Fouls, Cautions and Warnings in Amateur Boxing

A referee shall make use of all their experience to manage the round without causing unnecessary stoppages, warnings, and disqualification, and if a referee has got any cause to believe any boxing fouls have been committed which is hidden, the referee might seek advice from the judges.

Throughout the round, the referee can deliver multiple cautions and warnings to the boxers. There are three different kinds of fouls. minor, major and flagrant therefore depending on the factors, a caution, warning, or maybe disqualification can be given.


Common minor fouls are:

A caution is actually a piece of advice for less severe infringements and the volume of cautions given prior to a warning is at the discretion of the referee. For minor boxing fouls, cautions ought to be given without having to stop the round by making use of hand signals and verbal instructions.

Cautions cannot be given during the one minute rest time between rounds. If the foul happened following the bell was sounded, the referee will need to wait until the beginning of the next round.

  • Low head but not dangerous
  • Slight holding, not causing advantage
  • Slight pushing, not causing advantage
  • Not stepping back on the command “Break”
  • Stepping on the opponent’s toe


Common major fouls:

For major boxing fouls, the referee should command STOP and issue at least a strong caution, they may also issue a warning.

  • Low blow
  • Holding
  • Hitting behind head
  • Hitting behind back
  • Pushing
  • Slapping
  • Holding and hitting
  • Low Head
  • Passive Defense
  • Gum shield falls out or knocked out.


Common flagrant fouls:

For flagrant boxing fouls, the referee should command STOP and give “strong caution” or “warning” and if there is no other option, then disqualify the Boxer.

  • Head butt
  • Lacing
  • Slamming opponent to the canvas
  • Strike opponent without taking a full step back on the command “Break”
  • Hitting while the opponent is down
  • Hitting after the bell
  • Hitting behind the head (intentional)
  • Hitting behind the back (intentional)
  • Hitting with the elbow
  • Hitting with shoulder
  • Spitting out gum shield