Summer Olympics boxing is always fun to watch — that is if you can find it buried down somewhere deep on the television schedule. Whether you’re an occasional fan or you’re entirely new to the sport of Olympic boxing, use the guide below to become familiar with some of what you’ll be seeing and hearing during the competition.

Here’s a quick list of 10 boxing terms to know for the 2012 summer Olympics boxing competition.

Chief Second: The chief second, also known as a cornerman, is the boxer’s head coach or trainer. In between rounds, the chief second is allowed to come into the ring to administer advice to his charge, while also potentially assisting with cuts or swelling.

Controversy: There’s no such thing as summer Olympics boxing without a healthy dose of controversy. The scoring system is fairly ridiculous, and the potential for bias, or sketchy behind the scenes arrangements, is high. When a boxer does not get more credit for knocking his man down and judges need a computer to tabulate when a punch lands, there will always be fishy results.

Corners (Blue/Red): Amateur and Olympic boxers fight out of a designated corner for each fight, the red corner or the blue corner. Their uniforms, gloves and headgear will showcase their designated corner and color, making it easier for the judges to properly assign points and keep track of each combatant.

Jab: The jab is the most basic punch in boxing, and it’s the one that you’ll see the most of in the Olympics. Hard punches don’t count for anything, therefore, quick, clean shots are the most widely used. For a right handed fighter, a jab is thrown with a quick step forward with the left foot, and a corresponding straight, left hand punch.

Judging: Judging in Olympic boxing is performed by a panel of five judges, each of whom tracks when he believes a clean punch lands by pressing a button connected to a computer. The total punches landed for each fighter are basically averaged out across the five judges, replacing a system where three of the five judges all needed to signal a landed punch within a near instantaneous amount of time. The fighter with the most total points at the end of a fight, regardless of individual round-by-round scores, wins the match. Yes, that’s apparently the best system they could come up with.

Protective Gear: Olympic boxers wear a full range of protective gear during competition. This includes 10 ounce gloves, headgear, mouth guards and cups, along with tank-top shirts.

Scoring zone: Punches only count when landed cleanly to the front of a fighter’s head, or to their midsection. These count as official scoring zones. In practice, body punches hardly ever get counted, however. In addition, fighters’ gloves have a white tip front and center, and a punch must be landed with this area in order to count. This is the scoring area of the glove which signifies a cleanly landed punch, and not a “slap” or a “cuffing shot”.

Standing eight count: A boxer is given a standing eight count in order to be allowed time to recover before continuing to fight. This can occur after a knockdown, or without a knockdown when a fighter appears to be hurt. The referee has sole discretion to make these calls, as well as waving off a fight if a boxer does not appear ready to continue after the count.

Throwing in the towel: A fighter’s corner can throw in the towel – literally throwing a white towel into the ring – signaling that they are surrendering and want the fight to be stopped. It’s a move rarely used at high level amateur competitions these days – what, with all that protective gear, and a scoring system rigged against throwing powerful punches.

Weight classes: Men’s Olympic boxing features 10 weight classes, from Light Flyweight (108 lbs maximum) to Super Heavyweight (200 lbs or more), and a total of 250 fighters in the entire field. Women’s Olympic boxing showcases 3 weight classes, Flyweight, Lightweight and Middleweight, and will include a total of 36 fighters.


This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo! Sports & News, as part of a series of Olympic boxing, on May 17, 2012.