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All A BOUT Boxing, Part 3

Updated on November 24, 2011

Fouls Are For the Birds


Boxing is very complicated when it comes to fouls and warnings. There are 12 fouls in boxing, and for each, you may receive a warning, a point reduction, or disqualification. This depends on the number of times the foul was committed and the seriousness. Minor fouls will usually only result in a warning, moderate fouls will usually receive a warning, followed by a loss of a point. Serious fouls will usually result in a removal of points followed by disqualification, but in some cases, an official may issue a disqualification immediately. A disqualification will appear on a boxer's record forever. Too many may result in suspension from the sport.

Safety concerns is what determines a warning from a serious foul. Disobeying an official is always considered serious.

Here are the boxing fouls, in no particular order:

Showboating (minor/warning): A referee may call this foul if a boxer is doing something that is not directly related to the sport during the round. They include, but not limited to; dancing, jumping, talking, or making gestures or movements that are not part of normal boxing offensive or defensive moves. The referee will indicate this by twirling his fingers in front of his mouth.

Out of Bounds (serious/foul): This means that a boxer has struck his opponent in an illegal area, such as below the belt-line. The referee will indicate this by pointing to the area the foul occurred, or in the case of a "low-blow", will gesture with his hand across the belt-line.

Pushing (moderate/foul): This is exactly what is says. Pushing your opponent is not allowed. This is indicated by the official with a pushing motion.

Holding (moderate/foul): Holding your opponent is also an illegal move. This is indicated by the official holding his wrist.

Turning (minor/warning): It is an illegal move in boxing to turn your back to your opponent. This would be indicated by the referee by actually turning.

Using the Ropes (moderate/foul): You are not allowed to use the ropes to bounce from, rest on, or any other use. This is indicated by the official tapping on the top rope.

Disobeying the Officials (serious/foul): Not listening to the referee or any other official, including judges, is a serious offence. The referee will indicate such offence by putting his hand to his ear, as in "listen!"

Illegal Move (moderate/foul):This will basically cover any other illegal offensive move, such as striking after the bell. The referee will usually indicate this verbally to the boxer.

Forfeit (serious/foul): When you are booked for a match, you are expected to be there for weigh-in time. Not showing up, or showing up late for weigh-in is a Forfeit, and will result in an automatic disqualification. This will appear on your record just like any other disqualification. In some cases, you may also be issued a loss for that bout.

Invalid or Improper Use of Equipment (serious/foul): All boxers are required to wear specific gear depending on the jurisdiction on where your bout is being hosted, not your home location. Not having/wearing the proper gear, or used incorrectly may result in an automatic disqualification, or you may be asked to correct the faulty equipment before allowing to continue. This is communicated verbally to the boxer.

Secondary Foul (minor/warning): Secondary Fouls are any foul committed by a second. Examples are, not exiting the ring after the start of the round, standing on the edge of the ring during the round, and in some areas, coaches are not allowed to yell instructions to their boxers during the round. For any secondary foul, the official will verbally warn the offending second. However, continuous warnings could lead to a disqualification for the boxer.

Head Foul (moderate/foul): This type of foul is issued to a boxer who's head is too low, or attempting to head-butt. Both of these are against the rules of boxing. The referee will indicate the foul by tapping the back of his head.

This is it. I hope this helps you understand this sport a bit better. Keep in mind that these fouls are based on Boxing Canada rules for amateur competition. Rules may vary in other countries.


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