CP English 12
March 14, 2013
Boxing wasn’t always the clean safe sport that it is today. Back then it was a violent match between two men and sometimes fights to the death. What changed the sport was the introduction of rules that made it safer. Boxing, a seemingly barbaric sport, has its roots in ancient Rome. Over time, however the sport has underwent many changes to make it safer.
The sweet science of today is not the type of boxing it began as. Boxing had its start in Rome in the Olympic Games. Boxing first appeared as a formal Olympic event in the 23rd Olympiad (688 bc), but fist-fighting contests must certainly have had their origin in mankind’s prehistory (Boxing). Boxing can be seen from the 3rd millennium BC which was carvings from ancient Sumerians. The sport was fought with two people set against one another and the fight was won when either man could not continue fighting. A 1st-century-bc inscription praising a pugilist states, “A boxer’s victory is gained in blood.”(Boxing).
The safety of this sport at this time was lacking. There were particularly no rules governing the fighting. Along with no gear, that Boxer of today has protecting them from most of the serious injuries. Egyptian depictions are of bare-fisted contests with, at most, a simple band supporting the wrist; the earliest evidence of the use of gloves or hand coverings in boxing is a carved vase from Minoan Crete (c. 1500 bc) that shows helmeted boxers wearing a stiff plate strapped to the fist (Boxing). As if the sport wasn’t unsafe enough they would wrap leather studded straps around their fists. Gladiators would wrap their hands and forearms with leather straps sometimes studded with metal shards (the cestus), and battle it out, often until death (Mckay).
After the fall of Greek and Rome, Boxing fell into obscurity for many centuries. Until it was brought back in London with the introduction of a few simple rules that would improve the game. These new rules are the first set of rules that would pave the way for more improvement in the future of the sport.
There is one man that is recognized as being the one to introduce these new rules. This man was a prizefighter in London by the name Jack Broughton. Jack Broughton, is credited with taking the first steps toward Boxing’s acceptance as a respectable athletic endeavour (Boxing). He thought that the sport needed to upgrade from the barroom techniques that were used in the past. His rules were either fighter couldn’t grab below the waist line or hitting a downed opponent was forbidden. The rounds would go on until a man went down, the downed opponent would have 30 seconds to get back up and face the other fighter or he would be declared the loser. Broughton wanted such regulations because of one of his opponents died after the match.
Broughton is also credited with the first boxing glove, called “mufflers”, created to attract more people to the sport. The gloves were designed to provide more protection for the boxer’s hand and for the opponents face. Jack Broughton’s rules were furthered by England in the London Prize Ring rules of 1838. In the new set of rules the ring was changed to 24 square foot ring surrounded by two ropes. When a fighter went down, the round ended, and he was helped to his corner. The next round would begin 30 seconds later, with each boxer required to reach, unaided, a mark in the centre of the ring, if that fighter could not reach that mark by the end of 8 additional seconds, he was declared the loser (Boxing). Kicking, gouging, butting with the head, biting, and low blows were all declared fouls (Boxing).
The London Prize Ring rules were a major improvement to boxing but a new set of rules was devised in 1867 by John Graham Chambers of the Amateur Athletic Club. The Marquess of Queensberry rules are to emphasized boxing technique and skill over the old brawling...