How to Bet on Boxing
Boxing is a head-to-head activity, even though fights can be declared a draw. Three judges determine the outcome of a professional fight, and if all three judges make the same boxer the winner, it is a ‘unanimous decision.’ However, if two judges make one of the fighters the winner and the third judge disagrees, it is a ‘split decision.’ The outcome of a bout can also be determined via technical decision, knockout, technical knockout, disqualification, and retirement.
Rules of Professional Boxing
If you’re interested in betting on boxing, an appreciation of the basic rules is important. So here are some of the fundamentals of the sport which determine the range of boxing bets:
- Each round lasts three minutes, and there is a one-minute break between each round.
- The number of rounds depends on the fight status and governing body.
- Most world title fights are contested over 10 or 12 rounds.
- Judges give the best fighter in any round 10 points.
- The opponent receives less than 10 points, depending on how badly he loses the round.
- Total points determine the winner of a fight when there is a points decision.
- However, a bout can be decided in the following ways: technical decision, knockout, technical knockout, disqualification, and retirement.
- The referee raises the arm of the winner after the result has been announced.
Boxing Governing Bodies
Boxing is a divided sport, possibly due to the sums of money involved, TV coverage, and rivalries. The various bodies create betting opportunities as they each govern their fights and award their belts. World title fights take place under the rules of the following organizations:
World Boxing Association (WBA)
- World Boxing Council (WBC)
- International Boxing Federation (IBF)
- World Boxing Organization (WBO)
The best fights for betting are those that determine an undisputed champion. The purses and incomes are enormous for these events and draw large audiences worldwide. There are also elimination fights under the rules of each governing body. But the height of the sport is an undisputed world championship fight, and it’s the Holy Grail of professional boxing to hold all four titles simultaneously.
Men’s professional boxing takes place in the following divisions, shown with the upper weight limits:
- Minimum weight: 105 pounds (48 kg)
- Light flyweight: 108 pounds (49 kg)
- Flyweight: 112 pounds (51 kg)
- Super flyweight: 115 pounds (52 kg)
- Bantamweight: 118 pounds (53.5 kg)
- Super bantamweight: 122 pounds (55 kg)
- Featherweight: 126 pounds (57 kg)
- Super featherweight: 130 pounds (59 kg)
- Lightweight: 135 pounds (61 kg)
- Super lightweight: 140 pounds (63.5 kg)
- Welterweight: 147 pounds (67 kg)
- Super welterweight: 154 pounds (70 kg)
- Middleweight: 160 pounds (72.5 kg)
- Super middleweight: 168 pounds (76 kg)
- Light heavyweight: 175 pounds (79 kg)
- Cruiserweight: 200 pounds (91 kg)
- Heavyweight: Unlimited
The best pound-for-pound boxer is the best in any division by the most significant margin. That means any fighter from minimum weight to heavyweight could win a title. However, there is no official belt or title within the four divisions for the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport. It is a matter of opinion with no measure of the outcome, so there is no betting involved in this outcome.
Boxing wagers fall into three categories: futures, fight markets, and props. Below, we discuss how these bets work and provide some examples.
Futures Moneyline Bets
The dynamics of the sport and the multiple governing bodies mean there is always speculation about blockbuster fights. The promoters hype the possibilities, which generates betting interest. Bouts that unify more than one body can also be huge for betting, but many potential fights do not occur.
Two of the biggest names in boxing are Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine and Tyson Fury of Great Britain, and odds for a meeting between these two great fighters could be offered as follows:
Oleksandr Usyk +220
Tyson Fury -200
In the odds above, Tyson Fury is the clear favorite to defeat Oleksandr Usyk, as indicated by his negative odds. Should you agree with the sportsbook and back Fury to win, you would need to bet $200 to return a profit of $100.
However, if you fancy Usyk for the upset, a bet of $220 would return a profit of $100. You could also place a bet on the draw, producing a sizeable $2000 profit from a $100 bet. But draws in boxing are rare, so it’s not necessarily a worthwhile betting strategy to consider in the sport.
Fight and Round Props
There is a relationship between the moneyline and fight and round props. The fight will likely be short if there is a big favorite and an underdog. The odds reflect a relative measure of ability and past form. When the odds are pretty even, the fight is more likely to be a close contest, and the props odds will be set accordingly.
The main reason why prop bets are attractive to boxing fans is that they’re not necessarily tied to the outcome of a bout, as they regard instances that occur during the fight. There are lots of boxing prop bets to consider, including:
Prop bets on the nature of the fight
Will there be a knockdown in any round?
Will the fight go the distance?
Will there be a point deduction?
Will there be a knockout?
Prop bets on individual fighters
Will either fighter win in the first round?
Which fighter will throw the first punch?
What colour gloves/robes/shorts will a boxer wear?
How many headshots in the entire fight will a boxer land?
Prop bets are a great option if you’re betting on boxing live, as you can keep up to date with the events that occur from round to round, keeping things interesting throughout the bout.
Method of Victory
This five-way market will nearly always have a definite outcome except on rare occasions when the official result is ‘No Contest.’ Let’s take a look at what method of victory fights might look like in a bout between Robert Helenius and Detonay Wilder:
- Wilder by Decision or Technical Decision +600
- Wilder by Knockiut, Technical Knockout or Disqualification -450
- Helenius by Decision or Technical Decision +1100
- Helenius by Knockout, Technical Knockout or Disqualification +750
- Draw or Technical Draw +2200
- The odds indicate that a Wilder victory by knockout, technical knockout, or disqualification is the most likely outcome.
You can bet on a round group market in groups of three. Hence, you could bet on Wilder to win in rounds 1 to 3 or Helenius to win rounds 10 to 12 and any combinations in between. The favorite in this market is Wilder to win in rounds 4 to 6 at +150, while the outsider is Helenius to win in rounds 10 to 12 at +6600.
Another option is round betting, from 1 to 12 for each fighter. There are more options, and the outcome is potentially more random, but the odds still favor Wilder. The shortest-priced option is Wilder to win in round 4 at +500, while the longest-priced option is Helenius to win in round 12 at +1000. Wilder is shorter in the odds than Helenius for any specific round.
Will the Fight go the Distance?
This bet is a two-way market, with Yes or No options. When there is a clear favorite like Wilder, ‘No’ is the favorite in this market, typically at -400, while ‘Yes’ is +250.
Recap: How to Bet on Boxing
The biggest boxing fights on the calendar attract substantial global audiences and provide fans with a wide range of betting opportunities, as illustrated throughout. So, if you’re keen to bet on boxing this year, put the above tips and betting types to good use as you select your winners out on the canvas.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is betting on boxing legal?
You can now legally bet on sports in Ohio. Sports betting online is fast and convenient – make sure you join a licensed sportsbook like betJACK.
Is it profitable to bet on boxing?
Betting on boxing odds can be profitable if you apply the same principles you will use on any form of gambling or investment - knowledge is foremost, and discipline is key. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the sport and use that knowledge to bet on diverse markets to hedge yourself against loss.
What are the different methods of victory in boxing?
Boxing victories can be achieved by the following methods: knockout, technical knockout, opponent disqualification, technical decision, unanimous points decision, split points decision, majority points decision, and opponent retirement. Two other types of results in boxing are draws and technical draws.
What is round betting in boxing?
Round betting in boxing involves picking either the specific round in which you think a boxer will win or the range of rounds in which they will win.
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