When a match takes place in Europe between two boxers in class A (Professional), many purist of the Muay Thai often makes a reference to the rules of countings practised in Thailand for the definitive decision. But in Europe, the system of counting is different.

Siamfightmag thus asked to a referee of every current French federation, the FMDA, the AFMT and the FFKMDA, their opinion when they take their decision for a professional match (Class A) and semi-pro (Class B).

The arbitrators are one of the main parts of a boxing match, they have to perceive with attention the faults of the boxers and watch their physical integrity. An referee has to be on form physically and mentally, because to observe well the good progress of a fight between two boxers is needed a very good concentration. He has to ignore the noise of the crowd, the shouts of the members of the corner and focus on the action of the boxers.

And the referee will always have the last word in the case of a fault, an effect of shock, the determination of blow which is weak or illegal for the notation.

Three judges at the ring side must be also very concentrated on the fight. The judge must be alone at his table, nobody has to influence him on the performance of both boxers. From the final sound of the gong, he has to make his bulletin of notation of points estimated correctly.

In Thailand, the referee is very respected because boxing matches are based on the "malayate" (The education). It's necessary to obey to the referee who is considered on the boxing ring as " Ajahn " ( Master).

In general, counting in Thailand refers to the counting of the WMC federation.
















Here equivalence points for each hit Thailand at:


Punch = 1 half point

Straight left + right = 1 point

Low Kick = 1 point

Knee in the leg = 1 point

Knee to the body = 2 points

Middle = 2 points

High Kick = 2 points

Poke = 2 points

Projection = 3 points

Front Kick = 1 points

Blow blocked = 0 points


In a match in 5 round, a boxer who is counted by the referee loses 2 points in every counting. 

On any fall, even if the boxer slides on an ice cube left on the boxing ring, he loses points. A boxer who holds the rope of the boxing ring takes a warning. He can receive also a warning if the boxer holds the leg of his opponent and runs on the boxing ring (More than three steps).

Furthermore, rules were adapted for the fights in 3 round as in the organization " Thai Fight " or to the stadium " Max Muay Thai ". A boxer who is counted on a match in 3 round loses the round. And it's the boxer who moves forward who is the best noted, the defense is disadvantaged. The clinch is less estimated by the judges in the matches in 3 round.

But according to stadiums points are differently counted. For example, for stadium of Radja and TV7 it's the first two rounds which are favored.

In the stadium of Lumpinee, it's more the last three rounds. In Lumpinee, it's the number of round gained wich is taken into count. On the other hand, in Radja and in TV7, it's the number of point gained wich is taken into count. With only two rounds or even a powerful round (ex: 40 marked points), in a close match, the boxer can win at Radja and at TV7!


For example a close match:


                   Boxer red corner                        Boxer blue corner


1st round:   mark 10 points                            mark 9 points

2nd round:  mark 10 points                            mark 9 points

3rd round:   mark 10 points                            mark 9 points

4th round:   mark 5 points                              mark 10 points

5th round:   mark 10 points                            mark 9 points


TOTAL :    45 points                                                 46 points


The boxer in the red corner won the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd and the 5th round thus 4 round gained but he has only 45 points then if it's in the stadium of Radja or TV7, he loses the match. Indeed, the boxer in the blue corner gained only the 4th round but he marked 46 points thus he gain the match. If it was in Lumpinee, it's the boxer at the red corner which wins with 4 round gained…



The basic rules in France and Europe:

Round are judged according to criteria such as the blows give very clearly, the aggressiveness on the boxing ring, the strategy and one good defensive of boxer. But the most important they are the blows knocks.

At the end the fight, every judge who wrote his score for the round gives his score card to the referee who gives them then to a supervisor who puts back them on a final card.

Points are added for every judge and the winner is the one who takes him or unanimously or with the majority of the judges.




Counted boxer: When a boxer is touched and finds himself on the ground, the referee orders to his opponent to go in the corner neutral, then he begins to count until 8. If in the end the boxer is not capable of taking back the fight, the referee stops the fight.

The decisions:

Victory unanimously: Three judges have a favorable vote for a boxer

Victory with the majority or the shared decision: Two judges have a favorable vote for a boxer and a judge has a favorable vote for the other boxer

Draw: Two judges have a result draw, the result is a draw, or a judge gives a winner, the second judge gives another winner and the third judge gives a draw, the result is a draw

No. - contest: Sometimes, it's rather rare, if a match comes to an end for reasons independent of the fight, in case of particular problem on the boxing ring the boxers of which are not responsible or for a wound of a boxer for which his opponent is not responsible, the match can end by one " No. - contest ". What is the equivalent of a draw, none of the two boxers obtains the victory


Julien QUENTIN (Referee of the International Federation AFMT) is referee for 14 years. He started at 20 years old.

