Article

Boxing techniques based on the analysis of boxing tournament finals during Olympic Games in London in 2012

Introduction
Boxing is a discipline with a long tradition, dating back to
ancient Olympic Games, however, its present form is explicit-
ly divided into two trends. The first one has a rather basic and
natural form and is connected with professional boxing where
the judgment of bouts is based on score sheets. The second
trend is amateur boxing where automated scoring system
(ABSS) is a dominant form of scoring. This system forces the
competitors to use other fighting techniques than these used
in professional boxing [1].
Each rivalry in team sports or individual sports leads to
the realization of the main goal which is success in sport. The
final success in individual sports including boxing is deter-
mined by numerous factors, connected with preparing the
athletes for competition.
The main trends of the study concern psychophysical [2,
3,4,5] fitness [6,7] and health safety [8,9] issue, being recently
the subject of numerous arguments, resulting from AIBA’s
ban on using protective headgears in 2013 [10,11,12].
On the other hand, there are relatively few reports allow-
ing to define the directions of changes in technical and tactical
actions of the competitors [13,14,15,16].
Analysis of bouts is commonly practiced in professional
sports and concerns all combat sports. Trainers and training
teams create multi-aspect databases, allowing to prepare pro -
per tactics of fighting considering the competitors’ preferen -
ces of different fighting styles and techniques, both offensive
and defensive ones [2,11,14,15].
The regulations serving to maintain the reputation of ama-
teur boxing as a safe and justly judged sport were and still are
subject to numerous modifications. This is mostly due to the
pressure from the International Olympic Committee which,
during the last 25 years, forced numerous changes, concern-
ing also the scoring system. After the Olympics in Seoul, it was
decided to replace the conventional scoring system by the
automated one, however, due to the controversies evoked by
the results of the boxing tournament during the Olympics Ga -
mes in 2012, AIBA promised to reintroduce the old scoring
rules (used in amateur boxing before the Olympics in 1988,
which were still in force in professional boxing).
The goal of the study was to indicate the direction of chan -
ges in fighting techniques, based on the observation of the
boxing tournament during the Finals of the Olympic Games in
London in 2012.
61
Boxing techniques based on the analysis
of boxing tournament finals during Olympic
Games in London in 2012
Marek Kruszewski, Artur Kruszewski, Stanisław Kuźmicki, Łukasz Sklepiński,
Grzegorz Kępa, Karol Landowski
The Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland
Key words: boxing, fighting technique, automated boxing scoring system
Summary
Introduction. The goal of the study was to indicate the changes in boxing techniques connected with the automated boxing
scoring system (ABSS), based on the observation of boxing Finals during the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
Material and methods. 10 final bouts were subjected to analysis and observation results were recorded in offense and defense
sheets, including the division into rounds. The collected material was then subjected to analysis including to the most often used box-
ers’ stances, the number and types of offensive techniques as well as the number and types of defensive techniques.
Results. The fighters, moving in the mirror reverse of the norm (southpaw stance) won more often and most of the punches
were thrown during the second and the third round. Jabs were thrown most often while hooks and uppercuts were thrown signif-
icantly less often. Punches in the trunk were thrown very rarely; short series of punches were thrown significantly more often (four
times) than the series of long punches. Blocked defense was used most often and defense through counterpunch and footwork
were the second most frequent techniques. No parrying defense was used.
Conclusions. Due to the judge’s preferences, some attack techniques with the highest probability of recording were used
significantly more often. Parrying defense is preferred as it does not entail the risk of accidental scoring by the judge.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts
© MEDSPORTPRESS, 2016; 1(2); Vol. 7, 61-66
DOI: 10.5604/20815735.1224961
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Material ad methods
10 bouts of the boxing tournament Finals during the Olym -
pic Games in London in 2012 were subject to analysis. There
were long distance bouts (3 rounds lasting 3 minutes) and were
ended with a scoring verdict. In two cases the scores were
equal and the judges decided who the winner was (Tab. 1).
The bouts subjected to analysis were studied using the
direct observation method (from CDs), enabling watching
each bout several times. The results of the observation were
recorded in the sheets developed by T. Nowak [17]. They con-
cern boxer’s offensive actions and contain the data about the
number, types and the effectiveness of the punches, the num-
ber and the series of punches and boxers’ defensive activi-
ties. They contain the data on the number of defensive activ-
ities (containing data on the number, types and effectiveness
of punches and types of series of punches and boxers, defen-
sive actions as well as the data on the number of defensive
actions (blocking, parry, counterpunch, dodge, sway, foot-
work) during the entire bout divided into rounds.
