Boxing – How to Play?

The objective of boxing, as mentioned before, is to knock out the opponent, making him unable to stand until the referee counts to ten. Another way of winning in boxing, is by scoring points.

Getting Ready

Before every match, there are a few steps that needs to be completed −

  • Passbook check − A passbook is the identification of a boxer, and it is required to be shown before every competition. It documents your weight, information about your opponents and results of the matches played.

  • Weigh-in − This is required in order to be placed in the fitting weight category.

  • Physical examination − After the weigh-on a physician examines the capability of a boxer to compete. The things they check consist of −

    • Blood pressure
    • Breathing
    • Condition of hands and face
  • Wrap check − Usually the judge signs the wraps, meaning the boxer has followed the given procedures and rules. After the signing, the boxer is sent to the host, who gives the boxer either red or blue gloves, depending on the assigned corner.

  • As the boxers get into the ring, and sit on their assigned posts, the judge comes to make a final check if the boxers are wearing a mouthpiece and the correct size of gloves.

  • The boxers are introduced, and called in the center of the ring where they touch gloves, a sign of sportsmanship.

  • The boxers return to their corners and wait for the bell to ring to mark the beginning of the fight.

Quick Glimpse of the Game

The players have to fight a series of rounds (normally 12) with one-three minutes intervals. A bell is rung to signify the start of each round.

There is a wooden table placed at the ringside, and a ring official hits it with a hammer, to denote that there are only ten seconds left in each round.

A boxer is declared winner, when the opponent is down and does not resume within ten counts or when the player is seriously injured.

Winner of the game is declared through scoring, only when there is no disqualification or any knock-outs.


Who won the round is mostly based on counting “scoring punches” – punches with the knuckle side of the fists that strike the front or sides of the opponent’s body (above the belt) or head. Fouls are also tracked and affect scoring. According to the judges, these may be: the number of punches, aggression put in, control of the ring, controlling the fight tempo, and the amount of damage caused.

Scoring in professional boxing is quite different from scoring at the amateur level. It’s based on four criteria −

  • Clean punching
  • Effective aggressiveness
  • Ring generalship
  • Defense

The scoring system maintained by the judges is the 10-point-must system. In a closed round, the winner of each round is issued 10 points, whereas the defeated boxer will receive 9 points. Similarly, the loser will receive 8 points if knocked down or taken over. Seven points if knock-out was twice. Both boxers will receive 10 points each when the round is even.

A boxer is declared the winner when all the three judges are in accordance and when the boxer receives more points than the opponent. If the majority of judges declare the match tie, then the match is called for a draw.

A match can be concluded by four possible decisions of the judges −

  • Unanimous decision − Here all the judges are in agreement and score the boxer same and declare as the winner.

  • Split decision − Here, two of the three judges support one boxer, and the other one, supports the other boxer.

  • Majority decision − One judge draws the match, whereas the two other judges score one boxer.

  • Draw − This happens, when none of the judges are in agreement. One judge scores for one boxer, another judge for another boxer, and the third judge evens out the match. In this state, none of the boxers is declared the winner.


A foul committed by a player results in the deduction of points by the judges. Committing a serious foul or committing a foul repeatedly, can result in disqualification. To prevent the fight from becoming a brawl and prevent severe injuries boxers must not −

  • Strike below the belt
  • Strike when the opponent boxer is down on the canvas
  • Kick
  • Strike with elbows, forearms or the inside of the hand (slap)
  • Head-butt
  • Bite ears
  • Grab onto the ropes
  • Poke the eye with a thumb
  • Wrestle, grapple or hold the opponent excessively