How to Bet Boxing 

Boxing is a contact sport between two fighters who battle it out in a ring. The boxers will punch each other and defend against punches as well. The main goal in boxing is for one fighter to beat another fighter, and there are several ways to do this, such as knockout, or judge's decision.

There are many weight classes for boxing and many organizations that give belts to the champions of the weight divisions. While fighting has been around since the beginning of time, the first fist-fighting competitions date back to the ancient Near East in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. 

Some of the world's biggest sports stars are current and former boxers, and boxing is one of the most popular sports in the world. 

Online Boxing

Not only is boxing one of the most popular sports globally, but it is also one of the most popular betting sports. All legitimate online sportsbooks will have odds for more significant boxing bouts. The bigger the fight, the more betting options are available. 

For popular title fights, there are many betting options available. The typical boxing bets are picking the overall winner and picking the round winner, but there are other markets available. 

For big fights, sportsbooks will also offer unique bonuses and promotions. Boxing and betting have gone hand in hand for many years. There have been many instances of cheating where a boxer has thrown a fight to win money. However, it does not happen as much these days for matches that have odds posted online.  

Rules and Gameplay  

In boxing, there are two fighters, or boxers, who fight in a ring with a referee and three judges. For professional fights, there are usually 10 or 12 rounds. 

It was common for bigger fights to be 15 rounds, but that changed in 1983 where there was a fight on national television when Duk Koo Kim died in the ring in the 14th round of his first against Ray Mancini. The rounds are three minutes long, with one minute rest period between rounds. 

The boxers fight and hit each other with punches to try to knock out the opponent and get points, which are awarded when a punch lands on the opposing boxer. 

The types of punches are: 

  • Jab – A quick and straight punch that is thrown with the lead hand. 
  • Hook – A semi-circular punch thrown with the lead hand to the side of the head of the opponent. 
  • Uppercut – A rising vertical punch with the rear hand trying to hit the opponent's chin. 
  • Cross – A powerful straight punch thrown with the rear hand.

The referee controls the fight, rules if the fighters can continue or not, rules on the fouls, and counts when a fighter is knocked down. When a fighter is knocked down, they have until the count of 10 by the ref to get up and continue. 

If a boxer is knocked down by a punch, the referee begins the count. Typically, the referee has to count to eight, referred to as a standing eight count, no matter how quickly the boxer gets up. After the eight seconds, the referee determines if the boxer can continue in the fight. 

Most fights have a three knockdown rule where if a boxer is knocked to the ground three times, the fight is over by technical knockout. 

There are three judges for a boxing match, and they are at the side of the ring. They assign and take away points for the boxers. If a fight lasts the determined number of rounds, it is referred to as "going the distance," Then, the judges decide on who the winner of the boxing match is. Each of the judges total their number of points, which determines the winner. 

The decisions by the judges can be: 

  • Unanimous Decision – All three of the judges agree on the boxer that won the fight. 
  • Majority Decision – Two judges have a winner, and the third has the fight as a draw. 
  • Split Decision – Two judges have a winner of the fight, and the third has the opposing fighter as the winner. 
  • Technical Decision – A technical decision is a fight that does not go the distance, usually due to a cut or injury. The judges can deem a fighter a winner if enough rounds have been completed. The number of rounds that have to be completed is usually four. 
  • Technical Draw – Can be a draw or technical decision but can be a fight that did not go to the cards, which means going to the judge's scores. Usually, a technical draw is called a no-contest and no decision, where no decision is rendered for the fight. 

The referee can hand out fouls in the fight and sometimes take points off the fighter's card. Boxers are prohibited from hitting below the belt, holding, tripping, pushing, biting, or spitting. 

