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How To Become A Boxing Judge: Your Ultimate Career Guide

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Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: July 16, 2023

Imagine the electrifying atmosphere of a boxing ring, the roaring crowd, the adrenaline-pumping action, and the silent anticipation of the final verdict.

A verdict that lies in the hands of a few select individuals, the boxing judges.

They are the silent messengers of the sport, ensuring fair play and precision in scoring.

To become a boxing judge is akin to embarking on a journey - a journey of learning, dedication, and passion for the sport.

Get ready to lace up your gloves and step into the ring as we reveal the path on how to become a boxing judge, and ultimately, a professional in this field.

Key takeaways

  • Understand the role and responsibilities of a boxing judge, possess knowledge of the sport and obtain necessary qualifications.
  • Follow 8 steps to become an amateur boxing judge. Gain experience at this level then progress to professional judging.
  • Attend workshops & seminars, get certified through a professional association, apply for matches and build your reputation in order to succeed as a pro boxing judge.

Understanding the role of a boxing judge

Imagine being the deciding factor in a boxing match, where every point you assign has the potential to change the course of an athlete’s career.

That’s the power vested in the hands of a boxing judge.

They are the guardians of fairness and integrity in the sport, assessing fights and awarding points based on the performance of the boxers.

It’s a role that requires not just a passion for the sport but an intimate understanding of its rules and regulations.

A boxing judge’s seat is not merely a front-row seat to the action; it’s a responsibility that demands precision, impartiality, and a deep-rooted love for the sport.

What does a boxing judge do?

A licensed boxing judge is the silent arbitrator of a boxing match, tasked with the crucial responsibility of evaluating fights and awarding points to boxers based on their performance.

They work in tandem with a boxing referee who enforces the rules during the match.

But unlike the referee who is in the thick of the action, a boxing judge observes the match from ringside, analyzing every punch and every defensive move, keeping a keen eye on the boxers’ techniques and strategies.

To become a boxing judge, one must first become a non-athlete member of USA Boxing, and this comes with its associated costs.

In addition to the membership fee, there’s also a fee for a background screening.

It’s a small price to pay for a ticket to the heart of the action, where every decision you make can change the course of a match.

What qualifications do you need to become a boxing judge?

Becoming a boxing judge is not a decision to be taken lightly.

It requires certain qualifications, some inherent and some acquired.

Good eyesight and physical fitness are essential, as a boxing judge needs to be alert and focused throughout the match.

But perhaps the most important qualification is a thorough understanding of boxing rules.

This knowledge is crucial for making fair boxing decisions, as every point awarded can potentially change the outcome of a match.

The road to becoming a boxing judge is not without its costs.

There are expenses associated with enrolling in USA Boxing and obtaining the relevant licenses.

The cost of obtaining a boxing judge license through the State’s athletic commission may also vary by State.

However, these costs are part of the investment in becoming a qualified and respected boxing judge, an investment in a career that puts you at the heart of the action.

What are the responsibilities of a boxing judge?

A boxing judge is more than just a spectator at ringside.

They hold the power to shape the outcome of a match and potentially, a boxer’s career.

With up to three judges typically present at ringside, they are responsible for scoring the bout and awarding points to the boxers based on punches that connect, defense, knockdowns, and other more subjective criteria.

This requires an in-depth understanding of the sport, an ability to stay focused and impartial throughout the match, and a keen eye for detail.

The accuracy of a boxing judge depends on these skills and their experience in the field.

The responsibility of a boxing judge extends beyond the ring.

They must remain abreast of any modifications to the rules of the sport to ensure accurate evaluation of bouts and appropriate allocation of points.

Additionally, a boxing judge must maintain their objectivity and impartiality at all times, ensuring that they are uninfluenced by the audience, the boxers, or any other external forces.

It’s a role that demands not just knowledge and skills, but integrity and professionalism.

8 steps to becoming a boxing judge (for amateur matches)

Becoming a boxing judge for amateur matches is a journey that begins with understanding the sport and culminates with stepping into the boxing ring to judge a match.

The road to becoming a boxing judge is marked by several milestones, each one taking you a step closer to your ultimate goal.

