Difference Between Technical Knockout (TKO) and Knockout (KO): The Ultimate Guide

If you’re a newcomer to the world of MMA, boxing, or any other sport for that matter- it can be hard to understand when people are using unfamiliar terminology. So, Are you wondering what the difference is between a KO and TKO? It’s tough to say, but I’ll give it my best shot.

When an opponent is knocked out, it’s called a KO. However, if their consciousness remains but they’re rendered unable to defend punches from their opponents by the referee, then this would be considered TKOs and not just knockdowns like in other types of fighting where you can get back up after being savaged against.  An injury can also cause a TKO or if someone keeps hitting you without ever getting hit back.

This post will take you through some critical differences between TKOs and kos. Read on even to learn more about these techniques.

The Difference Between a Technical Knockout and a Knockout

Difference Between Technical Knockout (TKO) and Knockout (KO): The Ultimate Guide - Difference Between Technical Knockout TKO and Knockout KO The Ultimate Guide

What is a Knockout?

KO is an acronym for a knockout. If a fighter is knocked out by an opponent, the referee will shout “KO” to signal that he’s had enough and cannot continue fighting anymore; however,  other ways are available in which fights can be declared KO as well.

What Does a Knockout Mean in Boxing?

The KO in boxing is a crucial thing to understand. It means when you get knocked down, there’s a 10-second count before getting back up or the fight will be stopped and officially labeled as such.

The fighter cannot be unconscious for the fight to be a knockout. So long as the 10 seconds count is over, whether conscious or unconscious, the fight is declared a KO. There are cases when someone is conscious but still knocked out.

Related article: Split Decision Vs Unanimous Decision – What’s the difference?

What Does a Knockout Mean in MMA?

Difference Between Technical Knockout (TKO) and Knockout (KO): The Ultimate Guide - Difference Between Technical Knockout TKO and Knockout KO The Ultimate Guide11

A knockout occurs when the fighter passes out in MMA. It’s pretty much like boxing, but some differences make this sport stand apart from its counterpart in terms of rules and regulations governing the fights. MMA distinguishes between this type of knockout and others by noting that going out through being choked counts as submission instead of a knockdown.

You are wrong if you thought the KO in an MMA fight was all about losing consciousness. A body shot can also cause a fighter to fall and lose their bout, making it a knockout.

This is another important thing about MMA fights. When fighting on the ground, there’s no count for when someone goes down because it could happen at any time, and many ends in TKO and not KO due to this rule. Most fighters tend to stop defending themselves due to fatigue or injuries hence getting knocked out.

If a fighter is unconscious or rendered unable to continue fighting by strikes such as liver strikes, then it’s knockout.

Related: How to become a judge in boxing

What Is a Technical Knockout

The differences between TKO’s in boxing and MMA are many, but one thing they have in common is that a Technical Knockout means a fighter was still conscious after being knocked out. Let’s look at other ways these two types of knockouts differ from each other.

What Does a Technical Knockout Mean in Boxing?

 A TKO is when a fighter takes lots of punches without defending themselves, the ref will come in to stop the fight. It means they were fully conscious when fighting but just couldn’t bring themselves to hit back against their opponent anymore because they are overwhelmed.

If a fighter’s health is compromised in boxing because of injury, they may be declared unable to continue by either the referees or ringside physician. This results in their opponent being given victory via TKO ( Technical Knockout).

What Does a Technical Knockout Mean in MMA?

A TKO occurs when the fighter takes too many blows and cannot defend himself. This can happen from a top position or against a cage on the ground game. An injury might also cause one to lose consciousness, in which case you will have an unconscious fighter; this will make the referee award a TKO win to the other opponent.

Other Types of Finishing

Even though TKO and KO are the most common ways to end a fight, there is more than one potential finish. The other possible outcomes include:


When the fighter taps out when he can’t take any more damage, often after the opponent puts him into a hold.


When one person uses an illegal move, they can be disqualified from the competition.


When one of the participants in a fight is injured, it’s often necessary for them to give up their claim so that their opponent can be declared the winner. In most cases, it happens before the fight.

No Contest

A no-contest finish only happens when both the fighters have disrespected the rules of the fight.


With the fight finally over, both fighters are given a chance to rest. The judges then score each of them on their performance and determine who won by majority decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a TKO the Same as a KO?

The main difference between a TKO and a KO is that with a TKO, a fighter is conscious but is totally unable to fight. In contrast, a KO happens when one is entirely unconscious and is rendered unfit to continue.

Is a TKO Stronger Than a KO?

A TKO is considered to be stronger than a KO. This is because, with a KO, the opponent cannot continue, but with a TKO, the opponent has been beaten to a point he/ she cannot fight anymore.


In the boxing world, a KO is when a fighter is unconscious or injured and cannot be able to end the match. A TKO, on the other hand, is when a boxer’s opponent has been hit hard enough to render them unconscious and unable to continue fighting.

If you have ever wondered what these terms mean and the difference between the two is then hopefully, this post helped clear things up for you.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

MMA Gear Addict
Shopping cart