There are 12 fouls in a boxing match, which are: 

  • Showboating – This is a minor warning where a boxer is going beyond offensive or defensive moves. This can be dancing around, shouting, or jumping around during the fight. 
  • Out of Bounds – A foul given to a boxer for hitting their opponent in an illegal area, such as below the belt. Out of bounds is a major foul where points are deducted. 
  • Pushing – Boxers are not allowed to push their opponent, and this is a moderate foul. 
  • Holding – A boxer cannot hold their opponent. 
  • Turning – a boxer turns their back on their opponent. 
  • Using the Ropes – A boxer cannot bounce off the ropes, rest on them, or using them for anything else to give the fighter the advantage. 
  • Disobeying Officials – Not listening to the referee or judges. 
  • Illegal Move – Some of these moves are mentioned above in tripping, biting, holding, or hitting after the bell. Points can be deducted if the illegal move is excessive. 
  • Forfeit – Not showing up for weigh-in or showing up late. 
  • Invalid or Improper Use of Equipment – Not wearing the right type of equipment, which usually refers to the gloves. 
  • Secondary Foul – This is a minor warning for such things as not going to the corner quick enough after a round has ended, not exiting the ring after the beginning of the round, or coaches yelling instructions to the boxer. 
  • Head Foul – A boxer bowing their head too low or headbutting. 

Boxing has eight weight divisions that are the most prominent and widely recognized weight divisions in the sport of boxing. 

Those divisions and weights are:  

  • Heavyweight 200+ lbs (+90.71 kg)
  • Light heavyweight 168–175 lbs (76.20 - 79.37 kg)
  • Middleweight 154–160 lbs (69.85 - 72.57 kg)
  • Welterweight 140–147 lbs (63.50 - 66.67 kg)
  • Lightweight 130–135 lbs (58.96 - 61.23 kg)
  • Featherweight 122–126 lbs (55.33 - 57.15 kg)
  • Bantamweight 115–118 lbs (52.16 - 53.52 kg)
  • Flyweight 108–112 lbs (48.98 - 50.80 kg)

Strategy and Tactics 

There are many strategies and tactics used for boxers in a boxing match. Typically, boxers have different fighting styles, and they use them to try to beat their opponents in the ring. 

Some of the more common styles that boxers employ are: 

  • Boxer / Out Fighter – A boxer trying to distance themselves from their opponent and hit them with longer punches and jabs. 
  • Boxer-puncher – A well-rounded fighter that uses a combination of punches and power punches. A boxer-puncher tries to control the pace of the boxing match to wear down the opponent. 
  • Counter-puncher – A more defensive strategy in fighting using defensive tactics to try to take advantage of an opponent's mistake and then strike. 
  • Brawler – Also called a slugger style where the boxer takes punishment in the form of taking punches. But they are more powerful punchers looking to slug it out with their opponent to beat them. 

A boxer in a match can also change their strategy and tactics depending on how the fight is going. For example, if a boxer is down a significant amount of points, they may change their tactic, knowing they need a knockout to win. 

History of Boxing 

As mentioned before, the history of boxing goes back many centuries. A sculpture from Egyptian Thebes from 1350 BC shows both boxers and spectators, and the earliest evidence of fighters using gloves was from 1500-1400 BC found on Minoan Crete. Ancient forms of boxing were also found in ancient India. 

Boxing was very popular in Ancient Greece and was in the ancient Olympics in 688 BC. The fighters at the time did not use gloves but rather strips of leather to protect their hands. Boxing was also very popular in Ancient Rome. 

There were various sports for fist-fighting in Italy from the 12th to the 17th century. In the early 16th century, bare-knuckle fighting became popular in England, and it was called prizefighting. Fights were staged without modern rules, and the term boxing was first used for the fights in the early 1700s.

In the early prizefighting bouts, there were no rules, and there was no referee. In the fights, head-butting, eye-gouging, and choking occurred, and all of those things are illegal in boxing today. 

Jack Broughton was a championship fighter and came up with Broughton's rules after deaths in the ring were not uncommon. In this early set of rules, if a fighter was down for 30 seconds, the fight was over. They were also not allowed to grasp below the waist. He also encouraged the use of gloves, which were called mufflers at the time, for fights and training. 

In 1867, Marquess of Queensberry rules were drafted by John Chambers, and it brought about the three-minute rounds and more defensive tactics for the sport that remain to this day. 

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, prizefighting was illegal in the United States and England, with most fights held in bars and gambling venues. 

