Boxing Scoring System: How Are Boxing Fights Scored?

The promise of spectacular, dramatic, and devastating knockouts has long enticed fans of professional boxing. Regardless of how many rounds a fight was scheduled to take, when a fighter can deliver a finishing blow or combo on their opponent to the point that they are unable to continue, the bout comes to an end. However, how’s the winner chosen if there is no knockout and the bell rings for the last time? 

Boxing scoring is more complicated than, let’s say, football, where the team with the most goals win. As a result, it generates a lot more controversy and dispute.  

Let’s have a look at how the boxing point system truly works: 

The 10 Point Must System 

The 10-Point Must System is the scoring system used in professional boxing. The following are the fundamentals of scoring a round: 

  • Judges award points on a scale of one to ten. Most rounds will conclude 10-9, with the stronger fighter earning 10 points and the weaker boxer receiving 9. 
  • A boxer loses a point if they get knocked down. A boxer loses two points if they get knocked down twice. Both knockdowns cancel each other out if both boxers are knocked down. 
  • A judge can still score a round 10-8 if a boxer thoroughly dominates a round but does not score a knockdown. 
  • Both boxers earn 10 points if the judge considers the round to be completely equal. 
  • The referee can deduct a point or two for a deliberate foul if they see fit; They can also deduct points for inadvertent fouls if they deem appropriate, but this generally happens after at least a warning given to the boxer 

What The Judges Look For 

While you could probably get away with just the eyeball test to decide the winner of each round, knowing what a judge is looking for helps. These are the factors that go into determining who wins a round: 

  • Effective Aggression: Being aggressive provides the image of dominance, but it isn't truly "effective" unless the fighter is landing blows and not continually being countered. Judges look for successful aggressiveness, in which the aggressor regularly lands their blows while avoiding their opponent’s. 
  • Ring Generalship: The boxer who directs the action, the tempo and imposes their style and will during the bout. 
  • Defense: How proficient at slipping, parrying, and blocking strikes is a boxer? It is critical to have an effective defense. 
  • Clean & Hard Punches: To the untrained eye, a boxer may appear to be landing a lot of punches while, in fact, the majority are blocked or don't hit squarely. A judge must watch for powerful blows that land cleanly on their opponent. 

The Result 

If no one has won by knockout after the stipulated number of rounds, the winner will be determined by the judges' round-by-round scorecards during the fight. Because each round is worth a maximum of ten points, a fighter can score as many as 120 points in a 12-round bout, 100 in a 10-round bout, and so on. 

Each of the three judges will choose an overall winner, or the bout may be declared a draw. The following are some of the possible outcomes: 

  • Unanimous decision: On their scorecards, all three judges have the same boxer leading the points. 
  • Split decision: Two judges have Boxer X in the lead, while one judge has Boxer Y in the lead. That implies Boxer X has a two-to-one advantage. 
  • Majority decision: Two judges award the victory to one boxer, while the third judge scores it a tie. The winner did not get a unanimous verdict, but they did win the majority of the judges' votes. 
  • Draw: The overall result is a draw (sometimes known as a 'split draw') if one judge has Boxer X ahead, one judge has Boxer Y ahead, and the third judge has scored it as a draw. Of course, a draw (a 'unanimous draw') is also a draw if all three judges thought the fight to be exactly even. 
  • Majority draw: If two of the three judges see the bout as equal, but the third judge sees Boxer X as the winner, the slight advantage isn't enough to proclaim Boxer X the victor. Instead, a 'majority draw' is proclaimed. 

Now you know exactly what to look for when you’re either getting into the ring or whilst cheering on your favorite boxer. Looking for boxing gear? Browse here