BOXING TERMINOLOGIES: A concise list of terminologies of boxing. You will find 100s of boxing terms and definitions used by boxers and officials, all listed from A to Z.
Boxers and competition referees can use this heavyweight listing of boxing terminology slang and vocabulary.
The titles and common match rulings will also help ringside spectators and fans of combat sports.
The official boxing rules and regulations is a good place to start if you are learning to play.
These boxing key words cover the advanced lingo and sports terms related to the sport. Fight your way through to the most common boxing terminology by clicking the alphabetic facility below. Or, take a break and sharpen your knowledge and understanding of the sport.
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A – Accidental Head-butt
Accidentally head-butting is an anti-boxing strike but often done involuntary.
An alias is a nickname, a moniker, or sobriquet that a boxer either adopts for himself or is given to him by others, such as by a sports reporter.
The most common aliases in the early days of boxing were ‘Kid’ and ‘Young’.
Alphabet soup refers to the abbreviations of the various sanctioning bodies that have proliferated since the 1980s.
It is their handing out of what many boxing aficionados consider ‘cheap’ world titles.
An amateur boxer is one who does not get paid for their performance in a boxing match, and is not able to compete or be ranked for a world title in any professional organization.
In boxing terms the apron refers to the section of a boxing ring that extends beyond the ropes.
Australian Scoring System
The Australian Scoring System, developed in the Philippines, was used in the first half of the 20th Century. It was the prevalent scoring system in California from about 1925 to 1956.
An automatic warning occurs when the referee has to warn a fighter for committing the same foul twice in a bout.
B – Bag Gloves
Bag gloves are small, padded boxing gloves used when hitting a speed bag or heavy bag. The speed bag version usually does not contain padding.
The maximum weight for the bantamweight division is 118 pounds (53.5 kg or 8 stone 6 lbs).
Bare-knuckle is a phrase often used to distinguish between boxing with gloves and the more ancient form of combat sport performed by two individuals fighting without any gloves or other form of padding on either of their hands.
A barnstormer (or “barnstorming”) is a term in boxing used to describe a boxer who goes from small town to small town, taking fights, often against local heroes, for cheap, but frequent paydays.
The Romans were the first to coin the term Battle Royal, using it to describe a specific type of spectacle in which several gladiators were matched in one arena and made to fight until only one remained.
Beat the Count
A boxer can ‘beat the count’ by getting back up and on to his feet from a knockdown, immediately before the referee reaches the count of ten seconds.
Belt describes an imaginary line from the navel to the top of the hips, below which opposing boxers are not allowed to hit. A belt is also the symbol of a championship awarded to a boxer.
Bicycle is a term used when, during the course of a bout, a boxer does not fight, but instead attempts to avoid his opponent’s punches by continually stepping away.
In boxing jargon, a bleeder refers to a boxer who is susceptible to cuts from punches, or having old cuts re-opened.
Blocking is a defensive strategy in boxing. It is executed by keeping the hands up (to block punches), the chin down (to protect it behind the gloves), and the eyes on the opponent (to see what’s happening). Generally the right glove blocks the opponent’s left-hand punches.
Bob and Weave
Bobbing moves the head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. As the opponent’s punch arrives, the fighter bends the legs quickly and simultaneously shifts the body either slightly right or left.
Bobbing is another defensive strategy in boxing and executed by slightly moving the head to either side so that the opponent’s punches slip by the boxer’s head. You use the bob to evade swings and hooks for the head.
A bolo punch is a combination of a wide uppercut/right cross/swing that was delivered seemingly from the floor.
A bout in boxing terms defines a boxing contest, boxing fight, or boxing match.
The boxing booth was a large tent with a false front painted with extravagant boxing scenes. Inside the booth, fighters would await fighting challenges from the audience.
Boxing shoes are high-topped, rubber-soled footwear designed to prevent the boxer from twisting or turning his ankle while fighting.
The breadbasket is one of the terms used in boxing and refers to a boxer’s stomach or abdomen.
The term ‘break’ in boxing refers to a referee’s order to step back from a clinch.
The buckshot punch reportedly was a hard right to the jaw, followed by a left-right feint before another hard right.
C – Card
A card refers to a program of boxing, generally consisting of four to six bouts, sometimes more.
Catchweight (or catch weight) refers to boxers coming in at no specified weight for their bout. Traditionally, they would meet in middle of their usual weight divisions.
In this boxing words list, the term ‘cauliflower ear’ describes the destruction of the underlying cartilage framework of the outer ear (pinnae), usually caused by either infection or trauma, resulting in a thickening of the ear. Classically, blood collects (hematoma) between the ear cartilage and the skin.
There is a marked thickening of the entire ear which may be so extensive that the shape of the ear becomes unrecognizable. The ear is said to look like a piece of cauliflower. It is typically seen in wrestlers and boxers who have had repeated trauma to the ear.
A caution is the lightest penalty imposed by a referee for an infringement of the rules by a boxer during a bout. Three cautions usually result in an automatic warning.
A chapter is an informal term for one of a series of rounds, usually lasting three minutes (sometimes two minutes), separated by a one-minute rest, which make up a boxing bout (also called a stanza).
