Boxing Betting Guide
At its purest, boxing is a brain-bashing fight fest. Yet boxing is so much more than that. It's the noble art, a sport of heroes and villains, the pursuit of uncomplicated glory. There is no purer contest than that which channels humankind's primaeval instinct to fight.
No other sport is quite like boxing to bet on. Seeking out the victor between two fighters is embracive, stirring and gripping. Your bet is never truly out until one fighter delivers a killer blow.
There are as many as 1,000 professional boxing matches every year. The popularity of boxing has waxed and waned over the years but it’s booming right now. Enormous audiences tune in for the blockbuster pay-per-view bouts between boxing's warriors and the occasional fall guys who enter the ring accepting of the bashing they're about to take and wherever there is boxing, there is betting.
To successfully bet on boxing, you need to know the rules, understand how bouts are fought, know when to back favourites and when to opt for the underdog. Above all, you need to know when to jump on the best boxing bets that can yield a profit. However, it’s also important to remember that in the world of professional boxing, upsets do frequently happen. And for this reason, no bet is ever a dead cert, no matter what the pre-match stats may suggest.
Boxing And Betting Go Hand In Glove
For centuries, humans have gambled on ‘things’ that fight. Through time chroniclers have documented the frenzied wagering between observers of battling men, dogs, cockerels, bears and even rats.
Boxing and betting have a unique history. The Ancient Greeks idolised fighters in the early Olympics, viewing them as the pinnacle of the human form. As the supposed offspring of Hercules himself, fabled boxer Theagenes is said to have eaten his winnings from betting on himself to win a bout. His prize from that gambling gain was an adult bull.
Boxing continued through the ages, taking various forms but at its core always merely two opponents punching one and another. By the Victorian era, as sports became more professional and governed by codes, the rules of boxing as we know them had emerged.
By the 1940s and 50s, boxing was inextricably rooted in the criminal underworld. The Krays were all professional boxers in their youth and mingled with boxing champions. New York's murky gangland mobsters had intertwined their influence right through the fighters to the upper echelons of boxing nobility.
Today, boxing is the unadulterated, most compelling of combat sports. Every town in the land has an amateur boxing club and there are around 900 active professional boxers in the UK alone.
Boxing Betting Fundamentals
To bet on boxing, the fundamental rule is to understand the laws of the sport and how each fight is governed.
In simple terms:
Each boxing bout consists of “rounds” lasting three minutes each. There are between nine and 12 rounds per match depending on the format of the contest. The winner is the contestant who “knocks out” his or her opponent or wins on points awarded by a panel of up to three ringside judges. A knockout is where one fighter ends up on the deck and does not get up by the time the referee counts down from 10. Points are awarded to each boxer for events in a match, including knocking their opponent to the ground and for dominating a round. Points are deducted for breaking the rules.
If no winner emerges from the set number of rounds, as often happens, the judges will return:
A unanimous decision (UD) - where all three judges agree on the points awarded. A split decision (SD) - when two of the three judges awarded a fighter more points than their opponent. A majority decision (MD) - when two of the judges picked a winner while the third had concluded a draw. A draw - where two of the judges decide the contest ended evenly, or where two of the judges pick a different victor and the other determines the bout was a draw.
Betting On Boxing - Know Your Boxers
Some boxers are household names and always will be. Think Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno. The current generation of big names in boxing includes Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Fighting style and celebrity status can determine a fighter’s draw at the box office. It’s a prudent betting strategy to remove the hype out of the markets you’re perusing before a bout. Big names attract big money bets. That alone can impact the bets offered on a fighter's chances.
Flamboyant boxers win popularity contests before they even enter the ring. Arrogant fighters are loved or loathed without ever winning a belt. Show-boating boxers can be crowd-pleasers or sudden hate figures purely based on their performance in pre-match trash talk and “stare downs”.
Boxing is an emotional sport like no other. That’s what makes it such an exciting watch. But it pays to do a little research on a fighter rather than base your bets on public personas, notoriety or celebrity status.
It’s also essential to note that there are 17 weight classes in boxing. Each fighter is entered into a class dependent on how heavy they are.
This can form a solid base on which to build a boxing betting strategy. You may choose to follow bantamweights, featherweights or heavy weights for example. You can then identify the best in each division along with those emerging as the next big thing and then pick your bets accordingly.
How Does Boxing Betting Work?
There are a handful of boxing bet types that tend to dominate the markets for each bout.
You will find that the bets available on boxing are fewer than the multitude offered in other sports betting markets such as football, tennis and cricket. That means to develop a successful strategy for betting on boxing requires carefully selected wagers.