The journey is not always easy, but with dedication, passion, and the right guidance, it is certainly achievable.

Let’s take a look at these steps, one by one.

1. Understand the sport

The journey to becoming a boxing judge begins with understanding the sport.

Boxing is not just about throwing punches; it’s a strategic game of strength, speed, and skill.

It’s about understanding the subtle nuances of the sport, the strategies employed by boxers, and the rules that govern the game.

A comprehensive understanding of the sport is a prerequisite to becoming a boxing judge.

This step is akin to laying the foundation for a building.

Just as a strong foundation ensures the stability of a building, a deep understanding of the sport ensures a solid base for your career as a boxing judge.

It equips you with the knowledge and insights necessary to make accurate and fair decisions in a match.

2. Complete a boxing judge course

Once you have a good understanding of the sport, the next step is to enroll in a boxing judge course.

This course is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a boxing judge.

It covers everything from understanding boxing rules to problem-solving capabilities, and the ability to make concise decisions in actual matches.

Think of this course as a compass guiding you in the right direction.

It provides you with the tools and knowledge you need to navigate your way through the world of boxing judging.

And just as a compass points you in the right direction, this course guides you towards your goal of becoming a boxing judge.

3. Apply to your State's athletic commission

After completing the boxing judge course, the next step is to apply to your state’s athletic commission.

This commission oversees all sports in the state, including boxing, and is responsible for licensing and regulating boxing judges.

In some cases, the local boxing committee may also be involved in this process.

The process of applying to the athletic commission involves filling out an application form and providing evidence of your qualifications and experience.

4. Undergo a medical examination

The path to becoming a boxing judge also requires you to be in good health.

This is why the next step is to undergo a medical examination.

This examination involves having a physical exam and providing a medical history to ascertain your physical fitness for judging boxing matches.

Depending on your state’s requirements, you may also need to undergo a vision test and possibly a drug test.

You’ll need to be at your best to make the best decisions in the ring.

5. Pass the required exam

After completing the course and passing the medical examination, the next step is to pass the required exam.

This exam tests your knowledge of the rules and regulations of boxing, as well as your understanding of the scoring system and criteria for judging a boxing match.

It’s a crucial step that demonstrates your competency and readiness to take on the role of a boxing judge.

6. Obtain a license if necessary

Once you pass the required exam, the next step is to obtain a license if necessary.

Depending on your state’s regulations and the level of matches you want to judge, you may need to obtain a license to legally judge boxing matches.

The process of obtaining a license may involve submitting an application, passing a background check, and providing proof of your qualifications.

7. Start working at the amateur level

Now that you’re licensed, it’s time to gain some real-world experience. The best way to do this is by starting to work at the amateur level.

Judging amateur matches gives you a chance to put your knowledge and skills to the test in a real-world setting.

It’s a stepping stone towards judging professional matches and a great way to build your reputation.

It’s a chance to learn from experience, make mistakes, and grow from them.

It’s also a chance to network with other professionals in the field, gain insights, and start building your reputation.

8. Network and stay updated with opportunities

Lastly, it’s important to network and stay updated with opportunities in the field.

Connecting with other boxing judges and professionals in the industry can give you access to valuable insights and opportunities.

Attending events, joining professional organizations, and staying informed about the latest news and developments in the industry can all help you stay connected and informed.

Networking is like planting seeds.

It might not yield immediate results, but over time, these connections can grow into opportunities that can take your career to new heights.

So never underestimate the power of a strong network.

5 steps to becoming a professional boxing judge

This journey involves building on your amateur experience, attending professional development workshops and seminars, getting certified through a professional boxing association, applying to judge professional matches, and building a reputation.

To become a professional boxing judge, you must first build on your amateur boxing experience.

This includes getting involved in the boxing community, where you can learn from others and gain valuable insights.

1. Build on your experience at the Amateur level

Experience is often the best teacher, and this is certainly true when it comes to becoming a professional boxing judge.

The experience you gain at the amateur level serves as the foundation for your career in professional boxing judging.

But it’s not just about gaining experience; it’s also about learning from it, reflecting on your decisions, and continuously striving to improve.