The collected material was subjected to a comprehensive
analysis, concerning the most often used offensive and de -
fensive techniques.
For the statistical analysis Student’s-t-test was used, the
mean values and standard deviations (SDs) were calculated
and the significance level was set at p<0.05. Significance of
the differences in the studied variables corresponding to the
number of thrown punches, various punching techniques used
during the bout, types of punches, punches in the head and in
the trunk was determined as well as the effectiveness (accu-
racy) of the punches thrown, the number of punch series, and
the number and types of defensive actions.
Results
Stances of winners and losers
In the Finals of amateur boxers during the Olympic Ga -
mes in London in 2012, a large number of boxers assuming
a “southpaw” stance (with the right arm “shifted” forward) par-
ticipated in the competition. Among the twenty finalists, ele -
ven assumed a “southpaw” stance and seven competitors in
this group won golden medals during the Olympics in 2012.
Among the four competitors who assumed a “southpaw” stance
, two were beaten by “southpaws” and two were beaten by
those assuming a normal stance (Table 1).
Elements of offensive techniques
The number of thrown punches
The number of punches thrown during the bout ranged from
86 (Fred Evans) to 357 (Seryk Säpijew). These competitors
fought in the weight category up to 69 kg. The mean number
of punches thrown during the Finals of the Olympic Games in
2012 was 188.75 per one competitor, ~ 63punches per round
and 21 punches per minute. Considering the distribution of
punches during subsequent phases of the bout, significantly
more punches were thrown during the second and the third
round as compared with the first round (Table 2).
The types of punches thrown during the bouts
Significant differences were noted between the number of
punches thrown using specific techniques. The average num-
ber of jabs was 116 while the average number of hooks and
uppercuts was 48 and 25 respectively.
The average number of punches thrown by one competi-
tor with the so called “extended” arm was 106 during the bout
while the number of punches thrown with a withdrawn arm
Kruszewski M. et al. The automated boxing scoring system
62
Table 1. Comparison of the competitors fighting in Boxing Finals during the Olympic Games in London in 2012
Table 2. The average number of punches thrown during the Finals
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was 83. Punches with an “extended” arm are thrown more
often than the ones thrown with the “withdrawn” arm (on aver-
age, 1.3 times more often).
Hooks were thrown significantly more (twice) often with
“ex tended” arm than 0with the “withdrawn” arm. Conversely,
corkscrew punches were thrown significantly more often with
a “withdrawn” arm than with an “extended” arm (Table 3).
Punches in the head and in the trunk
The average number of punches (per one competitor) throw
n
in the head was significantly greater than the average number
of punches in the trunk. Punches in the head were thrown sig-
nificantly more (six times) often than in the trunk (Figure 1).
The effectiveness (accuracy) of the punches thrown was
on average 33.3%. Among the three types of punches, the high -
er accuracy was noted for uppercuts and the punches thrown
with an “extended” arm. Hooks and the punches thrown with
the „withdrawn” arm were significantly less accurate (Table 5).
The number of punches (long and short)
Short series (2-3 punches) were significantly more often
(3.8 times) thrown than the long series (4 or more punches)
(Table 6).
Elements of the defensive technique in the boxing
tournament during the Olympic Games in IO 2012
The number of defensive actions
The average number of defensive activities used during
the bout (per one competitor) was 123, which is 13.7 per mi -
nute. The number of defensive actions was significantly smaller
than the number of punches thrown as some defensive ac tions
(footwork, blocking) were used often for protection against the
series of blows (Table 7). There were on average 1.54 punch-
es per one defensive action.
Types of defensive actions
During the bout, on average 74 defensive actions using
arms (blocking, parry, counterpunch), 24 defensive actions
using the trunk (swaying, dodging) and 25 defensive actions
using footwork (per one competitor) were performed.
Among the defensive actions using arms, the parrying
turn ed ineffective due to the frequency of being used. Among
twenty competitors, six did not use this technique at all.
During each bout, only 2.35 parrying actions were performed.
