Boxing Rules


Boxing is a combat sport in which two boxers fight exclusively with their glove-encased fists. Both competitors try to hit the opponent while avoiding getting hit themselves. But while trying to defeat the opponent, the boxers have to follow a set of rules which base on the so-called Marquess of Queensberry rules which were drawn in 1867.

The Marquess of Queensberry rules were named after John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry who published the code of rules that gave rise to the modern sport of boxing but they were written by a Welsh sportsman John Graham Chambers (1843-1883). The code which was slightly modified over the following decades still forms the core of the boxing rules in both professional and amateur matches.

In all together, the Marquess of Queensberry code consists of 12 rules which foresee:

  1. A 24-foot sized ring.
  2. No hugging (clinching) or wrestling.
  3. Three-minute long rounds with one minute rest time after the end of each round.
  4. A competitor who falls due to weakness or any other reason must get up unassisted within 10 seconds. The other competitor must return to his corner, while the fallen boxer must continue with the fighting until the three-minute round is over. A competitor who fails to get up within 10 seconds, loses the match.
  5. A competitor who hangs upon the rope with the toes off the ground is considered down.
  6. No one is allowed to be inside the ring during the three-minute rounds.
  7. If the match must be stopped for any unavoidable reason, the referee must determine the time and the place for the match to continue unless both sides agree to draw the stakes.
  8. The gloves must be properly sized and new.
  9. A glove that comes off or bursts must be replaced.
  10. A competitor on one knee is considered down.
  11. No shoes with springs or spikes.
  12. All other aspects of the contest are regulated by the London Prize Ring Rules (from 1853).

Also prohibited are holding, pushing, biting, spitting and hitting below the belt as well as holding the ropes or the opponent while punching. The fighters also are not allowed to kick or hit with any part of the body other than glove-encased fist. Violation of the rules can result deduct points or even disqualification of the boxer. The “penalty” depends on the severity of the violation and intentionality.

The combat is regulated by a referee inside the ring, while up to three judges at the side of the ring score the bout and give points to the boxers. If none of the boxers succeeds to knock out the opponent, the match is won by the competitor with the most points. Another option is the so-called technical knock-out which is ruled by the referee, the boxer’s corner or fight doctor if the boxer is no longer able to continue the fight due to injury or any other reason.