Since the mid 20th century the 10 point Must System has been widely used, so named because judges must award the balance of the 10 points available in a round to one fighter or the other. In rare cases where not much action has taken place or no clear winner of that round emerges both fighters can be given a 10-10 score, that is both fighters got an equal number of points and drew that round.
A fighter will score 10 points or fewer points based on their success or failure to take advantage of the four major criteria judges use in scoring every round. If one fighter demonstrated more control over of the four criteria they win that round 10-9. If they score a knockdown there is an additional point taken from the fighter that suffered the knockdown resulting in that round being scored 10-8 in favour of the dominant fighter.
The four criteria judges use are:
- Effective Aggression The fighter who is bullying and backing up his opponent, coming forward unimpeded and landing punches are the hallmarks of effective aggression.
- Defence strictly speaking how a fighter blocks, slips, parries and catches their opponents punches equates to proper defence.
- Ring Generalship The fighter that is controlling the pace of the fight, managing distance and controlling the tempo of the action is the ring general!
- Clean Punches Landed A punch either lands on a legal target or it does not. Precision is key in our final criteria - clean punches landed.
Being able to understand what constitutes effective aggression, who is truly dictating the action in a fight, which fighter is executing their offence while avoiding the attack of their foe and who is scoring more cleanly is integral to scoring a fight accurately.
The casual fan and die-hard alike can learn how to watch fights and score them objectively leading to better understanding the sport they love and an appreciation for the strategy and tactics of the athletes.