Boxing has been around for centuries in one form or another. A popular sport in both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, boxing also has its own world championships. The sport is split between professional, where boxers fight for money and usually in stand alone fights, and amateur. There are four governing bodies in the world of boxing: World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council, International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Organisation. Although professional boxing has seen a decline in the US recently due to the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and in particular UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), it remains popular, particularly in Europe.
Important Facts for Betting on Boxing
- Make sure you compare the odds – there can be a lot of variety in boxing so check out our rundown of the best bookies below
- Understand the match you’re betting on – the number and duration of rounds varies from match to match and between competitions
- Keep up to date on injuries and form. There is a huge psychological component in boxing so consider each fighter’s record in a particular location as well as against their opponent.
- Keep your competitions straight. The different governing bodies run different competitions and it’s easy to get them confused. Make sure you know which body is running a fight.
A selection of the best online bookmakers with the best odds for boxing
Betting on boxing matches can add a huge amount of excitement to watching the sport. Due to the nature of the sport, so many factors can intervene, making it incredibly difficult to accurately set the odds. This adds another element of excitement for the punter because there is always a chance that the underdog will walk away with it. Before a fight try to compare the odds across different bookies to see if you can find any outliers. Here are our top 6 bookies for boxing odds:
Ladbrokes keeps coming up on our lists of the best bookies because they really are the strongest presence overall, and boxing is no exception. First off, Ladbrokes makes lots of different types of boxing markets available, beyond the general ‘Win Fight’ market which you can find just about anywhere. They include: Fight Outcome, where you can bet on whether the decision will be Unanimous, Knockout, Total Knockout, or a Draw; Round Betting where you place bets by round; Round Group Betting (where you can decide in which range of rounds you think a particular boxer will end up winning the fight; and ‘Will Fight Go the Distance?’ where you can bet on whether the fight will go through all rounds or end early. For keen punters who do their research, you’ll find plenty of niche markets with the potential to win big.
BetVictor is extremely popular with high-rolling punters because they have very high deposit limits. With that in mind, their boxing offering aims to give you a comprehensive offer of bouts around the world. On the day of our research, we only saw Win Fight markets available for each match however, which may not satisfy all boxing punting enthusiasts. Yet, since this is a fantastic option for those wanting to place bigger bets it is worth having as part of your overall boxing strategy. Remember that the winning limit for boxing on the site is £100,000.
It helps that William Hill is perhaps the most trusted sportsbook brand on the British market. They’ve ensured their brand equity is well-served with their selection of boxing matches. While the markets are not as extensive as those offered by Ladbrokes, an interesting part of the William Hill selection is the fact that the markets are divided by weight class. For those who like punting in the Welterweight and Heavyweight classes, you’ll have by far the largest selection of markets including Win Fight, how the Fight was won, Winner by Round Range, Winner by Round, Number of Rounds, and Whether all the rounds were fought. There are more heavyweight markets than welterweight, for example, which isn’t surprising – given their greater notoriety there are usually more bets placed on the higher weight classes.
Another top boxing contender that is often seen having some of the best odds on odd comparison portals is PaddyPower. While the fights are not grouped based on weight class, PaddyPower make it clear when a fight has more than just the Win Fight market available. The big-ticket matchups, like between Marco Huck and Mairis Breidis, will have a good range of betting markets for you to choose from. They include Round Betting, Group Round Betting, Alternative Group Round Betting, and ‘will the fight go the distance?’. While there is not as much depth as there is on Ladbrokes, you’ll be satisfied with the offer of markets for the major fights.
Coral’s boxing page has an intuitive interface that helps you get straight to the type of bet you want: Bout Betting (which is the Win the Fight market), Round Betting, Method of Victory or Round Group Betting. The inclusion of the Method of Victory market certainly helps out Coral because this favours boxing punters who truly want to do their research and predict how the match will play out. They also tell you how many more available markets there are for each fight, which we find useful as you plot out your markets. As with William Hill and Paddy Power, there still isn’t as much diversity, but Coral’s definitely worth having a look at for major bouts. The win limit for boxing on Coral is £100,000.
For those of you looking to really capitalise on the major bouts and really focus on the Win Fight Outright market, another alternative is 888Sport. While 888’s sportsbook is the newest part of their portfolio of online gaming assets, if you’re already accustomed to the layout on 888Casino, 888Poker, or any other 888-branded site, you know that the promotions are plentiful. Another advantage you’ve got with 888Sport is the partnership with BetRadar, where you can have an up-to-the-minute update of all the relevant statistics for the sports on offer. Besides the Win the Fight market, there tends to only be one other market available, but some of the bigger fights will have more than 10 markets for you to place your bets on.
