The act, activity, or sport of fighting with the fists, especially according to rules requiring the use of boxing gloves and limiting legal blows to those striking above the waist and on the front or sides of the opponent. Boxing is also known as professional fighting, prize fighting, the sweet science and pugilism.
Boxing is a combat sport with both an amateur and professional level. The fighters wear padded gloves, attacking and defending with fists, footwork and body movements. Depending on the competitive level each round can be either two or three minutes long with one minute of rest in between, and a match can be anywhere from three to twelve rounds. The winner is usually the fighter who gets punched the least and punches his or her opponent the most while being the most active and accurate. If a fighter got knockdown that fighter was then given to the count of ten to stand and continue. A fighter can end the match early by knocking out his opponent. Wresstling, kicking and biting are not allowed.
Boxing matches are held in what is called a 'ring' which is a square area closed off by ropes. The ropes help to keep the boxers from falling out. Fighters are also required to wear a mouthguard that helps protect the fighters jaw and a foul protecter to help protect the groin area. Amateur boxers are also required to wear headgear.
Olympic (or Amateur) boxing is found at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. Olympic boxing prizes point scoring rather than physical damage or knockouts. Bouts comprise four rounds of two minutes each with a one minute interval between rounds.
Competitors wear protective headgear and gloves with a white strip across the knuckle. A punch is considered a scoring punch only when the boxers connect with the white portion of the gloves. Each punch that lands on the head or torso is awarded a point. A referee monitors the fight to ensure that competitors use only legal blows (a belt worn over the torso represents the lower limit of punches - any boxer repeatedly landing "low blows" is disqualified). Referees also ensure that the boxers don't use holding tactics to prevent the opponent from swinging (if this occurs, the referee separates the opponents and orders them to continue boxing. Repeated holding can result in a boxer being penalized, or ultimately, disqualified). Referees will stop the bout if a boxer is seriously injured, if one boxer is significantly dominating he other or if the score is severely imbalanced.
Professional bouts are far longer than Olympic bouts (ranging from four to twelve rounds), headgear is not permitted, and boxers are generally allowed to take much more punishment before a fight is halted. At any time, however, the referee may stop the contest if he believes that one participant can not or should not continue to box. In that case, the other participant is awarded a technical knockout win, which appears on the boxer's record as a knockout win (or loss). A technical knockout would also be awarded if a fighter lands a punch that opens a cut on the opponent, and the opponent is later deemed not fit to continue by a doctor because of the cut. If a boxer simply quits fighting, or if his corner stops the fight, then the winning boxer is also awarded a technical knockout victory.
If a knockout or disqualification does not occur, the fight must go to the scorecards. Professional fights have three judges each, and each of the judges must use the 10 point must system: Under this system, each time a boxer wins a round in the judges' eyes, the judge gives that boxer 10 points, and the other 9 or less. If the judge deems the round to be a tie, he or she may score it 10-10. When the fight reaches its scheduled distance, all scores are added, round by round, to determine who won on each judges' cards. When all three judges have the same boxer as the winner, this is an unanimous decision. When two judges have one boxer winning the fight and the other one has it a tie, this is called a majority decision. When two judges have one boxer winning the fight and the other judge has the other boxer winning, this is called a split decision. When one judge gives his or her vote to one boxer, another one gives it to the other boxer, and the third judge calls it a tie, this is a draw. It is also a draw when two judges score the fight a tie, regardless of who the third judge score the bout for.
In the United Kingdom, the bout is only scored by the referee, except when a title is at stake, in which case it is scored by three judges.
If a fight can not go on because of an injury caused to one of the competitors by a headbutt, there are different rules: If the fight has not reached the end of round three, (in some places, round four), the fight is declared a technical draw or a no contest. If it has reached beyond the end of round three (or four), then the scorecards are read and whoever is ahead, wins by a technical decision.