Delivering a check hook is a maneuver which consists of a normal left/right hook, combined with some nifty footwork. As your opponent comes forward in an overly aggressive manner, you almost simultaneously take a step back, pivot on your lead leg, and swing your rear leg while throwing a hook.
The ‘chief second’ is the person in command of a boxer’s corner during a bout and one of the common terms used in boxing.
The term ‘chin’ refers to the ability of a boxer to withstand a punch to the head. A glass chin means that he susceptible to being knocked out or hurt by such a blow.
Clinching means you are holding an opponent’s body with one or both arms to prevent or hinder punches. An experienced boxer who has been put on ‘queer street’ by his opponent will often hold and clinch to buy himself some time to recover.
This strategy of fighting close to your opponent means you are so close or positioned in such awkward ways that he is unable to throw any hard meaningful punches on the inside.
Color refers to a boxer’s personality, charm, and charisma, including the rare ability to give the fans ‘a show’.
There are several different punching combination types which can be combined to form ‘combos’, such as a jab and cross combo.
A commissioner is a member of a boxing commission or state athletic commission, who usually is appointed for a specified term by a state governor or, in the case of Indian reservations and casinos, the governing body of the tribal government (informally called a solon).
A contender is a top-ranked boxer, usually meaning one who is not the champion himself but is among the next top-ten in terms of quality and fight record in their respective division or weight category. The number one contender is considered the second-best boxer of his weight in the world.
In a boxing glossary of slang words the corkscrew punch was referred to as being an elusive, short-thrown punch, which had knockout results.
The boxing key word ‘corner’ refers to one of the four corners of a boxing ring. It usually means one of the two assigned corners of the ring where boxers rest between rounds of a bout. It also refers to a boxer’s team of seconds during the fight:
A counter-punch begins immediately after an opponent throws a punch, exploiting the opening in their position.
The count in boxing terms is the tolling of the seconds of the clock by the referee after a boxer is knocked down. If the boxer is still down at the end of ten-counts, the fight is over by a knockout.
A counter-attack begins immediately after a defence, exploiting the opening in the opponent’s position.
Covering up is one form of defense to avoid an incoming strike to an unprotected face and body. If done too often during a bout by a boxer, he may be denigrated by observers/commentators.
A ‘cross’ in boxing terminology slang (also commonly called a straight) is a power-punch similar to the uppercut and hook.
A cross-counter is a counter-attack begun immediately after an opponent throws a jab, exploiting the opening in the opponent’s position.
The cruiserweight is also known as Junior Heavyweight and Lighter-heavyweight. The maximum weight for this division is 200 pounds (90.9 kg or 14 stone 4 lbs).
A cut man (or cutman) is the second who deals with cuts sustained by a boxer during a bout. His job is to stop any bleeding from the face or nose and also to reduce swelling around the eyes by applying cold pressure.
D – Dancing
Dancing is a term in boxing most often used to describe a boxer’s impressive footwork.
A ‘decision’ occurs when a bout goes its scheduled duration (goes the distance). In some instances a bout may end earlier than its scheduled duration because of an accidental head-butt, resulting in the need to go to the judges’ scorecards for the decision, if a certain number of rounds have been fought (usually at least four rounds for bouts of longer duration).
A boxer’s defense strategy is used to prevent punches from landing on their target (you) by four main methods:
- Evasion is the preferred method (slipping, rolling, ducking, bobbing, footwork and pulling away).
- Blocking and Parrying.
- Clinching (holding or hugging).
Deflection of the blow by parrying the hand. The parry is used against straight punches for head or body.
Dementia pugilistica (also called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome, boxer’s syndrome, and ‘punch-drunk’ syndrome) is a neurological disorder which affects career boxers and others who receive multiple dazing blows to the head.
The condition develops over a period of years, with the average time of onset being about 16 years after the start of a career in boxing.
The condition, which occurs in people who have suffered multiple concussions, commonly manifests as dementia, or declining mental ability, and Parkinsonism, or tremors and lack of coordination. It can also cause unsteady gait, inappropriate behavior, and speech problems.
A boxer is disqualified by a referee, and loses a bout, when he repeatedly fouls or infringes the rules.
A boxing weight category. Boxing categorizes boxers by weight, not size. Historically there were only eight recognized divisions. Today, however, there are three to four times as many divisions, depending on the sanctioning body.
Double-end bags are used by some boxers to quicken their reflexes and to develop short, accurate punches. It also helps a boxer to learn defense tactics.
Down may mean one of several things in boxing:
- Touching the ring floor with some part of the body other than the feet.
- Having any part of the body outside the ropes.
- Hanging on the ropes helplessly after being hit; 4) being judged to be in a semi-conscious state and unable to continue fighting.
A draw is a decision rendered after a bout has been completed whereby the boxers tie or earn equal points from the officials scoring the contest.
Drawing is also a faked opening left for your opponent to punch at, so that when he punches he will leave an opening at which you can counter.
A semi-circular and vertical punch thrown with the rear hand.
Ducking is one of the four basic strategies of defensive boxing along with blocking, rolling, with holding and clinching.
