How Long Are Boxing Matches? (Pro, Amateur & Youth)

Naturally, the human mind gets bored when an activity, despite its interestingness, gets too elongated and supersedes a time frame.

Records show that the longest boxing match lasted for 7 hours and 19 minutes. The spectators got so bored that they fell asleep while others angrily left the scene to tend to other exciting businesses.1

The boxers themselves were so tired of exchanging punches that they turned the game into a starring contest and not a fighting one. If I must say, it is one of the most boring scenes in boxing history.

But how long are boxing matches? Read on to discover the number of rounds and duration for professional, amateur, and youth boxing?

Just like every other sport, boxing is meant to be entertaining and thrilling in a way that captures viewers’ total attention. 

The dancing of the feet, exchange of life-threatening punches, and explosive knockouts make it a fun game. 

Furthermore, modern boxing also aims at protecting the participating boxers. Hence, this called for a reduction from the famous 15 rounds to 12 rounds.

The 12 rounds became a norm after a hard lesson learned in 1982 outside Caesar’s Palace. It was a fight between Kim Duk-Koo and Mancini. 

Tragedy struck in the 14th round when Kim got hit and collapsed with his head to the canvass. Minutes after the fight, he slipped into a coma and died five days later. 

Kim Duk-Koo’s death sparked a lot of rages. Eventually, it led to abolishing the 15 rounds to 12 rounds in professional boxing, which has helped minimize the risk of such happenings.

Below is a detailed discussion on how long a boxing match should last as this article throws more light on it.

How Long Are Boxing Matches?

Professional Boxing Rounds

Muhammad Ali Famous Boxing Knockout
Wikimedia

Professional boxing, also known as prizefighting or a fight for the purse, is the most popular form of boxing, with the most extended session per round and longest rounds. 

Boxers fight for a prize usually shared among them with an agreed-upon percentage. The winner goes with the highest pay, and the one who gets defeated does not go home empty. 

Authorized bodies supervise professional matches, and they have their own sets of rules and regulations governing them. Championship belts are usually awarded to winners, and it’s all worth it as they undergo a lot. 

Pro boxing is the highest cader in boxing, and it is the most-watched; hence, boxers here earn more and are open to more risk of brain damage.

In professional boxing, two professional fighters go head-to-head for 12 rounds. Each boxing round lasts 3 minutes, with 1-minute breaks between each round for boxers to catch some breath.

However, some bouts might end before the 12th round due to knockout or other reasons. 

Unlike amateur boxers, professional boxers are not allowed to use headgear. 

Furthermore, a substantial amount of punishment must have been received by a boxer, and the referee must have observed that such a fighter lacks what it takes to continue the fight. 

Therefore, the ref can call the game to a halt as a technical knockout in this situation.

Amateur Boxing Rounds

Amateur Boxers In Action
Hermes Rivera / Unsplash

Amateur boxing, also known as the Olympic-styled boxing, was birthed due to the health and safety controversies and criticism surrounding professional boxing. 

As a result, more safety was put in place when practicing. Few of such safety guides take the form of limited numbers of fighting rounds, wearing of headgear, point-scoring gloves, and torso belts to ensure punches don’t go below.

Amateur boxing has a shorter fighting duration. Nevertheless, these boxers should not be underrated or considered an amateur, as their punching power can cause a lot of havoc. 

In amateur boxing, two men fight for 3 minutes in each round, in a total of 3 rounds. Matches between women are set for 2 minutes in each round, with a total of 4 rounds, and both genders enjoy a minute break between the rounds. 

Amateur boxing matches are not judged by a brutal display of strength but rather on clean punches delivered. 

This short duration and safety practices enable amateur boxers to consistently feature in bouts because they maintain minimum injury, unlike the professionals who have to rest for months to regain health and fitness fully. 

In recent times, male amateur boxers no longer wear the headgear as records have proven that the headgear increases the concussion rates in men. 

Only amateur women boxers now use the headgear as it has no adverse effect on them.

Youth Boxing Rounds

Kid Resting After a Boxing Round
Gareth Harrison / Unsplash

Youth boxing is the foundational level of boxing, and it is a core aspect if taken seriously.

It does not literarily embody only the youth or teenagers alone, as the name might have implied.

Some boxers are 30 years of age and still engage in youth boxing. At this stage, boxers only box for clubs and barely gain any recognition, unlike the professional or amateur boxers.

The number of rounds and time frame in youth boxing is mainly determined by age group. Below is a list that contains the various age groups in youth boxing.

  • Bantam (8–10 years); Junior (11–12 years): 3 rounds of 1 minute each, with 1-minute rest between each round.
  • Intermediate (13–14 years): 3 rounds that last 1.5 minutes long with a 1-minute break between each round.
  • Senior/Junior Olympic (15–16 years); Sub Novice (17–34 years): 3 rounds that last for 2 minutes with a 1-minute break between each round. 
  • Novice (17–34 years); Open (17–34 years): 10 rounds, each round lasting 2 minutes and a 1-minute break between each round.
  • Master Class (35 and over): 10 rounds that last for 3 minutes in each round, with a 1-minute rest between the intervals.

Wrap Up

Just as the saying goes: “Rome was not built in a day,” so is boxing. Most boxers started from the amateur stage before climbing to the top. 

However, not all boxers go through these stages of boxing before becoming a champion. Either way, consistent practice is a vital formula.

This article on “how long are boxing matches?” has clarified the number of rounds and how long professional, amateur, and youth boxers are to spend in the ring.

With this limited time frame, boxing did not only become more entertaining but safety was inducted into it. 

And again, it is not a must that a fight must make it to these final rounds before a winner emerges, like in the medieval era.

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Featured Image: Chris Kendall / Unsplash

Reference: [1] Guinness World Records; [2] The Sun