The scoring of boxing isn’t perfect, but the method has been around for many years now and is part of the institution of the sport.
It’s a quirky system which provides the judges with a basis to score a fight in the way that they see fit, after they follow some basic guidelines.
Most fighters will hope that they can make the scoring system redundant with a knockout, but for most, they have to make sure they can outscore their opponent.
So What Is The System?
The boxing point scoring system is called the “10 point must system” where a boxer must be given 10 points for a round, unless there is a reason to do otherwise. Each boxer in each round is given a score out of 10, and at the end of the fight, all those points are added up to determine the winner.
The vast majority of rounds are scored 10-9, with the winning boxer getting their 10 points, with the loser of the round getting 9. If one boxer won every round in a 12 round contest 10-9, then the final decision on the scorecards would be 120-108.
There are only a few instances where a round isn’t scored 10-9. A round will be scored 10-10 if a judge determines that the round was a draw, but this is rarely seen as judges are encouraged to award a round to one fighter. Another instance is if there is a point deducted.
This can be for infractions as hitting below the belt or on the back of the head, where the referee will indicate to the judges that a point should be taken off. The final way is due to a knockdown, where a further point will be deducted from the boxer. If one boxer dominates the round and knocks down his opponent, that round will be scored 10-8.
How Is A Round Scored?
There are four areas that judges look for when they are scoring a round. Those are effective aggression, ring generalship, hard and clean punches and defence.
Effective aggression will be scored if a fighter keeps coming forward and dominates the fight. Generally, more credit is given to a boxer who dominates the centre of the ring, but the word “effective” shows the need for more than just coming forward – you have to still land punches.
Ring generalship is awarded for a fighter who controls the fight through the art of boxing. Avoiding wild swings, cutting down the angles and using your feet are all parts of the generalship and owning the ring.
It’s not enough to simply though wild punches and hit your opponents in the gloves or on the shoulders, your punches need to land clean. If you are throwing simple shots with no power, these won’t be scored as well as hard punches that land clean. You need to land your punches on the body or the head, with force.
Boxing is an art form, and nowhere can that be seen more with defence. All boxers want to hit, and not get hit. The ability to defend and not just attack is a huge part of what separates the best boxers in the world from the rest, and judges take this into account.
How Is The Decision Made?
At the end of the fight the announcer will detail the judges’ scorecards, he will read out each one and declare the winner. Hopefully, the decision is unanimous, meaning all the judges agree on the winner.
There are often slight variances with how each judge will score the fight. Sometimes there are big differences and you might have a split decision, where two judges agree, which will overrule the judge that doesn’t.
The same applies for if two judges score a fighter a winner, while the other gives it a draw, which is called a majority decision.
Finally, the fight can be judged a draw, which is where two judges call it a draw, or where two judges score the fight for different fighters, and the third scores it a draw.
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