So you think you know the rules of amateur boxing? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Take a look at some of the most common mistakes I see and experience (and sometimes make, myself) on a regular basis.
1. It’s not called a fight (Although I call it that sometimes.)
Only professional fights are called fights. In order to distinguish between pro and amateur events, the amateur events are called bouts or matches. You might hear me say it here on my personal private little cave, but when I’m in my black and whites you’ll never hear me slip.
I might accidentally say it, but then you’ll look the other way and pretend it didn’t even happen. That way I won’t be horribly embarrassed.
2. Referees CAN talk to boxers during the match
Before 2014, refs were limited to simple hand signals. I can remember infractions being called at least once or twice during matches I had, and I had no idea what offense had actually occurred. Most of the time in a boxing round, the ref is sort of invisible; you’re not really thinking about or paying attention to her.
But because amateurs are learning in the ring, the new rules allow refs to say what the infractions are, and even to coach a little bit during the round. Refs can state and explain an infraction, and even simple warnings (“Watch the holding,” or “Keep that head up”) are perfectly acceptable.
3. Most punches don’t count (And here’s why…)
Most people still think that whoever lands the most punches automatically wins, or should win.
Wrong again Beavis.
Amateur bouts (Hah! See how I didn’t call them “fights”? Sometimes I’m awesome like that.) are judged on five metrics:
- Number of quality blows landed on the target area
- Domination of the bout
- Technique and tactics superiority
- Non-infringement of rules
So punching is just ONE part of the picture, and furthermore, for a punch to be counted, it must:
- Land in the legal target area (above the waist, front side of the body)
- With the knuckle part of the closed boxing glove (no slaps)
- With the weight of the shoulder or hip behind the punch
- Land without being blocked or guarded by the defender
So none of the punches in the clip below actually count. FYI.
Many people who watch amateur boxing only consider punches thrown, and don’t judge the quality, accuracy, or effectiveness of the shots. The shot must be thrown, land — with weight behind it — in the right place with the right part of the glove, and not be opposed. Boom.
4. A standing 8-count is not an automatic scoring deduction
You see 8-counts in nearly every amateur match. The referee gives these in order to evaluate whether a boxer is fit to continue. We need to look and make sure they’re okay.
And sometimes we aren’t sure because amateurs don’t always know what they’re doing. They have sloppy form (chin up), or they don’t block well, or they slip or trip and fall down, not because they’re in danger, but because they’re new.
Most boxers are allowed a total of three 8-counts in any one round, and a maximum of 4 in the match. (Slightly different rules for Elite Men — no limits in a round, and for Masters over the age of fifty, where it’s 2 per round and 3 total.)
So an 8-count is a fairly normal occurrence, and not something to wig out about. The judges won’t actually take it into consideration UNLESS is really IS being given because the other boxer is dominating, or has landed an extremely serious blow.
But most of the time, that’s not the case.
5. Mouthguards with red coloring are not allowed
Let me see if I can explain this one:
(Refs can’t see any blood if there’s red.)
6. You can’t wear clothes that are all one color
Have you ever noticed that most boxing trunks have a contrasting waistband? That’s so that a low blow can be clearly seen. If a boxer is wearing black trunks with a black tank top, there’s no clear delineation for a ref to call a low blow, or for the judges to mark a clean and legal shot.
Before the 2014 rule change, you would see coaches wrapping duct tape around their boxers’ trunks to make an impromptu waistline. That’s not allowed any more. See next rule.
7. No tape is allowed on gear or clothing
This is one of the new rules that came in during 2014, and the reasoning behind it is so that boxers can have decent, functional gear and clothing. Before this year you would see tape of every kind fixing problems of every kind. Shoe soles taped together. Laces taped to shoes (so they don’t fly around or come undone), gloves taped on. The rear of a jersey, taped to make it fit a smaller boxer better.
Since getting rid of tape means upgrading equipment, and because boxing serves so many young people who simply don’t have the means to acquire new equipment, at the lowest levels of competition you’ll see some tape infractions ignored by officials when it’s supporting safety. Laces to headgear might be taped to the gear (so it doesn’t pop someone in the eye). Old, worn glove laces, same thing.
But that may not last, now that it’s part of the official rules. These guys below? Not allowed in the ring.
8. You must weigh in clean-shaven
Therefore the ewok above is DISQUALIFIED. Catbeards and dogbeards also not allowed. Get these jokers outta here.
UPDATE: The requirement that Master athletes (35 and older) be clean shaven at weigh-ins has been changed to allow moustaches and neatly trimmed beards of less than two (2) inches in length.
So. How’d you do?
Feel free to leave me a comment with questions about rules and regs, or contribute your own additions to the conversation.
Top photo by West_Point on Flickr