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Fight Options have a championship boxing event coming up in Chester on 15th October at the Nortgate Arena featuring 2 local Chester boxers fighting for International Masters and British Masters titles.

Contact Mark McCormick of Fight Options for more details - mark@fightoptions.com

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Boxing History

Earliest evidence suggests that boxing was prevalent in North Africa during 4000 BC and the Mediterranean in 1500 BC.

A Greek ruler named Thesus, who ruled around 900 B.C., was entertained by men who would be seated in front of each other and beat another with their fists until one of them was killed. In time, the fighters fought on their feet and wore gloves (not padded) and wrappings on their arms below the elbows, but were otherwise naked when competing. First accepted as an Olympic sport (the ancient Greeks called it Pygme/ Pygmachia) in 688 BC, participants in the ancient games trained on punching bags (called a korykos). Keeping their fingers free, fighters then wore leather straps (called himantes) on their hands, wrists, and sometimes lower arms, to protect them from injury.

In Ancient Rome, fighters were usually criminals and slaves. They hoped to become champions and gain their freedom. However, free men also fought. Eventually, fist fighting became so popular that even aristocrats started fighting, but that was banned by the ruler Augustus. In 500 A.D., the sport was banned by Theodoric the Great.

London Prize Ring rules (1839)

The beginnings of the modern right cross demonstrated in Edmund Price's The Science of Self Defense: A Treatise on Sparring and Wrestling, 1867

The beginnings of the modern right cross demonstrated in Edmund Price's The Science of Self Defense: A Treatise on Sparring and Wrestling, 1867

Records of boxing activity disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire. The sport would later resurface in England during the early 18th century in the form of bare-knuckle prizefighting. The first documented account of a bare-knuckle fight in England appeared in 1681 in the "London Protestant Mercury," and the first English bare-knuckle champion was James Figg in 1719. This is also the time when the word "boxing" first came to be used.

Early bare-knuckle fighting was crude with no written rules. There were no weight divisions, round limits and no referee. Modern rules banning gouging, grappling, biting, headbutting, fish-hooking and blows below the belt were absent.

The first boxing rules were introduced by heavyweight champion Jack Broughton in 1743 to protect fighters in the ring where deaths sometimes occurred. Under these rules, if a man went down and could not continue after a count of 30 seconds, the fight was over. Hitting a downed fighter and grasping below the waist were prohibited. Broughton also invented "mufflers" (padded gloves), which were used in training and exhibitions.

In 1839, the London Prize Ring rules were introduced which superseded Jack Broughton's rules. Later revised in 1853, they stipulated the following:
  • Fights occur in a 24-foot-square ring surrounded by ropes.
  • If a fighter was knocked down, he must rise within 30 seconds of his own power to be allowed to continue.
  • Biting, headbutting and hitting below the belt were declared fouls.

Marquess of Queensberry rules (1867)

In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry rules were drafted by John Chambers for Olympic championships held at Lillie Bridge in London for Lightweights, Middleweights and Heavyweights. The rules were published under the patronage of the Marquess of Queensberry, whose name has always been associated with them.

There were twelve rules in all, and they specified that fights should be "a fair stand-up boxing match" in a 24-foot-square ring. Rounds were three minutes long with one minute rest intervals between rounds. Each fighter was given a ten-second count if he was knocked down and wrestling was banned.

The introduction of gloves of "fair-size" also changed the nature of the bouts. An average pair of boxing gloves resembles a bloated pair of mittens and are laced up around the wrists. Gloves protected the hands of both fighters but their considerable size and weight made knock-out victories more difficult to achieve. Resultantly, bouts became longer and more strategic with greater importance attached to defensive maneuvers such as slipping, bobbing, countering and angling.

The English case of R v. Coney in 1882 found that a bare-knuckle fight was an assault occasioning actual bodily harm, despite the consent of the participants. This marked the end of widespread public bare-knuckle contests in England.

The first world heavyweight champion under the Queensberry Rules was "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, who defeated John L. Sullivan in 1892 at the Pelican Athletic Club in New Orleans.

With the gradual acceptance of formalised rules, two distinct branches of boxing emerged; Professional and Olympic. The boxing rules enforced by governing bodies worldwide today at the local, national and international level are all derived in some way from the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

Evolution of professional boxing

In 1891, the National Sporting Club (N.S.C.), a private club in London, began to promote professional glove fights at its own premises, and created nine of its own rules to augment the Queensberry Rules. These rules specified more accurately the role of the officials, and produced a system of scoring that enabled the referee to decide the result of a fight. The British Boxing Board of Control (B.B.B.C.) was first formed in 1919 with close links to the N.S.C., and was re-formed in 1929 after the N.S.C. closed.

In 1909, the first of twenty-two belts were presented by the fifth Earl of Lonsdale to the winner of a British title fight held at the N.S.C. In 1929, the B.B.B.C. continued to award Lonsdale Belts to any British boxer who won three title fights in the same weight division. The "title fight" has always been the focal point in professional boxing. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, there were title fights at each weight. Promoters who could stage profitable title fights became influential in the sport, as did boxers' managers. The best promoters and managers have been instrumental in bringing boxing to new audiences and provoking media and public interest. The most famous of all three-way partnership (fighter-manager-promoter) was that of Jack Dempsey (Heavyweight Champion, 1919-1926), his manager Jack Kearns, and the promoter Tex Rickard. Together they grossed US$ 8.4 million in only five fights between 1921 and 1927 and ushered in a "golden age" of popularity for professional boxing in the 1920s. They were also responsible for the first live radio broadcast of a title fight (Dempsey v. Georges Carpentier, in 1921). In the United Kingdom, Jack Solomons' success as a fight promoter helped re-establish professional boxing after the Second World War and made the UK a popular place for title fights in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the first part of the 20th century, the United States became the centre for professional boxing. It was generally accepted that the "world champions" were those listed by the Police Gazette. After 1920, the National Boxing Association (N.B.A.) began to sanction "title fights". Also during that time, Ring Magazine magazine was founded and it listed champions and awarded championship belts. The N.B.A. was renamed in 1962 and became the World Boxing Association (W.B.A.). The following year, a rival body, the World Boxing Council (W.B.C.), was formed. In 1983, another world body, the International Boxing Federation (I.B.F.) was formed. By the end of the 20th century, a boxer had to be recognized by the three separate bodies to be the "Undisputed World Champion". Regional sanctioning bodies such as the North American Boxing Federation, the North American Boxing Council and the United States Boxing Association also awarded championships. Ring Magazine also continued listing the World Champion of each weight division, and its rankings continue being of the most appreciated by fans.

Although women fought professionally in many countries, in the United Kingdom the B.B.B.C. refused to issue licences to women until 1998. By the end of the century, however, they had issued five such licenses. The first sanctioned bout between women was in November 1998 at Streatham in London, between Jane Couch and Simona Lukic.

Other types of martial arts available on Sport Boxing are:

Aikido
Jeet Kune Do
Jiu Jitsu
Judo
Karate
Kendo and Iaido
Kickboxing
Kung Fu
Tae Kwon Do
Tae-Bo


Ã'© 2006 This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Boxing