The main differences are in the Rules as well as in the Objectives of the two sports, with different safety standards and records. Because of this distinction, unlike in other sports, athletes as well as referees and judges of professional boxing are not permitted to participate in amateur and Olympic boxing events. The following are a few examples of the differences between amateur and professional boxing. It is recognized that while the rules for amateur boxing are the same all over the world, rules for professional boxing can vary significantly, and in a few countries or states may have now equalled or even exceeded safety standards of amateur boxing in some instances. The purpose of this web page is to provide factual information in the light of much confusion and misconception. No bias against or preference for a particular sport is expressed, implied, or intended.

Aspect Amateur Professional Safety
Rules Are geared to protect the health and safety of the athlete. Uniform in all 190 AIBA affiliated countries. Rules vary from country to country, sometimes even within one country. Uniform rules mean uniform safety standards.
Rounds Junior A Male & Female: 3 – 1 minute Rounds, Junior B Male & Female: 3 – 1.5 minute Rounds, Junior C Male & Female: 3 – 2 minute Rounds,
Youth & Senior Male: 3 – 3 minute Rounds,
Youth & Senior Female: 4 – 2minute Rounds
From 4 rounds of 3 minutes up to 12 rounds of 3 minutes each. Two- minute rounds for females. Longer bouts are said to increase the risk of injury. For that reason, professional boxing no longer has 15 round fights.
Gloves 10 oz. for competitions, specially designed to cushion the impact. White area denotes striking surface. Must have AIBA approved label. 6, 8, and 10 oz. gloves,depending on jurisdiction. Not only the weight, but also the design and material of gloves are factors.
Headguards Compulsory for all competitions since 1971 in Canada, since 1984 world-wide. Prohibited. Headguards reduce cuts by 90 %, ear lobe injury by 100 %.
Singlets (Tops) Mandatory for males and females. Prohibited for males. Tops prevent rope burns, keep gloves cleaner.
Vaseline, Grease Prohibited. Allowed. Possible eye / vision irritant. Said to prevent “leather-burn.”
Standing Eight-Count Given to a boxer in difficulty. After 3 eight-counts in a round or 4 in total, the bout is stopped. Usually does not exist. Purpose is to protect the boxer before getting hurt.
Duties of Referee First priority is to protect the boxers, and to enforce the rules in the ring. The referee does not keep score. To enforce the prevailing rules. In some jurisdictions, the referee keeps score. In recent years, actions of referees to stop the fight when a boxer is injured or helpless have been exemplary. The role and actions of the referee are important in preventing serious injuries.
Injuries The bout is stopped when there is much bleeding, or cuts, swelling around the eye. The bout is not stopped unless the injured boxer is unable to continue (TKO). Blood and swelling around the eyes impair vision and make it hard to defend against blows.
RSC – Outclassed If a boxer is overmatched, and has difficulty defending against a far superior opponent, the referee stops the contest. No such rule. Mismatches can be a cause of injuries, and while rare, can happen in both sports, in spite of rules and all efforts to prevent or end them.
Novice Class Boxers who have competed in 10 events or less are in the Novice class, and can compete only against other Novices. No such rule. This rule seeks to prevent mismatches and to make bouts more even and fair.
Fouls There are 21 fouls (forbidden, unfair or dangerous tactics) which lead to warnings and point penalties if committed. Disqualification after 3 warnings. Some tactics considered fouls in amateur boxing are permitted in professional boxing. Clean boxing without fouls makes the sport safer.
Objectives To win on points by landing more correct scoring blows on the opponent’s target area. Knock-downs do not result in extra points. Knock-outs are accidental, and not an objective. For point decisions, agressiveness, knock-downs, injuring (“marking”) the opponent, can also count. KO’s are an objective, as a high knock-out record can lead to higher earnings. Acute knock-outs are concussions. Less than 1 % of amateur bouts end in knock-outs. Over 25 % of pro fights end in KO’s, over 50 % in KO’s or TKO’s.
Terms Coach

Amateur athletes compete out of the love of the sport and pride for their province and country. They are not paid to compete, just as amateur swimmers, badminton players and basketball players are not paid to compete. There is a vast difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing. For more information on Professional Boxing in Canada please contact the Canadian Professional Boxing Federation ( ).

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