Quentin has an enviable record as a fighter, he was champion of France Class A in 2007, gold medal at the European Amateur Championships in 2008 and gold medal World Amateur Championships in 2009.



In France, there is no number of points, it's on the throughout round that we judge (even if implicitly, it implies a division of sequences during the round).

What is essential, it's the efficiency. About is the technique, if the blow is powerful and affected his target, it's what will make the difference.

Naturally, when the power is shared, the style counts, we make of Muay Thai, the purist will be favored.

A counted nakmuay loses 2 points, what will make 10-8 for the score on the round.

A nakmuay which has a warning loses 1 point, thus if moreover, it loses the round that makes 10-8 (or even 10-7 if it was counted).

In fact, there are lots of possible configurations.

For example, a boxer who puts several touched punches and some Low Kick, and the other one makes a beautiful sweeping, touches with High Kick, with blow of knees. If fists don't hit bad, it's the one who will have been effective with the knee, High kick and sweeping which gains the round. But in equal power, all the knocks count.

I think that it's difficult to speak about precise example without image, because felt picture is much more explicit. Best rest the visual and sound felt, to be at the heart of the action. We can have a different judgment by looking at a video and by living the same fight at the ring side. It's a little what it takes place when you manage complaints with viewing of the fight, it can be slightly falsified...

And to finish, it's not necessarily the one which moves forward who dominates, of very good nakmuays are effective by moving back.

In any case, for me, the best referee is the one who questions itself ceaselessly.

Nothing is ever acquired, the error is human is human and I can tell you that as conscientious referee, that eats away for a long time. I arbitrated several hundred fights, but I more keep in memory one or two interpretations which were not certainly the most adapted at the precise moment rather than hundred other fights which passed well.

In brief, I'm a little going to make the moralizer but on the boxing ring, with or without polo, you should not come because there is some light, it's the passion above all and only the work pays.

Of course, I was inspired by Thai but if I had to name the one who tempted me to become a referee in France, it's Eric Ekambi.

Then, I think that we have some good arbitrators, and it's true about is the federation, such as Kouider Abdelmoumeni, Didier Jumel, Rabah Ouadhi, Xavier Lafaye or still Larbi Benattia.








Xavier LAFAYE (International Referee of the federation FFKMDA) passed his diploma of referee in 2000 in France in the same time as legendary Thai Pud Pad Noi. Then, he was awarded a diploma in 2011 by the international federation WPMF in Thailand with colonel Boonsong. In 2015, he made a refresher course in Bangkok with a new formation with referee of the stadium of Lumpinee. Lafaye was also a referee in Bangkok during match in the King's Birthday.

Xavier Lafaye has a big experience of fighter with about fifty fights in muay Thai, 20 fights in amateur Boxing and several fights in Karate (Kyokushin and Shidokan, Karate with KO) and Sambo, in particular in tournament. He faced great Thai such as Yoddecha Sityodtong (Lumpinee Champion, World champion) whom he beat for the tournament King of the boxing ring and Jaiphet (N°2 in Radja) for a world championship which he lost.



It's obvious that the style of Thai and European count is very different. Moreover, even in Thailand, from a stadium to the other one that is not the same count and same round who are dominant.

In France, the 1st criterion of attribution of points is: the knocks given with power and efficiency.

Points will be attributed every time a nakmuay will strike with power his opponent (All the authorized techniques, as well as the clinch and the projections).


Order of attribution of points:

- A nak muay obtains points when he strikes more than his opponent with techniques Muay Thai

- When he has a technique more powerful than his opponent

- When he shows less exhaustion

- When he's the most offensive

- When he has a better defense


We shall always favor a nak muay which has the best style Muay Thai (Complete with his legs, his knees, his elbows, the clinch, the projections) that a nak muay using only his fists (One "muay mat" well whether it's also a style of Muay Thai).

The strikes blocked by arms or legs of the opponent, the blows given without strength or not reaching their target don't give points.


System of notation:

Every round is a mini fight:

10 points for the one who gains the round and the opponent at 9 points. In case of extravagant domination we can give 8 to see 7 points to the loser.

In case of equality = 10 - 10.

In case of count until 8, the nak muay loses 2 points (10 - 8), if he's counted second time in the same round, he has 1 point less (10 - 7).

A reprimand for a fault by the referee does not remove points, if there is three same reprimand then the boxer takes a warning (-1 points). If he loses the round then 10 points for his opponent and 8 points for him. If he gains the round we arrive at 9 - 9 and thus we go back to 10 - 10 (For facilitate the addition of points).

The referee can directly warning according to the gravity of the fault.


