To become a boxing referee is more complicated than it looks. This is mainly because, while referees uphold objective rules, they often have to do so through subjective decisions. This can include deciding whether to warn a fighter for a rule violation or to deduct a point; finding a balance between breaking up excessive clinching and disturbing the natural flow of the fight; and deciding when a fighter has taken too much punishment to safely continue. In some areas, particularly with shorter fights, a referee may also have to choose a winner in the event of a draw, which will require them to assess the fight as it goes on, rather than simply officiate it.
If you want to become a boxing referee, you must bear in mind that is rarely a full-time position. In many cases, a referee will be reasonably well paid for each fight given the time they must devote to the event. However, it is extremely unusual for an individual referee to receive enough assignments that they can rely on boxing as their sole source of income. Referee payoffs will often be at set levels regardless of the importance or revenue of the fight. For example, the referee in one high-profile Mike Tyson fight received a standard fee of $350 US Dollars (USD).
Receiving assignments as a boxing referee depends on your location. In the United States, officials are usually assigned by the relevant state athletic commission. In other countries, there may be either a government agency or an independent supervisory body which makes such appointments.
In some locations there may be work available for unlicensed boxing. This does not mean the boxing is illegal, simply that it is not supervised by the relevant governing body, for example in events designed to allow non-professional boxers to fight and attract sponsorship. Before working on such shows you should make sure you are comfortable with the professionalism of the organizers and check that doing so will not affect your chances of receiving assignments from the supervisory body.
Though selection procedures vary in different locations, the most common system is that the governing body or commission assigns referees to fights from a pool of accredited officials. To get accepted into this pool and become a boxing referee, you will need to prove you can officiate with the required degree of competency. In most cases this means you will need several years of regular experience refereeing amateur boxing contest for which, as you might expect, there will be no payment.
To increase your chances of success in your quest to become a boxing referee, you should study those who are successful at the job. Remember that these will not always be the referees who attract the most publicity: some would argue that a referee who does his or her job well will go largely unnoticed. You can study expert referees at work by concentrating on them during a fight, though this may be easier in person than on television, where cameras will be focused on the fighters. Armando Garcia writes a regular column for the SecondsOut website which is well worth studying to learn more about the art.