Fighting with fist is as old as time but the sport of boxing can be traced back to Africa. The sport started over 6000 years ago in Ethiopia spread to Egypt and from there it spread around the mediterranean. Homer refers to boxing in the IIiad, it first became an Olympic sport in 688bc it is known that the Greeks used protective gloves and headgear and they used punch bags in training.
The Romans as usual brutalised the sport introducing iron studded gauntlets and fights to the death. Fortunately the sport died out after the fall of the roman empire and re-emerged in the 17th Century.
Britain's first Heavy weight champion was James Figg in 1719 his successor Jack Broughton drew up the first rules in 1743 this made bouts less like street fighting and brought it closer the the modern sport.
The ring of spectators was replaced by a square of ropes and punching below the belt was made illegal however bareknuckle fighting persisted until the Marquess of Queensberry drew up the modern rules of boxing in 1866.
The use of gloves was made mandatory and gouging and wrestling were banned, the rounds were set at three minutes. Gloveless bouts became rarer until James J Corbett defeated the last of the great bare knuckle fighters John L Sullivan in 1892 and became the heavy weight champion of the World.
A combat sport between two people usually men but now open to ladies as well. The combatants trade punches with fists whilst wearing leather padded gloves which weigh 6 to 8 ozs, bouts take place in a ring which is in fact a square, with post in each corner and enclosed by ropes.
Bouts consist if a predetermined number of rounds in amateur boxing this is 3 three minute rounds, professional fights are usually 12 round affairs. The winner is decided by either punching your opponent so hard that they fall to the floor and are unable to get up by the count of 10 the count is carried out by a referee who is in the ring with the boxers.
Another way to win a bout is by points the boxer who lands more scoring hits on his opponents head or on his body above an imaginary belt around his waist, finally a doctor or the referee can intervene and stop the fight if they decide that one of the boxer's is too injured or is incapable of defending themselves.
The Heavyweight championship is regarded as the greatest prize in sport, Boxers have gone to incredible lengths to win this competition, to become the king of kings in your chosen sport is the greatest accolade that can be bestowed on a man.
The first heavyweight champion of the World was Jim Corbett born in San Francisco in 1866 a skilled boxer who was one of the first to use science to defeat his opponents rather than just brute force, he was an articulate, popular character who appeared on stage as well as in the ring. He died in 1933. Read more about Jim Corbett.