1.1 General

1.1.1. Matches and events

All HFO Kickboxing matches and events are organized under the auspices of and with the consent of the HFO and are subject to the HFO regulations.

1.1.2. Match license

To organize matches and events under the auspices of HFO Kickboxing, the written permission of the management of HFO Kickboxing is required, known as the match license.

1.1.3. Promoter

Matches and events can only be organized by HFO Kickboxing as the main promoter affiliated with HFO Kickboxing or promoters recognized as such by HFO Kickboxing that have been granted a so-called promoters license by HFO Kickboxing or by third parties to whom incidental written consent has been granted.

1.1.4. Contestants

  1. Those who wish to participate in matches organized by promoters recognized by HFO Kickboxing should be registered with HFO Kickboxing as fighters or contractually associated HFO Kickboxing and thus automatically registered as fighters with HFO Kickboxing.
  2. A distinction is made between the following categories of participants:
  • Juniors aged 14 up to and including 17
  • Seniors aged 18 up to and including 49.
  1. Contestants in matches should at all times be deemed to take part voluntarily and entirely at their own risk.
  2. A novice contestant taking part in a match for the first time may not be older than 40.
  3. Weight classes of contestants: The HFO Kickboxing organizes fights in the following weight classes:
  • Flyweight: max 60 kg
  • Featherweight: max 65 kg
  • Lightweight: max 70 kg
  • Welterweight: max 77 kg
  • Middleweight: max 85 kg
  • Light Heavyweight: max 95 kg
  • Heavyweight: over 95 kg

1.2 Match regulations

1.2.1. The match

The match is a stand-up fight subject to the following regulations fought between two equally matched fighters at the same level and in the same specified weight class.

1.2.2. The match ring

  1. Matches take place in a square ring surrounded by four ropes interconnected by means of vertical cords or bands. The dimensions of the square of ropes should be at least 4 m x 4 m for minor events and no larger than 6 m x 6 m for large events.
  2. The ring floor should be a safe construction and covered by canvas that should not be slippery before and/or during a fight.
  3. The floor can have two sizes: Small size 6.40 x 6.40 square meters or large size: 7.00 x 7.00 square meters.

The opposite corners of the ring should be equipped with a red post for the contestants with two white neutral corners in between. The blue corner must always be on the opposite site to red corner.

The following items must be present in the red and blue corners:

  • A bucket for water;
  • A towel;

– A second or “replacement” mouth guard for the fighter that may be used if the original mouth guard lost or misplaced

  • A round iron container for water with a stool/seat for the fighter on which he sits during the intervals between rounds
  • A small iron container/bucket with water close to the official in charge, to quickly wash mouth guards if they fall on the ground to minimize the delay.
  • One set of steps each at the white and black corners are provided for the competitors and the cornermen.

1.2.3. Match attire

  1. Contestants will wear kickboxing or other approved trunks that stop above the knee and have no pockets. In the case of male contestants the upper body is uncovered. Female contestants must wear an approved sports top (no t-shirts). Fighters are permitted to wear a short legging under the kickboxing trunks as long as the legging to not extend significantly below the hem of the trunks.

Logos and/or the names of sponsors on the short or clothing from the fighter and/or his cornermen are permitted provided that prior approval has been requested from the promoter and has been granted. The kickboxing trunks should be checked for possible harmful materials before the match starts.

  1. Contestants are obliged to wear mouth guards and groin guards during the fights. The mouth guards and groin guards need to have been approved by a regulation official.
  2. Contestants will wear boxing gloves of equal weight. The primary color of the gloves should be the same as the color of the contestant’s corner (red or blue). If the gloves colors that both fighters will wear are the same, then the tape color that secures the gloves shall be red or blue, matching the contestant’s corner. The gloves should be taped in such a way that no laces or other loose ends are visible and should bear a regulation official’s stamp of approval.
  3. The weight of the gloves is determined as follows:
  • Lightweight max 70 kg or lighter shall wear 8 oz. gloves
  • Welterweight max 77 kg or heavier shall wear 10 oz. gloves
  1. Corner men must be dressed in clean, undamaged sportswear and shoes. Jeans and shirts other than team shirts are not allowed.

