I think boxing is one of the core martial arts that someone interesting in self defense and sparring should learn. If you practice boxing for a year you would be light years ahead of someone who just practiced traditional or point sparring in karate. You have to be real careful with punches to the head as I can testify this can result in the provebial boxer's fracture. I now have a missing knuckle to prove this is true. You will not go wrong in learning the basics of boxing punches, defences, etc. It will be a good foundation for any fighter.