A Brief History Of Boxing

The earliest reference to the use of boxing gloves can be identified in relief carvings found in Sumeria, which date as far back as the third millennium BCE. References to boxing have also been found in ancient Egyptian relief carvings dating to the second millennium BCE. These reliefs display fighters fighting with bare hands in front of observers. In the early 1920s, an archaeologist by the name of Dr. E.A. Speiser found a stone tablet while digging in Baghdad, Iraq from the Mesopotamian era that illustrates two fighters preparing for a fight. It is believed that the tablet is roughly seven thousand years old. The use of gloves didn’t come into being until circa 1500 to 900 BCE on Sardonia and Minoan Crete.

In ancient Greece, Homer wrote of boxing in the “Iliad” dated circa 800 BCE. Alternative legends suggest that Theseus, a Greek Ruler, had created a competition similar to boxing circa the ninth century BCE where opponents would be seated as they delivered blows to one another with the fists; these fights allegedly continued until the death of one of the fighters. The Greeks introduced boxing into the Olympic Games circa 688 BCE, but at the time, the game was referred to as Pygmachia or Pygme. Fighters would practice on korykos, otherwise understood as early forms of the punching bag. During the fist fights they would don on himantes, which were leather straps that were fitted over the breast, wrists, and hands.

History Of Boxing: How It Changed

When the Romans became the dominant culture, there proved a waning interest in hand to hand combat and fist fighting. Nevertheless, between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries, there is some evidence that fist fighting continued in various regions of Italy. In ancient Rus, there was a sport similar to boxing simply identified as Fistfight. While there was a waning interest in the sport of boxing after the sword became a popular weapon, interest was clearly renewed when some people got involved with fencing that involved techniques using the fists.

By the eighteenth century, boxing became popular in regions of England and involved bare knuckled combat. The latter form of fighting was identified as prizefighting. The first prizefight occurred in the early 1680s. James Figg proved the first champion of the sport from England in the year 1719. Around the same time, prizefighting became known as “boxing.” These competitions varied greatly from contemporary boxing matches and included fist combat, cudgeling, and fencing. A year later, the first boxing competition was recorded as having occurred in Britain between the Duke of Albemarle, Christopher Monck, and his butler; the latter of which proved the winner.

In the earliest days of the sport, boxing was a free for all with no regulations in place pertaining to match length, equipment use, or practical safety considerations. At this time the games lacked any kind of referee and no time limitation was placed on matches. It wasn’t until the 1740s, with the creation of boxing rules that those that participated in the competitions were beginning to focus on safety. Jack Broughton, a bare knuckle fighter devised the Broughton Rules in the year 1743, which proposed that when an opponent was down for a count of thirty, the fight ended. His rules also asserted that striking a fighter that was down or that striking the opponent anywhere below the waist was forbidden. Broughton is also cited with the creation of mufflers which were the predecessors to the modern day boxing gloves used today.

Modern Day Boxing

By the late 1860s, John Chambers had drafted the Marquess of Queensberry Rules for boxing. The rules were created for competitions being hosted in London for amateur boxers; the regulations were actually formed due to the Marquess of Queensberry’s patronage, hence the name of the rules created. By the year 1882, a court case determined that bare knuckled fighting was considered an assault, regardless as to whether or not those that participated in the fights did so willingly. The landmark case of R v. Coney therefore led to the end of public bare knuckle fights in England.

In 1892, Jim Corbett proved the first heavyweight boxing champion that fought under the regulations set forth in the Marquess of Queensbury Rules. The match was between Corbet and John L. Sullivan and was hosted in New Orleans at the Pelican Athletic Club. During the twentieth century, men participating in boxing continued to try and make boxing a serious and legitimate sport. A number of professional boxing associations were eventually established to further regulate the sport and to make the practice as safe as possible.

Today there are amateur and professional boxing matches. Of the two types of boxing, the professional matches tend to last a lot longer as they can run anywhere from ten to as many as twelve rounds. This is a significant change from the matches conducted during the early twentieth century where there was no limit placed on the rounds in a match. Later, championship matches were limited to as many as fifteen rounds. However, following the death of Duk Koo Kim, the matches were then reduced to a total of twelve in the 1980s.

History Of The Boxing Glove And Boxing Ring

The history of boxing and fighting competitions extends all the way back to circa 900 BCE. It has evolved from dangerous, bare knuckle fighting, to competitions with hand weaponry, to fighting with minimal protection for the hands and body. Today, the use of a boxing ring and gloves are mandated by boxing regulations.

History of the Boxing Glove

While sometimes hand protection was worn in fighting competitions in Ancient Greece and Rome, boxing gloves didn't become widely used until the late nineteenth century. In Greece, fighters would don on straps made of leather to protect the hands during fighting competitions, and Romans often wore what is identified as the gladiator's cestus which were gloves with metal features for inflicting a good degree of damage during fights.

Gloves have been mandated in boxing since the early 1890s. Prior to that time, many fights were bare knuckle competitions but this changed after the London Prize Ring regulations went into effect and some boxers began wearing boxing gloves. Yet, it wasn't until 1867 after the wide publication of the Marquess of Queensberry rules that wearing boxing gloves became more popular. At first gloves were more like padded mittens. Jack Broughton, second heavyweight champion, created the first padded gloves during the bare-knuckle boxing era. These gloves were called mufflers and were created in response for a need for greater safety during fighting competitions.

