Human behaviours associated with dominance in elite amateur boxing bouts: A comparison of winners and losers under the Ten Point Must System

Document Type

Journal Article


Public Library of Science

Place of Publication

United States


Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences




Dunn, E. C., Humberstone, C. E., Iredale, K. F., Martin, D. T., & Blazevich, A. J. (2017). Human behaviours associated with dominance in elite amateur boxing bouts: A comparison of winners and losers under the Ten Point Must System. PloS one, 12(12), e0188675. Available here.


Humans commonly ascertain physical dominance through non-lethal fighting by participating in combat sports. However, the behaviours that achieve fight dominance are not fully understood. Amateur boxing competition, which is judged using the subjective “Ten Point Must-System”, provides insight into fight dominance behaviours. Notational analysis was performed on 26 elite male competitors in a national boxing championship. Behavioural (guard-drop time; movement style [stepping/bouncing time]; clinch-time; interaction-time) and technical (total punches; punches landed [%Hit]; air punches [%Air]; defence) measures were recorded. Participants reported effort required (0–100%) and perceived effect of fatigue on their own performance (5-point Likert scale) following bouts. Differences between winners and losers, and changes across the duration of the bout were examined. Winners punched more accurately than losers (greater %Hit [33% vs. 23%] and lower %Air [17% vs. 27%]) but total punches, defence and interaction-time were similar. From rounds 1–2, clinch-time and guard drops increased whilst bouncing decreased. Perceived effect of fatigue increased throughout the bout while perceived effort increased only from rounds 2–3. %Hit and movement index together in regression analysis correctly classified 85% of bout outcomes, indicating that judges (subjectively) chose winning (dominant) boxers according to punch accuracy and style, rather than assertiveness (more punches thrown). Boxers appear to use tactical strategies throughout the bout to pace their effort and minimise fatigue (increased guard drops, reduced bouncing), but these did not influence perceived dominance or bout outcome. These results show that judges use several performance indicators not including the total number of successful punches thrown to assess fight dominance and superiority between fighters. These results provide valuable information as to how experienced fight observers subjectively rate superiority and dominance during one-on-one human fighting. © 2017 Dunn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited



Access Rights