Blocking was the most popular technique. This technique was
performed significantly more often than other techniques (20
Kruszewski M. et al. The automated boxing scoring system
63
Table 5. Effectiveness (accuracy) of the punches thrown by finalists of the Olympic Games in 2012
Table 7. The average number of punches and defensive actions during the Finals of the Olympic Games in 2012
Table 6. The average number of punches thrown in short and long series by the finalists
Table 4. The percentage values corresponding to the number of punches towards the head and trunk of the opponent during the Finals of the
Olympic Games in 2012
Table 3. The percentage of punches thrown by the finalists of the olympic Games in 2013
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times more often than parrying) – defense by counterpunch,
footwork and upper body work) (Table 8).
Summing up of the results
1. In boxing tournament Finals during the Olympic Games in
2012 in London, the competitors assuming the “southpaw
stance” won significantly more often.
2. Significantly more punches were thrown during the sec-
ond and the third round.
3. Jabs were thrown most often while hooks and uppercuts
were thrown significantly more seldom.
4. Significantly more punches were thrown with an extended
arm than with a withdrawn arm. Especially hooks and up -
percuts were thrown with a withdrawn arm. Punches in
the trunk were very rarely thrown.
5. Punches in the head were significantly more often (six
times) thrown than punches in the trunk.
6. Jabs and uppercuts, thrown with an extended arm, were
most accurate (effective).
7. Short series of punches were more often (four times)
thrown than the long series.
8. The most frequently used techniques included blocking
defense and next, counterpunch and footwork. The rarely
used techniques included upper body work. Parrying de -
fense was hardly ever used.
9. The types and the number of the defensive activities, per-
formed during the boxing tournament, depended on the
individual competitors. fighting styles and the number of
punches thrown by opponents.
Discussion
Significantly more finalists of the boxing tournament, who
won their bouts in the Olympic Games 2012 were “south-
paws” (n=7), (Table1). This fact may confirm the training ten-
dency observed during recent years, involving the preference
of an “southpaw stance” which, by definition, is used to in crease
the competitor’s chance for winning. Such an ap proach to train-
ing, even by young boxers, changes the so far used long term
canons, aimed at mastering natural competitors’ predisposi-
tions, taking advantage of their right handedness and left
handedness [18,19].
The results of the observation confirm that the most often
used techniques included these which were best recorded in
ABSS. Some of the offensive and defensive techniques were
more often used than the other ones while other techniques
were hardly ever applied. Most of the punches were thrown
during the second and the third round, which confirms the
“recognizing” significance of the first round, typical for the
bouts where scoring rivalry is expected from the beginning to
the end of the bout and earlier finishing of the bout is not
expected [1].
Among the offensive techniques, jabs were most often
used. This type of punches constituted almost 2/3 of all the
punches. There were over twice more jabs than hooks and
almost five times more jabs than uppercuts. The remaining
types of punches were significantly more used in short dis-
tance bouts, which are now avoided by competitors as the
punches thrown during these bouts are more rarely recorded
by ABSS. For this reason, the number of hooks and uppercuts
was insignificant compared with the number of jabs. Similar
findings are reported by Davis et al. [20].
The significantly more rare application of long series of
punches as compared with short series can be explained in
a similar way. A large number of punches thrown in long se -
ries makes it difficult to judge their accuracy, therefore they
are rarely scored by judges [1,15,16,20].
Punches in the head were significantly more often (over
six times) thrown than punches in the trunk. As a rule, these
punches are more easy to note by the judges and thus, more
often scored.
The number of punches thrown with the so called extend-
ed arm” was also significantly greater (by one third) than the
number of punches thrown with the so called “withdrawn”
arm. This may be explained by the fact that the former are
closer to the target, thus the opponent has less time to react
and it is easier to reach him. Hooks thrown with an extended
arm were also thrown significantly (almost twice) more often
than the punches thrown with a withdrawn arm while the up -
percuts were thrown significantly more often (more than twice)
with a “withdrawn” arm than with an “extended” arm. Such a struc -
tu
re of uppercuts seems to be in conformity with the training
tendency, especially in the case of punches thrown in series,
which must be effective and at the same time, easy to notice
by judges. Sparse studies attempting to define the technical
and tactical aspects of amateur boxing confirm the above the-
sis [18,19,20]. The difference in the number of jabs thrown
with an “extended” and with a “withdrawn” arm turned out insi -
gnificant. This fact may confirm the popularity of such punch-
es in ABSS.