1.2.4. The match

Forms of matches:

Single match :

The match consists of three rounds of two minutes for class C matches, three rounds of three minutes for class B contests, three or five rounds of three minutes for class A matches. Class A matches may be extended by one or two extra rounds. One-minute intervals take place between the rounds.

Tournament match :

The match consists of two or three rounds of two or three minutes in accordance with the tournament class. One-minute intervals take place between the rounds. If after the scheduled rounds have been completed the judges’ decision is a draw, an extra “sudden-victory” round will be contested. The Tournament’s Final bout may be extended by as many as two extra rounds. In the event of an extra round or rounds, the scores of the previous rounds are cancelled out and only the score of the final round is used to determine which fighter advances, or in the case of the tournament final, which fighter is awarded the championship. Judges may not score the extra round(s) even (a draw).

Title matches :

  1. A HFO Kickboxing World Title fight always consists of five rounds of three minutes each. In exceptional cases of a draw after five rounds, the champion remains the champion. In the event of a vacant title, the title remains vacant unless a tie-breaking method is approved in advance by the presiding regulatory body. The rest interval time for title fights of five three-minute rounds is one minutes.
  2. Titles with a maximum weight can only be won or defended if both fighters are at or under the proper weight. If the champion cannot reach the right weight within two hours following the official weighing and he is obliged to defend his title, he loses his title. If the match is then won by the challenger, he is the new champion. If the reigning champion wins the match, the title becomes vacant as the champion cannot retain his title as he did not achieve the title weight. If the challenger is too heavy and the fight continues and the champion was at the required weight, then the latter will remain the champion irrespective of the result of the fight. If both fighters are too heavy and the champion is obliged to defend his title, the title is vacant after the match.
  3. The champion is obliged to defend his title at least once a year if an official title defense offer is made. If an official title defense offer is made and the champion cannot defend the title within a year, it may become vacant.

1.2.5. Match Results

The match can be decided in the following ways:

Points Decision : Three or Five judges will evaluate the relative effectiveness of each fighter’s performance using a “10-Point-Must” system and record their scores for the fighters after each round. After the completion of the scheduled rounds the scores are tallied and the victory is awarded by the majority decision of the judging panel.

Knockout : If a contestant is struck in such a way that he or she is incapable of resuming the fight within the referee’s ten-count or if the referee declares a knockout before the count of 10 in order to bring in immediate medical assistance.

Technical Knockout : If a contestant shows no will to resume the fight or if the referee is of the opinion that the contestant is incapable of resuming the fight or has failed to intelligently defend themself.

Technical Knockout : If in a single-bout-match or a tournament final match a contestant has been knocked down three times in one and the same round or four times in one and the same bout. If in a tournament match including the reserve bouts a fighter has been knocked down twice in one and the same round or three times in one and the same bout.

Technical knockout : If a contestant is no longer capable of taking part in the fight owing to an injury not caused by a prohibited technique.

Technical knockout : If the contestant does not leave his corner to take part in the fight following the sounding of the bell.

Technical knockout : If the referee is of the opinion that a contestant is totally outclassed or is physically far less fit.

Technical knockout : If the doctor ascertains that a contestant has sustained an injury or damage, not caused by a prohibited technique, of such a serious nature that it is no longer safe for the contestant to resume the fight (Doctor’s stoppage).

Technical knockout : If a contestant or his coach/corner man gives up the fight. The contestant or his coach/corner man will indicate this to the referee or the regulatory representative assigned to his corner (The corner “throws in the towel”).

Disqualification : If the opponent is disqualified for reasons warranting disqualification.

Disqualification results if:

  • A fighter deliberately uses a prohibited technique and the referee disqualifies him for that reason.
  • A fighter uses a prohibited technique as described in Article 9 for which the referee disqualifies him.
  • If a corner man enters the ring during the fight or touches one of the fighters during the fight.