If you’re not quite sure how boxing betting odds work and how they are calculated, why not check out our betting odds explained blog for more information.
Outright Winner Bets In Boxing
As much to the point as a punch in the chops, an outright bet is simply backing one fighter to beat the other. Often, the favourite in a boxing bout will be priced at a relatively short price. You'd have to put a sizeable stake on to achieve a decent return but there are ways to bolster the odds in this type of fight. This is a fairly simple bet that follows in the footsteps of the likes of football betting and horse racing betting.
Winning Method Bets In Boxing
A winning method bet involves predicting just how the eventual victor will win a bout. You have a straightforward choice in most markets. Either your chosen winner will emerge from the fight victorious by:
- A knockout (KO)
- The decision of the judges
- A technical knockout (TKO) whereby the referee decides a boxer can’t continue in the fight.
If a boxer is a heavy favourite in a bout, you will gain better odds by betting that they will win as a result of a KO. If you determine that one fighter is far superior to the other, there may be a good chance they will win with a knockout.
Alternatively, a boxer may approach a fight from a highly tactical perspective. One contestant might aim to see out each of the rounds in a bid to leave the decision on who wins to the judges. Remember, judges are human and their award of points can be somewhat subjective.
Betting on a points win can be a good strategy to consider when backing the non-favourite in a match. Or it can be the pick when two fighters are evenly matched in the odds and will cancel each other out in each of the rounds meaning an eventual victory on points is likely.
In some cases, a boxing match may end in a technical decision. This usually happens when the match needs to be stopped for reasons such as injury, and in such cases, the judges’ scorecards will be referred to in order to identify which boxer was winning at the point the match had to be stopped. As long as a pre-set number of rounds have been completed, the technical decision means boxing betting results will be settled as a win for the declared victor.
Boxing Round Betting Explained
Round betting is where you select a specific round, or group of rounds, in which you expect the winner to knock out his or her opponent, or for one fighter to be declared unfit to continue and therefore lose.
If the outright odds are low, round betting is a good way to identify additional value from a fight. It might, at first glance, appear to be a pick akin to sticking a tail on a donkey but round betting has its merits.
Some boxers start a bout quickly and may have form for knocking out opponents early in a match. In this case, opting for your expected victor to win in one of the opening rounds may make sense. You can expand your chances of a win here by selecting a fighter to win in rounds one to three (the odds will be shorter in a group of rounds bet than a specific round bet).
Alternatively, some boxers are steady sloggers. They might start slowly and eventually ground their opponent down. Here, you would pick a later round, or group of rounds, in which you predict the winner will eventually claim victory.
Remember, unlike many sports, boxing bouts can be over really quickly. Often, winning a fight comes down to one strategically placed punch or a lucky strike just in the right place when an opponent’s guard is momentarily down. Mike Tyson won 26 of his first 28 professional bouts by a knockout in the first round. Some boxers have even gone an entire career only ever winning with a first-round KO.
Boxing Betting Strategy
There’s a lot of entertainment to be had in supplementing your boxing viewing by simply popping a few small bets on a whim, a hunch or by picking your favourite fighter. But that type of approach often doesn’t tend to yield much of a profit over the longer term.
For many fans, a boxing betting strategy is the preferred way to select which bets to place. Betting strategies don’t necessarily need to be overly complex - though you can dive into tactics as deeply as you wish.
At its core, boxing is a simple sport; two opponents go toe to toe with the aim of knocking each other out. Therefore many boxing betting strategies come down to studying each boxer and making a decision as to which odds offer the best value.
You may want to consider form in recent matches, the outcome if the two boxers have clashed previously, what shape each boxer is in directly before the match, how their sizes and weights compare and whether boxers tend to perform better on home soil or when they travel internationally to a bout.
With two boxers who are in peak shape, the winner of a bout will be the one who punches hardest, hits their target most decisively, and displays the superior footwork and defensive skills necessary to avoid the blows of their opponent. The nuances and complexities of boxing emerge when you add in the rules of the sport and the tactics and characteristics of individual fighters.
You can potentially increase your chances of a winning boxing bet by studying the form of each boxer ahead of the fight. You can maximise the probability of winning in the secondary markets by assessing the characteristics of each contestant and how they attempt to ‘manage’ their bouts; helping you identify which bets look to have the most favourable odds.
Ultimately, the winner of a boxing match is often simply the bigger, the heavier and the stronger fighter who has put more into training for the match than their opponent. And that is what makes betting on boxing so entertaining. So, enjoy the adrenaline of a bout, cheer on your hero and stay within your limits.
For more betting guides check out our blog.