How is Boxing Scored?


Many people enjoy boxing, and some of the biggest heavyweight matches draw a lot of attention on major television networks. Watching the pros duke it out in the ring is nothing short of thrilling. The problem is that the sport can be complex, and it can be difficult to grasp what is going on within the ring. Keep reading for answers to popular questions such as “how is boxing scored?”

Boxing Origins 

Boxing became an official Olympic sport in the 23rd Olympiad (688 BCE).  Sumerian relief sculptures from the third millennium BCE include the oldest visual evidence for boxing.

The sport’s regulations were first documented in ancient Greece. There were no rounds in these ancient battles; they went on until one guy either admitted loss by sticking up a finger or was unable to continue. Outdoor competitions added the challenges of strong heat and harsh sunlight.

Contestants came from all socioeconomic groups; in the early years of the great sports festivals, the majority of boxers hailed from affluent and prominent families. The Greeks recognized boxing as one of the most dangerous sports. Greek literature provides ample evidence that the sport resulted in deformity and, on rare occasions, death.

While modern boxing is brutal, competitions don’t result in death like the past. This is due to technological advances in equipment and clothing, such as cushioned gloves that guard hands against damage.

As a result, boxers can typically remain a little longer in the ring. Boxing leagues have established a scoring system to choose a winner at the end of each fight in order to adapt.

How Points Work 

You’ve undoubtedly heard a boxing referee announce the final score at the end of a fight, but how do they come to the conclusion of the final score. These ratings are based on something known as a “Ten-point must system.” It is titled this because in each round, a judge “must” give 10 points to at least one fighter.

Each round is scored separately by the judges on a 10-point scale. The rest of the rounds are scored 10-9, with the boxer who performed better scoring 10 and ‘winning’ the round, and the other fighter scoring 9.

A boxer loses a point if they get knocked down or injured enough to need a standing count from the referee. So, if a boxer wins a round, controlling and hitting superior blows throughout and knocking their player down, the final score is 10-8. If both boxers get knocked out in the same round, the deductions cancel each other out.

If the fighter scoring 10 dominated the round by a large margin, a judge can score a 10-8 round without a knockdown. Judges can also award a 10-10 round if the round was even in their opinion and there was nothing separating the competitors.

How To Choose A Winner

If all three judges agree that Fighter A had a point advantage over Fighter B, they would be crowned winners. However, if only two judges find in favor of A, it is termed a split decision victory. 

In rare cases, the judges may disagree with the outcome of the match. As with Fury and Wilder in 2018, one judge found in Fury’s favor, one in Wilder’s favor, ending in a tie. As a consequence, there was a Split Decision Draw.

Scores can and do differ from the average 10-9 conclusion. If Fighter A is able to knock out Fighter B, the score maybe 10-8. If you do it again, it becomes 10-7. These points fluctuate depending on how many times a fighter gets knocked down. At the end of each game, three judges assign point values to each player, and after twelve rounds, these scores are summed up to decide a winner. 

Some sports commissions use a three-knockdown rule. If no one has won by knockout after the specified number of rounds, the victor is chosen by the judges’ round-by-round scorecards. With each round earning a maximum of 10 points, a fighter may score as many as 120 points in a 12-round battle, 100 points in a 10-round bout, and so forth.

What Are Judges Looking For 

When it comes to determining who will win the boxing round, there is generally little doubt. However, it might be difficult to explain why certain boxers win those tight rounds. Judges score based on the following criteria.

Aggressive – When you look at a boxer, you may notice that they are throwing a lot of punches, pushing their opponent into a corner, and taking an aggressive approach. However, if their blows aren’t hitting and their opponent is able to counter their strikes, they won’t win the round. The idea here is “effective,” and judges are seeking to determine if a fighter can approach with accuracy and precision.

Defense – One of the most crucial skills to acquire is proper defense. It’s demonstrated by the ability to crouch, dodge, bob and weave, parry, and block.

The Ring General – In every match, one opponent appears to have complete control over the pace, game style, and tone of the spar.

Essentially, the fighter is the one who drives the other person to fight. This might be difficult to detect if you are unfamiliar with the technicalities of boxing. However, after a few boxing fitness sessions, you should be able to recognize the ring general in any contest.

Clean Punches – When most people watch a boxing fight, they believe they can readily discern when a boxer is throwing shots or hitting their opponent correctly. However, this is a little more complicated than you may assume.

Both boxers strive for clean punches from the start of every battle. The fight’s purpose is to beat the opponent. To do this, a fighter must use his hands to strike his opponent, rendering him unconscious or helpless, in order to win control of the match.

Scoring Outcomes

Looking over all of the score criteria, you may have realized one thing: they are all subjective. Basketball, for example, is much easier to predict the outcome of a game since it is based on quantitative information about a ball entering the net. But in boxing, everything is solely reliant on the judges’ judgments. When this occurs, the match may conclude in a tie, a disputed win, or a variety of other outcomes, depending on the conclusion.

Each of the three judges will have an overall winner or may have rated the fight dead even. Here are some of the outcomes that can occur:

  • Unanimous decision: The same boxer is leading on all three judges’ scorecards.
  • Split decision: Two judges favor Boxer A, while one favors Boxer B. Boxer A wins by a score of two to one.
  • Majority Decision: Two judges ruled in favor of one boxer, while the third ruled in favor of a draw. The winner did not receive a unanimous verdict, but he did receive the majority of the cards.
  • Draw: If one judge favors Boxer A, another favors Boxer B, and the third scores it as a tie. Of course, if all three judges were dead even, it’s a tie (a ‘unanimous draw’). But there is also.
  • Majority draw: If two of the three judges have the bout tied but the third judge has Boxer A leading, such a narrow advantage is insufficient for Boxer A to be declared the winner. Instead, a majority draw’ is announced.

So, when it comes down to it, it’s not all that confusing! Keep these guidelines in mind the next time you catch your favorite boxers on TV, even though they may change your outlook on things.

Get in The Ring With Us 

Boxing didn’t always have such an intricate scoring system, but it’s a good thing it does today! Delray Beach Boxing Club offers an authentic experience for those who want to learn to box. Get started by signing up here and a member of our staff will reach out.

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