Draw : If the match is allowed to end in a draw and if, following the end of all rounds, at least two of the three judges (or three of the five judges) do not pronounce one of the fighters a winner.

Draw : If both fighters go down at the same time and neither can resume the fight within the referee’s ten-count.

No contest : In a single-match-bout, if a fighter cannot continue as the result of an accidental foul and the bell has not yet sounded completing the second round of a three round bout, or the third round of a five round bout.

No contest : If the referee decides both fighters must be disqualified

1.2.6. When a fighter is ‘DOWN’

A fighter is deemed to be down when according to the referee’s evaluation, if as the result of a damaging attack any part of a fighter’s body other than their feet touch the floor or would have touched the floor if not for the ropes or holding the opponent. A fighter may also be considered “down” if a fighter goes down for another reason and fails to rise at the command of the referee.

If the referee decides that he is DOWN, then he will indicate this by the so called DOWN call and gesture. The referee starts the DOWN count after he has sent the opponent to the farthest removed neutral corner. The opponent waits in his neutral corner until the referee gives him permission to leave this corner and resume the fight. If the opponent leaves his neutral corner before the referee gives the sign, the counting stops and only starts again once the opponent has returned to his neutral corner.

During the DOWN count it is not permitted for either of the corner men to approach his fighter in any way.

The referee is obliged to continue counting until the eighth count and then assesses whether the fighter is capable of resuming the fight in a responsible manner. If that is the case, the referee gives the command FIGHT.

If at the eighth count the fighter in question is, for whatever reason in the opinion of the referee, not standing in the proper position to resume the fight, the referee will continue to count to ten, which means the fighter will lose the match on the grounds of a technical knockout.

The referee ensures that in counting to eight (8) or ten (10) that a full second must pass between each count.

1.2.7. Legitimate techniques for scoring

Punches – striking with the padded part of the glove to a legal target: i.e. straight punches, hooks, uppercuts, spinning back-fist (only if executed with the padded, back of the glove);

Kicks – striking with the foot or lower leg to a legal target: i.e. front kicks, low kicks inside and outside the leg, calf kicks, middle kicks, high kicks, sidekicks, back kicks, ax kicks, spinning kicks, jumping kicks;

Knees – striking with the knee to a legal target: i.e. front knee, round-house knee, jumping knee, knee on the leg inside and outside. (please note the clinch limitations explained below regarding the use of knee strikes).

1.2.8. Prohibited techniques, moves and conduct

  • Head butts, or coming in too low with one’s head
  • All techniques targeting the back of the head or back or the torso
  • Techniques targeting the groin;
  • Linear or thrusting kicks directed at knee (i.e. front kick, side kick, back kick)
  • Biting
  • Elbow strikes; Striking with any part of the arm or wrist above the padded portion of the glove
  • Hitting or punching with open gloves or the palm side of the glove or jabbing an opponent’s eye with the thumb of the glove
  • Wrestling or judo techniques, strangulation techniques or submissions;
  • Throws.
  • Grabbing, or holding for any reason other than to immediately attack with a knee strike (or strikes) is a foul; this includes holding to rest, or grabbing an opponent in order to stop them from striking.
  • A fighter may clinch in order to immediately attack with a legal knee strike (or strikes). If the knee attack and/or counter attack by the opponent is continuous and productive the referee may allow it to continue for in his estimation up to five seconds; otherwise the fighters should disengage the clinch and continue to fight. If a fighter clinches and fails to immediately attack with a legal knee strike or completes the knee attack and does not release the clinch this may be considered “holding” which is a foul and will result in a caution, warning or penalization.
  • Holding on to an opponent’s leg without striking; a fighter may grab an opponent’s leg in order to immediately execute a single legal strike that may be accompanied by a single step in any direction. The leg must be released immediately after that single legal strike.
  • Pulling an opponent towards one with both arms in the lower back
  • Continuing to fight if someone has any other part of his body other than his feet on the ground
  • Techniques used following the command “Break” or “Stop” by the referee
  • Techniques used if the opponent is outside the ring or tied up in the ropes
  • Passivity; this includes but is not limited to fighting only when the opponent attacks.
  • Continuously allowing oneself to fall to the ground
  • Deliberately evading or deliberately halting the fight
  • Voluntarily leaving the ring during the match;
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct including but not limited to spitting, cursing, talking, making rude sounds or obscene gestures
  • Insulting the referee, officials, opponent or his team
  • Deliberately ignoring the referee’s commands;
  • Undisciplined conduct of any kind
  • Unnecessarily causing danger to oneself or an opponent
  • Simulating being hit too low
  • Deliberately spitting out the mouth guard

