Bob Arum says shorter rounds risks women’s boxing looking ‘inferior to men’s’

Bob Arum

Promoter Bob Arum believes there needs to be the introduction of three-minute rounds into women’s boxing.

Even in world title bouts, female fighters compete in 10 rounds of two minutes, despite their male counterparts using 12 rounds of three minutes. 

Arum has spoken out on the rule and believes it could actually be damaging to the image of women’s boxing.

The 89-year-old, who is the CEO of the Top Rank professional boxing promotion company, has asked why men and women still do not have the same rules implemented when it comes to match timings.

“If women’s boxing is to take a prominent place, which it hasn’t but it should, it has to be more like what boxing fans are used to,” Arum said. “In a championship fight, it should be three-minute rounds.

“We have to look at other individual sports. The one that comes to mind immediately is a sport where women’s participation is as interesting and as financially rewarding as men’s – tennis.

“In tennis, women play with the same points scoring. A set is the same in women’s tennis and men’s tennis. The only difference is that women play three sets, men play five sets. In normal tournaments, they all play three sets.

“That enables people who follow a sport to see that the rules are the same.”

Bob Arum

Indeed, tennis is widely regarded as the most gender equal sport in the world. Some of history’s biggest athletes have come from a tennis court where men’s and women’s achievements are held in the same regard, along with equal prize money.

While combat sports, including boxing, are also becoming a lot more equal, there’s still some fine-tuning to do in certain areas. 

Arum stressed cutting women’s rounds down to two minutes paints the wrong image about the sport and risks putting the message across that “women’s boxing is different, and probably inferior to men’s boxing.”

American fighter Mikaela Mayer, who is guided by Arum, also believes adding an extra minute to each round would be a game-changer for women’s boxing. 

Mikaela Mayer

“Look at men’s boxing — halfway through, after round six, our fight would be over. But theirs is taking a turn. The better conditioned, the sharper fighter, the higher-skilled fighter shines through and makes a statement.”

Mayer is currently unbeaten in her professional career, winning all 15 of her bouts so far. 

All boxers train incredibly hard and go through gruelling regimes in order to reach peak fitness ahead of a fight. Seeing who lasts throughout longer rounds and come out on top would showcase the elite fighters in a whole new way.

“If we want to bring women’s boxing to the forefront we should advocate for that [three-minute rounds],” continued Arum. “If women boxers agree with me and want to elevate the sport, they should ask for three-minute rounds.”

Mayer will take on French fighter Maïva Hamadouche as the two compete for the IBF and WBO super-featherweight titles on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The fight will be the first women’s world title bout to headline a Top Rank instalment on ESPN since the reincarnation of the series in 2017.

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