Boxing, often called “the manly art of self-defense,” is a sport in which two competitors try to hit each other with their glove-encased fists while trying to avoid eachother’s blows. The competition is divided into a specified number of rounds, usually 3 minutes long, with 1-minute rest periods between rounds. Although amateur boxing is widespread, professional boxing has flourished on an even grander scale since the early 18th century.
Boxing is a combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, and will, by throwing punches at each other, usually with gloved hands. Historically, the goals have been to weaken and knock down the opponent.
Amateur boxing is both an Olympic and Commonwealth sport and is a common fixture in most 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.
While people have fought in hand-to-hand combat since before the dawn of history, the origin of boxing as an organized sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game in BC 688. 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.
Father of Boxing
In the coming years, bare-knuckle boxing contests would be held in ampitheatres all over England. Jack Boughton, also known as “the Father of Boxing,” developed the first set of rules for the sport and published them in 1743 as a result from a bout where he killed his opponent in 1741.
John “Jack” Broughton (c. 1703 or 5 July 1704 – 8 January 1789) was an English bare-knuckle boxer. He was the first person to ever codify a set of rules to be used in such contests; prior to this the “rules” that existed were very loosely defined and tended to vary from contest to contest. His seven rules of how boxing would be conducted at his amphitheatre (the largest and most influential at that time) evolved later into the London Prize Ring rules which are widely regarded as the foundation stone of the sport that would become boxing, prior to the development of the Marquess of Queensberry rules in the 1860s.
Broughton’s Rules (1743)
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”.
London Prize Ring Rules (1838)
In 1838, the London Prize Ring rules were codified. Later revised in 1853, they stipulated the following:
- Fights occurred in a 24 feet (7.3 m)-square ring surrounded by ropes.
- If a fighter were knocked down, he had to rise within 30 seconds under his own power to be allowed to continue.
- Biting, head-butting and hitting below the belt were declared illegal.
Marquess of Queensberry Rules (1867)
In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry rules were drafted by John Chambers for amateur 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.
When boxing made its Olympic debut at the 1904 Games in St Louis, it was the USA, the only country entered, which took all the medals. Later, the Americans continued to dominate boxing, winning 109 medals (including 48 gold) out of the 842 up for grabs, closely followed by the Cubans and Russians. Since its inclusion in the Olympic program, boxing has been staged at each edition of the Games, except in 1912 in Stockholm, owing to Swedish law, which forbade the practice. The rules have evolved since the 1980s: 1984 in Los Angeles: protective helmet obligatory; 1992 in Barcelona: set-up of an electronic scoring system to strengthen the objectivity of refereeing; 2007: standardized point scoring.
Women’s boxing will make its debut at the 2012 London Games in London. The current 11 men’s events will be replaced by 10 men’s and 3 women’s events.
British Boxing Board of Control
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) is the governing body of professional boxing in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1929 from the old National Sporting Club and is headquartered in Cardiff.
The Board divides the country into eight “Area” Councils,
- Northern Ireland
- Northern Area
- Central Area
- Southern Area
- Western Area
- Midlands Area
The Board also sanctions bouts for British boxing’s most prestigious title: the Lonsdale Belt. The Lonsdale Belt is awarded to the champion of the United Kingdom in each respective weight class and to win the belt outright it must be defended against a British challenger on at least three separate occasions.
The Board is known for its unique scoring system. Except for title fights (where the bout is scored by three judges, none of whom serve as fight referee), the referee is the sole scorer. After the bout, the referee’s decision is handed to the MC and the winner is announced, the referee then raising the arm of the winner, or in the event of a draw both boxers arms.
European Boxing Union
The European Boxing Union (also popularly known to boxing fans as EBU) is an organization that oversees competition in that sport over the continent of Europe.
History of EBU
The EBU started life as the (IBU) International Boxing Union in Paris in 1910. The IBU became the EBU in 1946.
During most of the 20th century and specially during that era’s first decades, the EBU recognized many world title fights. The European Boxing Union competed against the American based National Boxing Association (NBA), which staged the more widely recognized world title fights.