Modern Boxing Gloves

Today's boxing gloves are crafted out of leather and the index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers slide into one, large open slot on the inside of each glove and separate slots are offered for the thumb in each glove. The glove is well padded to protect against injuries. Often times the boxer will tape his or her knuckles to ensure that the joints and bones in the hand remain protected from further injury. Modern gloves weigh about 227 grams or 8 ounces a piece when worn by a professional boxer. Meanwhile, amateur boxers might wear gloves that are only 170 grams or 6 ounces each. Gloves are mandatory equipment in boxing today whether boxing in amateur fights, in professional fights or in the Olympics.

History of the Boxing Ring

Long ago, people use to crowd around the competitors in a ring like configuration and this is where the notion of a boxing ring comes from. The English heavyweight champion, Jack Broughton who is responsible for the first set of padded gloves used in boxing, devised new fighting rules for safety that called for an area that was squared off and protected from spectators. The first notion of a square ring was therefore devised in 1743. Even later in 1838 when the London Prize Ring Rules were established, regulations asserted that fighters must compete in a square ring cordoned off by ropes: the ring was to measure 7.3 meters or 24 feet.

A Few Of The Most Famous Boxers

Boxers participate in a sport that, despite its regulations, can have brutal and painful outcomes. The boxers that have become famous are those that have managed repeated victories in the ring, despite tremendous odds against them. Today there are many famous boxers who are legends in the industry and in the minds of boxing fans.

Pioneers in Boxing

James Figgs has been identified as the very first Heavyweight champion in boxing and is known as the Father of Boxing. James was an educator who promoted boxing as a competitive sport and a skill. Figgs began his sporting endeavors with his skills in using the cudgel and sword, only later adding bare fisted fighting to his skills. He claimed the championship when he fought Ned Sutton. He later established an academy where he taught men the “noble science of defense.” He kept his title of champion until 1734 when he retired. His successor was his student, George Taylor. Figgs was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jack Broughton has been identified as one of the leading pioneers of boxing. He is well remembered for his skill and the various innovations he introduced to the bare knuckle fighting era. Broughton won the heavyweight title after defeating boxer George Taylor in 1738. He is known for developing the Broughton Boxing Rules in the early 1740s, an action incited following the accidental death of boxer George Stevenson in the ring at Broughton’s hand. Broughton is the first to develop padded mitten-like gloves for use in exhibitions and training. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

The 20th Century

The twentieth century saw the introduction of a number of now famous boxers. Top boxers included the likes of Marvin Hagler, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Willie Pep Sonny Liston, Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, Jack Johnson, Tommy Ryan, Bob Fitzsimmons, and Jim Jefferies. Of course, the most famous boxers of the century include the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, and Mike Tyson.

By far, some of the most famous boxers come for the 20th century. As boxing became more strategic and regulated, it became a world-renowned and recognized sport. One of the most well known boxers is Muhammad Ali, also known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. Muhammad Ali was trained and taught by Angelo Dundee before he became a professional boxer in the 1960s. He took the Heavyweight title from boxer Sonny Liston. This boxer was a heavyweight champion with fifty-six wins, 37 knockouts, and only five losses during his career before retiring in the year 1981. Unfortunately, during his career, Muhammad Ali was literally exiled for a three year period and stripped of his heavyweight title upon his deliberate refusal to join the armed forces and fight in the Vietnam War. In the late 1990s, this impressive boxer was named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

More Famous Boxers In The 20th Century

George Foreman is yet another popular boxer of the 20th century; known as Big George in the boxing ring, this heavyweight champion had a total of seventy-six wins, sixty-eight knockouts, and five losses before retiring in 1997. This famed boxer began boxing in the 1960s, then known as a “power puncher.” Prior to his professional career, Foreman had won twenty six amateur boxing fights that got him an invitation onto the Olympic team in the late 1960s. He took the heavyweight championship from famed boxer Joe Frazier: a boxer who had already beaten Muhammad Ali before entering the ring with Foreman. After winning a battle in the ring with boxer Michael Moorer at the age of 45, George Foreman was the oldest boxer to ever win a title . Forman had his last boxing match in 1997 against Shannon Briggs, and lost. Following his retirement he developed the Foreman Grill and he focuses on his personal business endeavors until this day. Foreman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Pretty much everyone knows of Mike Tyson. In the ring he has been identified as “Kid Dynamite,” and “Iron Mike.” Tyson is a Brooklyn, New York native with fifty wins, forty-four knockouts, two no contests, and six losses under his belt. Mike Tyson made quite a name for himself before he finally retired in 2005 and Mike has been identified, along with Muhammad Ali, as one of the greatest fighters ever. Tyson was trained by the famed boxing trainer Cus D’Amato. Mike began his career as an amateur boxer but missed an opportunity to participate in the 1984 Olympics.

When he was just twenty years old, Tyson took the Heavyweight title from Trevor Berbick. Tyson also beat the likes of Bonecrusher Smith, Tony Tucker, Pinklon Thomas, Larry Holmes, Tyrell Biggs, and Michael Spinks. Tyson’s downfall began when he lost a boxing match to Buster Douglas. Later, he was convicted of rape and imprisoned for three years. He returned to the boxing ring in the mid-1990s and he won several matches before he battled Evander Holyfield; the match resulted in Tyson biting the ear of his opponent twice, the second time causing considerable damage. He was suspended from the sport for a period before returning for a period of 18 months were he once again began proving himself a winner in the ring. Despite some of the scandal surrounding Tyson, his private life, and his career, in recent years he has made an extraordinary turn around. He is now viewed by the public and fans in a more positive light. Tyson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011.

Share this: