Competitions FAQ

1. New 10 point must scoring system

USA Boxing has decided to do away with the much-maligned computer scoring system and will now be based on a 10 point must system. This means that one boxer must be given a score of 10, declaring him the winner.


Rounds are judged based on:

• Quality blows landed on the target area

• Competitiveness

• Technique

• Style and form of blows

• Tactic

• Infringement of rules


The loser of a round is scored on a scale of 9-6, based on how competitive a round was:


Scoring What Does It Mean?

  • 10-9: The round was very competitive, but one boxer was slightly better
  • 10-8: One boxer was clearly dominant over the other
  • 10-7: Total dominance by one boxer
  • 10-6: One boxer completely overmatched by the other


2. New Low Blow Rule

Following a low blow, if the offended boxer doesn’t complain to the referee, the fight can be continued without an interruption. If there is a complaint made, the ref can do the following:


• Give a standing 8 count

• Disqualify the offending boxer immediately if they rule that the low blow was intentional

If after an 8 count, the boxer still isn’t fit to continue, the ref can pause the fight up to a minute and a half rest period to allow the boxer to recover. After that time if the offended boxer can continue, a warning is given and the fight starts again. If not, the opponent wins by TKO.


3. No headgear for Elite level boxers

The most significant, and perhaps the most controversial, change now being adopted by USA Boxing is the removal of headgear for Elite level boxers. We’ve covered the issue of head injury prevention in boxing before, and needless to say it’s a high priority concern in all sports at the moment.


The removal of headgear from boxers is being called dangerous and reckless by numerous sources. The first thing to point out here is that this rule applies ONLY to Elite level (19-40 years old) boxers with international aspirations. No athlete will ever box without headgear if they don’t want to. Even boxers 19-40 years of age who don’t aspire international competition will be able to use headgear.


It’s also important to keep in mind that for boxers at the highest levels of competition, such as the Elite level, headgear can actually make it more likely to sustain a serious head injury. Headgear can hinder peripheral vision and reaction time, and make it more difficult for a highly-skilled boxer to dodge an incoming blow. Boxers at the youth level and lower will still wear headgear, so don’t go throwing it away just yet.