The Major Boxing Federations
If you’re an avid handicapper you’ll often see loads of acronyms related to boxing: WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF. These represent the major governing bodies in boxing, each of which runs its own title competitions. Many boxing fans complain that the lack of an undisputed champion in a given weight class makes it extremely difficult to know who is the best – and that translates to making betting more difficult. It wasn’t always like this though there used to be just nine weight classes with only one champion each. Today, you have 17 different weight classes and there’s the possibility of having more than 100 different boxers holding one world championship belt or another. While the four major regulatory bodies have agreed on a naming system for the wide range of weight classes, only three of the four have adopted it so far. This causes a major headache for the punter and as you look through the major bouts, you’ll sometimes see that two or three titles are disputed in the same fight. Here is a short overview of the main bodies in boxing.
World Boxing Association
Founded in the United States in 1921, it was originally called the National Boxing Association. In 1962, with an eye on international expansion the name of the organisation was changed to the World Boxing Association (WBA). Most of the WBA’s activity is focused on the Americas as well as on their Pan-Asian body. As for titleholders, if a WBA champion wins a title awarded by any of the three other governing bodies, that fighter is elevated to Super Champion status.
World Boxing Council
Founded in 1963, the World Boxing Council, or WBC, is recognised by 161 countries and is comprised of nine regional bodies. The regional bodies are relevant to British punters as there is a regional organisation for European fighters. The WBC often gets the credit for the fact that boxing matches were reduced in length from 15 rounds to 12 in 1983. There have been talks of a potential merger between the WBC and the WBA, but those talks have yet to come to anything.
World Boxing Organisation
This professional boxing organisation is based out of Puerto Rico. The WBO spun off from the World Boxing Association after some stakeholders were displeased with new rules that were being enforced. There are regional organisations under this umbrella: North America (NABO), Latin, Asia-Pacific, Inter-Continental, Oriental, Europe, International, and Africa.
International Boxing Federation
The last of the main professional boxing organisations we’ll mention is the IBF. Originally called the United States Boxing Association they decided to create an international portion of the body in 1983 after USBA fighters were able to successfully catapult into WBA rankings when there were only two international regulatory bodies. In 1984, when Larry Holmes ended up relinquishing his WBC belt in favour of becoming the IBF champion, the IBF was able to garner respect and stand next to the WBC and WBA as the premier regulatory bodies within professional boxing.
International Boxing Association (Amateur)
AIBA is the main regulatory body for amateur boxing and it was formed in 1946. They run various amateur and semi-professional competitions, and regulate the rules of the amateur sport. More of the differences between the professional and amateur sports will be shared below.
How the bodies affect your betting
While the degree of prestige of these regulatory bodies changes, the truth is that this decentralisation of the sport does make your handicapping more complicated than say if you were betting on players ranked on the ATP tour. In tennis, there’s only one major body responsible for the rankings of the professional tours. In football, FIFA is responsible for ranking all the national sides in the world and by region. In terms of boxing, the fighters will be ranked based on the association they choose to fight under and many fighters will end up fighting for multiple titles across the regulatory bodies. There have also been accusations of corruption across the sport. In terms of your betting, however, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that it’s difficult to know how competitors stack up when the ranking systems don’t agree or don’t feature the same fighters. The good news, however, is that this means that if you do your research you might find some fighters are undervalued in a particular match. There’s money in the chaos.
Professional vs Amateur boxing
There are a few key differences between the professional and amateur sports.
Amateur boxing fights tend to be shorter than most professional ones. In amateur men’s boxing there are 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, while in the professional bouts there can be up to 12 rounds of 3 minutes. In women’s boxing the rounds last 2 minutes across both sides of the sport.
In Amateur boxing, boxers who have competed in fewer than 10 fights are considered ‘novices’ and can only box against other novices. This aims to allow boxers to improve before they take on more difficult opponents and to build up experience. There is no such distinction in the professional sport. Additionally, in the amateur game the referee can stop a fight if one boxer is obviously ‘outclassed’.
One of the main differences that punters will see is that only amateur boxers are eligible to compete in competitions such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. The professional sport tends more towards individual fights and many boxers can go months without fighting.
One of the most noticeable differences between the sports is the kit that boxers wear. In the amateur sport singlets are mandatory, whereas they are banned for professional male boxers. Additionally, until recently headguards were required for all amateur fights, although they have now been phased out of the men’s sport due to studies on concussions.
Conclusion: Give boxing betting a go
With so many boxing matches scheduled every weekend throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to bet on boxing across the diverse range of online sportsbooks we review here on OpenOdds. The bookies discussed above will offer good odds on the match ups, and a range of markets to bet on. The governing bodies make the world of boxing a little hard to get your head around, but keep an eye out for any boxing specials and do your research to see if you can find a good deal.