Update July 26, 2017 – As reported by Kirik Jenness, these rules have been adopted by unanimous vote.
This week the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports are having their annual convention hosted at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Among the noteworthy agenda items is a vote on a set of unified rules for kickboxing. Much like the ABC has done by setting unified rules for professional Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing, the group is hoping to come to agreement on a template set of rules for kickboxing which is presently suffering from a scattered ruleset.
While ABC ‘unified rules’ are not binding many jurisdictions defer to the ruleset and others closely model what the ABC agrees on.
In addition to voting on these rules the ABC is hoping to create an official records database for results modeled after the Boxrec model.
The vote takes place Wednesday and the draft rules read as follows:
(PROPOSED) UNIFORM PROFESSIONAL KICKBOXING RULES
1. Bouts may consist of a maximum of ten (10) rounds of three (3) minutes each in duration,
with a minimum of one (1) minute rest period between each round.
2. The referee and/or the ringside physician are the only individuals authorized to stop the contest, as determined by the presiding commission. This rule shall not preclude a video or other review of a decision under the procedures of the applicable regulatory authority if a protest is filed claiming a clear rule violation.
3. All bouts are evaluated and scored by three (3) judges.
A. The 10 Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10
Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round.
B. The fighter who has lost the round may be awarded 9, 8, or 7 points.
C. If the round is determined to be an even round, a score of 10/10 may be awarded.
D. Partial or incomplete rounds will be scored. If no significant action has occurred, the
round shall be scored as an even round. This is at the discretion of the judges.
Bouts will be evaluated using the following prioritized criteria;
1. Number of Knockdowns.
2. Cumulative effective Impact on the Opponent.
3. Number of Clean Scoring Strikes
4. Ring Generalship or Aggressiveness
5. In the event of a knockdown the referee shall send the standing fighter to a neutral corner and administer a Mandatory Eight (8) Count to the downed fighter.
A knockdown is defined as when a fighter touches the mat with anything other than the souls of their feet as the result of a legal, damaging strike – or is in a defenseless position grabbing the opponent, or hanging on or over the ropes. The referee will have sole discretion in determining a knockdown versus a slip.
If a fighter goes down from what the referee indicates is a “slip” but fails to rise after the
referee’s repeated commands, the referee will initiate a count, and follow the procedures of a knockdown. If the fighter does not rise at the count of 10, it will be considered a TKO.
If a fighter injures him/herself and then fails to intelligently defend him/herself by turning their back on the opponent, the referee may, in the proper exercise of their discretion either treat the injury the same as one produced by a fair blow from the opponent and follow the procedures for a knockdown, or terminate the bout and declare the opponent winner by TKO.
6. The Three (3) Knockdown Rule is in effect only where a fighter has been knocked down 3
times in the same round by strikes/kicks to the head. In this event, this fighter shall be
determined to have lost the bout by TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT.
7. There is NO Standing Eight (8) Count.
8. A fighter who has been knocked down CANNOT be saved by the bell in any round, including
the final round.
9. All fighters are required to wear a mouthpiece during any contest. No round can begin
without the mouthpieces in place. If any mouthpiece becomes dislodged during the contest, the referee shall call time and have the mouthpiece rinsed and put back in the fighter’s mouth at the first opportune moment, without interfering with the action. The referee may deduct points if he/she feels the mouthpiece is being intentionally dislodged.
10. A fighter shall receive a 20 second count if the fighter is knocked out of the ring and onto the floor. The fighter shall NOT be assisted by anyone, including spectators or his seconds. If the fighter is assisted, he may be deducted points, or disqualified, at the sole discretion of the referee. If the fighter falls or is thrown from the ring the referee shall “stop time”, allow the fighter to return, seek the council of the ringside physician and/or penalize the other fighter if there was a fouling action, where appropriate.
A. Head butts.
B. Groin strikes.
C. Thrusting or Linear kicks directed at the knee joint
D. Striking the back of the head or the spine – defined as striking any of the area beginning
at the back of the head starting at the crown of the head and running directly down the
center of the head, spreading from ear to ear in the back of the head, running down the
entire rear portion of the neck, and beginning again at the occipital junction and stopping
at the top of the trapezius, and again from the trapezius muscle down the spine to the
E. Attacks to the throat.
F. Striking a downed fighter (a fighter is considered “down” whenever they have any part of
their body other than the soles of their feet touching the canvas).
G. Failure to obey the referee’s commands.
H. Striking on a break.
I. Striking after a bell.
J. Holding or using the ropes while striking or clinching.
K. Timidity: Repeatedly, intentionally avoiding engagement or contact with the opponent.
L. Use of abusive language and/or gestures.
M. Causing intentional delays in the action: For example, repeatedly spitting out the mouth
piece, falling out of the ring to cause delay.
O. Holding the opponent’s leg without executing a legal strike or while executing more than
one striking technique. (A fighter may grab the opponent’s kicking leg and immediately
execute one legal strike while taking one step, and then they must immediately release
P. Any effort to down a fighter by a method other than a legal strike or strikes; this includes,
but is not limited to joint locks, submission attempts, sweeps, reaps, takedowns and
R. Spiting at the opponent.
S. Striking with the elbow, arm, wrist, or other part of the glove that is not the padded part of
T. Holding, which is defined as repeatedly grabbing, grasping or tying up an opponent in
order to prevent the opponent from striking
12. Permissible Strikes:
A. All boxing strikes to permissible target areas.
B. Spinning backhands/fists to permissible target areas
C. Knee strikes to permissible target areas
D. All kicking strikes to permissible targets above the belt line
E. All kicking Strikes executed with the foot or shin directed to the legs (excluding linear or
thrusting kicks directed to the knee joint.