1.2.9. Penalizing prohibited techniques, moves or conduct

Caution ; A caution is given in the event of a minor violation. It may occur without stopping the action of the bout.

Penalty/ yellow card ; In the event of violation the referee may assess a penalty point or points. The referee will stop the action and send the fighter who will not be penalized to the farthest neutral corner. He will then indicate to the fighter and to the officials the nature of the reason for the penalty and the point(s) deduction.

Disqualification / red card ; At the referee’s discretion he may disqualify a fighter based on repetitive or severe fouling.

The referee has the discretion to issue Cautions, Warnings, Penalties or Disqualification based on the nature, severity and repetition of the fouling behavior. In doing so, the referee must have thoroughly considered whether the fighter has, through his violation, damaged his opponent’s chances of victory and if the violation was deliberately committed;

1.2.10. Criteria on which the composition of the score by the judges is based

The minus points accrued from penalization are first deducted from the points scored before the final score is made known. Three or five judges will evaluate the relative effectiveness of each fighter’s performance according to the following prioritized criteria.

  1. Number of knockdowns.
  2. Damage inflicted on the opponent.
  3. Number of clean strikes with spectacular techniques (flying and spinning techniques, etc.)
  4. Number of clean strikes with normal techniques.
  5. Degree of Aggressiveness or Ring Generalship (whichever has greater impact on the round)

It should be noted that in assessing the general impression, attack is valued higher than defense.

1.2.11. Examples of scores awarded

  • 10-10: Not even a marginal advantage can be determined according to the established criteria
  • 10- 9: One fighter has demonstrated an advantage in effectiveness
  • 10- 8: One fighter has demonstrated an advantage in effectiveness by merit of a knockdown
  • 10- 7: One fighter has demonstrated an advantage in effectiveness by merit of two knockdowns

1.2.12. Extra round

In the event that a completed match other ends in a draw, the match is extended by one, “sudden victory” round. The scores of the previous rounds are cancelled out and only the score of the sudden victory round is used to determine which fighter earns the win.

1.2.13. Injuries

In the event an injury occurs during a match not as the result of a foul; if the injury is the result of a legal strike or strikes, and the injured fighter can or should not continue, the injured fighter will lose by TKO. If the injury was accidentally self-inflicted and the fighter’s safety is at risk in that he fails to intelligently defend himself, the referee may stop the bout by TKO or treat it like a knockdown by sending the uninjured fighter to the neutral corner and administer the mandatory eight-count. If after the eight-count the referee determines that the fight can continue he will restart the bout.  If the referee determines that the injured fighter cannot continue then the injured fighter will lose by TKO.

1.2.14. Bandages and tapes

Fighters and coaches are required to only tape the hands the under supervision of an authorized official. The application of bandages and/or tape on the hands is solely intended to prevent injury. The tape is used, among other things, to keep bandages in place. Building up layers of tape to pad the knuckles is forbidden. It is permitted to tape the bandages around or on the knuckles but the thickness of the layer of tape applied must not exceed 1 mm (3 strips).

1.2.15. Vaseline and oil

The use of Vaseline on the face is permitted to a limited extent. The referee determines whether or not this is the case. The presence of oils on fighters’ bodies is prohibited.

1.2.16. Monitoring gloves

The gloves may only be taken off when the match is over and not in the ring but only once the fighter has left the ring.

