How to score a professional boxing bout
Bobby Mayne, author of The Art of Boxing: Your Guide to the Sweet Science

This article continues on how the scoring criteria is applied when judging a boxing bout

Prior to commencement of a boxing bout each judge has to complete the details on the scorecards i.e. boxers names in respective corner, judge’s name and numbering the correct amount of prescribed rounds allocated for the bout, one sheet per round.

After the completion of each round the referee will collect the scorecards from all three judges and hand to the Commission representative to record scores on the tally sheet.

On completion of the final round the referee collects the scorecards and hands to the Commission representative for completion of the tally sheet to determine the result, the final scores will be given to the ring announcer to read out the final scores from each judge to declare the winner.

The scoring system used in professional boxing is the 10-Point Must System

  • 10-9 with the more dominant boxer receiving 10 points, the other receiving 9.
  • 10-8, when a boxer is knocked down from a clean scoring punch. A knockdown is any part of the boxer touching the ring canvas (knee, glove etc.). A boxer may dominate an opponent without scoring a knockdown which can also be scored 10-8.
  • 10-7, when a boxer is knocked down twice in a round.
  • The referee may deduct a point for an intentional foul, instructing all three judges to record the point deduction, this occurs after at least one warning. Only the Commission representative can deduct points from the final score.
  • If both boxers are knocked down, the knockdowns cancel each other out.
  • 10-10 on rare occasions both boxers have scored and performed with similar effort.

When a bout lasts the duration of prescribed rounds, the outcome will be determined by the judges scoring, resulting in the following decisions

  • Unanimous decision – All three judges score the same boxer as the winner.
  • Split decision – Two judges score in favour of one boxer (the winner), and third judge scores in favour of the other.
  • Majority decision – Two judges’ score for one boxer (the winner) and third judge scores the bout a draw.
  • Draw – One judge scores in favour of one boxer, second judge scores in favour of the other, and third judge scores the bout a draw. Neither boxer wins the bout.
  • Majority draw – Two judges score a draw and third judge scores in favour of one boxer.

Outcomes not requiring judges scoring

  • Technical draw – bout is stopped as a boxer is unable to continue due to accidental injury (usually cuts) or foul.
  • Knockout – A boxer has been knocked out from a scoring punch or unable to stand of the unassisted when the referee has reached the count of 10.
  • Technical knockout – The bout is ‘waved off’ stopped by the referee saving a boxer from unnecessary punishment.

You may also like: How to score a professional boxing round – Part 1

Bobby Mayne
Bobby Mayne is the Head Coach at Boxrite Boxing Club and author of several boxing coaching books including the bestselling "The Art of Boxing: Your Guide to the Sweet Science". Mayne has been involved in boxing since 1981. He has trained professional boxers such as Australian Daniel Dawson to compete at the world level, becoming a world contender and ultimately the WBF World Superwelterweight Champion. He also assisted in the training of top boxers from the Philippines including Rey Megrino and Rey Loreto, who were both successful in winning their respective WBC Regional and WBO World Flyweight titles.