Additional criterion of victory:

In case of equality of both boxers at the end of fight and if there is a compulsory decision (Championship), there are additional criteria of victory which are in the order:

1) Victory in the nak muay which had the initiative (Not forcing the one who moves forward) and who demonstrated a better style Muay Thai .

2) The one who had the best defense (Blockings, grabs, slippings, movements)

3) The one who had the best fair play and who was not penalized.


To conclude, it's always necessary to remember itself that the judgment is something subjective and personal. From moment or intervenes the human being (We don't fight against a stopwatch as in athletics) he can have differences there. The golden rule is of always kept his integrity, his NEUTRALITY, to disregard the environment, the knowledge, the a priori on this or that boxer, gym or others...

Having arbitrated and judged in Thailand, I can say that the pressure was enormous at every level.

I reports me when I form the new judges and the arbitrators that when we pass on the other side of the barrier (We find ourselves arbitrated or behind his score card) the speeches change!

We realize the pressure, the difficulty, the responsibility that he results from it. " To death judge / arbitrator " is not then on the agenda any more...

That each experiences:

Put you in front of the videos of the numerous fights broadcasted on the web (Especially the videos of fight in Thailand), take a score card and to judge 5 round. You will see that the winner will not often be the one that you will have given!








Larbi BENATTIA (International Referee of the federation FMDA) is in the world of Muay Thai since 30 years, he knew Muay Thai in 8 years in 1982 thanks to his brothers who were great champions. Larbi Benattia was a boxer in class A from 1989 till 1997.

Benattia is a referee since 2000, he was a supervisor for the WMC and the WBC, as well as a referee in the IFMA and in the Thai Fight. Today, he's former of referee within his federation and national technical adviser. He's also trainer of the French team amateur since several years.



The FMDA in class B and class A takes as rules that of the international federation WMC. It's the efficiency which dominates, blow giving with strength and precision. Whether it's the technique (Fist, elbow, leg, knee) every technique which reaches his target Count a point.

Match 5x3 or 4x3 with 2 minutes of recovery. Pair of shorts and compulsory monkong. The compulsory wai khru.

For the points, the strength and the precision = 1 point, naturally if blocking, slipping, parade, grab of the opponent this amounts to 0.

If the aggressor is precise but not effective, if he does not work with power it amounts to 0.

In case both boxers are equal, the criteria of victories as indicated on the score card make the difference.

The blow giving with strength, the one who is actively offensive, not forcing the one who moves forward but who looks for the solution and for the best defense.

As for the counts, for the first count of boxer he has 2 points less, the 2eme and 3rd counts he has 1 point less.

If the boxer is three times counted in the round it's stop by limit count or four times in the fight, in eight the referee stops. If the referee count 10? It's not any more an count but a KO...

ONE warning, he has 1 point less. Direct warning or for three identical remonstrance or four different.

Three warnings maximum in a fight = disqualification.

In a fight, when the boxer dominates there is 10 - 9.

If one of the two boxers dominate the last round with panache we can put him 10 - 8.

The last round is the most important.

If the boxer is counted in the last round and if the time is ended, he's saved by the bell but not in the previous round.

The notation is the samein class B and in class A.

As for the falls, if the boxer often fall, it in an influence on the points, if he falls to refuse the clinch, logically the referee puts him remonstrance to see a warning.

If in clinch the boxer scores his points then brings down his opponent, this is positive but it's the work of the knees that dominates.

In the final, a complete nakmuay will be give winner, the Muay Thai style made the difference if both boxers are equal.

If the nakmuay has a style Muay Thai but if it's not effective, it's the opponent can be more needy but who scores his points who will take him.

There are many nuances, but an official has to know by heart the rule what regrettably is rarely the case in the country. The level of refereeing is low to see passable in France.

I militate so that in every round we know what puts an official on his score card. What would put in him more pressure on what he is doing because we see the referee and it's not always heartening but judges it, we don't know what he puts on his score card.

Competence, concentration and impartiality are three commands of a judge.

A big lack of formation is felt, the officials often are to fall there accidentally, not much conviction and then it's a habit but without real formation and without questioning. Because the supervisors don't also make a role of follow-up and advice because even them are not in good level.

The level of the arbitration in Thailand is incomparable.

In France, there is no ranking or of questioning, whoever can arbitrate of the high level. Well, it's all Muay Thai which it's necessary to see again because whoever makes belts thus that goes of pair, in conclusion in the kingdom of the blind persons, the blind in one eye is King!

I did not speak about the counting amateur IFMA which is different, there are also the assaults this is another world. The rigor, the authenticity and the righteousness disturb in this world where the officials are not really protected and little have a strong personality to resist. If in more the incompetence is a member of the game, which pays gain...












Lumpinee Stadium