Boxing matches are typically scored by a panel of judges who use a standardized scoring system to determine each round’s winner and the bout’s overall winner. The specific criteria for scoring a boxing match may vary slightly depending on the governing body and the ruleset used. Still, the following are some common principles that judges consider when scoring a boxing match:
Clean Punches: Judges evaluate the number and quality of clean punches landed by each boxer. Clean punches land with the knuckle part of the glove on the opponent’s head or torso. Punches to the arms and gloves are generally not scored.
Effective Aggression: Judges assess which boxer is effectively pressing the action and taking the fight to their opponent. This doesn’t mean reckless aggression but rather controlled and strategic aggression.
Ring Generalship: This refers to a boxer’s ability to control the pace and location of the fight. Judges consider how well a boxer uses the ring, sets up their opponent, and maintains control of the bout.
Defense: Effective defense, such as blocking, slipping, and dodging punches, is also considered. Judges often favor a boxer who can avoid their opponent’s punches while countering effectively.
Control of the Bout: Judges pay attention to which fighter seems to have better control of the bout, including dictating the pace and style of the fight.
Damage: If one fighter causes visible damage to the opponent, such as swelling, cuts, or knockdowns, this can significantly influence the round’s scoring.
Accumulation of Points: Judges consider the cumulative effect of punches and actions throughout the round, not just individual moments.
Fairness: Judges must be impartial and not show favoritism to any fighter. They should score the bout solely based on the criteria outlined in the scoring system.
Scoring varies depending on the specific ruleset and organization overseeing the match. The most common scoring systems include:
10-Point Must System: This is the most widely used scoring system. In each round, the judge selects the boxer they believe won the round and awards that boxer 10 points. The opponent typically receives 9 points, but if one boxer dominated the round, they might receive 8 points. Knockdowns or rule violations can result in a 10-8 or 10-7 round, respectively.
5-Point System: In some amateur and regional boxing competitions, judges use a 5-point system to award up to 5 points to the winning boxer in a round and fewer points to the opponent.
Computerized Scoring: In amateur boxing, computerized systems often assist judges in scoring, with points awarded based on the number and quality of punches landed.
The boxer with the most points at the end of the fight wins. If there is a tie in points, the match might be declared a draw, or a specific tie-breaking procedure, like countback or an extra round, may be employed, depending on the rules in place for that particular competition.