Boxing, also known as pugilism, or more commonly as the sweet science, has roots that trace back to ancient Greece and Rome. Fights back then were nothing like what they are today. No gloves, leather taped to the hands, many fights ended in gruesome, deadly battles.
The first documented boxing match took place in 1861, in Britain, when the Duke of Albemarle put together a bout between his butler and his butcher.
In the following years, bare-knucled boxing contests were held in amphitheatres all over England. After killing his opponent, Jack Boughton, known as The Father of Boxing, developed the first set of rules for the sport in 1743.
The most significant change and what turned it closer to what we know as boxing today, came in 1865
The most revolutionary change in the sport came in 1865 when John Sholto Douglass, the Eighth Marquess of Queensbury, drew up new rules of boxing which basically transformed the sport into what it is today. He is regarded as the “Patron Saint” of boxing and some of the most significant changes were three-minute roundsand the regulated use of approved boxing gloves. You can read the whole set of 12 rules here.
At this point the popularity of boxing continued to spread. It was included in the St. Louis Olympic Games in 1904for the first time ever. From here on, talented fighters from all over the world would meet and fight for sanctioned titles all throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st.
In 1927 the National Boxing Association (NBA) became the first “sanctioning body” to govern over the sport. These sanctioning bodies ranked fighters and arranged matches between champions and the most deserving challengers, all for a healthy sanctioning fee of course. Today, three “recognized” sanctioning bodies control the world of boxing. The WBC, IBF and WBA are the only bodies whos titlists are recognized worldwide as “champions.”