The Early Years Of Boxing

By: chloe g ramsbottom

Boxing has been about since as early as 3000BC, but official boxing was first first began in the late 1700’s. The ancient Greeks understood that pugilism or fist fighting was a game that the Greek Gods took part in; this was then included into the Olympic Games in 688BC. Back in 688BC there was one slight dilemma, they didn’t have padded gloves, they only used leather bound hand wraps sometimes fitted with metal, which you can picture led to some violent and bloody duels some even leading in battles to the death. Sadly fist fighting started to die away after the fall of The Romans on September 4th, 476AD, when the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed.

Some time later, in the 18th century, it started to gain fans and sportsmen back to the sport when it became a working man’s sport during the Industrial Revolution which completely changed the face of Britain’s agriculture. The bouts and fights in the 18th and 19th century weren’t well controlled and came across more like violent street fights rather than the current day performances that we observe now.

The past-time was ultimately referred to as bare-knuckle boxing and the first champion was a man named James Figg back in 1719, the only problem surrounding this was there were no rules set out, so sportsmen were able to hit below the belt and sometimes bouts resulted in death.

Luckily this wouldn’t last forever and in 1743 Jack Broughton a heavy weight champion took it upon himself to set seven rules for how boxing should be conducted, these rules ultimately adapted and became part of the London Prize Rules and eventually the Marquess of Queensbury’s Rules which are today’s set values. These set of laws helped look after all contenders by implementing the 30 second rule which meant if a man was down for 30 seconds or longer the fight was completed, so ultimately a man who is down for the count could not be continually punched. Jack Broughton also produced the first form of padded gloves which were called mufflers; these seriously cut the amount of blood and damage taken from a punch.

Progressing towards current times, one of the most influential and admired boxers of all time, and questionably the best of all time is Muhammad Ali who won the World Heavyweight Title on three occasions which makes him the only man to have done so in the complete history of boxing.

There were a number of bouts that can be claimed as the best of all time, but two central ones stand out. The first being in 1974 which was promoted by Don King and labelled as The Rumble In The Jungle which saw one of the largest upsets in boxing history as the underdog Ali faced defending champion George Foreman, in which Ali “danced” his way to victory. Following this massive win Ali kept his form going as he went into the Thrilla In Manila fight against Joe Frazier and defeated him in a boxing match that Ali described as the closest he has felt to death.

Muhammad Ali transformed the world of boxing and left behind a legacy of prominence in the golden age of boxing.

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Chloe is a keen columnist writing about how boxing first began for Setanta Online

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