National Boxing Association
In 1963, the National Boxing Association became the World Boxing Association (WBA). Also in 1963, the WBC was formed when the president of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, invited the New York State Athletic Commission, the EBU, the BBBofC, and national sanctioning organizations of dozens of other countries, to form the WBC. The NBA (formed as a rival to the NYSAC) became the WBA in response to NYSAC and all the other major sanctioning bodies (USA-NYSAC, Argentina, England, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil) forming the WBC. The EBU’s personnel ultimately decided to recognize regional title bouts instead.
The EBU follows certain rules but most rules in EBU bouts obey the rules set by the independent boxing commission of the country where an EBU fight will be held at. Some of the EBU rules are that a fighter must not be younger than 20 years of age when fighting for an EBU championship and that hotel accommodation for boxers, referees and European Boxing Union officials visiting a country for an EBU fight must be paid by the fight’s promoter. The EBU does however, pay for the air or train tickets of referees and officials that travel away from home for an EBU fight. Other rules are also imposed on EBU recognized events, but not many of the EBU rules interfere with the fighting rules to be followed during the fight itself.
Nevada Athletic Commission
The Nevada Athletic Commission (popularly known as the Nevada State Athletic Commission or NSAC) regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the state of Nevada, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, kickboxers, mixed martial arts fighters, seconds, ring officials, managers and matchmakers. The commission is the final authority on licensing matters, having the ability to approve, deny, revoke or suspend all licenses for unarmed combat. Because of Nevada’s role as a center for combat sports, the NSAC is regarded as the preeminent state athletic commission in the United States.
In 1941, the Nevada Athletic Commission was established by an act of the Nevada legislature. Since that time, the Commission has regulated professional unarmed combat (e.g., boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts/ MMA) in Nevada. The conduct and regulation of unarmed combat in Nevada are governed by NRS Chapter 467, and are further clarified by the Regulations of the Commission (Chapter 467 of the Nevada Administrative Code). The Commission administers the State laws and regulations governing unarmed combat for the protection of the public and to ensure the health and safety of the contestants.
International Boxing Federation(IBF)
The International Boxing Federation or IBF is one of four major organizations recognized by the IBHOF which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the WBA, WBC and WBO.
History of IBF
The IBF is preceded by the United States Boxing Association (USBA), a regional championships organization like the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), North American Boxing Council (NABC) and the North American Boxing Association (NABA). In 1983, at the WBA’s annual convention held in Puerto Rico that year, Bob Lee, president of the USBA, lost in his bid to become WBA president against Gilberto Mendoza. Lee and others withdrew from the convention after the election and decided to organize a new world-level organization. At first, the new group was named the USBA-International. They decided to base the new organization in New Jersey where its main offices are still located.
IBF’s First World Champion
The IBF’s first world champion was Marvin Camel, a former WBC world Cruiserweight champion who won the IBF’s belt in the same division. During its first year of existence, however, the IBF remained largely obscure. But by 1984, the IBF decided to recognize Larry Holmes, Aaron Pryor, Marvin Hagler and Donald Curry, already established champions from other organizations as IBF world champions. In Holmes’ case, he relinquished his WBC title to accept the IBF’s recognition. It established the IBF as the “third” sanctioning body and a legitimate organization.
World Boxing Association (WBA)
The World Boxing Association (WBA) is an international boxing organization that sanctions official matches and awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen state representatives as the National Boxing Association, in 1962 it changed its name in recognition of boxing’s growing popularity worldwide and began to gain other nations as members. By 1975 a majority of votes were held by Latin American nations and the organization headquarters were moved to Panama. After being located during the 1990s and early 2000s in Venezuela, in 2007 the organization offices returned to Panama. It is the oldest of the four major organizations recognized by IBHOF which sanction world championship boxing bouts alongside the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Organization.
Motto:Simply the pioneers
History of WBA
The original sanctioning body of professional boxing, the World Boxing Association can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association, organized in 1921 in the United States. The first bout it recognized was the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier Heavyweight Championship bout in New Jersey.
