This month we take a look at the differences with officiating bouts under IFMA and WMC rules. As an official in a sport where the difference between winning and losing can be but a fraction of a margin, It is important that we know what we are looking for whether it be an IFMA or a WMC bout. In saying this we must understand that the elite athletes are the same, they are just as skilful, exceptionally fit and all have the same amount of dedication as each other. The only difference is are the rules, timing of the rounds and equipment.
Competing on the amateur or IFMA platforms requires judges to be exceptionally focused, as officials must be able to differentiate what of the 8 weapons lands on target and with force, this can be quite difficult as the padding can sometimes hide the impact of the shot. As an athlete competing on these levels their work rate and ring craft needs to be extremely high to succeed.
Being a referee for these bouts, we as officials need a certain level of fitness and a sharp eye as amateur bouts tend to be non stop action from start to finish, although with saying this many professional bouts have the same level of action but tend to start out slightly more cautious as they are fought generally over five rounds and without protective equipment .
Apart from some of the more obvious rules in regards to equipment, professional comprising of gloves, mouthguard, and groin protection. Amateur also has head, body (under 23’s and youth), elbow and shin guards. One of the biggest differences in judging is the scoring of a KD, in amateur if an athlete receives a KD it is not an automatic point deduction where’s in professional to receive a KD a point will be deducted.
The safety and protection of the athlete is however the same. An officials duty to care for the boxer is of the utmost importance and the notion that it is a professional bout so they can take more punishment is not a healthy aspect to view how we judge or referee a bout. So although there is only a slight margin between the two we still need to be completely aware of these differences.