I was cornering for one of my fighters last weekend when I witnessed yet another robbery on the amateur circuit. For those who’ve never watched an amateur fight live except for the Olympics on TV, I have something to break to you: robberies happen ALL THE TIME IN AMATEUR BOXING!
It’s inevitable when boxing is such a subjective sport full of bias. Judges are not fighters. They can only judge by what they see, not what they feel. And you can’t win a fight without looking good to the judges.
It’s heartbreaking to lose when everyone saw that you won. Here are some things you can show the judges to avoid a bad decision!
1) Throw more punches
Amateur boxing is judged on a point-system. The guy who throws more punches will usually score more points in the eyes of judges. Even if you’re not really landing anything, it can look good to the judges. It shows aggression and if you’re the one providing all the action, you will be the one they will watch. Keep moving your hands and who knows, you might have earned some points even when nothing landed.
On the other hand, not throwing punches means you have less opportunity to score points. And your passiveness may contribute to an even busier opponent who will benefit from having the busier hands. Anyway, the rule is: keep throwing punches! At the very least, try to throw more than your opponent or at least make it appear that way.
2) Condition your legs
One of the best ways to get robbed is failing to condition your legs for a long fight. I’ve seen so many fighters tire in the 3rd round to the point where they can barely hold themselves up. Even blocked punches send them flying and they fall down even when they’re not actually getting hit. Unfortunately, falling around the ring can cause a “standing 8-count” against you even when it’s from your own fatigue instead of your opponent’s punch.
It also helps to do some balance drills so you don’t fall all over the place. Tall, lanky fighters are especially prone to getting pushed around—and it looks really bad. (Looks like you’re getting bullied.) Strengthen those legs so you can keep yourself up. The judges might score points for your opponent if you’re falling even time he punches you even if they’re blocked.
3) Keep your back off the ropes
Here’s another classic mistake! Don’t lay on the ropes, don’t slide along them, don’t even stand by them. It looks bad and it allows aggressive opponents to trap you along the ropes and throw a bunch of free punches. Even if none of them land, some of these blocked punches may score points. Unless you have some highly strategic reason for being all the ropes, it’s best to hold your ground at the center of the ring. If you don’t know why you keep ending up on the ropes, try moving laterally instead of backwards.
4) Stay out of the corner
This is similar to staying off the ropes. Do not get trapped in the corner. Your opponent gets to throw free punches AND even if you do manage to land your own, it’s hard for judges to see if you’re trapped under your opponent. It’s hard to throw wide punches from the corner (because of the ropes surrounding you) and so all you can throw is straights and uppercuts, but you won’t get credit for these if your opponent is covering the judges’ view of you.
5) Counter back if you get hit
There are so many reasons for this. If you don’t fire back, it makes you look passive and leaves the image of your opponent landing punches as the last impression in the judges’ minds. You will get a standing eight count against you if you take too many unanswered punches, even if you’re fine! I think this is the most shocking discovery for novice amateurs. All you did was block for 5 seconds straight just like you always did in sparring but all of the sudden, the referee jumps in and starts counting even when it’s clear you’re not hurt at all.
Amateur boxing is all about safety, they will not let you take unanswered punches. If you do it enough, they may even stop the fight on you. So please, throw some punches and it’s best if you counter back immediately so that it always looks like an even fight to the judges. Try to be the guy who always gets the last shot.
6) Don’t let your head whip back
Sometimes, the only way you can tell that a guy got hit cleanly is how his head snapped back after getting hit. Especially if you’re a long-necked fighter, I would recommend for you to strengthen that neck. It wouldn’t hurt to pay attention to straight punches so you don’t get your head popped every time your opponent lands a jab.
7) Act confident
Well, the rule should be more like: “BE confident”. You have to look like a confident fighter, not like a frustrated fighter, not like a scared fighter, not like a hurt fighter! When you walk back to your corner, show positive body language. I remember always slumping back to my corner with my head down when I didn’t do well a certain round. My trainer made sure we acted like confident winners all the time in the gym. No dragging our feet around like a loser and especially no looking down at the ground when we returned to our corners. “KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!” he would yell.
