How Does Boxing Scoring Work?

(Last Updated On: September 16, 2021)

Boxing is a popular sport that usually gathers a large crowd of spectators, especially with bigger events. Boxing has been existed since the start of history and has undergone many changes since its formation. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand what is going on sometimes.

It can also be difficult to understand how to scoring system works for boxing. There is a simple way to break down how the 10 point system works and learn what the judges pay attention to. 

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Basics of the 10 Point System

The judges determine a winner by working with a 10 point system. There are a lot of factors that determine how they deal points to the competitors. A majority of rounds end with a score of 10-9, with the more victorious boxer having a score of 10. Sometimes, a match can even end with both competitors being equal, which will result in a draw. 

Points can be deducted for intentional fouls and knockdowns. A fighter will lose one point for one knockdown and two points for two knockdowns. The judges keep score for every round and tally up the points for each fighter once every round is finished.

What Judges Pay Attention to


A good defense is just as important as a good offense. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most important skills for a boxer to learn. While most spectators overlook this aspect, the judges are always on the lookout for how the fighters carry out their defense. Defense includes the ability to dodge, duck, block, and parry. Depending on how well the fighters do, they can maintain their endurance during their matches and use it to their advantage.

Effective Aggression

Effective aggression refers to how well the fighters are able to successfully drive their opponents into a corner while landing punches. Being aggressive enough to intimidate the opponent can be important to having an upper hand in the match. However, intimidation means nothing if the fighter is getting countered. It also means nothing if the fighter is not trying to throw successful punches. 

The judges pay close attention to how the fighters utilize effective aggression tactics while landing punches against their opponent. If their methods are failing, the judges and the audience will be left unimpressed. Therefore, it is important that the fighter carries through with their tactics and does not focus solely on intimidation.

Hard and Clean Punches

Hard and clean punches occur when a fighter successfully lands a punch on their opponent without being blocked in the process. The number of punches that are made successfully are more important than the number of punches thrown. Judges pay attention to the punches that actually land instead of the ones that only appear as though they landed. This is how they can successfully determine who gets the points at the end of the match.

Ring Generalship

The fighter who dominates control over the ring and the outcome of the match is the one who holds ring generalship. Judges pay close attention to the one who is controlling the way the match is going and may give them extra points. Once you are experienced enough with observing boxing matches, you will be able to figure out who the ring general is.

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How Judges Decide a Winner

A winner is chosen through the judges’ overall decision. Judges can unanimously decide that one fighter defeated the other fighter, determine a tie, or have a split decision on who the winner is. On rare occasions, judges may even end up disputing a match. There are four different ways that judges can determine the outcome of a match: unanimous decision, split decision, majority decision, and a draw. 

The outcome counts on the number of points each fighter has gained and how many judges decide which outcome each fighter has at the end. The judges also have to take into account whether or not a fighter has lost points due to fouls and rule-breaking.

More Questions

How are the punches counted?

The punches are classified into two different forms: a power punch or a jab. Punches are counted if they land successfully instead of just grazing the opponent. The punch must be powerful and effective in order to count as a solid punch.

Why do the referees count?

The referees count to determine whether or not a fighter can keep going. If they get to a certain number and the fighter does not get up, it is counted as a knockdown. During this time, the affected fighter has time to recover and rejoin the match.

How do points get deducted?

Points get deducted from fighters either due to knockdowns or fouls. The more knockdowns a fighter experiences, the more points they lose. The judges and the referee also keep track of when fighters break rules and receive fouls, which will affect the fighters’ scores.

What is the maximum number of knockouts?

Professional boxing matches stick to a maximum of three knockdowns. Once they have received three knockdowns, they will receive a technical knockout (TKO). This means they will lose the match and they will have significantly fewer points than their opponent.

How many points does a knockout earn?

Both fighters start the match with 10 points. If a fighter gets knocked down or receives a foul, their points will get deducted. 1 knockdown will deduct 1 point while 2 knockdowns deduct 2 points. If a fighter receives a TKO, they will not have over 7 points.

When should a referee stop a match?

A referee will usually stop the match when a fighter is deemed too injured to fight or to prevent unnecessary injuries from occurring. This happens if a fighter does not get up by the time they are finished counting to 10 or they are unable to continue defending themselves in a fight.

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