Action at the boxing ring starts with the three dings that all boxers and boxing audiences are well aware of. The first sound starts the round and the match. While it is fantastic to watch your favorite fighter knock off the opponent, sometimes you feel the round ended too early.
So how long does a boxing round last? Usually, 12 rounds for professional boxers. However, it really depends. Boxing matches are held all over the world with different rules, age groups, types, among other differences. The time of each round, the number of rounds and the period between two subsequent rounds vary.
Put another way, let’s ask ourselves? Is it fair to compare two 17-year olds fighting an amateur match to that where 30-year olds are competing for Olympic medals?
Professional boxing, also known as prize-fighting, is a regulated form of the sport, and the athletes must obey the criteria set by the governing association.
Boxing has evolved throughout the century and the rules have changed frequently. We’ll tell you the round rules as they exist in their latest iteration.
- Have an upper limit of 12 rounds
- Experience determines the number of rounds fought
- Most matches have 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 rounds
Each round lasts for three minutes. Between two subsequent rounds, there is a break of one minute to allow the boxer to rest.
During this break, the boxer is also given feedback on his fight moves and strategy by his coach.
Number of Rounds
A professional boxing round has evolved from unlimited to now, where it has an upper cap of 12.
There are two reasons for this change in the number of rounds:
While it looks great on television when your favorite player is winning in the ring, it is not as great for the fighters. Boxers have to take a lot of punches and bear pain, all the while keeping firm and continue hitting.
In the interest of the safety of the boxers, twelve is the cap.
Sports is one of the most-watched categories of content on television. Since each round lasts for three minutes, 12 rounds require 36 minutes of fighting and about 11 minutes of break time.
This brings the total match time to 48 minutes, including the decision time, interviews and other things. Forty-eight minutes is ideal for television broadcast because it can be comfortably accommodated in an hour’s slot.
The channels broadcasting the matches get a healthy mix of sports content and commercial breaks.
If we compare the standard 12-round match with a 15-round game, the broadcast duration needs to be 90 minutes for just three extra rounds. That is a 50% increase in broadcast time for only a 25% increase in the number of rounds.
Since sports broadcast has a huge fan following, the partners agree to pay a lot of money, and this needs to be covered from the advertisements during the commercial breaks.
Let’s be clear on one aspect – while the type of the match is “amateur boxing,” the boxers are amateurs in no way. They are the kind who could knock off a real amateur in a few punches.
This is practiced at the Commonwealth Games, Pan American games, among other organizations. You could, perhaps, now get a sense of what we said earlier.
Amateur Boxing Rounds – Duration
The rules for amateur boxing were last revised about 11 years back. The most recent change that has been in effect since the beginning of 2009 devises the following rules:
- Round duration for men: 3 minutes
- Round duration for women: 2 minutes
- Fight duration for men: 3 rounds per match (9 minutes of total boxing time)
- Fight duration for women: 4 rounds per game (8 minutes of total boxing time)
Scoring, too, varies in amateur boxing when compared to professional boxing. There is one criterion for scoring points:
The number of clean punches delivered by the boxer
This is in contrast to professional boxing, where power and knockouts come into the picture as far as scoring is concerned.
The new rules that date back 11 years were set in place to ensure safety in the sport. Longer rounds and a higher number of rounds per match were associated with concussions, exhaustion, and muscle problems.
These matches have athletes who fight for their clubs. These matches are exciting too but unfortunately, they do not get enough attention when compared to amateur and professional boxing.
Again, do not let the world mislead you. Youth doesn’t necessarily mean teenagers or twenty-somethings. You may find people who have crossed thirty years of age.
Youth matches are enjoyable because these fights have a more personal component and a sense of belongingness – people fighting for their club. International fame and prize money are not in the picture and this very fact brings a lot of difference between youth matches and the others.
Here is a list of boxing round lengths for frequent youth fights:
|Fight Type||Number of rounds||Duration of each round||Rest duration|
|Novice||10||2 minutes||1 minute|
|Sub-Novice||3||2 minutes||1 minute|
|Junior||3||1 minute||1 minute|
|Bantam||3||1 minute||1 minute|
|Intermediate||3||1.5 minutes||1 minute|
|Senior Junior Olympic||3||2 minutes||1 minute|
|Open||10+||2 minutes||1 minute|
|Master Class||10+||3 minutes||1 minute|
The table above summarizes the data. The junior and bantam are for the starters and they’re expected to fight only for three minutes.
At the intermediate level, the boxers are supposed to fight for 4.5 minutes while the master class are true to their name and fight upwards of 30 minutes!
Boxing matches have different round durations that depend on the class of the match – international, amateur, or youth. Boxing time varies from as little as 3 minutes in youth matches to upwards of 30 minutes in an international game.
Dedicated associations govern match rules and the most common boxing round duration stands at 3 minutes while the rest period between two subsequent rounds is relatively universal at one minute.
Boxing has evolved over the decades, and now the safety of these fighters is considered essential, and rules are revised to ensure that.