Boxing Scoring. Quantity over quality – volume wins!
By Neil Perkins
I read a statement recently ‘Scoring is killing boxing’ The paying spectator can be left very confused having watched a contest and having seen an ‘unjust result’. This statement was made about ‘professional’ boxing and inevitably when boxing is scored and there is ‘bad decision’, we are referencing professional boxing.
The other major style of boxing is amateur boxing. Amateur boxing has recently gone into a big change with respect to the way it is scored, the way it viewed and is trying to rebrand the sport, so much so that in the UK it is now known as England Boxing.
The AIBA (International Amateur Boxing Association) who regulate amateur boxing worldwide introduced some significant changes to try and raise the sports profile. From when I boxed as an amateur, the scoring has changed significantly, so consequently the way boxers must box to win medals and tournaments needed to change. The UK are producing some of the most successful amateur boxers in the world, it has been said by Robert McCracken who heads team GB
‘We are not producing better quality fighters than 20 years ago, just developing fighter’s styles to score points better’
When it comes to White Collar Boxing events, I can only speak of the scoring style that Fighting Fit White Collar Boxing use (we partner with them on events) not any other organisation. As we have always used ABAE (amateur boxing association of England) judges we have mirrored the scoring changes that the ABAE and AIBA implemented and for the similar reasons. Recently we have diversified our scoring for a model that suits our shows better.
AIBA and ABA scoring pre 2010
When I boxed as an Amateur the Olympic scoring system was in full flow. As a boxer I didn’t like this style as my aggression wasn’t favoured, but as a spectator and a pugilist fan I think it worked well. The principal of Olympic scoring was landing clean shots with the white-knuckle part of the glove on the scoring zones. This system pretty much restricted scoring shots to straight punches and you could only score one point per phase of attack. This style favoured tall boxers with high, tight guards who ‘pick-pocketed’ points from behind the guard. This favoured defensive minded boxers. With boxers fed scores during the contest (later between rounds), once a boxer had established a lead they would very often shell up and then look for sneaky counters as the other boxer chased the contest
AIBA and ABA scoring post 2012
After London 2012, the AIBA implemented their new changes. No head guards, longer rounds, and attacking boxing favoured. The switch to the ten-point must system (each round scored on its own merit) and scoring to reflect aggressive boxing. This was done to improve the mainstream appeal of the sport. The scoring became more about volume and the buzz word was ‘effective aggression’ if you threw combinations that drove your opponent back, they’d score. Suddenly, amateurs who didn’t have the ‘international style’ started to flourish, busy fighters who let their hands go started to score and win contests.
How our white collar events are scored?
We’ve adapted the Olympic scoring to still engage the crowd, but scored it on the new system. Aggression and volume will score points. Like with Olympic scoring, you can only score one point per phase of attack, but if you attack in multiple phases and drive the boxer back, even if punches aren’t landing on the scoring area, you’ll score points for ‘effective aggression’.
How to win on this scoring system
Quote head of team GB ‘WE ARE NOT PRODCUING BETTER BOXERS, JUST BOXERS WHO SCORE POINTS BETTER’
A couple of quotes that good amateur coaches will shout and what it means
‘Return Fire’ – when someone fires a combination at you, throw back a combination and return. Even if you are driven back with their phase and concede a point, when you return fire you’ll score a point in return
‘Go Again’ – After you’ve thrown an attack or combination then after a mini pause, thrown another combination. The reason behind it is you can score a point for each phase of attack
‘One and three’ – Throw a single punch and to draw a counter and then throw a three punch combination. Again, the combination phase of punching will always score.
‘Let your hands go’ – Judges can’t score unless you throw. Your ring general ship and defence can be impeccable, but only punches on target area or effective aggression can score. If you don’t throw you can’t score.
There is nothing more I love than to sit down and watch a pugilist specialist like Floyd Mayweather box professionally, but that is professional boxing and not an AIBA scoring category and even the pound for pound king would not medal at amateur tournaments with his style – he is too defensively minded and doesn’t throw enough shots. Rightly or wrongly even people throwing combos that hit Mayweathers arms and gloves would score on the AIBA system. The best style of boxer to watch for scoring is Vasyl Lomachenko – high punch volume, returns fire, attacks in phases and lets his hands go.
To win an AIBA contest you must throw punches, quantity wins over quality – let your hands go.