Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Boxing - How to score a fight

Published:Sunday | June 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Donovan 'Police' Campbell (right) and Christopher 'Shaka' Henry in action during a recent Contender Series bout at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium. Jamaica's Campbell scored an impressive points victory over Barbadian Henry.-Contributed

Leroy Brown, Sunday Gleaner Writer

From time to time during the Wray & Nephew Contender series, which is now at the semi-final stage, there have been debates about the scoring of the judges. What is clear many times, however, is that many people do not know the rules and guidelines for scoring, and even the officials themselves have to be reminded on a regular basis, what they must take into consideration in awarding a round to a boxer.

Boxing matches, both professional and amateur, are most times scored on what is referred to as the 10-point must system. Under this system, the winner of the round receives 10 points and the loser nine points or less, depending on the superiority of the winner during the round.

If a round is regarded as even by the judge, he will score it 10-10, but this is frowned upon by controlling bodies. What the official is told before a fight is that no matter how close a round is, one boxer must have done something better than the other boxer so as to give him a legitimate reason to award it to one of the boxers. Judges are, therefore, required to make a decision, rather than sit on the fence and score the round a draw.

In scoring, there are four main factors that are taken into consideration by the judge. These are clean punching; effective aggessiveness; ring generalship and defence.

CLEAN PUNCHING means that the boxer is able to land punches cleanly and correctly, with the knuckle part of the glove to the target area of his opponent. The target area is the front or side of the head or body, above the waist (belt line).

RING GENERALSHIP is when a boxer is able to control the fight. He moves skilfully inside the ring, successfully manoeuvres his opponent where he wants him to go, and, for example, pins him against the ropes or into a corner, where he can outbox/outpunch him.

EFFECTIVE AGGRESSIVENESS is when one boxer is able to land punches on the target area of his opponent either moving forward or backwards. Some boxers are able to score effectively even when they are being pursued by an opponent. If a boxer is pursuing his opponent but not landing punches, he cannot get credit for this. Aggression without landing punches, therefore, does not win a boxer any points.

DEFENCE is when a boxer is able to use his hands to block punches, or by deft head and body movement slips under punches thrown by his opponent. He is given credit by the judge for his skills in this area, when a total assessment of the round is being made by the judge.

At the end of each round, the judge will write the score on his card, and hand it to the referee, who in turn passes it on to a master scorer who keeps a running score of each round and makes a total at the end of the fight.

If Fighter A wins the round by a slight margin he will be awarded 10 points and Fighter B nine points. If Fighter A scores a knockdown in addition to winning the round, the score will be 10-8, as he is given a one point credit for the knockdown. One important point to note is that scoring a knockdown does not automatically mean that the fighter wins the round. A fighter can, in fact, dominate a round, even though he suffered a knockdown, and that is one of the situations where one could have a 9-9 round. In that situation, Fighter A won the round 10-9 but suffered a knockdown, which is an automatic point loss, so the score would be 9-9.


Another situation where there can be a 9-9 round, is where Fighter A wins the round 10-9 but is penalised a one point deduction by the referee for a low blow. In that case, the judge would score 10-9 for Fighter A winning the round, but when the referee's penalty is deducted, the final score would be 9-9.

One may ask the question, how can there be a 9-9 round in a 10-point must system? The fact is that it is simply the final mathematics. Based on what happened in the round, Fighter A was regarded as superior, and under the 10-point must system, won the round 10-9. That is written on the scorecard. He, however, also scored a foul, for which he was penalised one point by the referee, and when that point is deducted on the scorecard, (and a section is provided for this) the final score will be 9-9.

I hope this helps us to score better in the future.