Boxing Decisions (Unanimous, Majority, Split) Differences

Boxing Decisions (Unanimous, Majority, Split) Differences

We all know that the judges play a very important role in boxing matches. If there’s no K.O. or a disqualification, i.e. when both fighters are still standing after the last round, the judges are the ones who decide the winner. They have to carefully follow the whole match, score each round based on the fighters’ performances and the sum of all these numbers gives us the winner. But, since each judge scores for himself – the other judges are not permitted to see his scores and vice versa – and there’s no direct influence on the decisions, the final result can vary and there are several possible outcomes. 

A unanimous decision is when all three judges score a fight for one side. A majority decision is one in which two judges score a fight for one side, and the third judge scores it a draw. A split decision is when two judges score a fight for one side, and a third judge scores it for the other side.

Above, we explained the differences between the decision in boxing as simply as possible. But, there is more to it. So, in today’s article, we will be discussing those outcomes as we’re going to show you how a boxing match can and. 

Boxing Scoring System

We’ve already discusses the process of scoring in boxing matches, so we’ll just refer you to the article itself, rather than just repeat everything here. In short, boxing uses the 10-point scoring system, where a boxer (if there are no deductions) must get 10 points for winning the round, while the losing fighter gets less points. The scores are kept secret until the end of the match, when they are added together; the winner is the one who got more points from the judges. 

What’s the Difference Between Unanimous, Majority, and Split Decision in Boxing?

There are three possible results in boxing, which can be achieved through six possible decisions. As for the results, they can be either – red corner wins, blue corner wins or a tie (draw). So basically, the match can either end as a win for one of the fighters, or as a draw. But, how do we come to that result? 

This is where the decisions come in. A decision is reached when the score cards of all the judges are added up and counted. The final decisions of each judge are counted towards the final decision, which is also the result of the fight. Depending on how the judges decided, a fight can be decided in one of the following ways:

  • Unanimous decision – each of the three judges has decided in favour of one fighter, so that the final score card’s result is 3:0 in favour of one corner or the other. This usually means that the winner was overwhelmingly better than his opponent. 
  • Majority decision – two of the judges awarded the win to one fighter, while the third had a dissenting opinion in the form of a draw; for him, no fighter had a clear advantage. Since the majority of the judges are still leaning towards one fighter, he is declared winner by majority decisions. The final score card’s result is 2:1 in favour of the winning fighter. 
  • Split decision – this one is similar to the former decision, but instead of a draw, the third judge decided in favour of the losing fighter. The other two judges awarded the victory to the winning fighter, who is declared winner by split decision based on the fact that he has the majority of judges on his side. 
  • Split draw – a very interesting decision where each judge decided differently. One voted in favour of one fighter, the other in favour of the other fighter and the last one declared it a draw. This is the first of three decisions that results in a draw. 
  • Majority draw – this decision is the equivalent of a majority draw, but instead of two judges being in favour of one fighter, they are in favour of a draw, while the last judge decided in favour of one of the fighters. 
  • Unanimous draw – a clear-cut situation where the judges couldn’t decide between the fighters, so all three of them declared the match a draw. That is also the final result in such cases. 

For clarity, we’ll be bringing you all these possibilities in the following table:

Scorecard winner Scorecard tally Decision Result
Red Blue Draw
Red Red Red 3 0 0 Unanimous decision Red corner wins
Red Draw Red 2 0 1 Majority decision Red corner wins
Blue Blue Red 1 2 0 Split decision Blue corner wins
Draw Red Blue 1 0 2 Split draw Draw
Draw Draw Red 1 0 2 Majority draw Draw
Draw Draw Draw 0 0 3 Unanimous draw Draw

How Can a Boxing Match End?

The aforementioned scenarios concern only those situations when the judges decide on the winner. But, a boxing match, as we know quite well, can end in other ways, in which the judges are not involved. Since these outcomes are not the focus of this article, we’ll only present them in short: 

  • Knockout (K.O.) – a decision that means that one fighter is unable to continue the fight because he was knocked unconscious by his opponent or cannot stand up normally during the referee’s countdown. 
  • Technical knockout (T.K.O.) – happens when a referee determines that it’s unsafe for one fighter to continue, despite him not being knocked out in the classical sense. 
  • Technical decision – happens when a fight is stopped due to a headbutt. If a sufficient number of rounds has passed, the decision can be made by the judges, as explained above. 
  • Technical draw – similar to the latter, but is actually a draw made because the judges cannot reach a decision following a headbutt. 
  • No contest – when a fight is stopped due to external factors, it’s called a no contest. There is no winner and the fight is not declared a draw, but is – in a way – annulled. 
  • Referee technical decision – if a fighter refuses to continue during any of the pauses between rounds, or his corner decides to pull him for any reason at all, the referee has no choice but to end the fight. 
  • Disqualification – a bout is stopped and finished because one or both contestants have intentionally and repeatedly violated the rules. If a fighter is disqualified, the other fighter is automatically declared winner, but if both are disqualified (double disqualification), the referee calls a no contest. 
  • Submission – a fighter decides to give in to the opponent and is automatically declared the loser. 
  • Technical submission – similar to a technical knockout, but usually happens when a referee or doctor determine the fighter to be unable to continue after a in-fight submission. 

And that’s it for today. We hope this article has been helpful to you and that you will follow us for more of the same.

Stefano Secci, French Savate Boxing, and Martial Arts champion
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Stefano Secci

Stefano Secci was born on the outskirts of Genoa. He began practicing sports at 11 by enrolling in a Ju-Jitsu class; from there, I have not stopped playing sports until today. At 16, he switched to French Savate Boxing, which I married and has remained my first and only true love. Our testing and reviewing method.
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