The Sport Of Boxing Boxing is often referred to as “the manly art of self defense.” Boxing is a very respectable sport that has a rough side to it.
Boxing takes place in a sixteen to twenty-four foot square padded area called a boxing ring. A boxing match, referred to as a bout, is usually a fast, violent show of strength, stamina, and skill. The boxers throw powerful punches as each tries to win the bout by means of points, knocking his opponent unconscious, or forcing him to give up the fight. At the same time, each boxer must guard his head and body against the others punches by dodging or blocking the blows. The action may take place in any part of the ring as the fighters weave about or press forward, trying to get a chance for a successful blow or combination.
Good boxers are strong, quick, skillful, and in top physical condition. They must also have the courage and determination to fight in spite of pain and exhaustion. Boxers fight as amateurs or professionals. Most amateurs compete as members of an organization or team and some box in tournaments. Amateurs may not accept or receive money for boxing. Professionals fight for money and are often referred to as prize fighters.
The rules followed for amateurs and professional bouts differ for the United States and in international and Olympic competition.
Boxers compete in classes, or divisions, based on their weight. To fight in a particular class, a boxer may not weigh more than the maximum for that class. The professional weight classes from heaviest to lightest are Heavyweight, Junior Heavyweight, Middleweight, Junior Middleweight, Welterweight, Junior Welterweight, Lightweight, Junior Lightweight, Featherweight, Junior Featherweight, Bantomweight, Junior Bantomweight, Flyweight, Junior Flyweight.
A boxing ring is a square platform measuring sixteen to twenty-four feet on each side. For professional championship bouts, the boxers may select the size of the ring within these limits on the approval of the local boxing commission. The ring is surrounded by at least three ropes attached to a post in each corner. The floor of the ring has a canvas covering stretched over felt or foam rubber. The ring floor stands three to four feet higher than the floor of the arena.
A boxers hands are wrapped in soft cloth bandages. Over the bandages the boxer will wear padded gloves. His gloves soften his punches and protect his hands as well as his opponent from injury. The gloves weigh eight or ten ounces. Boxers wear trunks and light weight shoes that lace just above the ankle. A mouthpiece of hard rubber protects the teeth, and a plastic cup protects the sex organs. Both amateur and professionals wear a protective leather helmet when training. Amateur fighters may wear a helmet in actual competition, though professionals do not. The helmet covers the back and sides of the head and ears.
Time periods of a bout are referred to as rounds. Each round lasts two or three minutes in amateur matches. Rounds in major professional bouts last three minutes. In all matches there is a one minute rest period between rounds. A professional bout may be scheduled for four to fifteen rounds. Most professional championships are scheduled for twelve or fifteen rounds. Amateur fights are three to six rounds. Amateur championships are scheduled for three rounds.
During a round, the referee is the only person in the ring besides the boxers. He sees that the boxers obey the rules. The referee warns a fighter that disobeys a rule. He may disqualify a boxer for committing a serious violation or for committing too many violations. Two or three judges sit along ringside and score most fights. Amateur championship fights require two judges. The time keeper keeps track of time and sounds a bell to signal the beginning and end of each round. An official ring physician is present at every bout to provide medical treatment to the boxers if necessary. The physician also advises the referee how serious an injured boxers condition may be.
Scoring a Fight
A boxer wins a fight by a knockout, a technical knockout, or a decision. A professional bout may also end in a draw, with neither fighter declared the winner. Amateur fights cannot end in a draw. In a close bout, the amateur who showed better style or committed fewer violations will be awarded the win.
A knockout, or KO, occurs when a boxer is knocked down and does not get back on his feet within ten seconds, as counted by the referee. If a round ends while a fighter is down, but before the ten second has passed the fighter is “saved by the bell.” The boxer then can rest until the beginning of the next round.
A technical knockout, or TKO, occurs when a fighter is declared to be physically unable to continue fighting. The judgment may be made by the referee, the official ring physician, the fighter himself, or the fighter’s corner.
A decision results when two boxers fight the scheduled number of rounds without a knockout or a technical knockout. In most parts of the United States, the referee and ringside judges then decide the winner or, in the case of a professional bout, declare the fight to be a draw. A decision may be made unanimously, with all three officials voting for that winner. A decision may be split with victory going to the boxer judged the winner by two out of the three officials. In Olympic competition, the referee has no vote, and five judges decide the winner.
A decision is based on either the round or point system. Some states in the United States use the point system for professional bouts. In this system, the referee and the judges decide individually after every round which fighter won that round or whether it was even. At the end of the bout, each official votes for the fighter he has awarded the most rounds. States that do not use the round system for decisions in professional fights use some form of the point system. In a point system, the referee and the judges separately award each fighter a number of points after every round based on his performance. At the end of the fight, each official adds up all the points he has given to each boxer. The boxer, who was scored the winner by two of the officials, wins the bout. Some states use a five-point or ten-point system. In this system, each official gives the boxer he considers to be the winner of a round five or ten points and the loser fewer points. If an official decides the round is a draw, each boxer gets five or ten points.
All decisions in the U.S. and international amateur fights are based on the twenty-point-must system. Each official awards the winner of a round twenty points. The loser receives nineteen points or fewer, depending on how the officials judged his performance. If the round is judged even, each receives twenty points.
A boxer may not strike below the belt or in the back of the head, nor may he strike an opponent who is down, even to one knee. Such actions are called fouls. Other fouls include kicking, tripping, wrestling, holding, hitting with the forearms or the inside of the glove, butting with the head, or using the elbows. A boxer who commits a foul is warned by the referee and loses points. If a boxer commits too many fouls, he may be disqualified.