E – Enswell
An enswell (sometimes called an ‘end-swell’) is a small piece of metal used by a second, corner or cutman to apply pressure to an injury to reduce swelling. An enswell may be solid metal (usually stainless steel) and kept cool within icewater, or may be constructed with a hollow chamber to hold water and pre-frozen or filled with ice.
Proper use of the enswell is to apply light pressure and hold the tissue in normal position, as the cold slightly constricts the capillaries to reduce ancillary swelling. Excessive pressure, or attempts to ‘iron out’ a bruise, will only damage tissue further and exacerbate the bruise or contusion.
Evasion is the method whereby you force an opponent to miss a punch without any physical contact. It is the preferred method because it throws an opponent off balance without interfering with your equilibrium.
An ‘exhibition’ bout is one where no official decision is rendered, and is provided merely to entertain the audience. It is often of short duration; e.g., two to three two-minute rounds.
F – Fall Through the Ropes
Falling through the ropes means slipping or being punched through the ropes of a boxing ring.
The maximum weight for the featherweight division is 126 pounds (57.2kg in stone is 9).
A feint is a threatened or faked punch that is not delivered. To fake a punch in order to judge an opponent’s reactions and force him to open into a vulnerable position.
Fight of the Century
Boxing promoter Tex Rickard created the phrase Fight of the Century for the 1906 Battling Nelson vs. Joe Gans title bout. It has been applied to four other bouts since then:
A fight record is an accumulation of wins, losses, and draws a boxer acquires throughout his career. A boxer can have an amateur or professional fight record but they often exclude exhibition bouts.
Five-point Must System
A system of scoring whereby the judging officials must award the winner of a round five points, and the loser of the round four, three or fewer points. If the round is even, each boxer must be awarded five points. This scoring system is not in much use, if at all, today.
Fixed refers to a bout whose outcome has been pre-determined by the participants, their managers, and/or others (such as organized crime–“the mob”), usually to take advantage of gambling odds.
A flash knockdown occurs when a fighter is knocked down but gets up quickly and shows little or no ill-effects. It is sometimes called a no-count.
A floor means to score a knockdown of your opponent.
Also known as Paperweight. The maximum weight for the flyweight division is 112 pounds (50.8 kg or 8 stone).
The way a boxer moves and plants his feet which enables him to be well-balanced for throwing punches and ready to switch easily between defensive and offensive boxing.
A foul is any infringement of boxing rules, such as hitting below the belt, holding or kicking. A boxer can lose points during a bout for fouling, or can be disqualified.
Note: The list of boxing fouls show how they might get considered as intentional or unintentional.
G – Gate
The gate refers to the total amount of receipts or money that a boxing card brings in from the people who attend the show.
Glass Chin is used to describe a boxer who is susceptible to being knocked out, or hurt by a punch to the head. Other terms also used, which have the same meaning, include;
- Glass jaw
- China chin
- Porcelain chin
- No beard
- No whiskers
Go the Distance
Go the distance or ‘went the distance’ is a boxing phrase meaning that a bout lasted its scheduled duration. The phrase is also commonly used when a boxer, losing decisively and seemingly about to be knocked out, continues to the very end.
Go to the (judges) Scorecards
Go to the scorecards means that, if a bout goes to its scheduled number of rounds, the winner, if any, is determined by the judges’ scores.
It also refers to the rule that, if there is an accidental head-butt during a bout, it will go to the scorecards to determine the winner, if four rounds of a scheduled 12-rounder have been completed. Otherwise, the bout will be declared no contest.
Boxing sailors often were informally called ‘gobs’ because it was a nickname for a sailor.
There are many main defensive positions (guards or styles) used in boxing:
- Guard higher for more head protection while.
- Guard lower to provide better protection against body.
- Single position, but rather adapt to the situation when choosing a
certain position to protect them.
Within each style, there is considerable variation among fighters, as some fighters may have their guard higher for more head protection while others have their guard lower to provide better protection against body punches.
Many fighters vary their defensive style throughout a bout in order to adapt to the situation of the moment, choosing the position best suited to protect them.
Guns is a nickname given to a boxer with powerful arms, primarily the biceps.
H – Ham and Egger
The boxing term ‘ham and egger’ has connotations ranging from that of an ordinary person to that of loser. Some people proudly call themselves a ‘ham and egger’, using it to mean an ordinary person or nobody special whereas other people may use it as an insult.
In boxing, it is synonymous for ‘palooka’ or ‘tomato can’ (boxers who would never be contenders). They were just around to serve as opponents and sparring partners for contenders on their way up. They rarely got big prizes like the winners, just enough to pay for their meals (ham and eggs).
Hand wraps usually consist of gauze and medical tape, and are worn by boxers under their gloves. They are designed to protect the bones of the boxer’s hands and wrists when punching.
A boxing heavy bag is a long, cylindrical bag suspended by a chain, covered with leather, and filled with either a fibrous material or water. They weigh from 50 to 150 pounds. It is used by boxers to practice their punches, footwork, and stepping.
It helps to build muscles in the upper body, wrists and hands. It also helps build endurance. Boxers punch it, move around it, and push it back, just as they would an opponent.
