Mandatory eight count

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The mandatory eight count, also called a compulsory eight count,[1] is a rule in boxing and kickboxing requiring the referee to give any fighter a count of eight seconds once they have been knocked down by their opponent, and before the fight is allowed to resume. Even if the fighter gets up before the count reaches eight, the referee is required to count to eight before checking if the fighter is able to continue unless they make a judgement call that the fighter cannot continue.[2] The mandatory eight count is a part of the Unified Rules of Boxing as adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions.[3]


The Marquess of Queensberry Rules, the base rules of boxing, defined that fighters should be given ten seconds to return to their feet after being knocked down.[4] In 1953, the New York State Athletic Commission introduced the first mandatory eight count for all matches except championship matches.[1] The move was done to protect boxers from unnecessary damage.[1][5] Ten years later, the mandatory eight count was adopted for all matches in a regulation passed by the New York State Legislature.[6] The mandatory eight count was first used in 1961 in a title fight for the bout between Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson in Florida.[7] Reaction to the new rule from the fighters was positive with Johansson saying "It was good that he had the eight-count" and Patterson said "The eight-count helped me, those extra few seconds gave my head a chance to clear."[8] In 1997, the mandatory eight count was adopted by the World Kickboxing Association for professional kickboxing matches.[9]

The mandatory eight count is different from the standing eight count where referees had the power to pause the fight and start a count if he felt a fighter was in trouble at his discretion even if there was not a knockdown. The mandatory eight count is a requirement for all knockdowns. In 1998, the Association of Boxing Commissions abolished the standing eight count as it was felt that it gave an advantage to the fighter whom it was issued against.[10] However the mandatory eight count was retained and is distinguished from the former standing eight count in the rules of professional boxing.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Mercante, Arthur (2007). Inside the Ropes. McBooks Press. p. 204. ISBN 1590132947.
  2. ^ "Behind the Scenes – THE PROFESSIONAL BOXING REFEREE: When is it OK to stop a bout? – An excerpt from "The Professional Boxing Referee Manual"". Seconds Out Boxing News. 2003-03-13. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  3. ^ "Boxing and MMA regulations as filed with the Secretary of State" (PDF). Government of Connecticut. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  4. ^ Editors, The (2009-01-12). "Marquess of Queensberry rules". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  5. ^ Hudson Jr., David (2012). Boxing in America: An Autopsy. ABC-CLIO. p. 127. ISBN 0313379734.
  6. ^ New York State Legislature (1964). New York Legislative Documents. 8. J.B. Lyon Company. p. 79.
  7. ^ "March 14, 1961 – Riotous Confusion Reigns Before, After Fight". Chicago Tribune. 1961-03-14. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  8. ^ "Patterson still champ after 6th round KO". Battle Creek Enquirer. 1961-03-14. p. 13. Retrieved 2017-05-22 – via
  9. ^ "THE OFFICIAL RULES OF THE WORLD KICKBOXING ASSOCIATION" (PDF). World Kickboxing Association. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  10. ^ "BOXING – New York to KO standing eight count". ESPN. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  11. ^ "Uniform Rules from Association of Boxing Commissions". Boxing Insider. Retrieved 2017-05-22.