1.2.17. Medical examination

All fighters must submit their medicals prior to the match date. The organization will indicate which medical tests and blood tests have to be completed. On either the day before, or the day of the match, fighters must also undergo a doctor’s check prior to the match, carried out by the ring doctor. Fighters participating in tournaments will also be examined by a ring doctor between each phase of competition.

KNOCK OUT: In the event that a fighter has been knocked out by strikes to the head during his fight, HFO Kickboxing will ask the fighter to undertake an MRI head scan as soon as possible after the fight. The MRI scan must be presented as soon as possible to HFO Kickboxing. The fighter will not be given his next fight by HFO Kickboxing until HFO Kickboxing has possession of the MRI scan and can see that the fighter is fit to compete. No exceptions will be made for this rule. Matchmakers are instructed to disregard any fighter who has not submitted MRI scan post-knockout.

1.2.18. Weight check

The weight of all fighters is monitored on the day prior to the match. Fighters are obliged to be at their agreed weight. If a fighter has excess weight, he will be given the assignment to achieve the proper, agreed weight within a time limit established by the presiding regulatory body or state athletic commission. If he fails to achieve the agreed weight, then he will be penalized according to the regulations established by the state athletic commission which may include fines, disqualifications or other measures.

1.2.19. Officials


  1. Each event is led and supported by at least two referees. One enters the ring for each bout.
  2. Referee commands: FIGHT – STOP – BREAK
  3. The command “break” is used by the referee to interrupt an action of the fighters and to separate the fighters after which they must take a step backwards. The referee steps in between both fighters. As soon as he steps back the fighters resume the fight with or without the instruction “fight”.
  4. The command “stop” is used by the referee in order to stop the fight, at the end of a round or prior to a caution or public warning.
  5. The referee begins or resumes the fight with the command “fight”.

Judges Jury:

The matches are adjudicated by a minimum of three and a maximum of five judges. The jury members are authorized to award points and submit an assessment for each round of a match.

Ring doctor:

  1. A doctor must be present at all times at matches under the auspices of HFO Kickboxing.
  2. The ring doctor can take measures he considers necessary from a medical viewpoint before and during the matches or have these carried out on his behalf.
  3. The measures prescribed by the ring doctor are set out in the match report and the ring doctor also communicates his findings to the incumbent referee.
  4. Before the start of the match, the doctor must verify that no changes have occurred to any contestant since the time of the annual, mandatory medical examination which would make participation irresponsible.
  5. During the match or the intervals between the bouts, the ring doctor is obliged at the request of the referee and/or trainer to examine any wounds or the seriousness of a fighter’s injury and, if necessary, to advise the referee and/or trainer to suspend the match. Only the referee may make such a request during the match. The advice given is binding.
  6. If the referee wishes to hear the ring doctor’s advice with regard to the seriousness of a fighter’s injury, he stops the match and requests the ring doctor to examine the fighter. Only the ring doctor enters the ring during this examination. The trainer is forbidden from accompanying the ring doctor. Only the ring doctor and the referee are present during this examination.
  7. If the ring doctor ascertains that a contestant is experiencing functional disorders during the course of the match such that, in his/her opinion, continuing the match would be irresponsible, he/she is authorized to stop the match.
  8. The ring doctor will not leave his place in the ring during the match; if the ring doctor must nevertheless leave the ring he must inform the head juror and/or announcer of this in order for the referee to either interrupt or stop the match; no matches may continue during the absence of the ring doctor.

1.2.20. Familiarity with Rules

All fighters and coaches are deemed to be familiar with the HFO Kickboxing rules. Appeals pleading unfamiliarity with the rules will not be accepted. Each event must be preceded by a rules meeting.

1.2.21. Protest

Protests that address either a misapplication of a rule or regulation, or an irregularity or impropriety regarding the conductance of a contest or event should be submitted directly to the HFO officials (co-owners).   Protests limited to questioning a judgment made by an official or officials risk being summarily dismissed.  Raising protests or bringing a dispute to the attention of an official during the event can be penalized either with immediate consequences or future consequences in the form of a reprimand equivalent to a yellow card and the accompanying financial sanction.