Avoiding Judges Bias
The biggest lesson in amateur boxing:
DON’T GET TIRED!
The biggest cause for getting robbed is that you got tired. You might be the better fighter and landing the more effective punches but it doesn’t look good if you’re wobbling all over the place and hardly throwing anything back. Getting tired is what makes your body flop even when you didn’t get hurt. Getting tired keeps you from throwing punches and looking dominant. Getting tired is how opponents come from behind and dominate the final rounds. Whether the other guy actually landed more punches or not, you shouldn’t let the fight finish on that note.
Ultimately, you have to understand that boxing is scored subjectively. Yes, winning is supposed to be objectively based on points earned by landed punches but it’s not that simple. Different judges will score clean punches differently. You’ll have an even harder time if you’re fighting outside of your hometown. Many USA boxing officials are volunteers from the community which means they will have some bias. They might not be consciously trying to work against you but they could be spending more time watching your opponent because he’s familiar to them.
Whatever the case may be, you have to work hard to establish your superior skill and effective aggression. When it comes to a close fight, this will make the difference. I hated seeing my friends get robbed. It’s the most unfair thing in the world to train so hard, dominate your opponent in front of the people, and still come out feeling like a loser.
Have you ever been robbed before? How did it feel? And what would you have done differently?
Thanks for this great subject >>LOL But how do you know all these stuff and we didnt see you on the Olympics.
fredy La grandier
My son fights out of the RealDeal boxing gym in Cincinnati Ohio and even dough he was born here in the states he loves to represent his Puerto Rican roots, he’s one of the slickest, gutsiest , discipline fighters in the gym, but he’s always fighting against the odds, he got super robbed at the last box off in the city about3 weeks ago, he worked super hard and brought it to the kid but he loves to counter punch so he tends to wait on hes opponent to commit so that he can counter and he wins the exchanges and hes head movement keeps him from getting hit but he lost the match, the referee, the doctor,, hell The Cincinnati kid himself tim austin told him he loves him and the kid he fought its from Tim’s camp! Ringside competition is coming and he’s going to bring the belt home back to Cincinnati! !!! In the wisdom of iron Mike Tyson. .. if you don’t kill him, it don’t count! Not literally ofcourse! May GOD protect ALL ! And to boxers every where. … Thank you! By the way if y’all in Kansas check him out! The Avenging Angel LaGrandier ! Aka Angel Ready 4-1 more LaGrandier! Big up expert boxing!
I have 10 fights and I lost 4 times. 3 times they robbed me. I have 6 wins and all K.O. I think I’d have more losses if I didn’t win before time limit, because referees in my country are friends with coaches and they are doing them a favor. My coach is not favorite among coaches and they let us feel it.
I got my first amateur kickboxing match coming up soon and this is a great article. Very informative. When you say looking confident, would showboating help out if the showboater is losing? Also, i like to avoid a lot of shots and stay out of range with my footwork most of the time, then at the opportune moment i like to explode in at an angle with a 3 to 5 shot combo and get out, and throw some counters every now and then. How effective would this strategy be for amateur boxing?
There’s a difference between confidence and cockiness. Showboating when you’re losing a fight is also not going to fool anyone.
In and out strategy is pretty much the amateur game! It definitely works so make sure you master it.
i ask myself why Italian boxers sucks. I mean, even if they win some medals at the Olympics, they still suck, they’re not fighters, they’re not even boxers, they look like they’re playing a game which could be called: “look cool and don’t let the other guy touch your head”.
What I mean is, you can see a young amateur at the Olympics who is going to be a pro. But these Italian guys with their hands down and all that movement around the ring are even AVOIDING BOXING. I want to ask you this: Olympic Boxing has actually nothing to do with boxing. If a boxer is going to turn pro, then competing at the Olympics is just a test. When you’re only thinking about amateur “boxing”, you’re just doing another thing. Here’s tthe “talented” Vincenzo Mangiacapre last year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5a1gLljwPI&feature=related
Is this amateur mind-set what makes pros like Gianluca Branco look so silly when they fight in America (against Arturo Gatti and Miguel Cotto)?
