Boxing is often referred to as the “Manly Art of Self Defense.” It 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
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.
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While 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 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
and 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
The rules followed for amateurs and professional bouts do differ for the United States
and in international and Olympic Game competition.
Weight Classes-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 is Heavyweight, Junior
Heavyweight , Middleweight, Junior Middleweight, Welterweight, Junior Welterweight,
Lightweight, Junior Lightweight, Featherweight, Junior Featherweight,
Bantomweight, Junior Bantomweight, Flyweight, Junior Flyweight.
The Ring- The 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. At least three ropes
attached to a post at each corner, surround the ring. 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.
Equipment- A boxers hands are wrapped in soft cloth bandages , over the bandages he
wears 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- Time periods of a boxing match are referred to as rounds. Each round
lasts two or three minutes in amateur bouts. 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. All amateur championships are scheduled for three rounds.
Fight Officials- During a round, the referee is the only person in the ring besides the
boxers. He sees that the fighters obey the rules. The referee warns a boxer that disobeys
a rule. He may disqualify a fighter for committing a serious violation or too many
Two or three judges sit along ringside and score most fights. However, 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 if needed. The physician then advises the
referee how serious an injured fighters condition may be.
Scoring a Fight- A boxer wins a fight by (1) a knockout, (2) a technical knockout, or
(3) a decision. Sometimes, a professional bout may end in a draw, with neither fighter
declared the winner. Amateur fights cannot win in a draw. In a close bout, the amateur
who showed better style or committed fewer violations may be awarded the winner.
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.” He then can
rest until the beginning of the next round.
A technical knockout, or TKO, occurs when a boxer 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 two
ringside judges then decide the winner or, in the case of a professional bout, declare the
fight a draw. A decision may be made unanimous, 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 , 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 United States 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.
Fight Rules- A boxer may not hit 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.
Boxing Skills- every boxer has his own style, but overall they 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. The basis 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 and 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
Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps in establishing interservice championships.
The AAU also supervises the selection of the United States boxers for the Olympic
Games and other international events. It is a Member of the Association Internationale
de Boxe Amateur (AIBA).
The annual Golden Gloves tournament is probably the most famous amateur boxing
event in the United States. A newspaper, 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.
Financing- 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.
Regulations- 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.
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
probably spread from the Sumerians to people throughout the world.
Boxing was a brutal spectacle in ancient Greece. Two men (usually young men)
would sit on flat stones, face to face, with their fist wrapped in thongs ( which were 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 quicker.
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. They then forbid the use of cestuses. In the first century B.C., they prohibited
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 was the Welterweight Champion from 1946 to 1951 and then went
on to win the Middleweight crown five times. Rocky Marciano was the Heavyweight
Champion from 1952-1956 and won all his forty-nine professional fights.
Though in the 1950’2 attendance at boxing matches declined with 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 decreased to the point where only some
championship bouts were televised.
The Future of Boxing
Evander Holyfield is now the reining Heavyweight Champion. He was awarded his
title in November, 1996 by knocking out Mike Tyson in the ninth round at the MGM
Grand Hotel In Las Vegas , Nevada. They are scheduled to fight a rematch in June, 1997.
Boxing is truly one of the last real man’s sports. I know my family couldn’t do without
Tuesday Night Fight Night on USA.
1. Benton, William, “Boxing”, Compton’s Encyclopedia and Fact Index.pp. 283-288.
2. Katz,Michael, “Boxing”, Grolier Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.
3. Loubet,Nat. “Boxing”, International Encyclopedia. p. 1994-1999, 1981 ed.
4. Bowman, John, “Boxing”,The New Book Of Knowledge, pp351-354, 1996 ed.
5.Sullivan, George, “Boxing”,The World Book Encyclopedia, pp.436-443, 1984 ed.
Boxing Regulations……………………………………………………………………………pp. 1-5
Amateur Boxing……………………………………………………………………………….pp. 5-6
Professional Boxing…………………………………………………………………………..pp. 6-7