What's the Difference Between a KO vs TKO? | Explained

In this page, we will cover the common misconception of a KO vs a TKO, what the differences are between the two, and which one is worse.

    Difference Between a KO vs TKO

    According to John McCarthy, a KO is labeled when a fighter cannot intelligently defend himself due to the blows that he has received. A TKO is labeled when a fighter can defend himself but can't due to being overwhelmed by the other fighter.

    In a KO, the damage has already been done, and in a TKO the ref is preventing unnecessary damage.

    ko strike

    More often than not, a fighter will be given plenty of opportunity to intelligently defend himself before the referee waves off the fight due to a TKO.

    Referees will shout to the fighter that he needs to 'Show him something' when the referee is in a position where he may call the fight off.

    This simply means that the fighter must move around or switch to another position to avoid taking unanswered shots.

    When a fighter can do this, it means that he is still coherent, and still can defend himself.

    When a fighter remains in the same spot, without any visible action, a referee has no choice but to call off the fight.


    Medical Suspensions

    Commissions use fight history to determine medical suspensions including TKO, KO, and submissions.

    A fight outcome must be labeled correctly specifically with a KO and a TKO, as a KO will be a longer suspension than a TKO.

    If a fight outcome is wrongly mislabeled as a TKO instead of a KO, a fighter may be able to come back sooner than they should and be at a greater risk of hurting themselves.

    winner in a fight

    Is a TKO Worse Than a KO?

    No technically, a Knock Out is worse than a Technical Knock Out, as in a KO a fighter was unable to intelligently defend himself due to the blows that he/she has received.

    In most cases, a KO causes much more damage to a fighter than a TKO.

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