Boxing didn’t start out as the highly regulated sport that it is today.
Originally it was two opponents punching it out with bare knuckles and there was no limit on the number of rounds the contenders had to endure. The fight continued until either one of the fighters was either knocked out or had to tap out because they couldn’t take any more.
In 1833, one fight between Simon Byrne and James ‘Deaf’ Burke went on for an exhausting 3¼ hours.
Before long, rules were brought in to prevent such protracted affairs.
Prior to the 1980s, boxing fights were generally limited to 13 to 15 rounds.
However, it took the death of Duk Koo Kim in 1982 to change this limit. He died following a 14 round fight with Ray Mancini.
Research also suggest that the brain came more susceptible to trauma after the 12th round. Some also argued that the 15 round duration meant that the fighters were more susceptible to dehydration and exhaustion.
After much deliberation, the World Boxing Council (WBC) decided that their world title bouts would be set for 12 rounds.
The first title fight under this new ruling took place in 1983 between two heavyweights: Larry Holmes and Lucien Rodriguez.
Other boxing organisations soon followed suit.
The World Boxing Association reduced their championship distances to 12 rounds in 1987.
The International Boxing Federation did the same a year later in 1988.
The standard length of a professional boxing fight is therefore 12 rounds, with each lasting 3 minutes with a 1 minute break between each round.
Amateur boxers differ from professionals in that they are not paid by the sponsoring organization.
Amateurs can earn money from sponsorships, advertising endorsements and jobs outside of the sport but they cannot demand money from the organizing body.
The amateur side of this sport is best epitomized in Olympic boxing.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognised the International Boxing Association as the governing body for the sport of boxing on an international basis. However, in 2019, the IOC suspended its recognition of the Association.
Boxing first featured as part of the OIympics in 1904 Games in St Louis and was dominated by the Americans. Unsurprising given it was the only country to enter participants into this event.
Since then, boxing has always featured as part of the Olympics, apart from in 1912, when it was held in Sweden where boxing was forbidden.
Women’s boxing first featured in the 2012 London Games and there is a difference in the structure of fighting structure between male and female participants:
Men’s amateur matches consist of three three-minute rounds, while the women’s consist of four two-minute rounds.
Many people start boxing at a young age.
According to the USA Boxing rulebook:
Boxers between the ages of 17 to 18 are categorized as Youth Boxers.
Boxers between the ages of 15 to 16 are categorized as Junior Boxers.
Boxers between the ages of 8 to 14 are categorized as Prep Boxers.
Prep Boxers are further subdivided into:
PeeWee Division for ages 8, 9 and 10 years. This group fight for three, 1 minute rounds.
Bantam Division for ages 11-12 years. This group fight for three, 1 minute rounds.
Intermediate Division for pages 13-14 years. This group fight for three, 1 ½ minute rounds.
Once Prep Boxers move up to become Junior Boxers, they fight in three, 2 minute rounds.
According to the USA Boxing rulebook, youth matches, for males and females, consist of three, three minute rounds.
In answer to the question “How long is a boxing round?”, the answer is:
- The standard length of a professional boxing fight is 12 rounds, with each lasting 3 minutes with a 1 minute break between each round.
- Men’s amateur matches consist of three three-minute rounds, while the women’s consist of four two-minute rounds.
- Youth matches, for males and females, consist of three, three minute rounds.