Kickboxing Scoring System

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Kickboxing is an intense combat sport that demands strength, agility, and precision from its participants. It is characterized by the use of kicks, punches, and knee strikes which are executed with power and speed. In competitions, kickboxing scoring is essential to determine the winner between two skilled competitors, who go head to head. This scoring system is essential to both the fighters and the audience, as it provides clarity on who wins or loses the fight based on certain techniques and rules.

In this article, we will take a closer look at kickboxing scoring and how it works in competitions.


What is Kickboxing Scoring?

Kickboxing scoring is a system used to determine the winner of a fight based on points. Judges use predetermined criteria to score each round based on specific techniques, which are taken into account when awarding points. Typically, kickboxing matches, like other combat sports, consist of three rounds, each lasting up to three minutes.

The judges monitor the action, making sure the competitors are following the rules and are demonstrating various techniques consistent with the sport. At the end of each round, the judges then tally each fighter’s score to determine the winner.


What are the Criteria for Scoring Kickboxing Matches?

To score a kickboxing match, the judges must follow several criteria to ensure all competitors are judged fairly and consistently. These criteria include the fighter’s aggression, control, technique, and striking effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at each criterion:

1. Aggression: Judges look for fighters that are on the offensive, pushing forward and staying active throughout the entire round. Fighters with aggressive styles are typically rewarded in kickboxing matches, as they are seen as the more dominant fighter.

2. Control: In kickboxing, control refers to the fighter’s ability to dictate the pace of the fight. Controlling the ring or cage means the fighter is leading the fight and gaining a tactical advantage. This includes controlling the distance between the fighters, and using footwork to avoid being hit.

3. Technique: Judges take into account a fighter’s technique and form when executing kicks, punches, and knee strikes. The cleaner, more precise the technique, the better the score. Judges prefer fighters who display sound fundamentals and demonstrate strong technique.

4. Striking Effectiveness: Finally, judges score based on a fighter’s effectiveness in landing effective strikes. Strikes that result in knockdowns or stun the opponent are rewarded with higher scores. Judges look for accuracy, power, and impact when awarding points.


How are Points Awarded in Kickboxing?

Points are awarded when a fighter successfully lands a legal strike to their opponent, following the predetermined criteria mentioned above. The number of points awarded varies depending on the technique and the judges’ perception of its effectiveness.

In most sanctioned kickboxing matches, the scoring system is based on a 10-point must system, similar to boxing. Under this system, the fighter who is perceived to win a round is scored a 10, while the fighter who loses a round is awarded a score of 9 or less. The judges can score each round up to 10 points based on their perceptions of the fighter’s performance in the round.


What Techniques can Score Points in Kickboxing?

There are several techniques in kickboxing that can score points. These techniques are mainly categorized into three groups, namely punches, kicks, and knee strikes. To score points with any of these techniques, they must be legal, well-executed, and meet the criteria mentioned earlier.

1. Punches: Punches are scored when a fighter lands a clean strike to their opponent’s head or body. They can be thrown with either hand and, if successfully executed, are awarded points according to the judges’ perception of its accuracy and effectiveness.

2. Kicks: Kicks are one of the most common and effective techniques used in kickboxing. When executed properly, kicks can cause significant damage to the opponent, resulting in high scores. These kicks can be aimed at the opponent’s legs, torso, head, or neck, with a broad range of kicks that can be used like roundhouse kicks, front kicks, and spinning kicks.

3. Knee Strikes: Knee strikes are also allowed and awarded when a fighter lands a clean knee strike to his or her opponent’s body or head. Knee strikes can be used to cause severe damage to the opponent making it one of the more deadly techniques in kickboxing.


How are Penalties Handled in Kickboxing?

Penalties are given based on several factors during a kickboxing match, including unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal strikes, and rule violations. These can include hitting below the belt, eye-poking, or holding the opponent’s leg to prevent them from defending themselves, all of which are illegal.

When a fighter breaks a rule, they are often issued a warning, which can affect their overall score. If the fighter continues to violate rules, the referee can award a point to the other fighter or even disqualify the offending fighter and declare the other fighter as the winner. Penalties can significantly impact a fighter’s chances of winning, making it essential to fight within the rules of kickboxing.


What Happens if a Fight Ends in a Draw?

In some cases, kickboxing fights can end in a draw, mainly if both fighters have scored an equal number of points. When this happens, there are several ways it can be resolved.

In some competitions, the fighter who has demonstrated more skill and technique during the fight can win the match in case of a tie. Other times, an additional round called the sudden victory round can be added. Here fighters have the chance to fight until one of them scores more points than the other, determining the overall winner.



In conclusion, kickboxing scoring is a necessary component of the sport, allowing judges to objectively and fairly evaluate the performance of fighters during a competition. Learning the rules and criteria on how scoring works in kickboxing is essential for players to better understand their fighting techniques and for the audience to enjoy the sport even more.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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