Boxing is one of the oldest and most popular combat sports in the world. It has a long and rich history that spans across continents, cultures and centuries. In this blog post, we will explore some of the origins, milestones and legends of boxing, from ancient times to modern day.
The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to around 3000 BC, when the Sumerians depicted fist-fighting scenes on their clay tablets. The sport was also practiced by the ancient Egyptians, who used leather straps to protect their hands. The first recorded boxing match took place in 688 BC, when it was introduced as an Olympic event by the Greeks. The rules were simple: no holds, no rounds, no weight classes and no referee. The fight would end when one of the opponents was knocked out, gave up or died.
Boxing continued to be popular among the Romans, who added metal studs to their gloves to increase the damage. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing declined in Europe and was mostly confined to monasteries and fairs. It was not until the 16th century that boxing reemerged in England, where it was known as "prizefighting". The fighters would compete for money or other prizes, often in front of large crowds of spectators. The rules were still very loose and brutal, allowing biting, head-butting and eye-gouging.
The modern era of boxing began in the 18th century, when the first formal rules were established by Jack Broughton, a champion fighter and teacher. He introduced the use of padded gloves, the concept of rounds and breaks, and the prohibition of low blows and grappling. He also created the first boxing ring, which was a square area marked by ropes. His rules were later refined by the Marquess of Queensberry in 1867, who added the 10-second count for knockdowns, the three-minute round limit and the mandatory use of gloves.
The 20th century saw the rise of many legendary boxers, such as Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. Boxing also became a global phenomenon, with champions emerging from countries like Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Japan and Nigeria. Boxing remains one of the most popular and exciting sports in the world today.