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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June 2004, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Beginner's guide to boxing
Boxing action
Only men compete at the Olympics
Olympic boxing falls under the auspisces of the sport's amateur body.

Some of the game's great names have risen through the ranks of Olympic boxing, including the likes of Muhammed Ali, Oscar de la Hoya and Lennox Lewis.

But the professional and amateur disciplines are poles apart despite sharing famous sons.

Beyond the cosmetic that sees the boxers wear vests and protective head guards colour-coded to their red or blue corners, the challenge of finding a knockout punch is less important than the need to accumulate points through the bout.

And while the pros slug it out for anything up to 12 rounds, the amateurs are limited to four two-minute rounds.

Olympic draws are made at random and the competition works on a knockout basis through to the gold medal bout. The losing semi-finalists receive a bronze medal each.

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)
The winner of a bout is the man with more points, unless the referee has stopped the bout before the final bell.

Points are scored by landing blows on the front of the head or upper body, above the belt.

However, the score is registered only when at least three of the five judges acknowledge the hit simultaneously.

If there are an equal number of points at the end of the match, then the best and worst total score given among the five judges are deducted. The winner is the one who is left with the most points from the remaining three judges.

The referee intervenes if there is a knockout or on account of foul play.

He will count to eight for a knockdown, which results if 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 20-point margin opens up between the fighters.

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

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