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Guide to boxing

GB coach Terry Edwards' guide to amateur boxing

Boxing at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games falls under the jurisdiction of the sport's amateur body, the International Amateur Boxing Association.

That means different rules, different equipment and a different set-up to professional boxing.

Boxing has been contested at every Olympics since 1920 and every Commonwealth Games since 1930.

The competition is a knockout format, with the winner of each bout proceeding to the next round. Bronze medals will be awarded to the losers of the semi-finals.


Boxers, wearing either red or blue strips, must compete in protective headwear, and fights are often decided by point scoring rather than knock-out blows.

The gloves weigh 10 ounces and feature a white strip on the main hitting area around the knuckles.

Action is fast and furious as amateurs are limited to four two-minute rounds, as opposed to the customary 12 rounds in professional boxing.

The winner of a bout is the fighter with the most points, unless the referee stops the bout before the final bell.

If points are level at the end, the best and worst total score given to each fighter by the five judges is deducted.

The winner is the fighter who is left with the most points from the remaining three judges.


Boxing scoring guide

For a boxer to score points, he must hit the head or body of his opponent, above the belt, with the knuckles of his gloves.

Each ringside judge has a computer scoring button to press for each boxer, and three of the five must hit their button within one second of each other for the point to register.

When boxers are fighting up close, called infighting, a point is awarded to the boxer with the best of the exchanges.

Non-scoring blows include punches that infringe the rules, punches that use any part of the glove except the knuckles, and those which do not have the weight of the body or shoulder behind them.


The referee can intervene if there is a knockout or if there has been foul play.

Light flyweight (48kg)
Flyweight (51kg)
Bantamweight (54kg)
Featherweight (57kg)
Lightweight (60kg)
Light welterweight (64kg)
Welterweight (69kg)
Middleweight (75kg)
Light heavyweight (81kg)
Heavyweight (91kg)
Super heavyweight (+91kg)

Some of the more common fouls include hitting below the belt, holding, or hitting the opponent on the back of the head, neck or body.

The referee will count to eight for a knockdown, which is when a boxer touches the floor or hangs onto the ropes, and 10 for a knockout.

He can also stop the bout if one fighter is being outclassed, receiving excessive punishment or if a certain points margin opens up between the fighters.

The margin for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics is 20 points.

A boxer who does not comply with the instructions of the referee can be subjected to a caution, with three cautions for the same foul leading to a warning. Three warnings result in disqualification.

see also
Find a boxing club
25 Apr 08 |  Beijing 2008

related internet links:
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