Boxing has evolved into a sport from the need of self-preservation. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics in the pyramids depicts the first recorded description of boxing that dates back to 3000 BC. Depictions of fist-fights in Sumer, Mesopotamia dates back to around the same time.
In the tomb of Vizier Ptah-hotep, a pyramid builder, is a depiction of six young men boxing and wrestling. This tomb dates to around 2300 BC. The Minoan civilization on the island of Crete depicted boxing in wall murals and sculptures dating back to 2000-1200 BC.
In 688 BC, the Greeks added boxing to the Olympics in honor of Patroklos, the slain friend of Achilles. Originally, the combatants wrapped straps of leather around their fist for protection. These wraps eventually evolved into a pre-wrapped leather thong known as a himante. The boxing continued in the Olympics every four years until 393 AD when the Emperor of Greece, Theodosius I, outlawed all Olympic games.
The Romans made boxing into a gladiator sport. The gladiators used a cestus instead of the Greek leather wraps. The cestus consisted of metal spikes wrapped around the fist. These fights usually ended in the death of one of the combatants. Boxers were forced to fight in a marked out area. This area was usually a circle inscribed upon the ground. This circle is where the term 'boxing ring' originates. Boxing was banned in Rome around 30 BC.
With the outlaw of boxing in Rome and Greece, boxing disappeared until interest was regained in 17th century England. A collection of English poems describes boxing in 1637. In 1681, an English newspaper described a boxing match between the Duke of Albermarle’s Footman and a butcher. Early English boxing not only included fighting with fist but also other weapons. Participants were often described as being bloody and cut. In 1725, two women were pitted against a gentlemen and another woman. The team of the two women won the prize of £40.
John ‘Jack’ Broughton introduced the first rules of boxing in 1743. These rules soon became the standard for all boxing matches in England. Some of the rules included: a timed count when a boxer was knocked down; the introduction of an umpire; and no fighter shall be struck after a knock down.
Marquis of Queensberry Rules
John Graham, an Englishman, defined the Marquis of Queensberry rules in 1865. These rules included the use of gloves, the use of timed rounds, the ten second count, and did not allow wrestling or grabbing. Many of these rules are used in modern boxing.
Boxing Weight Chart