How To Score A Boxing Match

The business of scoring fights and the controversy that oftentimes surrounds that job is constantly under scrutiny.

It has always been questioned because it is “subjective.” No matter how you count punches, view the action or make decisions, it is still subject to human error, bias and, unfortunately, occasional “corruption.”

Having said that, in its basic form and the most true formula on how to properly score a boxing match, every bout should be based on the following criteria.

This is what judges are SUPPOSED to be looking for and basing their decisions on:

  1. EFFECTIVE AGGRESSIVENESS. This is not simply moving forward and throwing punches. It means that a boxer is forcing the action, dictating the pace, determining the distance the fight is fought at and “hitting without getting hit.” Too many judges in the amateur and professional ranks simply score for the fighter who is pressing forward and creating action. If the fighter is doing that, but they’re not effective, it shouldn’t count towards the outcome.

  2. RING GENERALSHIP. This is displayed best when one boxer, mentally and/or physically, imposes his or her will on the other fighter. It is also demonstrated by a fighter who uses his or her space to their benefit. They typically work well off the ropes, set the tempo of the fight and dictate the range or distance that the bout is waged at. The dominant fighter should always be displaying a clear understanding of his surroundings, positioning and controlling of all areas of the boxing ring.

  3. CLEAN PUNCHING. This measurement should only apply to blows that land with full impact to the head, face, upper torso and core. Punches that are blocked by hands, shoulders, glancing blows or shots that miss entirely should not be counted. Activity shouldn’t equal effectiveness. Speed and power should also be factored-in, as long as each punch lands “flush.” Clean means direct contact.

  4. DEFENSE. When aggressiveness and power are being countered by punches and/or an equally effective defense, this should also play a part in proper scoring. Only punches that clearly land should count and fighters who effectively make their opponent miss, should be given credit for this valuable skill.

Being an amateur or professional boxing judge comes with enormous responsibility. They have fighter’s careers and livelihoods in their hands. Judging a boxing match is not a perfect science and may never be, but there are some rules and guidelines that are standard. They make perfect sense, especially when they are applied without bias, personal feelings or ulterior motives.

If you understand the basics of boxing, apply this Four Point criteria, and are able to “take your heart out of the equation”, you will understand the game and get it right most of the time.

Judge by what you SEE and KNOW, not by what you BELIEVE or FEEL.