Thank you very much Johnny for your work
I have no comment for this. Some countries encourage the amateur style. Other’s encourage the pro style. But even within that, there are multiple amateur styles and multiple pro styles. It’s a matter of cultures and way that they score fights. I like to think Gianluca Branco lost because he just wasn’t as good; I don’t know if I would say it was purely because of his style. Both Gatti and Cotto had amateur backgrounds, too.
Here in Italy, boxing is – sadly – an almost dead sport. In the ’50s and ’60s (maybe also ’70s) we were all boxing fans, but now it’s all about soccer. Most of the other sports are considered “poor sports”: no money, no business, not so many fans. Boxing is one of the poorest. We have quite good pros (ex. Luca Giacon, a very talented young lightweight), but nobody knows them. So we encourage amateur boxing, cause Olympics is the only way to get a bit of fame, for the athletes. Italian olympic athletes are mainly police officers or they’re serving in the army – probably the only ways to get paid to train. That said, I think Italy had better boxing talents in the past than today’s olympic athletes. The only one that’s not so bad (on my opinion) is Roberto Cammarelle, clearly robbed by the referees and the true superheavyweight gold medal of London 2012.
is that a picture of roy jones jr?
I think it is.
Can website owner confirm?
It is, a quick Google Images search for roy jones jr olympic loss turns up that image from a couple of different angles. It’s a good image for this post, you can even see the confusion on the Korean fighter’s face.
Horrible decision. Greatest robbery in Amateur boxing ever
Yeaup…Roy Jones in the Seoul Olympics when he got robbed!
how can i outpoint my opponent in the neatest way professionally stealing away the rounds one after the next. I think Ali was good at this becuase he used to box in short sharp burst towards the end of each round so to end each round on a kind of high note, would you say this is a exsample of what i am asking? if not what is?
i see what you mean curtis sometimes pacquiao steals a couple rounds at the end like against marquez i believe, but there is no rule saying you cant do it 😉
That’s a whole other guide, Curtis!
Round-stealing is something you do if you’re tired but still trying to win. Basically score a bunch of easy points by throwing fast punches without any power commitment, then run.
You forgot one thing: in amateur boxing you have to win the first round! 70percent of the time(maybe more) the fighter who takes the first wins the fight! Others than that very informing article as always!
I’ve been reading a lot of your articles, and I must say it has helped me so much with boxing!
I just had my first amateur boxing match this past Sunday the 12th.
I just wanted to hear what you see and your input on my match , for I have another boxing match on the 25th of this month.
Thanks in advance!
Hey great fight (congrats on your 1st win). As the smaller guy you really controlled the range. My only advice is when you get inside let them hands go, you worked hard to get in on the taller guy now make him pay. Good luck next fight.
Thanks Alex! yea im just hesitant on this match being my first and everything and the guys height totally shocked me as well. but for sure next fight I’ll throw more punches on the inside!
I didn’t watch the whole thing but from what I saw you looked good. Good balance, power, and efficient control of the ring. You use the southpaw stance pretty well and beat a sharp opponent. Good job!
Im in the red corner. wearing a black top and white and red stripes short.
There’s a better way man……finish the fight
It also helps to do some balance drills so you don’t fall all over the place.
…what would you suggest for balance
First start with the jump rope. I’ll make a balance guide later.
Thanks for the advice man. My last fight in Golden Gloves I got robbed and I had an undefeated record. The reason i know is because after the fight I had tons of trainers and coaches come up to me and tell me I should’ve won. This will sure help
Great article 🙂 but is it just me or did you have an article about amateur boxing tips that you put up a while ago? i can’t seem to find it…..did you take it down?
I think you’re referring to the “Tips for Your First Fight” article.
My first amateur fight was for a local golden gloves tournament several months back. I felt sort of robbed before the fight even began by finding out I was fighting in the light heavyweight class, myself being only a 5’7″ boxer. I only had a week before my fight to start losing weight (my coach failed to communicate what my ideal weight class should be), so I was hopped up on diuretics and fat burners hoping to drop below 170lbs. It wasn’t enough time to lose weight and I had to fight a 6’2″ opponent, and despite stunning him during the second round with a high left hook, he won by unanimous decision. Losing is not fun!
