Boxing has a long and illustrious history, dating back to the dawn of civilization. Its earliest recorded history may be traced back to Egypt circa 3000 BC. Boxing was also mentioned in Homer’s Iliad during Patroclus’ burial ceremony, where they had “prizefights” throughout the event—but where did boxing come from?
You’ve come to the right site if you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the world’s most popular combat sport. Continue reading for a quick history lesson on boxing as well as some fascinating facts that will astound you.
Where Did Boxing Originate?
Boxing is one of the world’s oldest sports, with 2,000-year-old images on Egyptian tomb walls and stone sculptures showing that Sumerians, who lived in what is now Iraq, boxed at least 5,000 years ago. Boxing began as a physically demanding and harsh sport.
Two men would sit face to face in ancient Greece, their hands securely wrapped in strips of strong leather. They would then hit each other until one of them was knocked out or, in the worst-case scenario, died. Gladiators, or Roman combatants, fought with the primary goal of killing their opponent, and wore metal-plated leather straps around their fists. Boxing, on the other hand, was quickly outlawed in 393 AD due to its brutal nature.
Boxing didn’t really make a comeback in London until the early 16th century. Because the English aristocracy became increasingly interested in regaining antiquity’s expertise and culture, boxing became a technique of resolving disagreements among the wealthy. Patrons with a lot of money would back their pugilists and bet a lot of money on their battles. It was here that the name “prizefighters” was coined.
From 1734 through 1758, reigning champion Jack Broughton was the first to establish a boxing school. He was also the inventor of mufflers, the forerunners of contemporary boxing gloves, and helped to draught the first set of boxing rules. Broughton asked high society males to transition from sponsoring fighters to becoming fighters. Boxing was not well-liked in America when it crossed the Atlantic in the early nineteenth century—until Theodore Roosevelt became a supporter.
As a police commissioner, Roosevelt encouraged his officers to learn the technique of ars pugandi. Boxing, he believed, was an excellent method “to let out man’s animal nature.” This did not alter after he was elected president. Roosevelt used to box virtually every day to stay in shape and stay active.
From there, boxing grew in popularity as laws and rules were established to safeguard fighters, transforming it into the sport we know and love today.
Boxing has a Long and Illustrious History
Various evidences of boxing or fistfighting have been discovered all throughout the world. The oldest evidence of boxers trading blows is from 1650 BC, when a painting of Minoan Civilization was discovered. Both boxers and spectators are seen on a 1350 BC Egyptian Thebes sculpture, indicating boxing as a sport.
Ancient Greece, on the other hand, took boxing – the sport – more seriously than the rest of the globe. It was a well-developed sport with a set of rules and widespread appeal. Boxing was initially included in the Ancient Olympic Games at the 23rd Olympiad in 688 BC.
The game was nothing like we see now, despite the rules. For protection, the boxer’s hands were wrapped in leather thongs. During the fight, there were no rounds or time limits. The fighters would fight until one of them had to relinquish the fight or was unable to continue. Weight classifications were not employed back then, as they are today, making it simpler for heavyweights to dominate the sport.
A number of references to “musti-yuddha” (boxing) have been discovered in India. There are instances of fistfighting in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Rig-Veda. Back in the day, the sport was popular in the Ancient Roman Empire, but it was banned in AD 393 due to its ferocity.
Boxing’s History in the Modern Era
The sport of boxing did not resurface until the 16th and 17th centuries. In the late 17th century, bare-knuckle boxing gained popularity in England. In 1719, James Figg became the first bare-knuckle champion in England. Around this period, the term “boxing” was first coined.
Boxing did not have a formal set of regulations until 1867, when John Chambers created the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The Marquess of Queensberry regulations established the dimensions of the ring, the number of rounds, the time of each round, the 10-count rule, and many other rules that we observe today. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett of America was the first heavyweight champion under Queensberry Rules, winning the title in New Orleans in 1892.
Despite all of the laws and regulations, the general population did not accept boxing. Bare-knuckle fights were outlawed in the majority of the United Kingdom and the United States. The battles were primarily motivated by money, with the winner receiving a prize, the promoter receiving ticket money, and spectators wagering on the outcome.
When boxing was first included in the modern Olympics in 1904, everything changed. Amateur boxing was included to the Olympics in 1908, and people began to pay attention to the sport.
Jimmy Barry, an American professional boxer who never lost a match, was one of the most well-known figures in the late 1890s. In the bantamweight division, he has a 59-9 win-loss record.