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How Is Boxing Scored? the Boxing Point System Explained
December 15, 2023

How Is Boxing Scored? the Boxing Point System Explained

Do you understand how boxing is scored?

It’s a complex system of rules and regulations, but don’t worry – we’ll explain it all to you.

Learn about the 10-point must system, judges’ criteria, scoring rounds, unanimous decisions, split decisions, and draws.

Before you know it, you’ll be an expert in boxing scoring.

Basics of Scoring

You’ve probably heard of boxing, but do you know how it’s scored? Let’s take a look at the basics of scoring.

In boxing, two fighters battle it out in a ring, with a referee calling the shots. Points are awarded to the fighter who lands the most punches and is the most aggressive. At the end of the match, the boxer with the most points wins.

Judges score each round based on accuracy, power, defense, and effectiveness of the punches. Each round can be scored as 10-9, 10-8, or 10-7, depending on how much of an advantage one boxer has over the other. The 10-9 score is given when one boxer has a slight edge, 10-8 for a clear advantage, and 10-7 for a dominating performance.

At the end of the match, the points are added up and the boxer with the most points is declared the winner.

10-Point Must System

The point must system is a set of rules that are used to determine the winner of a boxing match. It requires the judges to analyze the performance of each boxer and award points accordingly. The boxer with the highest score at the end of the match is declared the winner.

Here are the key elements of the point must system:

  • Judges award points for effective punches landed, with extra points for hard, clean punches.
  • Judges can deduct points for illegal punches and other infractions.
  • Judges must decide which boxer has the edge in each round and award points accordingly.

The point must system is used to ensure an impartial and fair decision. It’s designed to reward skillful boxers who have a good strategy and the ability to execute it effectively. The system has been used for many years and is the most common way to score a boxing match.

Judges’ Criteria

You’re probably wondering what the judges are looking for when they score a boxing match. The criteria used by boxing judges are based on the boxer’s ability to execute punches and land clean shots. Judges assess each round on three criteria: clean punching, defense, and ring generalship.

Criteria Points awarded
Clean punching 1-10 points
Defense 1-10 points
Ring generalship 1-10 points

Judges award points to the boxer who best demonstrates each criteria. The boxer who lands the most clean shots and demonstrates the best defense and ring generalship is awarded the most points. Judges must assess each round independently and take into account the entire duration of the round. The boxer with the most points at the end of the match is declared the winner.

Scoring Rounds

You may be wondering how boxing rounds are scored.

Let’s take a look at the round scoring rules, judges’ criteria, and the overall scoring system used in the sport.

Round Scoring Rules

Scorecards are used to evaluate a boxer’s performance in each round. Judges use these to decide which fighter won the round. The criteria used for scoring rounds are:

  • Technical ability
  • Aggression
  • Ring generalship

When evaluating technical ability, judges look for a boxer’s precision and accuracy in delivering punches. Aggression is judged by how many punches were thrown, and which fighter was more active in the ring. Ring generalship is assessed by who’s controlling the action, and who’s dictating the pace of the fight.

Judges score each round on a 10-point system, with 10 points being awarded to the winner of the round, and 9 or less to the loser. Judges’ scores aren’t revealed until the end of the fight, and the boxer with the most cumulative points is declared the winner.

Judges’ Criteria

Judging a round of boxing comes down to three main criteria: technical ability, aggression, and ring generalship.

Technical ability is the ability to use punches effectively and accurately. It includes things like combinations, defensive tactics, and footwork.

Aggression is the fighter’s willingness to attack and push the pace of the fight.

Ring generalship is the ability to control the distance and the tempo of the fight.

A good judge takes all three of these criteria into consideration when awarding a round.

In order to score a round, each judge must assign points to each fighter, based on how well they performed. Generally, the fighter who performed better is given the round. However, if the difference between the fighters is marginal, then the round could be declared a draw.

The important thing is that the judge must be able to clearly explain why they gave the round to a certain fighter.

Scoring System

In boxing, each round is scored by assigning points to each fighter based on their performance. Judges evaluate how effective each boxer is in terms of punches, defense, and ring generalship. At the end of the round, each judge will assign a score based on the effectiveness of the boxer’s punches, defense, and ring generalship.