The NBA was formed by representatives from thirteen American states, including Sam Milner to counterbalance the influence that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) wielded in the boxing world. The NBA and the NYSAC sometimes crowned different world champions in the same division, leading to confusion about who was the real champion.
World Boxing Council
The World Boxing Council or WBC is one of four major organizations recognized by the IBHOF which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the IBF, WBA and WBO.
History of WBC
It was initially established by 11 countries: the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Representatives met in Mexico City on February 14, 1963, upon invitation of Adolfo López Mateos, then President of Mexico, to form an international organization to unify all commissions of the world to control the expansion of boxing.The groups that historically had recognized several boxers as champions included the New York State Athletic Commission, the National Boxing Association of the United States, the European Boxing Union and the British Boxing Board of Control, but for the most part, these groups lacked the all-encompassing “international” status they claimed.
World Boxing Organization (WBO)
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) is a sanctioning organization currently recognizing professional boxing world champions. The organization is recognized as one of the four major world championship groups by the IBHOF alongside the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association. WBO offices are located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
International Boxing Association (amateur)
The International Boxing Association, originally the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur and still referred to as the AIBA is a sport organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships. Recently, AIBA has been trying to build its own professional version of boxing, where boxers would retain their Olympic eligibility, through the team tournament league known as World Series of Boxing and planned AIBA Pro Boxing.
The rules of boxing vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and on whether it is an amateur or professional bout. A violation of the following rules is considered a foul and can result in a warning, point deduction, or disqualification by the referee.
- You cannot hit below the belt, hold, trip, kick, headbutt, wrestle, bite, spit on or push your opponent.
- You cannot hit with your head, shoulder, forearm or elbow.
- You cannot hit with an open glove, the inside of the glove, the wrist, the backhand or the side of the hand.
- You cannot punch your opponent’s back or the back of his head or neck (rabbit punch) or on the kidneys (kidney punch).
- You cannot throw a punch while holding on to the ropes to gain leverage.
- You can’t hold your opponent and hit him at the same time or duck so low that your head is below your opponent’s belt line.
- When the referee breaks you from a clinch, you have to take a full step back; you cannot immediately hit your opponent-that’s called “hitting on the break” and is illegal.
- You cannot spit out your mouthpiece on purpose to get a rest.
- If you score a knockdown of your opponent, you must go to the farthest neutral corner while the referee makes the count.
- If you “floor” your opponent, you cannot hit him when he’s on the canvas.
- A floored boxer has up to ten seconds to get back up on his feet before losing the bout by knockout.
- A boxer who is knocked down cannot be saved by the bell in any round, depending upon the local jurisdiction’s rules.
- A boxer who is hit with an accidental low blow has up to five minutes to recover. If s/he cannot continue after five minutes, s/he is considered knocked out.
- If the foul results in an injury that causes the fight to end immediately, the boxer who committed the foul is disqualified.
- If the foul causes an injury but the bout continues, the referee orders the judges to deduct two points from the boxer who caused the injury.
- If an unintentional foul causes the bout to be stopped immediately, the bout is ruled a “no contest” if four rounds have not been fully completed. (If the bout was scheduled for four rounds, then three rounds must have been completed.) If four rounds have been completed, the judges’ scorecards are tallied and the fighter who is ahead on points is awarded a technical decision. If the scores are even, it will be called a “technical draw.”
- If a boxer is knocked out of the ring, he gets a count of 20 to get back in and on his feet. He cannot be assisted.
- In some jurisdictions the standing eight-count or the three knockdown rule also may be in effect.
- In other jurisdictions, only the referee can stop the bout.
- Apron: The part of the ring canvas outside the ropes.
- Boxing glove: A padded mitten used in boxing.
- Canvas: The floor of the ring.
- Mouthpiece: A form-fitted appliance placed in a boxer’s mouth to protect his teeth and gums; also called a “gumshield”.
- Head guard: A protective device worn by boxers which covers most of the head, except the face.
- Ring: An enclosure where boxing takes place.