The rules and regulations are governed by USA Boxing, which oversees 56 local boxing committees. Each is licensed to sanction and regulate competition. In Florida, there are three committees.
How young can a child start?
A boy or girl may start at 8, and an 8-year-old may fight a boxer no older than 9. A 9-year-old may box an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old as long as the boxers are within five pounds of each other.
Before age 12 or 13, most children do not have the muscles or power to land heavy blows, and a boxer's success is based on speed and ability to land blows.
What are the bouts like?
In the Bantam division (8-, 9- and 10-year-olds), a bout consists of three one-minute rounds, with a one-minute break between rounds. The duration of rounds increases as the boxer gets older, with 15- and 16-year-olds competing in two-minute rounds.
Amateur boxing is scored on points obtained by landing blows. The winner is decided on the majority of judges (i.e. 5-0, 4-1 or 3-2), or by other factors such as a disqualification or a stopped contest.
What kind of protection is used?
A boxer must wear USA Boxing-approved headgear, which provides padding for the brows, forehead, ears, back of head, temples and cheeks. A custom-fit mouthpiece is worn and padded gloves must be provided by a competition's organizers. Male boxers must wear protective cups, and female boxers may wear breast protectors, if they choose.
At least one physician must be present at ringside. Boxers are given physical examinations before and after each bout.
What about knockouts?
USA Boxing official Robert Nicholson, who has been a referee for 10 years, said he has never seen a knockout in kids that young, but a knockout is possible. Typically, a referee will stop a fight if a boxer is clearly outclassed by another, in which case the losing boxer will receive an "RSC" (referee stopped contest) or an "RSC(H)" (the boxer sustained a head injury) on the scorecard. If a boxer receives an RSC(H), the boxer may have to sit out for a medical restriction period of 30 to 180 days.