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Amateur boxing

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Amateur boxing

Amateur boxing (also called Olympic boxing) is a variant of boxing practised at the collegiate level, at the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games, as well as many associations.


Amateur boxing bouts are short in duration, comprising three rounds of three minutes in men, and four rounds of two minutes in women, each with a one-minute interval between rounds. Men's senior bouts changed in format from four, two-minute rounds to three, three-minute rounds on January 1, 2009. This type of competition prizes point-scoring blows, based on number of clean punches landed, rather than physical power. Also, this short format allows tournaments to feature several bouts over several days, unlike professional boxing, where fighters rest several months between bouts.

Competitors wear gloves. Head protection was used in men's competition until March 2016, before it was removed by the AIBA due to a higher concussion rate with Head Protection. However, women's boxing will continue with Head Protection, after the AIBA announced that they did not have enough data to decide if there was higher risk of concussion in women.

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 the other. Bouts which end this way may be noted as "RSC" (referee stops contest), RSCI (referee stops contest due to injury) RSCH (Hard blows to the head) or KO (boxer out for ten seconds).


Amateur boxing emerged as a sport during the mid-to-late 19th century, partly as a result of the moral controversies surrounding professional prize-fighting. Originally lampooned as an effort by upper and middle-class gentlemen to co-opt a traditionally working class sport, the safer, "scientific" style of boxing found favor in schools, universities and in the armed forces, although the champions still usually came from among the urban poor.

The Queensberry Amateur Championships continued from 1867 to 1885, and so, unlike their professional counterparts, amateur boxers did not deviate from using gloves once the Queensberry Rules had been published. In England, the Amateur Boxing Association (A.B.A.) was formed in 1880 when twelve clubs affiliated. It held its first championships the following year. Four weight classes were contested, Featherweight (9 stone), Lightweight (10 stone), Middleweight (11 stone, 4 pounds) and Heavyweight (no limit). (A stone is equal to 14 pounds.) By 1902, American boxers were contesting the titles in the A.B.A. Championships, which, therefore, took on an international complexion. By 1924, the A.B.A. had 105 clubs in affiliation.

Boxing first appeared at the Olympic Games in 1904 and, apart from the Games of 1912, has always been part of them. From 1972 to 2004, Cuba and the United States won the most Gold Medals; 29 for Cuba and 21 for the U.S. Internationally, Olympic boxing spread steadily throughout the first half of the 20th century, but when the first international body, the Fédération Internationale de Boxe Olympique (International Olympic Boxing Federation) was formed in Paris in 1920, there were only five member nations.

In 1946, however, when the International Amateur Boxing Association (A.I.B.A.) was formed in London, twenty-four nations from five continents were represented, and the A.I.B.A. has continued to be the official world federation of amateur boxing ever since. The first World Amateur Boxing Championships were staged in 1974.

Computer scoring was introduced to the Olympics in 1992. Each of the five judges had a keypad with a red and a blue button. The judges pressed a button for which ever corner they felt landed a scoring blow. Three out of the five judges had to press the button for the same boxer within a one-second window in order for the point to score. A legal scoring blow was that which is landed cleanly with the knuckle surface of the glove, within the scoring area (middle of the head, down the sides and between the hips through the belly button), and the boxer can't be committing a foul (slapping, ducking head, wrestling, holding, etc.). As long as the punches landed within the scoring area, they are legal and that included body punches, as well as those to the face/heagear.

The AIBA introduced a new scoring system in January 2011. Each judge gives an individual score for each boxer. The score given to each boxer would be taken from 3 out of 5 judges either by similar score or trimmed mean. Scores are no longer tracked in real time and are instead given at the end of each round.

From March 13, 2013, the computer scoring system will no longer be used and amateur boxing will use the ten point must system, similar to professional boxing.

From March 2016, Protective Headgear that had been in use since 1982 was removed from men's competition due to higher concussion rates, than without the headgear. Women's competition is unaffected as the AIBA announced that there wasn't enough data on its effect on women. This ruling will also be in place at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Rules and regulations (United Kingdom)

The following are rules governing amateur boxing in the United Kingdom:

  • Boxers must be at least 11 years old to compete, though there is no minimum training age.
  • A boxer is a junior from his 11th birthday (at which age he is eligible to hold an ME3), until his 17th birthday.
  • Boxers under the age of 17 years MUST NOT concede more than 12 months in age, except where necessary for specific International Events.
  • Novice boxers aged 17 years can compete against boxers aged 16 years provided there is no more than 12 months difference in age.
  • It is recommended that Junior boxers do not concede age, weight and experience in a contest. The final decision for any contest is the responsibility of the OIC.
  • A Boxer becomes a Senior on his/her 17th birthday. When s/he reaches his/her 40th birthday, he/she will no longer be allowed to box as an amateur.
  • Boxers will box 3 x 2 minute rounds and males may box 4 x 2 minute rounds or 3 x 3 minute rounds by agreement. Females may box 4 x 2 minute rounds by agreement. In Open Championships and Internationals, males will box 3 x 3 minute rounds and females 4 x 2 minute rounds. In every case there will be an interval of one minute between rounds.
  • A Senior Boxer may participate in a maximum of 18 contests per season excluding Championships and International matches.
  • There are three classes of Senior Boxers:
  • A Novice is a boxer who has not competed in any stage of an Open Senior Championship. A Novice Boxer must not compete against an Open Class Boxer other than in recognized Championship.
  • An Intermediate is a boxer who has entered and competed in an Open Senior Championship but has not won a Regional Association Title, won a Novice Class 'B' Title, won a CYP Class C Title, or returned from professional boxing.
  • An Open is a Boxer who has won an ABAE Senior Championship Regional Association Title lr boxed at Senior level for his or her Country. A Regional Association Executive Committee may upgrade a Boxer who in their opinion, is clearly above the prevailing standard for his current level of classification. Similarly, a boxer may be downgraded if his ability, in their opinion is below the standard prevailing in his current classification.
  • Rounds duration: unless the conditions for Championships or other authorised events prescribe otherwise the duration of bouts for Junior boxers will be as follows:
  • Both boxers aged over 11 years and under 14 years: 3 x 1.5 minute rounds
  • One boxer aged 13 and the other 14 years: 3 x 1.5 minute rounds
  • Both boxers aged 14 years: 3 x 2 minute rounds
  • One boxer aged 14 years and the other 15 years: 3 x 2 minutes rounds
  • Both boxers aged 15 years or over: 3 x 2 minute rounds, or 4 x 2 minutes by agreement. 3 x 3 minute rounds by agreement (male boxers only)
  • U.S. amateur boxing organizations

    Amateur boxing can be considered any amateur fight at a local boxing gym, but there are several tournaments that take place to determine amateur champions.

    There are several different amateur sanctioning bodies in the United States, including the Golden Gloves Association of America and USA Boxing.

    The Golden Gloves is an amateur boxing tournament that is fought at both the national level and the regional level. Although the Golden Gloves typically refers to the National Golden Gloves, it can also refer to the Intercity Golden Gloves, the Chicago Golden Gloves, the New York Golden Gloves, and other regional Golden Gloves tournaments. The winners of the regional tournaments fight in a national competition annually.

    USA Boxing also sanctions a national tournament to determine who will compete on the United States National boxing team at the Olympic Games (either directly qualifying to the Olympics or through worldwide or regional qualifying tournaments).

    Canadian Amateur Boxing Association

    Since 1969, amateur boxing in Canada has been regulated by the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association (Boxing Canada) and the various Provincial Associations.

    Amateur boxing in the province of British Columbia is sanctioned and regulated by the British Columbia Boxing Association. Some of the main tournaments include Provincial Championships, Golden Gloves, Silver Gloves, Emerald Gloves and Buckskin Gloves.


    Amateur boxing Wikipedia