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How Is Boxing Scored?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


Whether you’re planning on taking the boxing world by surprise or just sparring at the local gym, here you will find a useful guide on punching bags and here one on stands so you’ll also might want to check the online reviews of boxing shoes by Adidas. Before you step into the ring, you should know that judges use the 10-point system to determine the winner. On each round, they give 10 points to the winner of the round, and 9 points to the round’s loser. Being aggressive, controlling the fight or knocking down your opponent are some of the methods used to get more points.

Not all of the boxing matches end with an amazing knockout or with a boxer’s decision to not come out of the corner. In this case, judges must use their expertise and experience to determine the fight’s winner. In most boxing championships, there are 3 judges standing ringside to accurately determine the winner of the fight.


The 10-point system

Judges will score each round of the boxing match using a 10-point scale. The more dominant fighter will be awarded 10 points and the other one will get 9 points. However, not all rounds are ending with a 10 to 9 scoring. Depending on the boxers’ performance, they might consider the round’s score to be 10-8 or even 10-7.



Getting more points

If one of the boxers is knocked down, he loses one point. If he gets knocked down two times in a single round, he will lose two points. But if each of the boxers is knocked down during the same round, the knockdown points cancel one another out. So a fighter could get a 10-8 or even a 10-7 advantage which will help him if the fight comes to the judges’ decision.


What is a knockdown?

Throughout the twelve rounds of a boxing match, a fighter might lose points as a result of being knocked down. A boxer is considered to be knocked down if, after getting hit, he makes contact with the floor with any part of his body but his feet. A fighter is also considered to be knocked down if he is partly out of the ropes or laying on them helplessly.

If one of the fighters is down, the other one must go into a neutral corner and the referee will start to count from 1 to 10. While counting, the ref must signal the count to the downed fighter by using his hands. If the boxer doesn’t get up until the referee finishes the count, he loses the fight by a knockout. 

Let’s say that the boxer gets up. Now he is obligated to take a compulsory 8 seconds count. During this count, the referee decides if the boxer can continue the fight.


Dominating the round

A fighter can score a 10 to 8 points round without knocking down his opponent. If he dominates his opponent through the round, the judges might award him an extra point.


10-10 round

If a judge considers there is little to no difference between the fighters in a round, he will award each boxer with 10 points on the scorecard. However, there are some methods for a fighter to adopt in order to get the win at the end of the fight. Assuming that he doesn’t KO his opponent.



Showing aggression

This is a great way to obtain that extra point from the judges. However, a boxer can’t just launch punches in any directions without a gameplan. Effective aggression involves having a good game plan and technical savvy.

An aggressive fighter who knows how to move inside the ring and bait his adversary into the corner or against the ropes might be rewarded with winning the round. Technical dominance includes precise combinations, light speed footwork and skillful use of faints. When all of these are executed properly, boxing becomes a beauty to behold.

Judges will always look for fighters who know how to make their offense more effectively while overwhelming the defense’s modification. A boxer that just runs around the ring throwing punches toward the opponents will not build a powerful offense. Furthermore, this style of boxing is ineffective against good defensive boxers who might be setting traps the entire match.


Ring generalship

Ring generalship consists of using the entire ring through great footwork. A fighter controlling the ring knows how to catch his opponent in corners or against the ropes and how to escape from these dangerous positions in the defensive moments of the fight. It implies a boxer’s skills of controlling the ring, his capacity to manipulate a competitor’s movement using pivots, better foot position, and extraordinary upper body movement. 

A boxer displaying this level of mastery always seems to be controlling the fight and shows amazing ring awareness. Ring generalship is correlated with effective aggression. Despite controlling the ring, a boxer should add an efficient offense if he wants to win the round.


Powerful and clean punches

In a boxing match, great importance is attributed to hard and clean punches. No judge will take into account punches that get blocked, parried or if they hit the gloves, elbows, and forearms. There are several scoring areas, but most boxers try to land clean shots to the head or to the body.

Some boxers might land many punches without doing a lot of damage while others might get several clean shots with a lot of impact. In this case, it is the judge’s responsibility to decide which one of these fighters wins the round.

In general, fighters who land clean and powerful, harmful shots are awarded winning the given round. However, if both boxers manage to hit clean and hard, the round is won by the one who has the most damaging punches of the round. But this is still the judge’s call.



Strategy and defense

Some of the boxing coaches will agree that offense sells tickets but defense wins the match. The defensive skills and strategy of a boxer’s game are closely watched by judges and reflected on the scoreboards. Some fighters choose to set traps for their more aggressive competitors and wait for the opportunity to counter-attack. 

This will reduce the rhythm of the fight but it increases the displayed technical level. In this particular case, the defensive boxer is gaining points based on his capability to dodge punches together with his skill of counter-attacking effectively

A fighter who shows an intelligent fight plan in any of the matches’ rounds is awarded points since the strategy has a massive role in the judge’s decision. Even if the judges tend to prioritize offense, the defensive part should not be overlooked.


How a boxer can lose points

A boxer can have points deducted when he commits a foul. In general, whether a boxer commits a foul is determined by the referee and it may lead to a warning, point deduction or even disqualification. Two fouls lead to an automatic warning and a fighter will get disqualified if he receives three warnings of any kind.

If a fighter commits an intentional foul that causes an injury and the prompt interruption of the fight, he is disqualified. However, the fight could continue if the referee allows it but the foul committing boxer will get a two-point deduction. A one-point deduction will be awarded if the foul is unintentional and the fight continues. If both fighters get injured as a result of the same foul, no points are deducted.

If the intentional foul causes the fight to stop at a later round, the injured boxer will win by technical decision if he is the points leader on the judges’ scorecard. If he has less or the same number of points, the fight is considered to be a draw.


How to determine the winner?

If the match goes all 12 rounds, it is down to the judge’s decision to determine the winner. There are several possible outcomes at the end of the fight

A draw. It occurs when two of the judges are ruling the fight a draw or when two of the judges are ruling as a winner not the same fighter and the third judge rules it a draw.

A majority decision. One of the judges ruled the fight a draw and the other two gave more points to the same boxer.

A split decision. Two judges ruled the same fighter getting more points (this fighter becomes the winner) and the other judge gave more points to the other fighter.

A unanimous decision. All judges awarded more points to the same boxer.




1) How to Score a Boxing Match

2) Boxing – a detailed description

3) How boxing matches are scored

4) Rules, Organizations, Techniques, And Styles




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