After a fighter is knocked down, his opponent must immediately go to the farthest neutral corner, which is one of the two corners not occupied by either boxer between rounds. The referee then begins the count. If the fallen boxer rises, the count is ended. In amateur and some professional bouts, however, a fallen boxer must take a mandatory eight count. Under this rule, fighting may not resume after a knockdown until the referee has counted to eight, even if the fallen boxer rises immediately. If a boxer in an amateur fight is knocked down three times in one round, his opponent wins the match on a TKO. This rule also applies to all professional bouts except championship matches.
Every boxer has his own style, but all boxers use the same basic techniques. In the ring, a boxer adopts a basic stance that helps him to move quickly and effortlessly. A right-handed boxer keeps his left side toward his opponent and stands with his feet about shoulder width apart. The boxer holds his left fist a short distance in front of the left shoulder and his right fist just to the right of the chin. The boxer keeps his elbows close to his body to protect his ribs. Many left-handed boxers adopt this same stance, though some reverse it. This basic stance puts a boxer in the best position to avoid or block the punches of his opponent and to throw effective blows in return. To create openings for his punches, a boxer uses various feints and combinations. A feint is a fake punch. For example, a boxer may make a feint with his left hand and then deliver an actual blow with his right hand. A combination consists of two or more lightening-fast punches in a row, such as a left, a right, and then a followed up left. Good boxers keep in top physical condition and spend many hours practicing boxing skills. They do much roadwork. They do things like running and jogging to develop endurance, and skip rope to improve footwork. They also practice their punching ability on punching bags. When training for a bout, boxers practice under fight conditions by boxing with sparring partners.
In the United States, many schools, boys clubs, camps, and various branches of the armed services offer boxing as a sports program. Most of this competition is conducted under regulations set by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The AAU conducts amateur boxing championships every year. It cooperates with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps in establishing interservice championships. The AAU also supervises the selection of the United States boxers for the Olympics and other international events. It is a member of the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA).
The Golden Gloves tournament is probably the most famous amateur boxing event in the U.S. The New York Daily News sponsored the first Golden Gloves competition in 1927. The nationwide tournament is approved by the AAU and operates under the organization’s rules. A series of local and regional elimination bouts lead to the final championship matches.
Professional boxers fight for money in bouts arranged by promoters. A promoter may be an individual or an entire corporation. The promoter rents an arena or stadium, decides on the amount to be paid to each boxer, sells tickets and makes all other needed arrangements. the promoter may be able to sell television rites, to make video or motion picture deals, and radio rites for an important bout. The promoter schedules several matches for the same evening. The main event features the two top boxers. Many preliminary bouts between less important or known boxers take place before the main event. Most preliminary bouts are scheduled for four to six rounds.
Every professional boxer must have a manager to handle all business affairs. The manager makes agreements with promoters for the bouts, hires the fighter’s paid help and employees, and sets up a training camp for the boxer. He may get as much as a third of his fighter’s prize money. A boxer’s employees include a trainer and one or two seconds. A trainer drills the fighter in boxing techniques and gives strategy during the bouts. The seconds assist the trainer.
Promoters usually pay less experienced boxers a flat out fee or pay with no added extras from ticket sales or pay-per-vue appearances before the main event. Well-known fighters usually receive a percentage of the gate of usually known as the ticket receipts. They also share in profits from the sale of any entertainment rights.
In the United States, state and local boxing commissions regulate professional boxing. Most of these commissions belong to the World Boxing Association WBA, some to the World Boxing Council WBC, and others to both. The WBA and WBC are international organizations that recommend rules to their members. Each organization names its own list of world champions. The two lists often differ, both the WBA and WBC allow a boxer to hold only one championship at a time. The Canadian Boxing Federation supervises it’s professional boxing in Canada.
Boxing in Ancient Times
Boxing is one of the oldest known sports. Stone carvings indicate that the Sumerians, who lived in what is now Iraq, boxed at least 5,000 years ago. The sport most likely spread from the Sumerians to people throughout the world.
In ancient Greece, boxing was a brutal spectacle. Two men would sit on flat stones, face to face, with their fist wrapped in strips of leather which offered little or no protection. At a signal, they began to hit each other until one of them fell to the ground unconscious. The other man then continued to beat his opponent until he died. Later, the thongs were fitted with metal spikes so that the fights ended more quickly.
The Romans also had their type of brutal matches. On their hands ands forearms, the fighters wore cestuses, which consisted of leather straps plated with metal. The fighters were allowed to stand and move around a small area. The sport became more savage with time. Eventuallthe Romans forbid the use of cestuses. In the first century B.C., the Romans prohibited boxing completely.
Boxing in The Mid-1900’s
Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Rocky Marciano were three of the greatest fighters of the 1950’s. Archie Moore held the Light Heavyweight title from 1952 to 1961. Sugar Ray Robinson held the Welterweight Champion from 1946 to 1951 and then went on to win the Middleweight crown five times. Rocky Marciano held the Heavyweight Champion from 1952-1956 and won all of his forty-nine professional fights. Through in the 1950’s attendance at boxing matches declined due to the rise of television. Many fans preferred to watch major fights on television at home rather than attend other fights in person. As a result, small boxing clubs, where fighters got there start, went out of business. The public’s interest in boxing decreased to the point where only some championship bouts were televised.