The maximum weight for the heavyweight division is unlimited (200+ lbs, 90.9+ kg, 14 stone 4 lbs+).
Hitting on the Break
Hitting on the break occurs when a referee breaks apart two boxers who are clinching, and one boxer–instead of taking a mandatory full step back–immediately hits his opponent. That is a violation of the Rules of Boxing.
Holding is one of the four basic strategies of defensive boxing along with slipping and ducking, rolling, and blocking. Holding is executed by clutching the opposing boxer so that he cannot punch and sometimes called hugging.
A hometown decision is one whereby a boxer, fighting in or near his hometown, seemingly is given every benefit of the doubt by the judging officials. Thus, although beaten by his opponent, he may be given a draw, or even the win.
A hook in boxing terms is a short power punch in which the boxer swings from the shoulder with his elbow bent, bringing his fist from the side toward the center. One of the most technically difficult punches to throw because it requires perfect precision, timing and coordination.
Hugging is another term used to describe holding an opponent (see holding).
I – Infighting
Infighting means boxing at close quarters so that blows from the opponent, using the full reach of his arm, cannot be delivered.
J – Jab
The jab is a quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand.
Often the most important punch in a boxer’s arsenal because of its power and its ability to set up other punches.
It can also be used as a way to gauge distance, to keep an opponent wary, or as a defensive move to slow an advancing opponent.
A ‘journeyman’ is a boxer who has little or no expectation of winning his fights, thus he is said to be “along for the journey”. They are generally competent boxers who possess solid boxing skills and/or the ability to absorb punishment.
Often they were aspiring novices or even prospects, but were defeated and found to have limitations which relegated them to the role of journeyman.
A judge is the official who sits at ringside to score a bout.
Also known as Super Flyweight (WBA/WBC). The maximum weight for this division is 115 pounds (52.2 kg or 8 stone 3 lbs).
Also known as Super Bantamweight (WBA/WBC). The maximum weight for this division is 122 pounds (55.3 kg or 8 stone 10 lbs).
Also known as Light Flyweight (WBA/WBC). The maximum weight for this division is 108 pounds (49 kg or 7 stone 10 lbs).
Also known as Cruiserweight and Lighter-heavyweight. The maximum weight for this division is 200 pounds (90.9 kg or 14 stone 4 lbs).
Junior Light Heavyweight
Also known as super middleweight. The maximum weight for this division is 168 pounds (76.2kg in stone is 12).
Also known as super featherweight. The maximum weight for this division is 130 pounds (59 kg or 9 stone 4 lbs).
Also known as light middleweight. The maximum weight for this division is 154 pounds (69.9kg in stone is 11).
Also known as light welterweight. The maximum weight for this division is 140 pounds (63.5 kg or 10 stone).
K – Kidney Punch
A kidney punch is one to the lower back. It is an illegal punch in boxing due to the damage it can cause to the kidneys.
Kissed the Canvas
Kissed the canvas is an expression used to describe when a boxer is knocked down with his face facing the floor and laying on the canvas.
An official knockdown is ruled in boxing when a fighter is punched and:
- A part of his/her body other than the feet touch the canvas (such as his butt or glove).
- When a fighter is being held up by the ropes (i.e. the fighter would have fallen had the ropes not been there).
- When a fighter is hanging on, through or over the ropes.
- Cannot protect himself and, for whatever reason, is lodged on a position where he can’t fall.
A slip or fall to the canvas by a boxer, resulting in any of the above conditions, is not a knockdown.
Note: The Association of Boxing Commissions Referee Rules and Guidelines state: ‘Before a bout can resume after a boxer has been knocked down, fallen or slipped to the floor of the ring, the Referee shall wipe his gloves.’
The referee wipes the gloves on his shirt to remove any dirt or debris that might have gotten on the fighter’s gloves from the canvas.
The knockdown timekeeper is the ringside person in charge of the stopwatch that measures how long a boxer is knocked down.
After the referee has directed the boxer who scored the knockdown to a neutral corner, he then looks to the knockdown timekeeper, who is looking at the stopwatch and telling the referee the count so far, to make sure of the exact count.
A knockout occurs when a boxer is knocked down by his opponent or otherwise is down and the referee reaches the count of ten before the boxer is back on his feet. In record keeping this type of knockout is sometimes referred to as a “Count Out” (or CO).
If the three knockdown rule is in effect and a fighter is knocked down three times in one round the opposing fighter is awarded a victory by knockout.
A knockout may also occur if a boxer falls through the ropes and cannot climb back into the ring and be on his feet by the count of 20.
L – LaBlanche Swing (pivot blow)
Sometimes called the pivot blow, this unique swing is a blow delivered by closing your eyes, turning rapidly on one heel and letting the right hand go at random.
A left hook is one of the four basic punches in boxing.
The maximum weight for this division is 115 pounds (52.2 kg or 8 stone 3 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 122 pounds (55.3 kg or 8 stone 10 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 108 pounds (49 kg or 7 stone 10 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 175 pounds (79.4 kg or 12½ stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 154 pounds (69.9 kg or 11 stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 140 pounds (63.5 kg or 10 stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 200 pounds (90.9 kg or 14 stone 4 lbs).
