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Boxing History

Fistfighting sport between two matched combatants wearing padded gloves, with the primary aim to land as many blows as possible to the head and torso of the opponent.

Olympic sport since 1904.

One of the oldest sports still practiced, boxing dates back thousands of years.

BC era

While the origins of boxing are unknown, there have been recent discoveries on the island of Crete that date back the history of boxing to 1500 BC.
Homer, the Greek poet describes a two-person fight in the Iliad, as early as the epic poem's setting around 1800 BC.

Records indicate the sport was part of the ancient Olympic Games of 688 BC.
Plato mentions boxing in both The Republic and the dialogue Gorgias, and the poet Pindar elegized the Olympic boxing champion of 474 BC.

Along with running, wrestling, and the use of weapons, boxing was part of a young man's education in ancient Greece.

The Romans also embraced boxing, turning the sport into a brutal gladiatorial spectacle.

Boxers of this time covered their hands and arms with a leather thong called a cestus, sometimes studding it with metal spikes. The combatants often fought until one was fatally injured.


Modern era

With the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, boxing seemed to disappear for hundreds of years, before the restoration of English monarchy in 1660 relaxed moral codes and allowed the sport with the barbaric history to make a comeback.

The first mention of a staged fight came in an English newspaper in 1681. Boxing as we know it began with the acknowledgement of James Figg as first British heavyweight king in 1719. Figg popularized sparring exhibitions and was responsible for the opening of many amphitheaters. He died in 1740 and was succeeded by his pupil, George Taylor who became the new champ.

Taylor was followed by the "father of boxing rules," Jack Broughton, who in 1734 formulated the first code and invented the boxing glove.
Broughton's rules forbade hitting below the waist or hitting an opponent who was down.
These regulations remained the standard in the sport until the Revised London Prize Ring Rules of 1838 supplanted them.

Soon after Broughton's retirement, British boxing was almost at a standstill. As soon as Jack Slack became the new champion, public lost its interest in boxing because of charges of crookedness against the top fighters.
The next decade Slack dominated boxing until he faced Bill Stevens "The Nailer" and lost his crown to the challenger on June 17, 1760. From there on the title changed hands rather quickly.

In 1838 a new code, The London Prize Ring Rules was adopted. With the rise of the middle class and the influence of reform and religious movements during the early 19th century, public approval of boxing sagged again.
New anti prizefight laws were passed, police began stopping fights, and judges prosecuted those involved. Many boxers subsequently immigrated to the United States, hoping to find greater boxing opportunities.

The first heavyweight championship bout for the world title took place on the morning of April 17, 1860, at Farnborough, England. The contest was between the British champ Tom Sayers and John Camel Heenan of America. After two hours and twenty minutes of nonstop action, the bout ended in the thirty-seventh round, as the crowd surged into the ring and looting began. The referee ran away, as boxers continued to fight for another five rounds. In the end, the world championship fight ended in a draw with each fighter receiving a championship belt.