The first world heavyweight champion using the Queensberry Rules was "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, beating John L. Sullivan in 1892 in New Orleans. In the early 20th century, boxing still looked to become a legitimate sport and began on that path with a promoter and famous boxing champions such as John L. Sullivan. 

After World War 2, boxing started to become very popular and kept rising in popularity until today. Some of the biggest names in the sport came from the 1960s with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Floyd Patterson. 

The '70s saw more stars such as George Forman and Joe Louis, who would be a part of the two biggest fights in the history of the sport, bit against Muhammad Ali, in the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila. 

Nowadays, there are four major sanctioning bodies in professional boxing. They all recognize each other in boxer rankings and the rules of title unification fights. 

The four sanctioning bodies are: 

  • World Boxing Association (WBA)
  • World Boxing Council (WBC)
  • International Boxing Federation (IBF)
  • World Boxing Organization (WBO) 

Wall of Fame 

When speaking of the Wall of Fame for boxing, you are talking about the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF), which is located in Canastota, New York. There is also the World Boxing Hall of Fame, but the IBHOF is the more widely recognized institution. In 2020 the IBHOF will begin to induct female boxers. 

You can see all the inductees in the IBHOF CLICKING HERE, and there are the categories of Modern, Women's Modern. Old Timer, Women's Trailblazer, Pioneer, Non-Participant, and Observer. 

While there is always debate on who is the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali is widely recognized as the best. Not surprising since his nickname was "The Greatest." Other boxers that are regarded as some of the best ever are Sugar Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson. Manny Pacquiao, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Floyd Mayweather. 

Distinctive Elements 

The main distinctive element about boxing is the simplicity of the sport with one boxer trying to beat another. Boxing is seen as a pure sport and one where some of the best athletes in the world compete. The nickname for boxing is simply 'The Sweet Science." 

The personalities of the fighters is also a distinctive element both in and out of the ring. With a lot of time before bouts, boxers always antagonize each other. For the bigger fights, this is done through the media. 

Also, weigh-ins and press conferences for the fight can sometimes be just as entertaining as the fight themselves. At press conferences, the fighters can antagonize opponents with each stating why they will win. It is not uncommon for fights to break out at press conferences. 

Combat sports violence is a distinctive element of boxing. This is still the case, even with all the safety measures in place in the sport today. On average, 13 boxers a year die as a result of injuries from a boxing match. From 1890 to 2019, 1,876 boxers died as a direct result of injuries from fights. 


There are many boxing statistics, and some are more important and weighted than others. The most significant stat in the sport of boxing is the win/loss record. The win/loss records determine what kinds of fights the boxers will take part in. The better the win/loss record, the better the fight, and the more money they make for the fight.

In terms of win/loss percentage, important stats are also how fights were won, especially knockouts. When you watch a fight, they will always show the boxer's win/loss record and how many knockouts they have had. 

Other important stats for boxers are punches landed, punches thrown, and punch accuracy. 

Boxing statistics are also used for sports bettors. A sports bettor can handicap a boxing match by looking at the stats for both of the fighters. For any sport, you can increase your chances of winning the bet by handicapping, and this goes for boxing as well.

Popularity and Cultural Impact 

Boxing is still the most popular contact sport, even with the emergence of MMA, and especially the UFC. Some of the world's biggest sports stars are boxers, and some have even been cultural icons. This is especially the case for the legendary Muhammad Ali. He is regarded as the best boxer of all time and one of the most celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. 

Many boxers can be as polarizing as they are popular. Mike Tyson, who is seen as one of the best boxers of all time, had a dubious past in and out of the ring. Still, he is seen as a champion and a cultural icon.

The cultural impact of boxing is huge, and this can be seen by how popular fighters have emerged in TV and film. Sylvester Stallone won the Oscar for the Best Screenplay for Rocky, which now has many movies in the series. There have been many movies and TV shows about the Sweet Science and while not all good the number of them shows how popular the sport is, especially in the United States. 

About Cole Paganelli
Cole Paganelli author profile

Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan, but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his distain for the Red Sox has waned a little. Cole's bucket list ambition is to visit every Major League Baseball Stadium.

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