Scoring a Fight and The Rules

by on January 15, 2013 in The Sweet Science Guide

Scoring a Fight and The Rules

How to Score a Boxing match

How to score a fight, or how judges score boxing matches is a question that regularly seems to crop up, and even the most seasoned of fight fans can get confused by the official scorecards, come the end of the night. In recent years there has been much debate about the role of “clean punching”, “Ring generalship” and what constitutes “effective aggression”, but unfortunately these terms are just examples of the underlying problem – subjectivity, or if you’re even more cynical than this, corruption or bias.

Awarding Points per Round Basis

Putting this aside for now, here are the official guidelines on scoring a bout, as suggested by the excellent Boxing Database, Box Rec.

• 10-9 Round – Awarded if a fighter is believed to have out-boxed or outworked a his opponent over the round, with no knockdowns, or fouls called.
• 10-8 Round – Awarded to a fighter who scores a knock down against his opponent, or when a slip is viewed as being the result of contact. In rare cases can also be awarded if a boxer totally outworks his opponent, schooling him.
10-10 – When two fighters have an absolute stinker, and the judges can’t really attribute the round to either fighter, as neither did enough to win the round.
• 10 – 7 or below – This can either come about through multiple knockdowns, as a point is deducted for each.
It should also be noted that points can be deducted against a fighter for repeated fouling – 10-8 rounds aren’t always the result of knockdowns, it must be stressed.

Scorecard and Fight Outcomes

The judges’ scorecards are collected after the end of every round and sent to the ringside commissioner who collates them, or to put it simpler, tallies them up. If the sanctioning body has agreed an “Open scoring” system, then the results can be read out at various intervals of the fight such as at the midway stage (After Round 6), but traditionally these are only announced at the end of the fight.
If a fight does indeed go the distance then the following five (5) outcomes are possible:

Unanimous Decision (UD) – When all judges score it in favour of a boxer, it is unanimous, meaning agreed upon.

Majority Decision (MD) – When two out of three judges score the fight in favour, and the third one calls a draw. A boxer he is said to have the lion share of the votes, or points – the majority opinion.

Split Decision – When two out of three judges score it in favour for a boxer. Usually announced as one a piece to increase the tension before the final, and ruling vote is given.

Draw by Unanimous Decision (D-UD) – When all three judges score a draw then it is said to be a unanimous decision.

Draw by Majority Decision (D-MD) – When two judges score the fight a draw and one judge scores for either boxer then it is a majority draw – different scoring interpretations but balances out to a draw.

Assorted Rules of Boxing

Exact technical rules and requirements can vary across boxing organisation, but at the heart of the sport, there are some near enough universal rules:

  • NO hitting below the belt, NO holding, tripping, kicking, head butting, wrestling, biting, spitting on, or pushing your opponent – essentially no “damaging” contact to the opponent except from the gloves.
  •  NO hitting with parts of the body that aren’t the fists – no heads, shoulders, forearms or elbows.
  • NO intentional hitting with an open glove, the inside of the glove, the wrist, the backhand, or the side of the hand – essentially non punching motions, or stuff that is borderline slappy.
  •  No punching of certain areas – Opponents back, the back of his head (called a rabbit punch), or purposely on the kidneys
  •  No using the ropes to gain leverage whilst throwing punches – No holding on with one hand for example.
  • No holding and hitting or mauling as some refer to it as i.e you can’t hold and hit your opponent at the same time,
  • No ducking or creating a target below your opponents belt line
  •  No hitting on the break – When the referee tells a fighter to separate from a clinch, they must take a proper step back without swinging
  •  No removing of the mouthpiece to gain a break.
    No hitting of the opponent when he is on the canvas.
  • When you score a knockdown , you must go to a neutral corner as instructed by the referee while the count is happening
  • A boxer who is knocked down has ten seconds to get back up on his feet to continue, otherwise he loses by knockout.
  • Generally, a boxer who is knocked down at the end of a round cannot be saved by the bell i.e. have the normal minute or so between rounds to recover (depends on the organisations rules.)
  •  A boxer who is struck with low blow accidental or otherwise has up to five minutes to recover, or it can be considered a knock out, and therefore may be ruled a no contest.
  • If a foul results in an serious injury that results in the fight ending, the boxer who committed the foul is automatically disqualified.
  • In a normal twelve rounder, when an unintentional foul causes the bout to be stopped immediately, the bout can be deemed a “no contest” if four rounds haven’t been completed yet. If the fight has exceeded four rounds the judges’ scorecards are collated and the fighter who is winning on points is gifted a technical decision. If the scores are even however it is referred to as a “technical draw.”

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