History of Boxing

Up until 1867 after the Marquess of Queensberry rules were laid out, boxing was known as simply Fist Fighting or Prize Fighting. Fist fighting has been marked in history as early as 3000BC. If we side step bare knuckle fighting and look at gloved fighting, there is evidence that suggests gloves were used in 1500-900BC. There are statues on Prama Mountains in Sardinia which depict fighters wearing gloves.

In 688BC, boxing was admitted into the Olympic games and classed as a sport. Even though there are theories in Theseus times of two men sat in front of each other, beating each other with their fists till one was killed. The Olympic sport was named Pygme and also Pygmachia. Boxers would train with punch bags named korykos and had their hands strapped in leather.

The ancient Romans were also fans of boxing. They trained in hand to hand combat in case there were disarmed in battle. There is a bronze statue of the Boxer of Quirinal who is shown to have cauliflower ears and is facially scarred. This gives an indication to the brutality and a life or death event.

In more modern times, from the 12th century onwards, boxing had no rules and was very chaotic. There was a call for some set boundaries to keep the carnage to a minimum. Broughton’s rules were first seen in 1743, by the heavyweight champion Jack Broughton. The original rules were determined to stop deaths from occurring in the ring, which is actually square, and to protect fighters so they can fight again.

Broughton’s rules stated if a fighter was knocked down for more than 30 seconds, he could not continue and therefore the opponent would win. Jack also introduced gloves, what were known as mufflers, to save serious injury as they were slightly padded. The first champion boxer under the new ruling was named William Futrell who was only beaten by a 77 minute brawl with John Jackson.

The progression of boxing through the ages led to the London Prize Ring rules of 1838. The fights were started in a 24ft square ring, fighters who were knocked down must be able to stand up after 30 seconds and no biting, head butting or low blows were allowed.

Of course there were illegal bare knuckle fights which took place underground. These were and still are broken up by the authorities. This type of gambling entices illegal gambling and is frowned upon.

The Marquess of Queensbury rules followed in 1867. These rules denounced the categories of fighters according to their weight. All of the 12 rules were stated to cause a fair stand up boxing match, rather than a lop sided beat down which occurred previously.

It was only in 1882 that bare knuckle fights were classed as an assault on a human being. This marked the end of illegal fighting, and as previously said, the participants carried on underground.

As boxing and betting go hand in hand, there have always been wagers on the outcomes. Up until the 1970s fights were rigged and gamblers and book keepers profited immensely from it. Action has been taken to abolish it, but some say it still carries on today as money has always been the deciding factor in fist fighting.

Nowadays there are amateur and professional levels in boxing. This allows budding boxers to come up through the ranks, being professionally trained to try and win title fights. As boxing is still an Olympic sport, it can be seen every four years.

Many Olympic boxers have tried to switch to professional boxing and failed. One modern day boxer, Audley Harrison, is one of very few to make it as an accomplished Olympic and Professional boxer. He trained with the legendary Mike Tyson from an early age.

As you can see, fist fighting and indeed boxing has a long history which is steeped in drama and brutality. With the introduction of rules, designed to provide maximum entertainment but minimal injury, it is a more spectator friendly sport. Gambling on boxing is as ever highly regarded as a popular pastime, one which is thousands of years old and growing.

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  • Players Only
  • Intertops
  • Bookmaker.com
  • Centrebet
  • Jazz Sports
  • Sports Interaction
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  • Diamond Sports (DSI)
  • 5 Dimes
  • Betfair
  • Paddy Power


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