Boxing Betting Guide

Boxing is a brilliant sport to watch and can be even more exciting if you have placed a well-considered and well-researched bet on the outcome of a big fight. 

If you thought Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury were too well matched for there to be a clear favourite in their late 2018 clash and put money on a draw, you would have made a good profit. Backing Anthony Joshua against an unfavoured opponent will yield less returns but might still be a profitable, safe bet if you find a good offer and place a decent stake. 

If you are new to betting on boxing or simply want a refresher on the typical wagers you can place on the sport you are in the right place. 

Types of boxing bets 

There are several different types of bets you can place on boxing, with each providing distinct opportunities for punters who know what they are doing. 

Bout betting / outright winner

Here the bet simply goes on a chosen fighter to win a specific contest. This is similar to a full-time result bet on a team to win a football match or a win only bet on a horse to win a race. If the fighter was an unfancied challenger at 6/1 for the win and you backed him with a £10 stake, his unexpected victory would win you £60 and you would get your stake back. In bout betting you can get odds for a draw too.

Will the fight go the distance

Fairly obvious, this means putting a bet on the fight to run its full course and last to the end of the final round. You can bet on this as a yes or no option and it is a pretty hard occurrence to predict. You’ll really need to know a decent amount about the form and technique of each combatant to accurately predict that a fight will go the distance. Look out for very good prices on this eventuality.


Method of victory

This is an interesting one to add an extra element to the bet if you are convinced a fighter will win. How will he or she do it? Technical knockout, straight knockout or disqualification for the opponent? If you think you know, this is an option for you. 

Round betting 

Have a clear vision in your mind how the fight is going to go? If the odds look a bit short for the win alone you can also predict which round your selection will secure the victory in and place a wager on that. You should get good odds for this type of bet.

Grouped round betting

A similar concept to the specific round betting option just mentioned, but with slightly lower odds and a bit of a wider possibility of winning for the punter. With this type of bet you can typically back the fighter to win in the first three rounds, rounds 4-6, rounds 7-9 or rounds 10-12. 

Over / under rounds 

This category of wager gives you the opportunity to predict whether a boxing match will end before or after a certain amount of rounds. So if you believe the fight will go over 7.5 rounds and put some money on it, provided both fighters are still in the match after one minute and thirty seconds of the eighth round, the bet pays out. 


The rules of the game


When it comes to boxing and the key rules which relate to the outcomes you are betting on there are a few points to keep in mind.

These are the main rules to a professional boxing match: 

• There are 9 – 12 rounds, three minutes per round.

• The referee controls the match, taking into account the conduct and safety of both fighters. The referee looks out for any fouls, is responsible for counting out fighters or stepping in to call a stoppage to the fight when one of the combatants has had too much. Severe bleeding, an inability to defend oneself or being knocked down three times in one round usually result in a stoppage.

• The boxer or his/her corner can also stop the fight by signalling to the referee between rounds or throwing in the towel during a round. This is a corner retirement and counts as a technical knockout.  

• Three judges score the fight from ringside, keeping a tally of points. The judges observe punches landed, defence, knockdowns, fighters holding on or otherwise breaching rules and additional factors, as they score the match.

• The fight can be won or lost by knockout, disqualification, technical knockout (TKO or stoppage) or if the fight has gone the distance (the end of the final round is reached without a winner) then the judges decide the outcome.

• There are three judges, so the outcome could be a win for one fighter by unanimous decision where all three judges score the same fighter as winning. Or there might be a win by majority decision: two judges score the same fighter as the winner and the third scores the fight as a draw. A split decision win goes to a fighter who has been picked as the winner by two judges, whilst the other judge has picked the opponent as the winner. 

• Draws are quite rare in boxing but they do occur when all three judges agree on a draw, or in the case of a split draw where two judges pick different winners and the third judge scores the contest as a draw (this was the case for Fury vs Wilder in December 2018). There are also majority draws, in which two of the three judges agree the fight is tied, regardless of the decision of the third judge. 

When draws happen in title fights the champion retains his or her title(s), but the challenger usually has a strong case for an immediate rematch. You should always check the specifics of how your bookmaker interprets the outcomes of boxing matches, for example their rules on tied contests or TKOs as they affect round betting, by consulting the bookmaker’s website. 


A few pointers 

If you are attending a boxing match or watching on television there will usually be several fights on the card. Sometimes people bet on every fight to add an element of excitement in the build-up to the main fight but this is rarely a successful tactic unless you are a really experienced boxing aficionado. Stay focussed on the matches where you really know about the fighters and where you see good value in the odds.

For generating a return from boxing betting you need to look out for good offers from bookmakers, be aware of what’s going on with each fighter in the build-up to the contest and check out the statistics on both boxers.

Does boxer A usually do well fighting outside his own country? Has boxer B been unlucky to lose one or two recent fights? Has the fighter been sparring with new partners or training with a new coach? Is this guy fighting above or below his usual weight class? If you know the answers you are better positioned to place a smart bet. 

An unproven fighter from a very good gym or trained by a highly successful coach could be a good bet to upset a more experience journeyman for example. The bookmakers will know this, but their odds might still give you a chance to make good money.