The sport of boxing started when two individuals engaged in a fight using their fists. The Greeks are believed to be the first to formalize the sport during the Olympic Games in 688 BC. During the Roman era, the sport of boxing became increasingly popular and boxers wore leather bands around their fists for protection. Some of these bands contained metal strips that caused significant injuries to either opponent.
After the fall of Rome, the sport was not as popular, but was revived in the 18th century when James Figg held the heavyweight title for over 20 years. In the Industrial Revolution the game was known as the workingman?s sport with matches resembling street fights, rather than an organized event.
In 1773, English born Jack Broughton became the second heavyweight champion. The bouts became more organized at that point and rules and regulations came into play. Hitting below the belt was banned, and matches were decided using the point system. The bouts were held in a ring with spectators sitting around the squared off area – much like today’s fights.
Today, boxing competition is divided into a set number of rounds, three minutes long with a one-minute rest period between each round. Championship bouts usually last for 12 rounds, but because there is no real governing body, rules vary from state to state in the US. Judges determine the winner using scorecards as the fight goes on. There is a referee who determines if illegal moves are made or if a fighter is too injured to continue the match. In some cases, the referee calls a “knockout” when an opponent has been knocked down or knocked out.