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Boxing History

Boxing (pugilism, prize fighting, the sweet science or in Greek pygmachia is a combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, and will by throwing punches with gloved hands against each other. Amateur boxing is an Olympic and Commonwealth sport and is a common fixture in most of the major international games—it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of one- to three-minute intervals called rounds. The result is decided when an opponent is deemed incapable to continue by a referee, is disqualified for breaking a rule, resigns by throwing in a towel, or is pronounced the winner or loser based on the judges' scorecards at the end of the contest. The birth hour of boxing as a sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game as early as 687 BC. Boxing evolved from 16th- and 18th-century prizefights, largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid-19th century, again initially in Great Britain and later in the United States.  

First depicted in Sumerian reliefs in Mesopotamian carvings from the 3rd millennium BC, while an ancient Egyptian relief from the 2nd millennium BCdepicts both fist-fighters and spectators. Both depictions show bare-fisted contests. Other depictions in the 2nd millennium BC can be seen in reliefs from the Mesopotamian nations of Assyria and Babylonia, and in Hittite art from Asia Minor. The earliest evidence for fist fighting with any kind of gloves can be found on Minoan Crete (c. 1500–900 BC), and on Sardinia, if we consider the boxing statues of Prama mountains (c. 2000–1000 BC). Early boxing Boxing was originally nothing more than bare fist fighting between two willing and sometimes unwilling competitors. As a sport, fighting has been around for thousands of years where it first arose in parts of Africa and Egypt before spreading to parts of Southern Europe. The Ancient Greeks, who held the belief that fighting was a game played by the Gods on Olympus, made fighting a part of the Olympic Games in 688BC. The Romans had a keen interest in the sport and fighting soon became a common spectator sport. In order for the fighters to protect themselves against their opponents they wrapped leather thongs around their fists. Eventually harder leather was used and the thong soon became a weapon. The Romans even introduced metal studs to the thongs to make the cestus which then led to a more sinister weapon called the myrmex (‘limb piercer’).Fighting events were held at Roman Amphitheatres. The Roman form of boxing was often a fight until death to please the spectators who gathered at such events. Often slaves were used against one another in a circle marked on the floor. This is where the term ring came from.In 393 AD, during the Romangladiator period, boxing was abolished due to excessive brutality. It was not until the late 17th century that boxing re-surfaced in London.  
Boxing Training Records of Classical boxing activity disappeared after the fall of the Western Roman Empire when the wearing of weapons became common once again and interest in fighting with the fists waned. However, there are detailed records of various fist-fighting sports that were maintained in different cities and provinces of Italy between the 12th and 17th centuries. There was also a sport in ancient Rus called Kulachniy Boy or "Fist Fighting". As the wearing of swords became less common, there was renewed interest in fencing with the fists. The sport would later resurface in England during the early 16th century in the form of bare-knuckle boxing sometimes referred to as 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. It should be noted, that this earliest form of modern boxing was very different. Contests in Mr. Figg's time, in addition to fistfighting, also contained fencing and cudgeling. On 6 January 1681, the first recorded boxing match took place in Britain whenChristopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle (and later Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica) engineered a bout between his butler and his butcher with the latter winning the prize. Early fighting had no written rules. There were no weight divisions or round limits, and no referee. In general, it was extremely chaotic. The first boxing rules, called the Broughton's rules, were introduced by 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 and encouraged the use of "mufflers", a form of padded gloves, which were used in training and exhibitions.
The first paper on boxing was published in the early 1700s by a successful Cornish Wrestler from Bunnyip, Cornwall, named Sir Thomas Parkyns, who was also a Physics student of Sir Isaac Newton. The paper was actually a single page in his extensive Wrestling & Fencing manual that entailed a system of headbutting, punching, eye gouging, chokes, and hard throws not common in modern Boxing. Parkyns added the techniques described in his paper to his own fighting style.
Boxing EquipmentTom Cribb vs Tom Molineaux in a re-match for the heavyweight championship of England, 1811 These rules did allow the fighters an advantage not enjoyed by today's boxers; they permitted the fighter to drop to one knee to begin a 30-second count at any time. Thus a fighter realizing he was in trouble had an opportunity to recover. However, this was considered "unmanly" and was frequently disallowed by additional rules negotiated by the Seconds of the Boxers. Intentionally going down in modern boxing will cause the recovering fighter to lose points in the scoring system. Furthermore, as the contestants did not have heavy leather gloves and wrist wraps to protect their hands, they used different punching technique to preserve their hands because the head was a common target to hit full out as almost all period manuals have powerful straight punches with the whole body behind them to the face (including forehead) as the basic blows 

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