Rules of Boxing

Boxing is predominantly a scoring-based game, with exception of a knock-out, which is, knocking your opponent down and them not recovering to their feet within ten seconds, as counted by a referee.

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Rules do vary across jurisdiction and whether it is an amateur or professional competition, so check before your fight.

A list of all the rules are below.

Scoring in Boxing

Typically there will be three judges at the ringside of a boxing match who will score both boxers in each round. Whomever they think won that round will automatically be awarded ten points and the loser will receive nine points. Should a boxer be knocked down in a round, they will receive a one-point reduction and so the score would be ’10-8’.

How Many Rounds in a Bout?

Professional fights are up to a maximum of twelve rounds, typically they will either be four, six, eight, ten or twelve, depending on the experience of the fighters.

As established by the World Boxing Federation (WBF); world and intercontinental bouts for title belts consist of twelve rounds and regional and international title bouts consist of ten rounds, unless a special request is made for twelve rounds.

In men’s boxing there is three minutes per round, whereas in women’s boxing there is two minutes per round. There is a break of one minute in between each round.

Amateur fights start at four rounds per fight, but can be six, eight or ten rounds depending on the experience of the fighters.

Boxing Weight Classes

Weight Class Weight
Heavyweight Over 200lbs (90.72Kg)
Cruiserweight Up to 200lbs (90.72kg)
Lightheavyweight Up to 175lbs (79.38kg)
Supermiddleweight Up to 168lbs (76.36kg)
Middleweight Up to 160lbs (72.58kg)
Superwelterweight Up to 154lbs (69.85kg)
Welterweight Up to 147lbs (66.68kg)
Lightwelterweight Up to 140lbs (63.50kg)
Lightweight Up to 135lbs (61.24kg)
Superfeatherweight Up to 130lbs (58.97kg)
Featherweight Up to 126lbs (57.15kg)
Superbantamweight Up to 122lbs (55.34kg)
Bantamweight Up to 118lbs (53.52kg)
Superflyweight Up to 115lbs (52.16kg)
Flyweight Up to 112lbs (50.80kg)
Lightflyweight Up to 108lbs (48.99kg)
Strawweight Up to 105lbs (47.63kg)

Boxing Rules

The following are the rules and regulations of a boxing match, breaking these rules is considered a foul, and the referee may issue a warning, a deduction in points or even disqualification.

  • You may not:
    • Throw a punch below the belt
    • Trip over your opponent
    • Hold your opponent
    • Headbutt
    • Kick
    • Wrestle
    • Bite
    • Spit
    • Push
  • You cannot hit your opponent with your:
    • Elbow
    • Forearm
    • Shoulder
    • Head
  • You may not hit with your glove in the following ways:
    • An open glove
    • The inside of your glove
    • Your wrist
    • The backhand of the glove
    • The side of the glove
  • You cannot hit your opponent:
    • In the back
    • In the back of their head
    • In the neck
    • In the kidneys
  • You may not throw a punch whilst holding the ropes
  • You may not hold your opponent and punch them at the same time, or hold them and duck lower than your opponents belt.
  • When a referee breaks up the clinch (hold), you must take one step back. You may not punch immediately – this is known as ‘hitting on the break’.
  • You may not spit out your mouth guard in order to get a rest break.
  • If you knock your opponent to the ground, you must wait in the neutral corner furthest away from you whilst the referee counts.
  • You may not hit your opponent whilst they are on the floor.
  • You cannot be ‘saved by the bell’ – that is, being knocked down just as the round ends, the referee will still count to ten and you will lose by knockout.
  • If an accidental ‘low blow’ does occur, your opponent has up to five minutes to recover. If they cannot continue after five minutes, it is considered a knockout.
  • Should a foul result in an injury that causes the bout to immediately end, the boxer who committed the foul is disqualified.
  • Should a foul result in an injury, but the fight continues, the referee with order the judge to deduct two points from the boxer who committed the foul.
  • If a foul was unintentional and causes the fight to be stopped within the first four rounds, the fight is ruled a ‘no contest’, unless the fight is scheduled for four rounds, then three rounds must not have been completed. If after four rounds, the fight goes to judges’ scorecards and whoever is ahead wins on a ‘technical decision’. If the scores are exactly even, a ‘technical draw’ is awarded.
  • Should a boxer be knocked outside of the ring, they have twenty seconds to get back into the ring and on his feet, they are not allowed to be assisted.
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