Anywho, keep up the great work on your site. My punches have gained tremendous power lately thanks to you, and everyone at the gym is curious at how I can hit harder than the other guys.
Thanks For The Useful Tips Buddy 🙂
They Were Very Helpful To Me During My Bout! 😀
I’ve Read Many of Your Articles!
They are Seriously Awesome & Very Helpful!
hahaha. these are awesome tips. It is such a funny sport sometimes. I wouldn’t say I got robbed but I do think I scored more. It is important to have strong punches too. I know it doesn’t give more points but judges are biased.
My head often whips back and I know it looks bad but I think it has helped me a lot in taking the big hits. I have a very solid chin if I had anything to brag about. Do you think my theory is plausible?
I think it is important to remember to keep throwing punches even when you know you’ve lost. I managed to get support of the crowd after I lost all because I kept fighting even when I knew I was outmatched. A quick and powerless combination always makes for a good show too. It builds confidence when the crowd cheers you after a quick and ineffective 5-punch combination.
I am also an amateur fihgter i have had 10 fights so far in kickboxing and won 9 with 8 k.o.’s (i know thats not relevent to your question).Before my fights i have to weigh in (obviously) then you will have to fill out some forms, i have to have my blood pressure took and that all you will not have to have a blood test done though.
Michael Jumptime the Boy From Nowhere Davis
When you get robbed, it’s not what you did not do that allowed them to still the fight. they call it getting robbed because someone takes what was yours. Key word, (take) Only one remedy for this assault .A K.O. is our only remedy. Some robberies seemed to have literally been done with the assistance of a gun..Some of these guys got beat so bad such as that fight Roy Jones had in Korea or where ever that was when they rob him in the Olympics. I see real good.
All of your points are great ones but they are more about how to actually be a good fighter, not how to sway judges. Judges have no subjectivity in amateur fighting. It is only about the quantity of “clean punches” (“scoring blows”). That’s it. It may not be the best method, but those are the rules. There really is no stealing rounds. If a guy gets outpunched for 2 minutes and rocks his opponent w/ power for the last minute, he LOSES the round, period, even if the guy was in serious trouble. That’s the rules. So, yes, the trick in amateur is to outwork your opponent as much as possible. Outbox, land more consistently. Aggression and power of themselves do not score. The winner is the one who punches more cleanly over the course of the fight. Those other factors come into play in 10 point must scoring, but not im amateur. Amateur is more or less scored by calculator. For better or worse, that’s the rules of the game.
My entire website is written to help people fight better. With that said, this article is to focus only on the judging aspect of a fight.
Understood but your points 1-7 in this article are about boxing and they are great general advice, however the only thing that sways amateur judges are punch count (scoring punches). Those are the rules of judging. I am a licensed Judge, Ref and Inspector and I can tell you acting confident does not win a round. Only landing punches matters in amateur fights.
Well there you have it! Corrections from the law himself! Thanks for the input, Magoo.
I think I got robbed what do you think..I posted my first fight a while back am I getting better ? I think I slipped and blocked a lot this time https://m.facebook.com/?refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F&_rdr#!/100001278369906/timeline/story?ut=54&hash=-7278068355963622063&wstart=0&wend=1367391599&ustart&__user=100001002859752
Post it on our Facebook page for everyone to see!
Actually i think i lost. it was fair I was angry when i posted that haha but oh well ill get better.
Whether you won or lost, focus on yourself and look for areas to improve. Keep working at it!
You*re very knowledgeable Johnny thanks for the advice this is helping my boxing game here in New-Zealand. Also the home town decision stuff here is awful id say you have a 50% chance of winning the fight even before you step in the ring if its in ur home town. Its extremely biased.
I fought a guy who had 1 former world champion and gold olympian and a former pro and silver olympian in their corner. I landed mass points kept very busy and as i was hitting the guy I was called an 8count and then again as we both were in an exchange again 10 seconds left in the final round. I was tired yes but I train hard n keep my legs moving hands up n continue to fight even when tired so it’s nothing new for me. They ended the fight a referee stoppage.
