Olympic qualifying event: refereeing, instruction manual

The European Olympic Qualifying Event (EOQE) will take place in Villebon-sur-Yvette, near Paris, from June 4 to 8. Let’s talk about refereeing, a subject that, in the past, has been quite controversial. This time, every precaution was taken to guarantee impartiality, during the qualifications as well as in the upcoming Olympic Games.

A carefully selected list of judges and referees

The choice of referees for te EOQE was made by the International Olympic Committee, the official organ in charge of organizing the Olympic boxing tournament and qualification process.
A selection was made through tests for the lucky ones who will be taking part in this Olympic boxing organization. All of them are 3 stars AIBA officials, the highest rank possible, obtained after various evaluations and international training camps throughout their whole career.  
Once the qualifying process will be over, a new selection will be made to choose the team of referees that will go to Tokyo.


An important precision, to prevent any suspicion, no referee that will officiate in Villebon-sur-Yvette is European.

The points system

There is a winner four each round. The boxer that prevails in the round earns ten points. This system is the “Ten points must-system”, supported by electronic control boxes or paper ballot.

The following scale is applied to evaluate a round:

  • 10-9 for a slight domination of one of the two fighters during the round ;
  • 10-8 for a clear domination of one of the two fighters who took the upper hand thanks to a higher number of quality punches delivered ;
  • 10-7 for a total domination of one of the two fighters over the round, with a big difference of quality punches delivered.

No points is taken away from the boxer who is knocked down or counted. This allows the referees to intervene without having to consider the impact on the score, with the unique preoccupation of the fighters’ safety.

The judgement criterions

The judgement criterions of the bouts are carefully thought out, based on the sporting code of amateur boxing and the AIBA’s. The aim is to individually judge the merits of each boxer. This is the task of the 5 judges who will work on the EOQE and also, of course, in Tokyo. The decision can be split or unanimous.

These are the assessment criteria :

  • The number of quality punches on target. To be taken into consideration, a hit must follow some rules, for instance, it must be given with a closed hand. The quality and the quantity are important. When the quantity is the same for the two boxers, the quality becomes the main criteria, especially the power.
    A fewer number of power punches is worth more than a higher number of weak punches.
  • The domination thanks to a superior technic and tactic. This happens when a boxer controls the bout by combining attack and defense phases to counter-attack. There are other elements of importance, like the ability to maintain your opponent under pressure and impose your own rhythm by taking the initiative and starting the offensives.
  • The competitiveness, or being active on the ring, fully commit to the fight during its whole length. To prove that you deserve the round, you must also show your ambition by taking initiatives and force the decision in your favour.