How Boxing Is Scored

Did He Really get robbed?

In boxing, many close decisions end up in controversy with fans speculating that a matched was fixed and their fighter got robbed. How can one judge score the fight with such a large margin in favor of one fighter and the judge sitting next to them score the total opposite for the other fighter? Were they watching the same fight?

“The fight was scored before it even started”; “the promotion company paid the judges well” there are just some of the conclusions that many people draw when the fighter they thought did enough to win does not get the decision.

Although the fans concerns are plausible one must understand the way boxing is scored in order to understand why a fighter wins a round and the other one doesn’t.

Boxing is scored in fours basic categories. Ring generalship, clean punches landed, effective aggressiveness and defense. A quarter of each goes to each category and will award the fighter 10 points for winning the round and 9 points for the other fighter granted that there were no knockdowns in the round.


As the term indicates, ring generalship is the ability for one fighter to dictate where the fighter stands and moves be it by pushing him/her against the ropes, keeping the fight in the center, or circling and using angles keeping their opponent off balance thus keeping them from throwing an effective punch or forcing their opponent to punch when they want in order to counter and tag their opponent with their own combination.


Another way the fight is scored and perhaps the one that seems to be the most obvious to fans and commentators is punches landed. However, it is not only the landed punches but also the clean shots landed such as the type of punch that rocks the opponent’s head back or clean hard body shots.

Although it would seem that one could score the fight for the fighter with the cleaner punches landed one also has to take into account the type of punch landed. If the round is contested where one fighter landed ten clean jabs vs. the other fighters 4 strong straight right hands to the head the waters can get murky as to who won the round.


In boxing, the fighter who pushes the action in terms of pushing the other guy back by taking the offensive can also be seen winning the round. But just because one guy is pushing forward doesn’t mean that he/she is the effective aggressor. He/she can push the fighter back by throwing combinations but if those punches do not land because of the other fighters skills to evade getting hit the aggression is not rewarded because of its ineffectiveness.

In the eye of public opinion, it can seem as though the fighter going forward is winning the round and the fight, but if they miss most of their punches or their punches get blocked, the one slipping and blocking the punches will have the upper hand.


Similar to that above the fighter with the better defense will fare better with the judges than the one throwing punches and missing as the defensive fighter will be seen as the superior boxer. With that said a fighter with all defensive and no offense may still lose the round if the aggressor is able to land a few good shots as clean landed punches seem to trump most of the other categories when the round is scored.

Each of these categories should amount to 25% of each round but because the pace is sometimes quick and the fight even it is difficult to score a round when both fighters are landing punches, pressing the action and their defense is on point. It is these fights that usually end up in a controversial decision as to close to call and depending on what the judge favors be it the fighters boxing skills or the fighters aggressiveness the end result can wind up leaving a bad taste in many peoples mouths.

It is no secret that many decisions were complete robberies where even the opponent is surprised he/she won do. These calls are very unfortunate and do hurt the sport of boxing. But the fights that are too close to call or end up in a draw are taken into account with the scoring categories mentioned above.

So the next time you watch a fight where the public’s opinion sides with the losing party who they thought should ‘ve won. Keep in mind how boxing is scored. There is more than meets the eye. But rather than be a judge yourself if the fight was entertaining, win, lose or draw, everybody wins.

News Reporter

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