The lightweight division was initially created in 1738 by Jack Broughton for any fighter whose weight was less than 160 pounds (72.6 kg or 11 stone 6 lbs).
Locking mitts is a term in boxing used when a boxer squeezes his opponent’s forearm (usually the right arm of an orthodox boxer) between his elbow and body, to prevent from getting punched, while usually at the same time hitting his opponent with his other hand.
A boxer can lose a fight in a number of ways:
- A decision loss (loss on points) including losing by majority decision or by split-decision.
- By knockout or technical knockout; or 3) by disqualification.
Loss on Points
A loss on points, or losing the decision (whether a unanimous, split, or majority decision), results when a boxer accumulates fewer points than his opponent during a bout. It becomes an official loss on his/her fight record.
A lucky punch means to have a lucky break.
M – Majority Decision
A majority decision (MD) occurs when two of the three judging officials decide in favor of one boxer, while the third official calls the bout a draw. A majority decision officially is recorded as a win in a boxer’s fight record.
Majority draw occurs when the scorecard of one of the three scoring officials favors one fighter, while the other two judges’ scorecards have the bout scored even. It is officially recorded as a generic ‘draw’ on each boxer’s fight record.
A boxing manager is the person in charge of a boxer’s business affairs. He arranges matches, arranges training, pays the bills, and acts as the boxer’s agent in all negotiations.
A mandatory eight count is an 8 second count that a fallen boxer must take when he gets back on his feet following a knockdown. It allows the referee time to decide whether the boxer can continue the fight.
Marquess of Queensberry Rules
The Marquess of Queensberry boxing rules were originally established in 1867 by the Marquess of Queensberry.
A Mary Anne is the nickname boxers often give to their own favored punch.
A ‘masked marvel’ was a fighter who would enter the ring wearing a mask or other disguise, which shielded his identity. Most appearances of the Masked Marvel were announced prior to the show, in newspaper articles and advertising.
After he entered the ring, he would remove his mask and reveal his identity to the crowd. Usually the boxer was well-known to regular attendees of local shows. The use of the masked marvel was much more common in wrestling, where the element of surprise has long been used as a promotional device.
A match refers to a bout or a boxing contest.
A matchmaker is the person in charge of arranging bouts between boxers. He often works under the supervision of a particular venue’s promoter. Sometimes the promoter alone handles the matchmaking duties.
A medicine ball is a large rubber or leather, 10-to-15 pound ball, used by boxers to develop their stomach muscles. They also build strength in their arms and shoulders by throwing the medicine ball around.
The tolling of the bell ten times at the beginning of a bout, in honor of some recently-deceased boxing person.
The maximum weight for this division is 160 pounds (72.6 kg or 11 stone 6 lbs).
Million Dollar Baby
Million dollar bay is the nickname given to a boxer who has accrued more than one million dollars in ring earnings.
The maximum weight for this division is 105 pounds (47.6 kg or 7½ stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 105 pounds (47.6 kg or 7½ stone).
A mouse refers to a swelling on the face or head.
A mouthpiece or gum shield is a piece of hard, form-fitting rubber a boxer wears while fighting, primarily to prevent cuts in the mouth by the teeth, and to protect the teeth.
N – NC (no contest)
No contest (NC) occurs when a bout is ended before its scheduled duration, but excludes a knockout or technical knockout ending. Historically, the usual reason for a no-contest was when the referee determined that one or both boxers were not giving their best (not trying) and decided to end the contest, shooing the boxers out of the ring. No-contests also occurred if the police stepped in to stop the fight, a power failure developed, or rain forced an ending.
ND (no decision)
A ‘no decision’ bout (ND) occurred when, by law or by pre-arrangement of the fighters, if both boxers were still standing at the bout’s conclusion and there was no knockout, no decision was rendered and neither boxer was declared the winner.
A neutral corner is one of the two corners of a boxing ring not assigned to either boxer during a bout.
Common during the early 20th Century, a ‘newspaper decision’ might be made after a no decision bout had ended.
A no-count occurs when a boxer sustains a knockdown, but gets back up on his feet before the referee can count to ‘one.’ It is sometimes called a flash knockdown.
A novice is the class of a boxer who has had fewer than 10 sanctioned bouts.
Number One Contender
The number one contender is the second-best boxer of his division or weight in the world, in terms of quality and fight record; second only to the world champion.
O – Official
An official in boxing generally refers to a referee or judge, but it may also include a boxing commissioner.
Official Boxer Record
Term used by the Association of Boxing Commissions, which dictates that ‘Official Boxer Records’ be based solely upon the official commission results of the host state.
Old-timers usually refers to those boxers who fought before the present generation.
The ‘one-two combo’ is a nickname of a jab and cross combination.
A ‘one-two punch’ refers to a straight left instantly followed by a straight right.
This means the class of a boxer who has had more than 10 sanctioned amateur bouts.
Open scoring is a system of scoring whereby the judges’ scores are revealed before the end of the bout–either after every round, or after some other pre-determined number of rounds.
