Boxing – a beginner’s guide
What is Olympic-style boxing?
Olympic-style boxing is a very different sport to the professional boxing most people are familiar with seeing on TV.
The Olympic sport is often much faster and scoring is based around technique. It requires a great deal of technical skill and extremely high levels of fitness. Anyone who has ever tried their hand at sparring will tell you how hard it is to score points when your body is working that hard!
Contrary to common misperceptions, there is no room for anger and aggression in a boxing bout; and gold medal-winning boxers are calm and focused when they step into the ring.
Boxers wear either red or blue strips, protective head guards and gloves weighing 10 ounces. Bouts are decided by ringside judges and the result is based on the number of punches that land in a ‘target area’.
Boxers are usually limited to three 3-minute rounds or less (four 2-minute rounds for women), as opposed to 12 rounds in professional boxing. The winner of the bout is the boxer with the most points, unless the referee stops the bout before the final bell.
Boxing has been an Olympic sport since 1904. In 1941, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) took responsibility for the sport as a world governing body. Within the UK, there are three home nations: England Boxing, Welsh Boxing and Boxing Scotland.
The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) is responsible for the ultimate preparation of the elite athletes for Olympic Games. The elite athletes compete under the banner of ‘GB Boxing’.
Male Olympic boxers compete at 10 weights:
49kg; 52kg; 56kg; 60kg; 64kg; 69kg; 75kg; 81kg; 91kg; 91+kg
Women currently feature at three weights in the Olympics: 51kg; 60kg; 75kg.
Photo: Nick Potts/PA
As boxing is a weight-making sport, the right nutrition is vital for athletes on the GB Boxing programme. At GB Boxing’s base in Sheffield, a performance nutritionist helps to ensure that each athlete’s diet provides enough energy and nutrients to fuel hard training and promote rapid recovery whilst maintaining body weight within safe boundaries for health and performance.