The History of Modern Boxing

Boxing is one of the world’s most popular sports, and it’s given rise to some of the greatest moments in sports history.

While modern boxing may not seem that old, the sport itself dates back thousands of years to Ancient Greece, where it quickly became a sensation among the people of that time.

The Earliest Records

Some of the earliest records of boxing can be traced back to Egypt around 3000 BC. The sport had been first introduced as part of the Olympic Games in 7th century BC, where leather strips were used to bind the hands of the boxers and their forearms for protection.

Records have also been found of boxing being a popular pastime in Sumerian in Iraq from the 3rd millennium BC. The Mesopotamian nations of Babylonia and Assyria have also shown records that it was popular among the people. Ancient India also had its own forms of boxing, with the earliest records coming from the classic Vedic epics, such as Rig Veda and Ramayana.

Some years later, when the sport had found its way to the ancient Roman Empire, the leather strips were replaced with the cestus, which was a glove that had been studded with metal. Boxing matches at the time were far more violent than they are today, and they usually ended with the death of one of the contenders.

Moving To England

Once the Roman Empire collapsed, many of their pastimes disappeared with them. Boxing would resurface many years later in 17th century England, and organised boxing matches first begun in 1880. It only had five weight classes at the time, including Bantam, Feather, Light, Middle, and Heavy. Another form of the sport was known as prizefighting, and consisted of bare-knuckle boxing that became widely followed on the streets of London.

The first record of this can be found in the London Protestant Mercury from 1681, with the first champion being James Figg in 1719. It’s also when sports betting began to make a rise, leading to the industries we have today. It had also been the period of time where the term “boxing” was first used, and it’s a term that has remained as part of the sport’s official events to this day.

Modern Boxing

Boxing made its modern debut at the 1904 Olympic games that took place in St Louis, USA. The USA had been the only country that entered the competition, meaning they won all of the medals for that year.

American boxers continued to dominate the sport, where the won a total of 109 medals, including 48 gold, out of the 842 that were up for competition, and were followed closely by the Russians and Cubans. Boxing has since been staged at every edition of the Olympic games, expect in 1912 as Swedish law had banned the sport outright.

Women’s Boxing would make its debut at the 2012 London Games that took place in London. The current iteration of the sport currently has 11 men’s events, but the Olympic Games committee has since explained that future games will feature 10 men’s and 3 women’s events.