The term ‘opening’ refers to an opening in the defense of one’s opponent.
Orthodox means you are a right-handed boxer.
Out for the Count
Knocked out for the referee’s count of ten seconds.
Outclassed is a ruling whereby the referee stops the bout because a boxer is taking excessive punishment, and declares the boxer’s opponent the winner.
P – Palooka
A palooka is a professional boxer of below average ability who frequently loses his fights, usually in four or six round bouts, to boxers who are just starting out in their careers.
The paperweight is sometimes referred to as the flyweight division (95 lbs and below).
Parrying and blocking uses the boxer’s hands s defensives tools to deflect incoming attacks.
A passbook in boxing terms is an updated record of a boxer’s bouts, used as a medical check, among other purposes.
The covering up and protecting of oneself with both arms by a boxer not trying to avoid blows.
A peek-a-boo defense is a style of defense created by trainer Cus D’Amato, whereby the boxer raises his two hands up high, to his forehead and extremely close to his face, to guard against punches to his face and head (but often thereby leaving his body open to attack if he does not also use his elbowed arms for protection).
The pinweight is the lightest weight class for professional women boxers; up to 101 pounds.
Pioneer is one of the terms in boxing which generally refers to those boxers who fought during the 1700s and 1800s when “modern” boxing was in its infancy, including bare-knuckle fighters.
The Pod Index in boxing terminology is a method to evaluate the performance of judges worldwide by determining the percentage of instances his or her scores are consistent with the other two judges working the same fights.
A referee can deduct a point from a boxer who violates a rule during a bout.
Boxers earn points from officials, generally ringside judges, during a bout through successful punches to his opponent’s head and body, knockdowns, defense, and the like. A boxer can also lose points by committing a foul. A boxer who accumulates more points at the bout’s conclusion wins the decision or a win on points–unless the bouts ends by knockout, technical knockout, or no contest.
Pound-for-pound (abbreviated as P4P) means the best fighter overall–based upon skills, achievements, and other measures of success–whatever his weight.
Professional boxing, in which the boxers receive a purse, as opposed to amateur boxing.
A boxer who is paid for engaging in a bout. Compare amateur. See also pro. In some jurisdictions a boxer is paid by the bout or by the number of rounds he is scheduled to fight. What he is paid is called his ‘purse’.
A promoter is the person or organization who organizes, advertises, arranges and conducts a professional boxing card.
A protective cup is a large padding device which fits over a boxer’s lower waist to protect the groin from low blows.
The pull away in boxing terminology is a type of defensive and evasive action.
There are four basic punches in boxing terminologies;
- Straight punch (Jab and Cross)
A purse in boxing is the money that is paid to the two professional boxers who engage in a bout.
Q – Queer Street
Queer Street is an expression used when a boxer appears groggy and dazed from the effects of one or more punches, usually while he is unable to defend himself from further punishment.
Quit is a term used when, during a bout, a boxer decides that he has had enough and stops fighting, resulting in a technical knockout win for his opponent.
R – Rabbit Punch
This is a punch delivered by a boxer to the back of the neck of his opponent. It is illegal to use because of the potential for serious injury it can cause. It is derived from the blow used by a rabbit hunter to kill the animal.
Range is the distance between your right fist and your nose. There are four general classifications of range:
- Long range
- Medium range
- Short range
A boxer’s reach in boxing terminology is the distance between the fingertips of the outstretched arms.
A referee is the official who stands in the ring to ensure that a bout is fair and that the fighters remain able to box. Sometimes referred to as the ‘third man in the ring’. In some jurisdictions of the past, especially in Europe, the referee stood outside the ropes to officiate.
Reflex Bag (punching ball)
Reflex bags are used by boxers to quicken reflexes and to develop short, accurate punches. It also helps a boxer learn defense.
The rest period is the one-minute interval between rounds of a bout during which a boxer usually sits on a stool in his corner while his seconds attend to his needs and give him advice for the upcoming round.
Retire means to quit the profession. In British boxing it also describes when a boxer, during a bout, decides that he has had enough and stops fighting, resulting in a technical knockout win for his opponent.
A right cross is one of the main punches used in boxing.
A ‘ring doctor’ is a physician selected by a promoter or boxing commission to be ring-side during a boxing program, and attend to the medical needs of the boxers. A ring doctor has the authority to instruct the referee to stop a bout in order to protect a boxer from further injury.
This refers to the ability of a boxer to dictate the pace, style and tactics of a bout.
Ringside means the seats immediately surrounding the boxing ring.
Rolling is similar to ducking (moving under and thus avoiding getting hit by a punch), while also responding with a punch of your own.
A round is one of a series of periods usually lasting three minutes (sometimes two minutes), separated by a one-minute rest, which make up a boxing bout. Also informally called a chapter or stanza.
RSC is a British term meaning ‘Referee stops the contest’. It is used to save a boxer from a knockout when he is being outclassed, cannot protect himself, or is otherwise unfit to continue the bout. This results in a technical knockout win for the boxer’s opponent.
