LOWELL -- Fans at this year's Golden Gloves Tournament, which gets under way Friday night at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, will see a new scoring system in place for the fights.

The new system is designed to increase the "judgment factor" for the judges at ringside.

In the past, judges would count the punches from each fighter and reward the boxer who landed the most. A simple clicker system.

Now, while the judges will still count the landed blows, that information will be used only as a criteria for judging. The five judges will use their eyes to judge a bout, similar to how it is done in pro boxing. The fighter who lands the most punches will not necessarily win the round.

This could be reflected in how contests are fought.

"You should train your guys to adhere to the scoring system," said Bob Russo, entering his fourth year as director of the Greater Lowell and New England Golden Gloves.

"Before you didn't necessarily have to be a busy fighter, just make your punches count. Now I think a fighter needs to be more aggressive, to convince the judges that he should be the winner."

Russo believes the scoring system will be "fan friendly" and understandable to the people in the stands, who were sometimes left scratching their heads over decisions in the past.

This year's tournament starts with successive Friday night cards, then moves to the traditional Tuesday night dates Jan. 21-Feb. 18, with the New England Tournament of Champions Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb.


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25-26.

Tickets, which Russo says are selling well, are available in person at the Auditorium box office, by phone at 978-454-2299 or on-line at lowellgoldengloves.com.

-- DENNIS WHITTON