TKO VS KO – Major Differences Between Technical Knockout And Knockout!

Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by

Technical Knockout, commonly known as TKO in boxing happens when a boxer is deemed unfit to continue a fight by the referee within a stipulated time after being hit hard and repeatedly by his opponent. Knockout, KO in boxing, on the other hand, happens when a boxer is knocked down unconscious by a hard punch. If you’re new to boxing or any other combat sports, you might just be confused when you hear other spectators talk about these two terms in the fighting arena. They are two infamous terms used in boxing and MMA. In this article, we’ll talk more about these two terms in detail. That’s not all! You’ll get to know their differences and similarities in boxing and MMA. 

Boxing is one of the most popular sporting events in the world today with millions of followers and viewership. During a boxing match, two boxers compete with each other using arm techniques only (punches and jabs). A professional boxing match is supervised by a referee and winners are sometimes decided by the judges. A winner is only decided when one fighter beats his opponent to the extent of being incapable of defending himself due to loss of energy or injury. 

There are some terminologies normally used by referees and fighters during a fight or drills. The two popular terms in boxing and MMA are TKO or Technical Knockout and KO or Knockout. These two infamous terms in the world of combat sports have their differences and similarities. Besides, they are common and faster ways to win a boxing match. 

When a fighter is knockdown by a hard punch and falls unconscious, then a KO, Knockout has happened. Normally, when a knockout happens, a fighter will remain on the ground until the referee finishes the count of ten. However, when a fighter is declared unfit to continue a match because of the series of injuries or pain received from a barricade of hard punches, then a TKO, Technical Knockout has happened. One thing is common when a TKO happens. The injured fighter will not be able to get up not defend himself again.

The table below contains the major difference between TKO, Technical Knockout, and KO, Knockout. Let’s check out!  

What It Stands For It stands for Technical Knockout in Boxing and MMAIt stands for Knockout in Boxing and MMA
Full Meaning Technical Knockout means that the fighter is still conscious but unable to fight back due to loss of energy or hard punchA knockout means that the fighter has fallen unconscious and can not get up before the count of ten
Reason For Occurrence  In Boxing and MMA, a technical knockout occurs mainly because of an injury or pain gotten from a barricade of punches/kicks by the opponent.In Boxing and MMA,  knockout occurs because of a hard punch/kick or a knockdown by the opponent
Consciousness In a technical knockout, the player isn’t completely unconscious but he is unable to defend himself again due to loss of energy or injuries.However, in knockout, the fighter falls unconscious and the referee starts counting to ten
Referee InterferenceDuring a technical knockout, the referee steps in to stop the fight when a boxer can not defend himself again.In the case of a knockout, the referee stops the match if after counting up to 10 and the boxer can’t stand up from his unconsciousness. 

A Knockout (KO)

A Knockout

Like we said earlier, KO in boxing and MMA is declared when a fighter knocks down his opponent to be unconscious either by a kick or a punch. Due to the differences in gameplay, KO differs slightly in MMA and Boxing. So, without wasting time. Let’s see how it differs in these two combat sports. 

KO In Boxing

A ten-count is used by referees in boxing. When a fighter is knocked down unconscious by a hard punch, the referee will count up to 10. If the fighter is able to get up before the ten-count, then the fight will continue. But if otherwise, the referee will stop the match and announce the winner. There are cases where referees still stop the match even if the fighter gets up after being knocked down. If the referee notices that the fighter is having trouble getting up after being knocked down, then he might declare him unfit to continue and the match is stopped. 


Just like it is in boxing, knockout in MMA also means that a fighter is knocked unconscious. But the only thing with MMA is that how the loss of consciousness happens isn’t differentiated. Take, for example, getting your opponent unconscious by checking him isn’t called a knockout. It is called a submission in MMA. Besides, a knockout happens in MMA from different strikes like punches, kicks, knees, or elbows. 

A Technical Knockout (TKO)

A Technical Knockout

KO in boxing and MMA happens when a fighter is still conscious and aware but he couldn’t defend himself again due to injuries and loss of energy. There are slight differences between TKO in Boxing and MMA. Let’s check them out! 

TKO In Boxing

TKO happens in boxing when a fighter is deemed unfit to continue a fight by the referee after being hit hard and repeatedly by his opponent. In this case, the fighter isn’t unconscious. He just couldn’t fight back anymore because he’s injured or lost all his energy. The referee immediately jumps in and stops the fight to avoid further injury complications. 


In MMA, a technical knockout happens when a fighter couldn’t defend himself from a barricade of hits from his opponent even when he’s conscious. Technical knockout commonly happens at the edge of the fighting cage or when the mount position. In MMA, TKO, sometimes, happens as a result of injury. If a fighter is injured as a result of a heavy kick or punch, but he’s still conscious, he might not be able to defend himself again and his opponent will take advantage of the situation. The only difference between TKO in boxing and MMA is that it can happen on the ground.  

Final Words 

The ultimate goal of a boxer is to win the fight whether it is by a knockout or by a knockout. Technical knockout happens when the referee declares a fighter unfit to continue a fight after receiving a hard punch, whereas knockout means the fighter has been knocked down unconscious. We’ve come to the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know the differences between TKO vs KO. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!

Leave a Comment