This is a British term meaning “referee stops the contest because of head blows.” Used to save a boxer from a knockout after he has received hard blows to the head which have left him incapable of defending himself. This results in a technical knockout win for the boxer’s opponent.
RTD is an abbreviated term for retired. It indicates that the referee stopped the bout during the minute rest period between rounds. He may have done so on his own, per the ringside doctor’s judgment, or when a fighter indicated during the rest period that he did not want to continue on to the next round.
A rubber match is the deciding match of a multi-bout series between two boxers, in which the two boxers have each won a bout against each other. The term usually refers to the third bout in a series, making it a trilogy.
Rulebook Book (Boxing Rules PDF)
An Official Boxing Rulebook PDF may be useful once you are familiar with the basic version. Boxing trainers and coaches may find it easier to study the key elements in the PDF rules book.
Rules of Boxing
Violation of the rules considered to be boxing fouls and can result in a warning, point deduction, or disqualification by the referee.
S – Sanctioning Body
Sanctioning body refers to a boxing organization that sponsors championship fights and awards title belts.
Saved by the Bell
Saved from being counted out by the bell signaling the end of the round.
A clean hit with force, using the knuckle area of a closed glove, on the front or side of the opposing boxer’s head or body above the belt.
A second is a person other than the coach who stands in a boxer’s corner during a bout and gives him advice and assistance between rounds. A team of seconds is also called the boxer’s corner.
A command given to a boxer’s corner to exit the ring near the end of a rest period during a bout, immediately before the next round begins.
In this glossary of boxing words A to Z ‘shade’ means to have the better of a boxing opponent.
The use of the upper arm to protect the chin from punches.
A nickname given to a non-professional (amateur) boxer. Genuinely and thoroughly pure.
Slipping is a defensive move and executed by slightly moving the head to either side so that the opponent’s punches ‘slip’ by the boxer.
The informal name given to an illegally staged and unregulated boxing show of the early to mid-1900s.
In boxing, the term ‘southpaw’ refers to a left-handed fighter, one who fights with his right hand and foot forward while keeping his left hand and foot in the back.
Sparring means making the motions of boxing without landing heavy blows, as a form of training.
A sparring partner is a boxer employed to engage in sparring with another as training.
A small, leather, air-filled bag connected to a swivel, and used by a boxer to develop hand-eye coordination necessary to hit a moving opponent. It improves and builds hand speed and muscle stamina. Boxers usually hit it for three minutes at a time (the length of a round). It improves rhythm and defense. It allows a boxer to practice slipping and rolling with punches.
A split decision occurs when two of the three judging officials decide in favor of one boxer, while the third official deems the opponent the winner. A split decision officially is recorded as a win in a boxer’s fight record.
A split draw is a decision by the judges when a bout has reached its scheduled end; this form of decision involves one judge scoring the bout in favor of one fighter, another judge scoring the bout for the opposing fighter, and the final judge scoring the bout even. Each fighter will receive a “draw” towards his or her record.
A spoiler is a boxer who fights with a difficult, unusual style that gives him a stylistic advantage over a boxer who may be perceived to have more talent.
The name for the group of boxers who have the same manager or promoter (a stable of boxers).
Stance usually refers to whether a boxer is right-handed or left-handed. If he generally hits with his right hand, with his left foot forward, he is considered an orthodox puncher. If he punches with the left hand, with the right foot forward, he is considered a southpaw. A boxer who do both is considered a switch hitter.
Standing Eight-count (protection count)
A standing eight-count, also known as a protection count, occurs when the referee stops the action and gives an eight-count to a boxer who has not been knocked down but appears hurt. During this time, the referee will determine if the boxer is fit to continue.
An informal term for one of a series of periods usually lasting three minutes (sometimes two minutes), separated by a one-minute rest, which make up a boxing bout.
Stop in boxing terminology means to defeat an opponent by a knockout or technical knockout.
The maximum weight for this division is 105 pounds (47.6 kg or 7½ stone).
One of three experience levels in amateur boxing. It is the class for a boxer who never before had a sanctioned bout.
Slang term for a boxer’s best calculated, or usually effective, punch.
The maximum weight for this division is 122 pounds (55.3 kg or 8 stone 10 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 130 pounds (59 kg or 9 stone 4 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 115 pounds (52.2 kg or 8 stone 3 lbs).
The maximum weight for this division is 140 pounds (63.5 kg or 10 stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 168 pounds (76.2 kg or 12 stone).
The maximum weight for this division is 154 pounds (69.9 kg or 11 stone).
Sweet science is another term for the sport of boxing.
A swing bout is a short boxing match on a televised boxing program, put on at short notice, usually after the main event ends prematurely. Sometimes a swing bout may come before the main event–when the preliminary bouts end quickly.
Switch hitter refers to a boxer who can change from an orthodox to a southpaw stance during a bout.
T – Take a Dive
Taking a dive in boxing means to intentionally throw a fight by pretending to get knocked out.
If an unintentional foul causes a scheduled six-round-plus bout to be stopped immediately, the bout is ruled a “no decision”–if four rounds have not been completed. If the bout was scheduled for four rounds, then three rounds must have been completed.