2. Attend professional development workshops and seminars

As you gain experience and start building your reputation, it’s also important to continue learning and growing.

One of the best ways to do this is by attending professional development workshops and seminars.

These workshops and seminars offer a wealth of knowledge and insights, keeping you up-to-date with latest trends and developments in the industry.

3. Get certified through a professional boxing association

To further enhance your credibility and marketability as a boxing judge, consider getting certified through a professional boxing association.

This certification serves as a testament to your knowledge, skills, and commitment to the profession.

It’s a badge of honor that sets you apart in the industry and opens up new opportunities for you.

4. Apply to be a judge at professional boxing matches

Once you’re certified, it’s time to take the leap and apply to be a judge at professional boxing matches.

This involves contacting event organizers and sports organizations, expressing your interest, and showcasing your qualifications.

You may also need to present your certification and licensing documents during this process.

Always remember, each application is a potential step towards achieving your goal, so take it seriously and put your best foot forward.

5. Build and maintain a good reputation

In the world of professional boxing, reputation is everything.

Building and maintaining a good reputation involves consistently demonstrating excellent judgement, fairness, and professionalism in your role as a judge.

Never compromise your integrity in the ring. Be open to feedback, and always strive to improve your performance.

In addition, establish good relationships with other professionals in the field. Show respect to everyone, from the boxers to the organizers and other officials.

A good reputation can open doors to bigger opportunities and higher levels of professional boxing matches.

Frequently asked questions

Do boxing judges get paid?

Yes, boxing judges do get paid. The amount can vary greatly depending on the level of the match, the location, and the organization hosting the event. It is important to note that many amateur boxing judges volunteer their time to gain experience and to contribute to the sport.

How hard is it to be a boxing referee?

Being a professional boxing referee is one of the most difficult professions in any sport, requiring great scrutiny and demanding that you be in charge at all times. Every bout must be officiated with your best effort, while expecting the same from the contestants.

How do boxing judges work?

Boxing judges work by using a 10-point scale to score each round, usually awarding 10 points to the more dominant boxer and 9 points to the other. If a boxer is knocked down, they lose a point; if knocked down twice, they lose two points.

This system is designed to reward the boxer who is more active and aggressive in the ring, as well as the boxer who is able to land more punches and control the action. Judges also take into account the boxer’s defense and ring generalship.

How to become a boxing referee?

If you want to become a professional boxing referee, it’s important to register with your local boxing board and attend a training course to learn the rules and physical fitness needed. Most states require some level of certification from a boxing organization for licensing.

Check with your state licensing department before attending a class.

How do you become a boxer judge?

To become a boxer judge, you may need to meet specific state requirements. These can include filling out an application form, completing state-certified training, passing a medical exam, and undergoing a comprehensive background check.

Additionally, good eyesight and physical fitness are crucial qualifications for boxing judges, regardless of their location. Ensure you meet all the necessary criteria to pursue a career in boxing judging.

Do boxing judges count punches?

Yes, boxing judges count punches to factor in a boxer's clean punching, effective aggressiveness, and ring generalship. Judges score each round based on these criteria, considering the power and quantity of punches thrown. Counting punches helps determine which boxer is performing better in these areas.

What do judges do in boxing?

Boxing judges play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a boxing match. They carefully score the bout based on factors like connected punches, defense, knockdowns, and subjective measures. Typically, three judges are present at ringside to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Are there judges in boxing?

Yes, there are judges in boxing. A three-judge system is mandatory for championship fights, and for smaller undercard bouts, the appointed referee determines the winner. Regardless of the scenario, modern boxing follows the '10-Point Must System', where each round is judged individually on a 10-point scale. The judges play a crucial role in determining the winner of a boxing match.

The bottom line

Becoming a professional boxing judge is not a destination, but a journey.

It’s a journey that begins with understanding the sport and ends with you standing in a boxing ring, making decisions that can change the course of a match.

Along the way, you’ll learn, grow, make mistakes, and achieve victories.

But most importantly, you’ll be part of a sport that thrills, excites, and inspires millions of people around the world.

So, lace up your gloves, step into the ring, and embark on your journey to becoming a professional boxing judge.

The bell is about to ring, and your journey is just beginning.

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