Introduction To Boxing


Introduction To Boxing

Boxing is a great sport to get into if you’re looking to improve your pugilistic skills or just want to improve your fitness. If you’d like to get involved and aren't sure where to start, then take a look at our quick guide to boxing.

Boxing is a great sport to get into if you’re looking to improve your pugilistic skills or just want to improve your fitness. If you’d like to get involved and aren't sure where to start, then take a look at our quick guide to boxing.

Quick boxing facts

Boxing is described as fighting with the fists. According to rules, it requires the use of boxing gloves and limits legal blows to those that strike above the waist and on the front or sides of the opponent.

Organised amateur boxing as we know it came about in the late nineteenth century when the eighth Marquis of Queensberry devised a new set of rules. At the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 boxing was not included in the program of events, but made a comeback at the 1904 Olympic Games and has appeared in every Olympics since 1920.

A number of professional boxing champions first made their names at the Olympics, including Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis and Audley Harrison.

The boxing ring

A boxing ring must be no greater than 6.1m (66ft) squared and it has four corner posts. Two are white with the others red and blue, which are diagonally across from each other. These are the individual fighters 'corners' to which they retreat in between rounds to be patched up and given tactical advice from their trainers.


Boxers wear leather, padded gloves with each glove weighing 283g (10oz). These will sometimes have a white strip to mark the main hitting area. They are allowed to wear bandages underneath the gloves to prevent bones from being damaged in competition.

Competitors often wear red or blue vests to indicate their 'corner'. They also usually have head guards (although these were not used at the Rio Olympics) and gumshields, to protect their head and teeth, and a groin protector to account for any possible foul play.

The competition

In amateur boxing competitors usually take part in a single-elimination tournament with no seeding. Boxers who lose in the semi-final both automatically receive bronze medals, with the finalists battling it out for the silver and gold.

Bouts consist of four 2-minute rounds, with a 1-minute break between rounds, although at the Rio Olympics this was changed to three three-minute rounds for men, but the same four two-minute rounds for women. Professional boxers were also allowed for the first time to compete against amateurs at the Games in Rio.

Scoring in Olympic boxing

The scoring system for Olympic boxing changed at Rio 2016 when there was a move to using the “10-point must” scoring system from professional boxing, rather than the traditional count of clean landed punches used in amateur boxing.

The 10-point must system works on the basis of awarding the winner of each round 10 points based on criteria including effective aggression, ring generalship, cleanly landed punches and defensive skill. The loser of the round receives nine points, although on occasions they can receive an 8 if they are thoroughly dominated or knocked down. On rare occasions, rounds can be scored 10-10 for a draw or even 10-7 for a round with multiple knockdowns.

Points deductions for fouls (such as a low blow, excessive holding, or rabbit punching) are applied after the initial scoring, making a 9-9 round a possibility. Judges’ scorecards are handed in after each round, so there is no live score during the bout like there used to be under the old clean punch tally scoring system.

Boxing bouts at the Olympics are controlled by a referee and, if a boxer is legitimately knocked down, the referee begins to count to 10. If the boxer fails to get up and resume the contest within the time limit, then the contest is over. As well as this, if the boxer does get up, the referee can still insist on a mandatory count of eight to make sure the boxer is fit to continue. The referee (or the ringside doctor) can decide if a fighter is unfit to continue and therefore stop the contest.

Requirements for boxers

All boxers must pass a medical examination and must have reached their target weight for the category.

The 12 Olympic weight divisions, with the maximum weight allowed are:

Light flyweight — 48kg (106lb)

Flyweight — 51kg (112lb)

Bantamweight — 54kg (119lb)

Featherweight — 57kg (126lb)

Lightweight — 60kg (133lb)

Light welterweight — 63.5kg (140lb)

Welterweight — 67kg (148lb)

Light middleweight — 71kg (157lb)

Middleweight — 75kg (166lb)

Light heavyweight — 81kg (179lb)

Heavyweight — 91kg (201lb)

Super heavyweight — 91kg+ (201lb+)

Why get into boxing?

Whether you fancy sparring or not, boxing is a great workout which impacts on a number of key areas. A boxing workout develops upper body muscles and arm strength, increases agility (boxers need to be quick on their feet), improves balance and flexibility and strengthens leg muscles. In addition to this, boxis is also a great calorie burner, stress reliever and can aid hand-eye coordination skills.