What about acting too confident like throwing your hands up before the fight
I personally stay collected keep my arms and legs moving a little. As for putting up my arms when I’m introduced from whatever corner I’m in I’ll put up an arm for my cheering crowd.
This is off topic but I really wanted your advice on this. I have a fight at the end of the year and I’m not sure what weight class I should go in. I’m 5’10 and a half, 82 kgs. I think I have around 18 percent body fat but I’m not to sure.
10 percent body fat would be ideal but the goal is to come in as trim as you can. Don’t do anything dangerous with your diet!
them hitting the mat hard and going out on a stretcher is still a win in ametuer boxing right but seriously i was just actualy wondering how different it would be to other boxing it would still be the same basics right and u would still need good power as well as technique right
How well would this strategically work in amateur boxing?
Countering their first punch 70-75% of the time to prevent them from throwing big combinations and putting them on the defensive to land your own punches because I am not very aggressive I like throwing smaller combinations and single punches to win a fight
It all depends on the execution. I would suggest for you to try it and see for yourself if it works and if you can make it work. It’s not a bad idea, though.
Thanks for the advice will definitely use your tips! I fought last month late January in the Golden Gloves in my local community and I got robbed big time. As David said in the comments before everyone came up to me after the fight and let me know that I won the fight even the director of the golden gloves, he said “Me and everyone ringside thought you won that fight and I do not know what the judges were thinking”.
Honestly I would have rather really lost so I could have learned from it then to know I won and not get the decision but despite this Robbery, I had a great time and met some great people at the event. Here are the links to my fight I have a Mayweather/Rigondeaux Style right now but still adding more styles and techniques to my arsenal to make me a completer fighter. I’m in the Black Competition Wear with the White Hyper KO Nike Shoes :
Round 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIoY0d0kl9M
Round 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM743yOlE4E
Round 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_kzQ4VxzZ8
Oh man, you got robbed! I had you winning easily…your left hooks were strafing from the outside. He had his moments here and there but you were potshotting him easily.
How much does this still hold now that amateur boxing’s switched to the professional 10 point must system?
I’d say it still applies. In the end, the judges are watching the action rather than feeling the action. And these tips are basically ways to help you LOOK better.
My son got robbed yesterday big time. He was doing everything not to get robbed and snapping the other boys head back all 3 rounds. After the fight everyone said he won and that he got robbed. I would be the first to be critical and admit a loss but I don’t see how the judges gave the fight to the other boy. I can’t believe how dirty boxing can be.
I’m with you, Paolo. Boxing as a sport can be a bit dirty. As an art, it is perfect in my eyes. Sometimes, you just have to go home knowing deep down inside, you are the better fighter and to find comfort in that.
I boxed laat night at the Western directs and I got hit with 3 punches only 3 the first one they gave me a standing count which I did not need then got hit 2 tines with clean shots and they stopped the fight. Total joke 30 secs into the fight n stopped it totally dusgustin. Trained so hard to get stopped because I got punched the whole pint of boxing is to take punches n work on becoming better by getting experience from fights. I didn’t even have a chance to do anything. Female boxing should be treated the same as male boxing if a female wants to go in a boxing ring and box let them let the same rules apply to the females as males. Boxing is a contact sport so we will get hit?? I gwt hit hardwr off the boys in sparrinf n atill go on. The fight could have changed you nwver know. The girl had a hell of alot kore figjts than me vwry experienced. This was my first fight in 7 yrs so ment alot. Didn’t agree with the decision lastnight at all even a judge said it stopped way to early so was alot of people watching total total joke.
Do you think she was robbed
Don’t what to say
I proof on video I won my fight cause neighbors judge gave it to the other guy it so unfair all the hard work I put in to my training you such be able to show what on video to proof you won there such be new law all the work to stay on weight and run every day ?
I just got robbed… getting 3-4 unanswered punches and trying to avoid more by side/back stepping instead of trading back. got 2 standing counts for doing this twice and got a 3rd one for showing my back while doing it for one punch. i watched the rest of the fights and see ppl getting hit with 3-4 punches as well, but still in the game and no count so i wondered why. found out because they traded back.