Changes in fighting techniques due to the popularity of
ABSS are indicated by numerous researchers and one of the
most synthetic conclusions was presented by Nowak [17].
After having analyzed numerous boxing tournaments, he found
Kruszewski M. et al. The automated boxing scoring system
64
Table 8. The types of defensive actions used by the finalists
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that the implementation of ABSS contributed to the decrease
in the percentage of punches in the trunk in all weight cate-
gories, below the level of 20%. In tournament Finals using
ABSS, the competitors of all weight categories thrown over
80% of punches in the head [17]. This tendency has also
been confirmed in this study, which is indicative of its durabil-
ity and it can even be called a rule.
With the judgment system using scoring sheets (in ama-
teur and professional boxing)
The competitors fought in distance throwing jabs and in
close distance using hooks and uppercuts [1]. Lateral punch-
es (hooks) and uppercuts have a broader range than jabs,
therefore it is better to use them in half-distance and tackle.
ABSS allowed only long distance bouts, where jabs are easy
to throw and are most often scored by judges. Regretfully,
such a tendency causes technical and tactical limitations of
boxing and makes the bouts less spectacular [1].
The differences in using individual defensive techniques
also turned out significant as in the case of offensive tech-
niques. Blocking, constituting almost 2/5 of all defensive ac -
tions, was the most often used defensive technique. Blocking
was used significantly more often than counterpunch or foot-
work. Parrying was very rarely used by the finalists of the
Olympic Games London 2012 and may be considered a neg-
ligible element of defensive techniques. The large number of
de fensive actions by blocking was due to the fact that this
technique is easy to perform and enables defense against
several punches. The significantly great number of defensive
actions using footwork is connected with the technique allow-
ing to avoid the whole series of punches and is typical for
long-distance bouts [20,21].
It should be accepted that although the types and the
num ber of defensive actions depending, first of all, on the in -
dividual style of fighting as well as on the number of punches
thrown during the bout, the stigma of ABSS also concerns
defensive techniques [18,20]. The preferences for defensive
tech niques, like offensive techniques, seem to be regularly
used, as indicated by the observation of the highest rank com -
petition [1].
Conclusions
1. The significantly greater numbers of the “southpaws” as -
suming a “southpaw stance”, who were winners of the Fi -
nals during the Olympic Games in 2012 may confirm the
changes in canons concerning the so far used guidelines
in basic training systems.
2. Due to the preferences of the judgment system, some
offensive and defensive techniques are used significantly
more often while other ones are almost completely neg-
lected.
3. ABSS irrationally changes the course of the bout and
makes the competitors use offensive techniques with the
highest probability of recording, e.g., jabs thrown with an
extended arm, but not uppercuts and punches in the head,
instead of punches in the trunk.
4. Defensive techniques are also adjusted to the judgment
system; blocking defense is most often used as it does
not entail the risk of accidental scoring by the judge, as in
the case of e.g. parrying.
Kruszewski M. et al. The automated boxing scoring system
65
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Address for correspondence:
dr hab. Marek Kruszewski
03-525 Warszawa ul. Św. Wincentego 40 m.41
tel. 501332357; marek.kruszewski@awf.edu.pl; dr.makrus@wp.pl
Received: 23.10.2015
Accepted: 17.02.2016
Kruszewski M. et al. The automated boxing scoring system
66
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Background: In 2013, the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) introduced a rule banning headgear for male-senior open class boxers during competition. The AIBA has defended the rule change as motivated by safety and supported by internal unpublished studies. As a result, in 2018, the AIBA plans to universally prohibit headgear in competition: for all competitors (male and female), all ages and all levels. Within Canada, this ruling has generated controversy in the boxing community, yet there has been no overall measure of opinion. Methods: To address this, we instituted a voluntary, anonymous, online open-access poll to allow members of the boxing community to express their stance on headgear use in competition. Results: In total, 636 responses were received. A total of 71.5 % of Canadian respondents believed headgear should be mandatory at all levels. Only 5.8 % agreed that headgear should be prohibited, as planned for 2018. Estimating results on a representative breakdown of boxing membership in Canada, a similar pattern emerged, whereby 68.2 % concurred with mandatory headgear while only 4.95 % supported its prohibition. Parents of boxers were almost unanimously against banning headgear, stating they would change sports as a result. Similarly, only 1.7 % of women believed headgear should be prohibited. Conclusions: The consensus of the Canadian boxing community largely opposes the rule changes that the AIBA has implemented. The results highlight risks posed to the long-term viability of the sport, if significant grassroots safety concerns are disregarded.
