A Brief History of Boxing

The history of boxing dates back thousands of years, thought to have officially begun with the ancient Greeks. They included boxing as a part of the Olympics, believing it was a sport that the Greek gods played. Ancient Romans used boxing as a way to determine the freedom of prisoners and slaves; boxing matches were often deadly, with the winner being granted his independence. There is some evidence that boxing may have been around even before then, either in North Africa in 4000 BC or with ancient Sumerians and Greeks entering into fist-fighting competitions.

The popularity of boxing dropped off when Augustus banned it, and the sport wasn't revived until the early eighteenth century when the English brought it back. James Figg, a popular British boxer, brought the sport much attention with his bare-knuckle fighting abilities.

Boxing first became popular in the US during the Industrial Revolution. Although this boxing wasn't exactly organized, it entertained the working class Americans who participated in and watched it.

Organization came to boxing in 1743 when Jack Boughtonis, known as the "Father of Boxing," recorded the first set of official rules after the death of one of his opponents in a boxing match. His rules banned some of the more violent aspects of boxing, reducing the number of fatal injuries.

Modern rules, such as three-minute rounds, mandatory boxing gloves and a prohibition against eye-gouging, were introduced by the Marquess of Queensberry in 1866.

The National Boxing Association (NBA) was created in 1927. The NBA was the first organization to set up championships between top boxers. It also governed the sport, ensuring that rules were followed and aiming to minimize serious injury during matches.

Today there are three official boxing organizations recognized world-wide: the WBC, IBF and the WBA. Boxing remains one of the most violent and dangerous sports in the world and faces perennial opposition. Still, it remains widely popular, and its legends are some of the most famous names in any sport, including Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano.

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