Australian Scoring System

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The Australian Scoring System, developed in the Philippines, was used in the first half of the 20th Century. It was the prevalent scoring system in California from about 1925 to 1956.


Sources vary on the originator of the scoring system, but do agree that the system originated in the Philippines. The system has been attributed to two possible originators, Joe Waterman or Frank Churchill, both of whom played a big part in the development of boxing in the Philippines.

The story of the system's origins by Churchill cite an instance in which a boxer managed by an Australian named Frank Bailleu, either Llewellyn Edwards or Will Godfrey, lost a disputed decision to either Dencio Cabanella or Francisco Flores (sources vary). Bailleu took violent exception to the decision, and complained to Churchill. Churchill and Bailleu then developed the system, which they put into place in the Philippines. After Churchill arrived in the United States with his boxers, it was taught to Los Angeles Times sportswriter Paul Lowry, who then taught it to California official Abe Roth in 1925. It then spread to various officials who could use their own scoring systems, until it was implemented statewide in California in 1940, by state commission Jerry Giesler.

The system would also be in use in the State of Washington, where its probable originator may have been Joe Waterman, who worked with Seattle promoter Nate Druxman from 1929 to 1931.


The Australian scoring system was used with either a single referee, or a scoring referee and two judges. The scoring officials were allocated a total of eleven points per round, which could be allocated to either boxer, depending on the action in the ring. There were no even rounds given in the scoring, as one boxer would always be given more points than the other, regardless of how close the round was. So, in a ten-round bout that went to a decision, the total number of points allocated to either fighter would add up to 110.

In order to win the verdict of the referee or scoring officials, one needed to win by at least three points--which was different from the vast majority of other scoring systems, where one could win by just one point.

A knockdown was worth five points, and the penalty for fouls was no more than two points.


  • December 11, 1937, Referee Morrie Lesser scores the Jackie Burke-Young Peter Jackson bout with the Australian scoring system in their bout held in Ogden, Utah. (Source: Ogden Standard)
  • July 26, 1938, Freddie Steele-Al Hostak World Middleweight Title fight in Seattle, Washington: used the Australian scoring system. (Source: AP)
  • November 19, 1940, California implements Australian Scoring System statewide. (Source: November 20, 1940) Los Angeles Times
  • December 17, 1953, Southern California Boxing Writers Association goes on record in support of Australian system, as opposed to the NBA's 10-point system (Source: UP)


  • December 9, 1934 Los Angeles Times, "Roth's System Proves Best of All", Paul Lowry, (cites Godfrey vs. Flores)
  • November 24, 1940 Los Angeles Times, "Scribe Explains Scoring System", Paul Lowry (see above), cites Churchill as originator. (cites Edwards vs. Cabanella)
  • February 27, 1941 Oakland Tribune, Cohn-Ing Tower column by Art Cohn, lamenting Stanley Hastrato's 10-round draw with Billy Metcalf, in which Hasrato had fought to draw, even though Hastrato won on the scorecard 55-53.
  • February 22, 1944 Oakland Tribune, On The Level column by Lee Dunbar, attributes origins of this scoring system to Joe Waterman.
  • December 2, 1936 Seattle Times, "Ring Re-match Asked By Loser of Pool Scrap" page 22, discusses scoring of knockdowns and fouls.