. This strategy put pressure on his opponents but also made him easy to being hit. That’s why his boxing record is not as good as could have been: 18 wins (13 KOs), 11 losses and 4 draws. His two battles against IBF featherweight champion Jorge Paez were so close that some big names of the kickboxing community talked about a plot to prevent a kickboxer from winning a world title in the noble art. The first Dorsey-Paez fight took place on February 4, 1990 in Las Vegas. The judges scored it 114-113 for Paez (twice) and 115-113 for Dorsey. The second match took place on July 8, 1990 always in Sin City. The IBF and WBO titles were on the line. This time, the judges called it a draw: 115-113 (Paez), 116-112 (Dorsey) and 114-114. On June 3, 1991 at Caesars Palace, The Destroyer decided to let the judges out of the process by KOing Alfred Rangel during the opening stanza to claim the vacant IBF featherweight crown. The win was celebrated in the whole world of kickboxing and also in Dorsey’s hometown, whose Mayor declared the last week of August the ‘Troy Dorsey Week’ and gave the new IBF champion the keys of the city. That was the highlight of Troy’s boxing career. He lost the title on his first defense, against Manuel Medina. Later he lost to Kevin Kelley, Jesse James Leija, Calvin Grove, Oscar De La Hoya (1st round TKO) and littleknown Eddie Hopson. He got a significant win on October 18, 1996 in Denmark defeating (8th round TKO) local idol Jimmi Bredahl for the IBO super featherweight title. That put Dorsey in the European spotlight, but in the United States nobody cared about the IBO belt. His last three fights resulted in one win (against Rudy Zavala) and two losses (at the hands of Jesus Chavez and Gabe Ruelas). After that, Dorsey opened his own Karate school in Mansfield, where he still is considered a big star. On his website, Dorsey claims to have set the record for punches thrown in a boxing match (1527 in  twelve rounds), but he doesn’t specify what fight it was.

James Warring – Warring had competed in just 23 professional boxing matches between 1985 and 1997. His record was 18 wins (11 KOs), 4 losses and 1 draw. You could say that Warring was no big deal, but he won the IBF cruiserweight title and that is enough to grant him a place in history. Being the second kickboxer to become a world champion in the sweet science turned Warring into a big star. It happened on September 7, 1991 in Salemi (Italy), where Warring knocked out James Pritchard to claim the IBF crown. He successfully defended it against Donnell Wingfield (5th round TKO) and Johnny Nelson (unanimous decision) before losing it to Alfred “Ice” Cole (on points). Before the IBF title win, Warring decisioned Nate Miller to become NABF cruiserweight champion. In kickboxing, Warring won the WKA world title. In 1982, he lost a decision to legendary Don Wilson in Tokyo. In 1984, Warring was named best fighter in the world by Paul Maslak’s Star System. Four years later he was rated number one among heavyweights in PKO rankings.

(I’m taking this information from an old article of mine, because it’s very hard to find them on the internet. When a sport is perceived to be minor, it is that way in everything. Kickboxing doesn’t have a website where you can find the records of the fighters. The websites of the sanctioning bodies don’t have a section with the list of their world champions in each division. Only some of the champions, on their own websites, publish their records. I would like to tell to the major players in the kickboxing world: wake-up!)

Going back to James Warring, today he is a respected boxing referee.

Khalid Rahilou – He had much more success in boxing than Troy Dorsey and James Warring, but Rahilou fought only once in the United States and that’s why so few people have ever heard of him. Born in Morocco in 1966, Rahilou spent most of his ring career in Europe. In 1987, he became world amateur kickboxing champion during the WAKO tournament held in Munich (Germany). As a professional, he won the French and European titles. He was famous in Italy for regularly defeating the best Italian kickboxers and nobody was surprised to see him succeed in the sweet science. As an amateur, he participated at the 1988 Olympics with the Moroccan boxing team. As a pro he compiled a record of 37 wins (14 KOs) and 5 losses. He became French, European and WBA world light welterweight champion. He gained respect keeping busy. He won the Euro belt on June 4, 1994 with a split decision over Valery Kayumba in France. Rahilou successfully defended the title against Gert Bo Jacobsen (twice), Patrick Ballesta, Pasquale Perna and Soren Sondergaard. On January 11, 1997 Rahilou beat Frankie Randall (11th round TKO) becoming WBA world champion. Rahilou successfully defended the title against Marty Jakubowski (TKO 7) and Jean Baptiste Mendy (unanimous decision). On October 10, 1998 Rahilou was defeated on points by Sharmba Mitchell. Almost three years later, Rahilou became WBA international light welterweight champion destroying Ferenc Szakallas in one round. Rahilou’s next fight was a points loss to Souleymane M’Baye, in 2002. After that, the Moroccon superstar decided to hang up the gloves.

Boxer vs Kickboxer: Art Jimmerson vs. Don Wilson

It happened in Cocoa Beach, Florida on June 22, 1987. Boxer Art Jimmerson agreed to fight kickboxer Don Wilson. I don’t know if Jimmerson was allowed to throw kicks, but it was a mismatch from the start because Jimmerson was a mediocre cruiserweight while Wilson was one of the best kickboxers in the world. How could Jimmerson hope to beat him? In fact, he didn’t. Wilson won by 6th round KO. In the following years, Jimmerson kept being a nobody. Don Wilson became one of the best kickboxers in history. Their records, say it all. Between 1985 and 2002, Art Jimmerson fought 51 boxing matches: 33 wins (17 KOs) and 18 losses. Don Wilson competed in kickboxing between 1974 and 1991, then fought one match in 1999 and a last one in 2000. His total record is made of 81 fights: 71 wins, 5 losses, 2 draws and 3 no-contests. He scored 47 KOs, 41 with his punches and 6 with his kicks. He became world champion in three divisions: light heavyweight, super light heavyweight and cruiserweight. Don Wilson made a name for himself in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I remember his fight in Milan, in 1989: he destroyed Giuliano Grillo in two rounds. It was my first ringside experience and Don Wilson was the first world champion of any sport that I interviewed.

I’d like to know what you readers think about kickboxing and if you would like to see a boxer vs. kickboxer match. In that case, who would you pick to fight a kickboxer?