Boxing Rules

The uniform boxing rules and regulations were developed by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) to ensure a level of safety for participants and to enhance the integrity of the sport of boxing.

Uniform Boxing Rules

As approved August 25, 2001, Amended August 2, 2002, Amended July 3, 2008

  1. Each round shall consist be of a three (3) minute duration, with a one (1) minute rest period between rounds.
  2. The referee is the sole arbiter of a bout and is the only individual authorized to stop a contest.
  3. All bouts will be evaluated and scored by three (3) judges.
  4. The 10 Point Must System will be standard system of scoring a bout.
  5. The Mandatory Eight (8) Count after knockdowns will be standard procedure in all bouts.
  6. All professional boxers are required to wear a mouthpiece during competition. The round cannot begin without the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece is dislodged during competition, the referee will call time and have the mouthpiece replaced at the first opportune moment, without interfering with the immediate action. Points may be deducted by the referee if he feels the mouthpiece is being purposely spit out.
  7. There is NO Standing Eight (8) Count.
  8. There is NO Three (3) Knockdown Rule.
  9. A boxer shall receive a twenty (20) second count if the boxer is knocked out of the ring and onto the floor. The boxer is to be unassisted by spectators or his/her seconds. If assisted by anyone, the boxer may lose points or be disqualified with such a decision being within the sole discretion of the referee.
  10. A boxer who has been knocked down cannot be saved by the bell in any round.
  11. If a boxer sustains an injury from a fair blow and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout, the injured boxer shall lose by TKO.
  12. Injuries sustained by Fouls:
    1. Intentional fouls
      1. If an intentional foul causes an injury, and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout immediately, the boxer causing the injury shall lose by disqualification.
      2. If an intentional foul causes an injury and the bout is allowed to continue, the referee will notify the authorities and deduct (2) points from the boxer who caused the foul. Point deductions for intentional fouls will be mandatory.
      3. If an intentional foul causes an injury and the injury results in the bout being stopped in a latter round, the injured boxer will win by TECHNICAL DECISION if he is ahead on the score cards or the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DRAW if the injured boxer is behind or even on the score cards.
      4. If boxer injures himself while attempting to intentionally foul his opponent, the referee will not take any action in his favor, and this injury shall be the same as one produced by a fair blow.
      5. If the referee feels that a boxer has conducted himself in an unsportsmanlike-like manner, he may stop the bout and disqualify the boxer.
    2. Accidental Fouls
      1. If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout immediately, the bout will result in a NO DECISION if stopped before four (4) completed rounds. Four (4) rounds are complete when the bell rings signifying the end of the fourth round.
      2. If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout immediately, after four (4) rounds have occurred, the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DECISION, awarded to the boxer who is ahead on the score cards at the time the bout is stopped.
        1. Partial or incomplete rounds will be scored. If no action has occurred, the round should be scored as an even round. This is at the discretion of the judges.
  13. A fighter who is hit with an accidental low blow must continue after a reasonable amount of time but no more than five (5) minutes, or he/she will lose the fight.

"Uniform Rules of Boxing." Association of Boxing Commissions. July 2008

Championship Rules Female Boxing Guidelines

  1. All bouts shall be scheduled for no more than (10) rounds with each round lasting two (2) minutes. One (1) minute between rounds.
  2. Female boxers shall use NO facial cosmetics and have their hair secured with soft and non-abrasive materials.
  3. The weight classes shall be the same as used by male boxers.
  4. Female boxers shall wear breast protectors and groin protectors that are both properly fitted and a mouthpiece is also required.
  5. Glove size: Females boxers up to 154 lbs., shall use 8 oz., gloves and female boxers over 154 lbs., shall use 10 oz., gloves properly fitted.
  • All female boxers must provide a negative pregnancy test prior to each bout.

"Championship Rules Female Boxing Guidelines." Association of Boxing Commissions. January 2007

Comparison of IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO Championship Bout Rules

Note: Boxing sanctioning bodies and state and local boxing commissions rules and regulations may differ significantly. For further informaton see boxing organizations and boxing commissions