A subset of boxing known as amateur boxing is competed for at the college level, as well as in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, and Commonwealth Games. It is also competed for in many other organisations.
Boxing matches in the amateur ranks are relatively brief affairs, consisting of three rounds of three minutes for men and four rounds of two minutes for women, with a one-minute break in between each round. Amateur boxing fights are also separated by the same amount of time. On January 1, 2009, the men's senior fights changed from having a format of four rounds of two minutes each to having three rounds of three minutes each. In this kind of tournament, rather than being judged on their overall strength, competitors are awarded points depending on the number of clean punches they hit. In contrast to professional boxing, in which competitors take a break of several months between fights, this shorter structure enables tournaments to have several bouts spread out over a longer period of time.
A referee is there to oversee the bout and guarantee that the combatants are limited to legal strikes. Referees are also responsible for ensuring that boxers do not use any holding techniques to stop their opponent from hitting (if this does happen, the referee will separate the combatants and instruct them to resume fighting). Boxers risk being fined for repeated holding, which might eventually lead to being disqualified from competition. In the event that one of the boxers suffers a major injury or if one fighter is greatly outperforming the other, the referee is required to halt the fight.
Nowadays, amateur boxing is frequently referred to as Olympic-style boxing, which is now considered to be an official phrase. However, this should not be confused with the sport of Olympic boxing. Even though Olympic boxing is unquestionably a part of amateur boxing, some people consider it to be on the cusp between amateur and professional boxing. This is due to the fact that Olympians are frequently compared to the top-ranked professionals in terms of their skills, and upon turning professional, they are typically given a head start in the world professional rankings automatically.