Boxing, or the sweet science, is a sport where two combatants engage in a test of strength and skill by using gloved hands to deliver punches. Many argue that the sport started in the Olympics of 688 BCE but others argue the sport is nearly 7000 years old.
In the 16th century bare knuckle fights, prize fighting, became popular. It wasn’t until 1719 that the term “boxing” was used to describe the sport. At this time the sport had rounds of bare knuckle fist fighting, fencing, and cudgeling. Before 1743 there were almost no rules in the sport. Jack Broughton was the inventor of these rules. The most significant of the time was the 30-second rule. If a fighter fell and could not get up after 30 seconds then the man standing was declared the victor. He also banned the striking of downed fighter and strikes below the belt.
In 1838 the London Prize Ring Rules were introduces. These required the use of a 26 foot ring and banned biting and head butting.
In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry rules were written by John Chambers.
Marquess of Queensberry Rules
- To be a fair stand-up boxing match in a 24-foot ring, or as near that size as practicable.
- No wrestling or hugging (clinching) allowed.
- The rounds to be of three minutes duration, and one minute’s time between rounds.
- If either man falls through weakness or otherwise, he must get up unassisted, 10 seconds to be allowed him to do so, the other man meanwhile to return to his corner, and when the fallen man is on his legs the round is to be resumed and continued until the three minutes have expired. If one man fails to come to the scratch in the 10 seconds allowed, it shall be in the power of the referee to give his award in favour of the other man.
- A man hanging on the ropes in a helpless state, with his toes off the ground, shall be considered down.
- No seconds or any other person to be allowed in the ring during the rounds.
- Should the contest be stopped by any unavoidable interference, the referee to name the time and place as soon as possible for finishing the contest; so that the match must be won and lost, unless the backers of both men agree to draw the stakes.
- The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality and new.
- Should a glove burst, or come off, it must be replaced to the referee’s satisfaction.
- A man on one knee is considered down and if struck is entitled to the stakes.
- That no shoes or boots with spikes or springs be allowed.
- The contest in all other respects to be governed by revised London Prize Ring Rules.
Modern boxing is based on of these rules.