Boxing rules

Professional boxing, like any sport has a strict set of rules. Unfortunately these rules vary from commission to commission, meaning keeping up with them all is difficult to say the least. For example the WBC, in championship fights, allow the corners to know the judges scores in rules 4 and 8, this may affect a fighters tactics and may affect the outcome. We’ve scoured the internet to help compile a well rounded list of rules. Found below.

The Marquess of Queensberry rules, are a basic set of boxing rules published in 1867 and replaced the London Prize Ring Rules of 1838. The rules are simple but outline everything you need to know.

Queensbury rules

Queensbury rules

(rules taken from

You’ll notice that in rule twelve it mentions the London Prize Ring Rules, a rather more lengthy set of rules which can be found here.

There are several differences between the professional and amateur game.

  • As an amateur the objective is to outpoint your opponent, to score a point you must land a punch with scoring zone on the glove. Punches must land on the head or the torso, above the belt, to be counted as a point. Punches that land on the arms do not count. Knockdowns do not count towards the scoring, as knockouts are not the objective. Professionals look to knockout an opponent, by incapacitated them so they touchdown to the canvas and fail to beat the count to ten, administered by the referee. When a fighter is knocked down he loses a point. Each round is scored 10 – 9. The winner is given 10 points and the loser 9. So if a boxer is knocked down he loses the round 10 – 8. The fighter with the most points at the end wins the fight.
  • Rules in the amateur boxing are uniform across all AIBA affiliated countries. Whereas in professional boxing the laws vary from commission to commission and between countries.
  • In Pro fights there are 4-12 rounds of 3 minutes. In amateurs fights (which are officially called bouts) fights are 3 X 3 minutes.
  • Amateur gloves are 10 oz. and have a white zone highlights the point scoring zone. In the Pro’s glove weight can vary from 6,8 or 10 ounces.
  • Headguards are prohibited in the professional ranks whereas (for the moment at least) headguards are compulsory for amateur competitors. Also it is mandatory to where a vest as an amateur fighter, which prevents rope burns. These are not used in the pro’s.
  • Vaseline is not able used in the unpaid ranks, but is allowed as a pro. It’s used to stop bleeding and prevent further damage to reddened areas.
  • There is not often a standing 8 count for professional fighters, but are applied to boxers in difficultly. If a fighter is seen to be ‘overmatched’ or can’t defend themselves the RSC (referee stops contest) rule is applied. There is no such rule in professional fights, only when a fighter is hurt and isn’t fighting back. The referee will often shout something along the lines of ‘show me something’ before stopping the contest. A TKO can be applied to a boxer who is injured or unable to continue.
  • The novice class rule means that a fighter with less than 10 fights can only be matched against another novice. In the pro ranks any fighter can fight anyone if they agree to it.
  • In professional fights fouls are met with a point deduction, as an amateur three fouls end the bout in favour of the boxer who was impeded by the fouls.

And just like school here’s a bit of extra reading. Fouls. New York State Athletic Commission rules.

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One Thought on “Boxing rules

  1. I didn’t know most of the rules so your stuff gave me some general knowledge :P

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