If four rounds have been completed, the judges’ scorecards are tallied and the boxer who was ahead on points is awarded a technical decision (a win).
Technical draws occur when a fighter is unable to continue from an accidental injury (usually cuts), or foul. Draws occur when the bout goes to the scorecards, and the official decision of the officials is a draw.
They also occur when a bout has not completed a certain number of rounds (usually four), thereby not making it an ‘official fight’.
Most states have eliminated the technical draw decision for bouts that don’t go a required distance, and have replaced it with a no contest.
A technical knockout or TKO differs from a true ten-second knockout; it usually occurs when a boxer is deemed unfit to continue and the referee ends the bout. This may be to protect a boxer who is being unduly punished by his opponent; or as a result of injury such as a bad cut, broken nose or jaw.
Sometimes the boxer’s corner, second, trainer, or manager may ask the referee to stop it, throw in the towel, or the boxer himself may retire on his own volition.
Ten-point Must System
A system of scoring whereby the winner of a round must receive ten points, and the loser of the round nine points (eights points, if knocked down; seven points, if knocked down more than once and thoroughly dominated by his opponent). If there is no clear winner, each boxer must be awarded ten points.
Note, however, although a boxer may win the round, he can lose a point by committing a foul, in which case the round likely would be scored nine points for each boxer.
Texas Tommy Punch
The “Texas Tommy Punch” was created and made famous by Seattle boxer Johnny O’Leary. He invented it after watching boys and girls doing the Texas Tommy Dance in San Francisco. The dance was based upon a dancer twirling his partner about by the arm.
Third Man in the Ring
In a list of boxing words A to Z the third man is a colloquial name for the referee.
Three Knockdown Rule
A rule requiring that a boxer who is knocked down three times in the same round be declared knocked out.
Throw in the Towel
The traditional admission of defeat in boxing, where a second who feels his boxer cannot or should not continue the bout throws a towel or sponge into the ring to end the fight by a technical knockout.
Although it is most often the case the referee does not have to accept this signal from the corner and it is not unheard of for a referee to throw the towel out again and for the bout to continue. A sponge was generally thrown in the older days, now is more common to throw in a towel.
The official in charge of supervising and keeping the time of the rounds and the resting periods between rounds.
A title bout commonly refers to a world championship fight. But it may also refer to a bout deciding a national or regional title or championship.
TKO is an abbreviation for a technical knockout and one of the common terms used in boxing.
Tolled the Fatal Count
A phrase used when a boxing referee has counted to ten and declared a knockout.
A professional boxer of below-average ability who frequently loses his fights, usually in four or six round bouts, to boxers who are just starting out in their careers; or experienced boxers who are taking a bout just to stay busy or to earn some easy money.
Boxing training is the training method that boxers use in order to get more fit for their sport. This training method is often cited by medical doctors and boxing trainers.
An opponent who performs against a superior foe in a workout or exhibition.
Trinket is a derogatory term used by some commentators to refer to a championship belt awarded by what they consider an inferior sanctioning body. See also, alphabet soup.
A relatively insignificant bout that a boxer engages in to try out his reflexes and skills, usually in preparation for a forthcoming bout of greater importance.
U – Unanimous Decision
A unanimous decision, or win on points, results when all judging officials score in favor of one boxer. This is usually done by three judges, or by two judges and the referee.
An upwards-thrown punch designed to hit an opponent’s chin; usually part of a multi-punch combination and best used when a boxer is very close to his opponent. Dutch Sam is credited with creating this punch; it was called an “undercut” then. Today it is known as an uppercut.
An upwards-thrown punch designed to hit an opponent’s chin; usually part of a multi-punch combination and best used when a boxer is very close to his opponent.
Upsticks is an old-time slang term for a draw verdict.
V – Venue
The building or ring where a bout occurs, such as Madison Square Garden or the Polo Grounds. Being distinguished from location generally means the city or town where a fight occurs.
W – Warning
A notice from the referee that a boxer has committed an infringement of the rules. Generally, three warnings result in a disqualification.
In January 2015, the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation reached an agreement to standardize the names of the 17 weight categories. (The World Boxing Organization has yet to adopt these standard class names.)
The maximum weight for this division is 147 pounds (66.7kg in stone is 10½).
One of the two corners of a boxing ring not assigned to either boxer during a bout. Usually referred to as a neutral corner in most countries: the corners of the ring where there are no chairs or members of any boxer’s team.
When Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns to become the first black man to win the World Heavyweight Championship on December 26, 1908, a cry went out for a white fighter who could reclaim the title for the Caucasian race.
Win on Points
A boxer gets a win on points, and the decision, when he accumulates more points than his opponent during a bout.
Wind refers to a boxer’s stamina and one of the common terms used in boxing.
X – XM Radio
Live sports schedule for boxing events on SiriusXM.
Y – Yoga
Boxing yoga, associated with traditional yoga rules and regulations, is a yoga-based training system for fighters improving mental and physical strength and flexibility maximizing performance and maintaining optimal health.
Z – Zero to Hero
Zero To Hero is the ultimate fitness experience program designed to provide Contenders with the opportunity of a lifetime – to become a HERO in the boxing ring.
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