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Monday, 08 October 2018 00:00

Boxing rules and fouls: 26 big-time no-nos

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Boxing rules can be complicated.

Offenders receive warnings, point reductions and even a disqualification depending on the number of times the foul was committed, one's presumed intention (mistake vs flagrant) and its level of seriousness. Obviously, some fouls are more serious than others, so safety determines a foul's gravity.

In the end, the referee has the ultimate power as he can warn, penalize and disqualify a fighter how and when he chooses.

Boxing rules and referee discretion
Fouls, especially of the less serious variety, are subjective. Referees - as individual thinkers - have varying thresholds for certain acts. For example, most referees are very tolerant of pushing. Although illegal, it rarely draws a warning. However, as we saw in Khan vs Peterson (2011), some referees will enforce it and will usually communicate their intentions via warnings early on.

Just because referees in Khan's previous bouts may have been liberal with regards to enforcing the 'no pushing' rule, their actions are in no way a precedent for future officialiating - And that's what can make things a bit confusing.

Rules can be, and often are, enforced differently.

A referee's discretion is similar to that of a policeman. Some policemen will issue a ticket for going only 7 mph over the speed limit while others, in the same situation, won't pull you over unless you're going 15 mph over. 

The great thing about boxing is that a fighter will usually get warned 1-3 times before points are deducted, as was the case for Khan vs Peterson.

Boxing Rules: 26 no-nos during a professional contest

1, Rabbit punching; Hitting behind the head

2. Low blows; Punches below the belly button

3. Punching an opponent while he is down, regardless of whether he/she is on the canvas from a punch slip 

4. Holding and hitting; Holding an opponent with one hand and punching with the other.

5. Excessive holding/clinching 

(Tyson vs Ferguson)

6. Kicking, kneeing, elbow and shoulder strikes, tackling and wrestling/takedowns 
(Bowe vs Tillery)

7. Excessive pushing

(Yes, Khan vs Peterson is a fine example)

8. Headbutting
(Mayweather vs Ortiz)

9. Punching with an open glove, the inside of the hand or backhanding

10. Repeatedly falling to the canvas without being knocked down or pushed to avoid being punched
(Klitschko vs Haye)

11. Kidney strikes

12. Jabbing with the thumb of the glove

13. Disrespecting a referee or refusing to follow his instructions; Getting physical 

14. Hitting on the break

15. Intentionally spitting out your mouthpiece. Fighters will often do it to bide time when hurt
(Corrales vs Castillo)

16. Using the ropes for leverage; You cannot throw a punch or spin while holding on to the ropes to gain leverage.

17. Punching on or outside of the ropes

18. Biting/ Spitting
(Tyson vs Holyfield 2)

19. Stepping on an opponent while he's down

20. Crouching below your opponents' waist line
('Sweet Pea' Whitaker was that you?)

21. Leaving your neutral corner without the referee's signal

22. Cornermen entering the ring during live action; This can get a fighter disqualified.
(Kirkland vs Molina/ Tyson vs McNeeley

23. Repeatedly turning your back to an opponent

24. Refusing to make any attempt to fight
(Lewis vs McCall 2)

25. Punching after the bell

26. Excessive showboating (i.e. too much talking and/or gesturing and not enough fighting)

Can you think of anymore? Let us know.