Amateur Boxing

World Boxing Championships: What is Bout Review System?

Sayantan ChakrabortySayantan Chakraborty

March 26 2023
World Boxing Championships Bout Review System
(Courtesy : BFI Media)

The World Boxing Federation has introduced the use of technology and AI-driven (Artificial Intelligence) tool to eliminate & improve scoring errors.

The Bout Review System of the World Boxing Championships has been the talk of the town. The subjective nature of the boxing bout outcomes has caused a lot of controversy for the International Boxing Association (IBA) all across. The risk of bouts being rigged or manipulated was among the accusations the International governing body of boxing was facing. It was among the various reasons why the International Olympic Committee suspended the International Boxing Association (IBA) in 2019. An independent probe led to findings of approx 10 suspicious ’bouts’ and the ‘manipulation’ of results, led by a Canadian lawyer in 2021. 

Hence McLaren Global Sport Solutions (MGSS), the independent organisation that has been working as an investigative and advisory body to the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit, has been hired, to use their AI-based software and detect any foul bouts or remove bias. The software also can vet the match officials & remove them, if necessary, from the judging panel based on the risk of manipulation. 

IBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2023

As per IBA Development Director Chris Roberts, “We did some research and found that 96 per cent of the results that are challenged or are controversial are 3-2 decisions. So, the focus was 3-2 verdicts.”

“If a decision is 3-2 in favour of the red corner and both the observer and evaluator agree that red did not win then it becomes 3-4 for blue. That is when the result is changed,” were his thoughts in brief about the newly implemented bout review system.

India has been hosting The 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships from March 15 and it ends on the 31st of March, in New Delhi. India is hosting the tournament for the third time in its history. It’s yet to host the men’s competition yet, however, the women’s tourney has come back to India after hosting it in 2006 & 2018, in New Delhi itself.

The Indian boxers have performed exceptionally well in this year’s tournament as the likes of Nitu Ghangas (48kg), Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Lovlina Borghain (75kg) & Saweety Boora (81kg) have all progressed to the gold medal matches off their events. 

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Guidelines for Bout Review System

To understand the Bout Review System, the following guidelines and rules have been set by the IBA:

  • It was first introduced to implement the renewed bout review in a manual mode at the IBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships in La Nucía, Spain.
  • The digital ecosystem is now fully automatic since January 2023. 
  • This is the first time, the IBA is using a Real-time Bout Review system, in a competitive event.
  • Instead of the usual five judges, a total of seven panellists will be judging the event.
  • The two extra judges are known as the Observer & the Evaluator.
  • The review system will only be activated in the scenario a bout ends in a 3-2 split decision, or if there’s a discrepancy between the result of the Observer & the Initiator.
  • When the review is initiated, A hand shall be raised by the Observer to activate the review process so that the respective coaches and boxers are fully aware.
  • The review process must be concluded & the result declared within 5 minutes of the conclusion of a bout.
  • The scores will be compared between the respective Judges and those of the Observer and Judge Evaluator.
  • If the Observer and Judge Evaluator agree that the decision of the Judges is correct, then there will be no change in the result.
  • If the Observer & Evaluator disagree with the judges, the winner will be announced based on the evaluation from the available tool between the Observer & Evaluator. 
  • The winner of the bout will be determined using the three scoring criteria by the Evaluator & Observer.
    • Number of quality blows on the target;
    • Domination of the bout by technical and tactical superiority
    • Competitiveness.

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