How To Watch: Olympic Boxing

We guide you through what you need to know before the boxers take to the ring

Katie Taylor

Image: ©INPHO/Octavian Cocolos

Ireland’s Olympic boxers are seen by many as the country’s best medal prospects based on their past performances at the Olympic Games.

In fact, Ireland have won 16 of their 29 medals at the Games in boxing including two golds. The latest of these golds came four years ago when Katie Taylor blitzed her way through the women’s 60kg division to begin a period of dominance that continued up until this year.

This year, Taylor was beaten during a bout due to a perplexing scoring decision, which was explained on Off The Ball that evening.

So to fully enjoy Ireland’s boxers chasing Olympic gold medals, we’ve decided to compile the essential guide to help you understand how the bouts are scored.

There is a one-minute rest interval between each round and contests are won by knockout or on points. Usually in Olympic boxing it is on points. In the men’s boxing, there are three rounds lasting three minutes. Women boxers will contest four rounds of two minutes each.

A point is awarded to a boxer for landing a shot with the marked part of the glove on the opponent's head (not including the back of the) or body (above the belt).

Punches to an opponent's arms do not score points nor do ones that are judged to have no force behind them.

If a boxer commits a foul, he faces receiving a caution, a warning or disqualification. Two cautions for a particular offence mean an automatic warning, and three warnings of any kind result in disqualification.

Common fouls include holding, pressing an arm or elbow to your opponent's face, striking with an open glove or hitting the opponent on the back of the head, neck or body.

Striking below the belt, not stepping back when ordered to do so and pushing the opponent's head back when at the ropes can also earn a foul.

The contest is judged by a panel of five judges. They decide whether or not the strikes thrown have landed or not.

They do so be by pressing one of two buttons in front of them. Should three judges press a button in favour of one boxer, then a point is awarded. At least three judges must hit the same button within one second of each other in order for a point to be awarded.

In the event that a series of blows are traded, and no punches land at full-force, judges await the end of the exchange and judge who had the better of the strikes.

When all points are tallied from each of the judges at the end of the bout, the boxer with the most points is named the winner.

If boxers end on the same number of points, the boxer awarded the most points by a majority of the judges is declared the winner.

If two boxers end up with the same number of points, the judges decide a winner by deciding such factors as which of the two took the lead and showed better style.

This can be based on technique, competitiveness, tactics, adherence to rules, domination and successfully landed shots.