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A research has been conducted on a sample of 80 competitors in 40 fights. The objective of this research was to determine the level of use of technical and tactical elements in boxing based on situational efficiency of boxers participating in the “15th B&H INDIVIDUAL BOXING CHAMPIONSHIP BANOVIĆI 2007. Based on video records, an analysis of fights was conducted, using twenty five variables. The collected data were processed using descriptive statistics and shown in frequency and percentage values.The research results showed equal use of direct and hook punches and more frequent use of advanced than basic defensive techniques in boxing during the competition of boxers. Achieved results may contribute to better understanding of monitoring and analysis of situational efficiency parameters in boxing at all competition levels.
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Abstract: An activity profile of competitive 3x3min elite level amateur boxing was created from video footage of 29 Olympic final/semi-final bouts in thirty-nine male boxers (mean±SD) age: 25.1±3.6 years, height: 178.3±10.4 cm, body mass: 69.7±16.5 kg. Boxing at this level requires the ability to maintain an activity rate of ~1.4 actions per second. Consisting of ~20 punches, ~2.5 defensive movements and ~47 vertical hip movements all per-minute, over three subsequent rounds lasting ~200sec each. Winners had higher total punches landed (p=0.041) and a lower ratio of punches thrown to landed (p=0.027) than losers in round 3. The hook rear hand landed was also higher for winners than losers in round 2 (p=0.038) and round 3 (p=0.016) and defensive movements were used less by winners (p=0.036). However, the results suggest that technical discrimination between winners and losers is difficult, bout outcome may be more dependent on which punch is 'lucky' enough to be scored by the judges or who 'appears' to be dominant on the day. This study gives both boxers and coaches a good idea of where sub-elite boxers need to aim if they want to become one of the best amateur boxers in the world.
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The analysis of video recordings of boxing matches could verify differentiation between winners and losers. The aim of this study was to determine aspects of winning and losing boxers based on the use of technical and tactical elements over the progression of boxing contests and differences through bouts. A Sample of 66 first-ranked male elite boxers (aged 22.1 ± 2.3) in 33 fights (11finals; 22 semi-finals) was used. Nineteen variables were determined to describe technical and tactical elements within boxing matches. Differences between rounds were examined by a combined 3 x 2 within and between factors ANOVA to identify main effects through rounds as within winners or losers, with Bonferroni post-hoc analysis. Results showed that winners were higher developed than losers in performing offensive skills directed to head or body, total, lead and rear hand punches, boxing combinations, defensive skills and technical performance effectiveness (TPE) statistics. Data emphasizes the significance of making more punches in both single punches and in combinations in order to score more points than the opponent. Defensive skills should be utilized by arm, foot and trunk connected with attack. Prospective studies need to be considered to investigate the association between performance and physiological and biomechanical variables.
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The paper presents a novel laboratory method for assessing boxing headguard impact performance. The method is applied to examine the effects of headguards on head impact dynamics and injury risk. A linear impactor was developed, and a range of impacts was delivered to an instrumented Hybrid III head and neck system both with and without an AIBA (Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur)-approved headguard. Impacts at selected speeds between 4.1 and 8.3 m/s were undertaken. The impactor mass was approximately 4 kg and an interface comprising a semirigid 'fist' with a glove was used. The peak contact forces were in the range 1.9-5.9 kN. Differences in head impact responses between the Top Ten AIBA-approved headguard and bare headform in the lateral and forehead tests were large and/or significant. In the 8.3 m/s fist-glove impacts, the mean peak resultant headform accelerations for bare headform tests was approximately 130 g compared with approximately 85 g in the forehead impacts. In the 6.85 m/s bare headform impacts, mean peak resultant angular head accelerations were in the range of 5200-5600 rad/s(2) and almost halved by the headguard. Linear and angular accelerations in 45° forehead and 60° jaw impacts were reduced by the headguard. The data support the opinion that current AIBA headguards can play an important role in reducing the risk of concussion and superficial injury in boxing competition and training. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.