Each country has its own set of rules for professional boxing because there is no universally accepted world governing body for the sport. In the United States, the rules differ depending on which state you are in. In most cases, bouts take place in a “ring” that is 18 to 22 feet (5.5 to 6.7 metres) in diameter and is surrounded by four strands of rope on all sides. Professional bouts can last anywhere from four to twelve rounds, each of which lasts three minutes, though two-minute rounds are commonly used in women’s bouts and in some bouts held in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. For much of the twentieth century, professional championship fights were traditionally 15 rounds in length; however, by the late 1980s, all three major championships — the WBC, WBA, and IBF — were being scheduled for 12 rounds.
A referee is stationed inside the ring with the boxers, whose job it is to keep the fight under control. In some jurisdictions, the referee, along with two judges outside the ring, determines the winner of the contest. In most jurisdictions, however, the referee is not involved in the judging process, and the bout is scored by three ringside officials. Each round, the officials award points to each boxer, and a boxer must win on two of the three scorecards in order to earn a decision win. The fight is scored electronically in Olympic bouts, with five judges pressing a button whenever a punch is believed to have landed on a boxer’s body. It is not a hit until at least three judges press their buttons within a second of each other that the punch is considered successful. Boxers use padded gloves that range in weight from 8 to 10 ounces (227 to 283 grammes) in order to protect their hands.
When a boxer is knocked down and unable to get back up by the count of ten, the bout is declared a knockout. In boxing, a technical knockout (TKO) can be used to end the fight when the referee (and sometimes the ringside physician) determines that a boxer is no longer capable of defending himself, when a boxer has suffered serious injury, or when a boxer and his seconds decide he should not continue. When a bout has gone the prescribed number of rounds and the scoring officials have determined the winner, the bout is said to have ended in a decision. In some cases, a bout can be decided by a draw due to a combination of factors: all three judges awarding identical scores to both contestants results in a draw, as does two of three judges awarding opponents identical scores, regardless of the third judge’s score; further, two of three judges giving the decision to opposing contestants and the third judge’s scorecard being evenly divided between the opponents results in a draw; and finally, two of three judges giving the decision to opposing contestants and the third judge It is declared a “no contest” when a fight comes to an abrupt and inconclusive conclusion, such as when one of the participants is unable to continue due to a cut sustained during an accidental head-to-head collision early in the fight. Another possibility is that a bout will be terminated due to disqualification.
An effective offensive strategy is dependent on the ability to throw punches quickly and strategically in order to penetrate the opponent’s defence and gain control of the fight. Attacking with one’s upraised arms and gloves, bobbing and weaving with one’s head, and bending or twisting one’s head and upper body out of the way of a punch are all examples of defensive tactics in mixed martial arts (MMA). Footwork is important on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Southpaw and orthodox are the two most widely recognised stances in the world. The former has the left hand and the left foot forward, whereas the latter has the right hand and the right foot forward—the foot or hand that is forward is referred to as the lead in this context). Traditional stance boxers are typically right-handed and rely on that hand for power, while using the left hand to jab and hook; the converse is true of southpaw boxers, who are typically left-handed and rely on that hand for power. When in either stance, the lead hand is extended forward in front of the body, and the other hand is held close to the chin for protection. The head and shoulders are hunched together, and the shoulders are tucked into the chest. There are differences between individuals.