Here are some key points to consider when scoring a round of boxing:

  • Punches: Judges look for punches that are thrown with good technique and are effective at finding their target.
  • Defense: Judges look for defensive maneuvers that successfully prevent the opponent from landing effective punches.
  • Ring Generalship: Judges look for the boxer who’s able to control the ring and dictate the action.

The scores from the three judges are then added up and the boxer with the most points at the end of the round is declared the winner. This scoring system may seem complex, but it ensures that the best boxer is ultimately declared the winner.

Unanimous Decision

When judges are asked to make a unanimous decision, they’re tasked with evaluating each boxer’s performance based on certain criteria guidelines.

This requires them to take into account all aspects of the fight, such as the number of punches thrown, landed, and blocked, as well as the overall level of aggression and skill.

Judges’ Roles

Considering the role of the judges, a unanimous decision occurs when all three judges score the fight the same. Judges are tasked with scoring the fight on a round-by-round basis, giving points to the fighter they believe has won each round.

At the end of the fight, the judge’s scores are added up to decide the winner. This is why it’s so important for judges to be fair, impartial, and competent.

The following criteria are used to evaluate a boxer’s performance:

  • Speed and agility
  • Power and accuracy
  • Control of the ring
  • Defense

For a unanimous decision to take place, all three judges must agree that one fighter clearly won more rounds than the other. If the judges disagree, the majority decision will be declared. A majority decision is when two out of three judges agree on the same winner.

Criteria Guidelines

Your job as a judge is to evaluate each fighter’s performance using the criteria guidelines to determine a unanimous decision. Generally, judges should look for effective punching, defense, ring generalship, and overall activity. Score
10-9 Punch/activity was slightly in favor of one fighter
10-8 Punch/activity was decidedly in favor of one fighter
10-10 Equal punch/activity

The goal is to score rounds fairly and accurately. Judges should avoid being biased and have access to a scorecard to keep track of their scoring for each round. All three judges must agree on the same score for the round and the total of the scorecards determines the winner.

Split Decision

A split decision occurs when two of the three judges score the fight differently. This type of decision is seen as controversial, as it involves a lot of subjectivity. It’s a majority decision, meaning that two of the three judges have to agree on the winner. The two judges who didn’t agree on the outcome must each announce their scores. The judges must explain the reasons why they chose the fighter they did.


Whereas a split decision involves two of the three judges not agreeing on the outcome, a draw occurs when all three judges score the fight the same. A draw is signified by three even scores such as 78-78 or 76-76-76. In this situation, both fighters are awarded half a point and the fight is declared a draw. The table below illustrates the point system for determining a draw.

Rounds Draw
1-6 78-78
7-12 77-77
13-14 76-76
15 75-75

If the score is tied after the 15th round, the match will be declared a draw. In professional boxing, draws are very rare, as all three judges must come to the same conclusion in order for the fight to be declared a draw. In amateur boxing, the draw is more common, as there is a focus on technical ability rather than aggression.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Are Boxing Matches Judged?

Boxing matches are judged by a panel of three judges, who score each round on a 10-point system. You’ll usually get the results right after the match.

What Is the Difference Between a Unanimous and a Split Decision?

A unanimous decision occurs when all three judges agree on the same winner. A split decision happens when two of the judges agree on the same boxer, and the third judge has a different opinion.

Are There Any Circumstances Which Would Result in a Boxing Match Ending in a Draw?

Yes, there are circumstances which can result in a boxing match ending in a draw. Both fighters may have the same score at the end of the match, or the judges may deem neither fighter worthy of a win.

How Is the Winner of a Boxing Match Determined?

The winner of a boxing match is determined by the judges, who score the fight based on punches landed, aggression, defense and ring control. If no fighter has a clear advantage, the fight may end in a draw.

What Is the Criteria for a 10-Point Must System?

You’re asking about the 10-point must system? It’s based on a judge’s scorecard, where they award 10 points to the winner of each round and 9 or less to the loser. A fighter can also be awarded a 10-8 score if they dominate a round.


Boxing is a complex sport that can be difficult to score. The 10-point must system is the most widely used system and judges must take into account a fighter’s aggression, defense, ring generalship and clean punching when scoring a round.

If all judges agree, a fight can be declared a unanimous decision, otherwise it may become a split decision or a draw.

Understanding the boxing point system is key to understanding the sport.


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