When it comes to duking it out in the most traditional way possible, boxing is the sport that delivers. From the athletes’ skill to the blood, sweat, and tears they shed in the ring, there’s no end to the excitement of these events. But if you’re going to appreciate this sport fully, you must have a solid grasp of its rules, regulations, and core practices. Otherwise, you risk not only finding yourself confused during the match but also not getting all you want out of your time in the spectator’s seat. We’ll discuss all you need to know about this sport and explain the core rules of professional boxing so that you can get in on enjoying the action.
What is Boxing?
Brushing up on your boxing know-how should always start from the beginning. After all, while the objective of boxing is clear from looking at it, several other key elements are moving behind the scenes. Boxing, as one of the world’s oldest sports, revolves around the objective of knocking your opponent to the ground in submission. To do so, two participants fight, trying to hit the other party without being hit themselves.
But modern boxing is a bit more complicated than simply knocking the other person out. Today, a professional match consists of 12 separate rounds, each around two to three minutes. During these periods, fighters deliver as many punches as possible, and three judges provide a score based on their performances. This way, they can more accurately determine a winner even if neither athlete experiences a knockout.
The sport is also broken up by weight class, with lightweight, featherweight, and heavyweight being the dominant three. This system ensures that fighters always go up against someone of a similar build to them. As such, matches are much more fair and exciting. Athletes are also less likely to sustain severe injuries this way.
The original boxers back in 688 BCE fought using their bare hands, but this isn’t the case today. Now, boxers require several pieces of regulation equipment to get their time in the ring. The first is a set of appropriately sized boxing gloves. These items are primarily designed to protect the fighter’s hands. However, they can also help cushion some impact on the receiving end. Boxers also use head and mouth guards to help limit injuries. Don’t think this keeps fighters fully protected; this is still an incredibly brutal sport with a high chance of physical harm.
Scoring a Match
When scoring a match, it’s important to understand that three judges each give their appraisal out of 10 points. So, a fighter will receive 10 points or less per round, depending on their performance. At the end of the 12 rounds, the judges tally up the points per fighter, and the athlete with the most points comes out victorious. Most of the time, round scores will read 10-9—10 for the winner and nine for the loser of the round. But the loser can lose more points depending on whether they sustained a knockdown during the round or promoted a count, even an incomplete one, from the referee. If one athlete experiences a knockout, the match automatically rules in favor of the fighter still standing.
Top Boxing Rules To Know
Now that you’re caught up on regulations, we can dive deeper into explaining the more specific rules of professional boxing as they come into play in the ring. These are some of the top guidelines referees enforce during a fight and that you need to know to keep up.
Where To Hit
For the safety of both fighters involved in the match, it’s vital that they only hit their opponent in designated areas. This includes the head, with the necessary head protection, and the upper body. Boxers can’t punch below the belt, along the back, back of the head, neck, or kidneys. Should a fighter do so, they risk the referee calling a foul during the round.
How To Hit
It’s also essential for a boxer to be aware of how they’re hitting their opponent. The only legal type of hit in boxing is a closed fist punch with a boxing glove. As such, they can’t hit with an open hand or wrist or deliver a backhand. They also can’t strike with other body parts like the head, forearm, or elbow. Boxers must also not use the ropes for leverage to issue a more devastating blow. This violates the rules by increasing the amount of force behind the punch and the risk of opponent injury along with it.
Referees give several signals throughout the fight. They could be calling a foul, addressing the judges to deduct points, or calling for a time-out. Regardless of their orders, the fighters must follow them and stop fighting. So, this will be a good indicator for you that they’re enforcing specific rules throughout the match.
As alluded to previously, fouls are any instance where a fighter breaks the official boxing rules during the match. If they hit in the wrong spot or deliver a blow with the wrong part of their body, it can result in a foul with consequences. On a first offense, the referee may warn the fighter. In more severe cases, they could lose points or even undergo disqualification from the match.
Declaring a Knockout
Knockouts involve a boxer falling to the canvas during a round. This is most often from a powerful blow to the head or body that may result in a temporary loss of consciousness. Once the athlete is on the ground, the referee begins counting. Should they get to the count of 10 before the fighter gets back up, it’s a knockout, and the standing fighter wins. The 10-count provides a bit of cushion for the fighter to get back onto their feet, making for a fairer determination and a more suspenseful time for you.
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