How Does The 10 Count Work In Boxing?

How Does The 10 Count Work In Boxing?

If you’re serious about getting into boxing and want to take to the ring and have a proper bout with a rival, it’s important to school yourself on the actual rules.

For example, the 10 count. We all know about it, we’ve all heard about it … but how does it work exactly and why was it introduced in the first place? 

Beast Gear takes a look. 

What Happens When a Fighter Is Knocked Down?

If you hit the canvas, the ref is going to impose a 10 count. 

Meantime, your adversary is sent over to the white corner, so that he can’t get coached. 

If you fail to get back on your feet after 10 seconds, the fight is over and you lose by KO. 

If, on the other hand, you get back up before the 10 seconds are up, the ref will take a quick look at you to make sure you’re okay to continue. For example, he’ll take a look at your eyes and balance, as well as your overall health. 

Then, he’ll wipe your gloves and order the match to resume. 

Variations On The Rule 

The 10 count isn’t enforced in exactly the same way in each country.

For example, in the U.S. you can start rising after 9 seconds have been counted, get back on your feet - and continue your bout.

In the UK, conversely, if you start rising after the count of 9, you’ll be counted out. 

There’s also the 20 second rule, which is enforced if you’re knocked out of the ring. If you’re knocked out of the ring, you’ve got 20 seconds to climb back onto your feet and re-enter the ring. 

If you can’t get back in in time, the ref is within his rights to call the fight off. 

Where Did The 10 Count Come From? 

The 10 count was originally a gentleman’s rule. You know, never hit a man when he’s on the deck. It’s just the right thing to do. 

The rule is also there to protect both fighters.

Then there’s the political motives behind the 10 count. Back in ‘the day,’ boxing matches could literally go on forever. They could become tedious and hard to watch. When it came time to repackage the game for the media, fresh rules were introduced. For example, a boxer used to be able to rely on a repertoire of devastating moves to finish his opponent off (such as falling on a felled opponent and finishing him for a KO), but that’s no longer the case.

Nowadays, boxing is essentially a punching-only match that has a set time limit. It’s based on a model that’s better to watch, that’s a tad more palatable. And part of the modern day model is the 10 count. Without the 10 count, KO’s would either be more vicious, or the boxer could be given much more time to get back on their feet. 


So, ladies and gentleman, there - for better or for worse - you have it. The 10 count is a key part of modern day boxing. Some fighters prefer it, others might not. But, hey, as long as the fighters get all the protection they need, it’s all good, right?

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