The process behind Boxing scoring explained

David Haye v Tony Bellew

One of the largest sources of discussion from the Deontay Wilder fight has been over the scoring of the clash, with many fans left confused by the exact process behind the split draw decision that was handed down.

The bout was called as a draw after Fury survived a dangerous 12th round knockdown but most fans and pundits felt the Brit had still won enough of the other rounds to secure the victory.

Of the three judges, Robert Tapper scored the fight 114-112 in Fury's favour, while Alejandro Rochin opted for Wilder at 115-111. British judge Phil Edwards scored the fight at 113-113, a draw.

But what exactly do these numerical scores mean? And why was the contest deemed a draw when only one judge favoured this result?

As per the Evening Standard, the rules of scoring in boxing are fairly consistent, and are based around a points system that scores fighters round-by-round.

If a fighter is deemed to have won a round, they are given 10 points, while the loser is assigned 9.

There are some variations to these scores. For example, if a fighter knocks down the other, the score will be 10-8 in favour of the first fighter. If there is a second knockdown, the round will be scored at 10-7.

Point deductions by the referee, usually of one or two, can also be made for persistent rule-breaking.


Scorecards are handed to the referee at the end of every round and after the conclusion of the fight, the totals for both fighters are added up to determine the final scores.

For example, without any deductions or knockdowns, if a judge considers a fighter to have won seven and lost five rounds, then their total score will be 116, 70 points for the winning rounds, and 45 for the losing rounds.

Conversely, their opponent would receive 113 points in this situation. 

The contentious part comes in reconciling the three judge's scores, to create a decisive result.

The simplest result, is a unanimous decision, which in rather self-explanatory fashion, comes when all three judges call the fight in favour of one fighter, or as a draw.

Boxing at Brentwood Centre

If two judges call the fight for one fighter, and the remaining judge for the other, then the result is classed as a split-decision victory.

If the one judge that called the fight for the second fighter had called the contest as a draw the result would be classed as a majority decision win for the fighter endorsed by two of the three judges.

If two judges call a draw, but one judge opts for one of the two fighters then a Majority draw is declared.

A split decision draw comes when two judges declare in favour of one of the fighters each, and the third judge, acting somewhat like a tiebreaker, calls it a draw.

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Still with us?

Good, so just to make things a bit more complicated, the major variation to this system of scoring is in Britain, where the referee is sometimes responsible for scoring.

The referee can give points each round for attack, that is classed as 'clean hits' with the knuckle to any part of the body above the belt, and the front and side of the head.

Points can also be awarded for defensive moves, that include ducking. If there is no majority for either fighter, the one who is deemed to have the better style is awarded the victory.

So the next time you are watching a fight you can at least try to understand how the judges are coming to their conclusions.

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