Permissible target areas: a) front and sides of the head; b) front and sides of the torso above
the belt; c) entire leg, except the knee joint by thrusting or linear kicks.
13. The winner of a match may be decided in the following ways:
A. Points Decision: When both contestants finish the scheduled rounds, victory is awarded
by majority decision of the judging panel.
B. Knockout: If a contestant is incapable of resuming the fight within the referee’s ten-count
due to legal strikes.
C. Technical Knockout :
1. If the official determines a contestant shows no will to, or is incapable of resuming the
fight due to a legal technique
2. If the official determines the contestant can longer intelligently defend him/herself
3. If the contestant does not leave his corner to take part in the fight following the
sounding of the bell.
4. If the referee is of the opinion that one contestant is outmatched by the opponent and
continuing the match would jeopardize the athlete’s health and safety
5. If the bout is terminated for medical reasons due to injury resulting from a legal
6. Where an athlete’s corner indicates to the official they no longer wish to continue the
contest and “throws in the towel”) If a contestant or his coach/corner man gives up
the fight. The contestant or his coach/corner man will indicate this to the referee or the
regulatory representative assigned to his corner (The corner “throws in the towel”).
D. Disqualification :
1. The referee disqualifies the fighter for any reason including intentional, deliberate,
flagrant or repeated fouling.
2. The referee disqualifies the fighter if anyone from their corner enters the ring during
the bout or touches one of the fighters during the contest, other than during the rest
period, or when permitted by the commission representative.
E. Draw :
1. If following the end of all rounds, at least two of the three judges do not pronounce
one of the fighters a winner.
2. If both fighters go down at the same time and neither can resume the fight within the
F. No Decision:
1. If a fighter cannot continue as the result of an accidental foul and the bell has not yet
sounded completing the second round of a three round bout, or completed the third
round of a five round bout, or completed the fourth round of a bout scheduled for
more than five rounds.
2. If the referee decides both fighters must be disqualified
3. Where the commission determines any other determination would result in a
miscarriage of justice.
14. A fighter who has been struck with a low blow is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as in the referee and/or ringside doctor’s opinion the fighter may continue on in the contest. If the fighter states that they can continue on before the five minutes of time have expired, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. If the fighter goes over the five (5) minute time allotment, the fight cannot be restarted, and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.
15. Injuries Sustained by Intentional Fouls:
A. If an intentional foul causes an injury, which is severe enough to terminate the bout
immediately, the fighter causing the foul shall lose by DISQUALIFICATION.
B. If the referee determines that a contest may continue despite an injury caused by an
intentional foul, the referee shall immediately inform the Commission’s representative and
the judges and the judges shall deduct the points as determined by the referee and/or the
C. If an injury caused by an intentional foul results in the contest being stopped later in the
bout, or in a later round:
(i) If the injured fighter is ahead on the scorecards, he shall be declared the
winner by a TECHNICAL DECISION, or
(ii) If the injured fighter is behind or even on the scorecards, the contest shall
be declared a TECHNICAL DRAW.
D. If a fighter injures himself while attempting to foul his opponent, but is able to continue
fighting, the referee shall take no action and treat the injury as if produced by a fair blow.
If the referee determined fighter who injured him/herself is unable to continue, that fighter
will lose by TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT/KNOCKOUT.
16. Injuries Sustained By Unintentional Fouls:
A. If an unintentional foul causes an injury, which is severe enough to terminate the bout
immediately, the contest shall result in a NO DECISION, if a bout has not completed the
rounds necessary to score a technical decision.
B. If an unintentional foul causes an injury severe enough to terminate the bout once the
bout is considered official, the bout shall be awarded to the fighter ahead on the
scorecards, including incomplete rounds, by way of a TECHNICAL DECISION.
A bout is considered “official” if completing the second round of a three round bout, or
completed the third round of a five round bout, or completed the fourth round of a bout
scheduled for more than five rounds.
If the injury from the UNINTENTIONAL foul is not severe enough to immediately stop the
bout but later becomes aggravated and causes the bout to be be stopped, the bout shall
be awarded to the fighter ahead on the scorecards, including incomplete rounds, by way
of a TECHNICAL DECISION if the bout has been official. Otherwise the bout will result in
a NO DECISION.
C. If a fighter injures themselves while attempting to intentionally foul their opponent:
(i) and is able to continue fighting, the referee will not take any action;
(ii) If the referee feels that a fighter has conducted themselves in an unsportsmanlike
manner, the referee may stop the bout and disqualify the fighter
(iii) If the offending fighter fails to intelligently defend him/herself by turning their back
on the opponent, the referee may, in the proper exercise of their discretion, either
treat the injury the same as one produced by a fair blow from the opponent and
follow the procedures for a knockdown, or terminate the bout and declare the
opponent winner by TKO.
17. 8 oz. and 10 oz. boxing gloves are the industry standard for professional kickboxing. All issues pertaining to mandatory and optional equipment will be determined by the presiding commission.
18. Male contestants must not wear clothing or other attire on their upper bodies. Female
contestants must wear short sleeved (above the elbow) form fitting tops or a sports bra.
19. No fighter may leave the ring before the end of the bout. Should the fighter fail to resume the bout following the end of the rest period, the referee shall begin counting as though there were a knock-down. At the conclusion of the \count, the opponent shall be awarded the boutby way of TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT.