Boxing Scoring System: Understanding How Points Are Calculated

Hola, Boxing Freaks!

As we know, Boxing is a sport where two fighters enter a ring to face each other, with the objective of landing punches on the opponent’s body or head, while at the same time avoiding being hit. 

The aim of the sport is to outscore or knock out the other fighter to be declared the winner. 

But the question is how exactly is this done?

In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of boxing scoring systems, how points are calculated, and the factors considered by judges in determining the winner of a boxing match.

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History of Boxing Scoring System

Boxing as a sport has been around for centuries, with evidence of its existence dating back to ancient Greece. The first recorded boxing match took place in London in 1681, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that rules were formalized and gloves were introduced. 

Scoring systems were also developed during this time, with the earliest being the “rounds” system, where fights were divided into rounds, and the fighter who won the most rounds was declared the winner.

This system was flawed, however, as it was possible for a fighter to win the majority of rounds but still lose the fight due to knockdowns.

In the early 1900s, the “point” system was introduced. This system awarded points for each clean hit landed, with the fighter with the most points at the end of the fight declared the winner.

This system was also flawed, as judges had to rely on their own subjective judgment to determine what constituted a “clean hit.”

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the current “10-Point Must System” was introduced. 

This system is used in most professional boxing matches and many amateur matches, and is widely considered to be the most objective and accurate scoring system to date.

How Score is Calculated in a Boxing Match?

How Score is Calculated in a Boxing Match?

In a boxing match, points are awarded to a fighter for each punch that lands cleanly on their opponent’s head or body. 

A “clean” punch is defined as a punch that lands with the knuckles of the glove on the opponent’s head or body without being blocked or parried. Punches that land on the arms or gloves of the opponent do not score points.

In addition to scoring punches, points can also be deducted for fouls, such as hitting below the belt, hitting after the bell, or holding onto the opponent.

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What is a Knockout?

A knockout, or “KO,” occurs when a fighter is knocked down and unable to get up and continue fighting within a specific amount of time. 

The amount of time allowed for a fighter to recover varies depending on the rules of the match but is typically around 10 seconds.

A technical knockout, or “TKO,” occurs when the referee stops the fight due to a fighter being unable to continue, either due to injury or being deemed unfit to continue by the referee.

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Boxing Scoring System

The 10-Point Must System

The 10-Point Must System is the most widely used scoring system in boxing. 

Under this system, each round is scored individually by three judges, who award points to each fighter based on the number and quality of punches landed, as well as other factors such as ring generalship and defense.

At the end of each round, the judge who awarded the most points to a fighter gives that fighter 10 points, and the other fighter 9 points. 

If the round is deemed to be even, both fighters are given 10 points. Knockdowns and point deductions can also affect the score of a round.

Determining the Winner

At the end of the fight, the scores from all rounds are tallied up, and the fighter with the higher total score is declared the winner. 

If there is a tie, a judge or panel of judges may be called upon to determine the winner based on various factors.

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Factors Considered by Judges When Scoring a Boxing Match

When determining the winner of a boxing match, judges consider several factors beyond just the number of punches landed. These factors include:

Effective Aggression

Effective aggression is defined as the fighter who consistently lands punches while coming forward, and is able to control the pace and direction of the fight. 

A fighter who is able to successfully cut off the ring and trap their opponent in a corner may also be considered to have effective aggression.


A fighter who is able to avoid their opponent’s punches through head movement, footwork, and blocking may be considered to have a good defense. 

Judges will also consider how often a fighter is hit, and how much damage is sustained as a result.

Ring Generalship

Ring generalship refers to a fighter’s ability to control the flow of the fight, and to dictate the pace and location of the action. 

A fighter who is able to effectively use the ring and control the distance between themselves and their opponent may be considered to have good ring generalship.

Hard and Clean Punches

While the number of punches landed is important, judges will also consider the quality of punches landed. 

A hard, clean punch that causes visible damage to an opponent may carry more weight in the eyes of the judges than several weaker punches.

Disputes Over Scoring

Despite the use of objective scoring systems, disputes over scoring in boxing matches are not uncommon. 

Fans and analysts may have differing opinions on who won a particular fight, and there have been several high-profile cases where the judges’ decision was heavily criticized.

To address this issue, some boxing organizations have implemented instant replay and video review systems to allow judges to review key moments of a fight and make more informed decisions.

Other Factors That May Influence Scoring

While the four factors mentioned above are the primary factors that judges consider when scoring a boxing match, there are other factors that may also influence scoring. 

These factors include:


If a fighter knocks down their opponent, the judge will score that round as a 10-8 round in favor of the fighter who scored the knockdown.

Foul Play

If a fighter commits a foul, such as hitting their opponent below the belt or hitting them after the bell, the judge may deduct points from their score.


If a fighter is trailing on points but makes a strong comeback towards the end of the match, the judge may award them additional points.

Factors Considered by Judges When Scoring a Boxing Match


So there you have it!

The scoring system in boxing has evolved over the years, with the current 10-Point Must System widely considered to be the most accurate and objective method for determining the winner of a match. 

Judges consider factors beyond just the number of punches landed, including effective aggression, defense, ring generalship, and the quality of punches landed. 

While disputes over scoring may still occur, the use of technology such as instant replay has helped to make scoring decisions more accurate and transparent.

I hope this post has been helpful in giving you a clear idea about How Boxing Scoring Works.

Don’t forget to give your valuable suggestions in the comments below. Thank you for reading!