How Amateur Boxing Scoring Works?


In Amateur boxing, a strong understanding of the scoring system is required to win the match. The goal is to score points against your opponent through a combination of punches, defense, overall aggression, and control in the ring.

To determine the winner, the scores of each round are tallied, and the boxer with the most points at the end of the three rounds is declared the winner. Here, we will take a closer look at the scoring system in amateur boxing and how it works.

How points are scored?

In amateur boxing, points are awarded based on the number of clean punches that land on the opponent by three judges. A clean punch is defined as a punch that lands on the front or sides of the opponent’s head or body, with force and without the assistance of the ropes. The judges will award points for punches that land on the scoring area, which includes the torso from the waist to the neck, excluding the back.

A single point is awarded for each clean punch that lands on the scoring area. The number of points awarded per round is limited to 10, meaning that no matter how many clean punches are landed, a maximum of 10 points can be scored in a single round. The referee will also deduct points if a boxer commits a foul, for example: hitting the opponent below the belt or hitting behind the head.

An amateur boxing match

How the winner is determined?

Amateur boxing consists of three rounds, and the scores are tallied and recorded at the end of each round. The winner of each round is the boxer who scores the most points. If the scores are even, the round is declared a draw. At the end of the match, the scores for all rounds are added up, and the boxer with the most points is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the match may go to an extra round to determine a winner.

How is defense considered in the scoring?

In addition to scoring points for clean punches, amateur boxers are also scored on their defense. A boxer who successfully dodges and avoids their opponent’s punches and stays on the defensive while still maintaining ring aggression is more likely to win the round, even if they don’t land many punches of their own. Good defense requires quick reflexes, good footwork, and the ability to dodge and block punches (click here to read about guard types in boxing). 

Boxers who can maintain their defense throughout the match are more likely to win, as they will be able to score points, avoid being scored upon and leave a batter impression on the judges.

Fouling types

In boxing, there are rules that are meant to protect both boxers in the ring and keep the sport as is. The scoring system punishes every act that violates these rules. Before and at the start of the fight, the referee will examine a boxer’s gloves and mouth guard, checking that there is nothing unusual that the boxer shouldn’t carry to the fight.

During the fight, the referee will inspect the fight to maintain the rules from close range, determining if one of the boxers is committing a foul such as:

  • Punching below the belt (below waist level)
  • Using illegal punches (For example, punching with the palm of the hand)
  • Turning the back to the opponent
  • Hugging the opponent and not letting go too often
  • Hitting the opponent behind the head
  • Hitting the opponent with elbows or kicks
  • Headbutting the opponent
  • Hitting the opponent while he is down or has fallen
  • Hitting the opponent after the referee called a break
  • Spitting the mouth guard away.
  • Making contact after the round has ended (the bell has rang)
  • And more.

Each of the fouls mentioned could lead to a deduction of points or, in extreme scenarios, to a technical loss. Thus it’s important to obey to the rules and listen to the referee’s instructions before and during the match.


Amateur boxing has produced the best professional boxers in boxing over the years. The scoring system in amateur boxing hasn’t changed for decades. It is designed to reward skill, boxing IQ, and control in the ring. Understanding how points are scored and the importance of defense is crucial. Amateur boxers can improve their chances of winning and competing at a higher level. Whether you’re a boxing fan, beginner, or veteran boxer, the scoring system in amateur boxing is an essential component of the sport and a key factor in determining the winner of each match in amateur boxing.

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