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History and rules

Boxing is considered to be one of the most popular sports. Although it is a disputable competition because of the open display of violence, boxing attracts a large audience, both live as well as in front of the TV- screen (When we were Kings, Rocky or most recently Million Dollar Baby). Around 3000 B.C. early fist fights were carried out in Egypt. In 688 B.C. fist fights were carried out as an Olympic discipline at the 23. Olympic Games of the Ancient world and in Ancient Rome fist fights took place as part of the Gladiatorial games.

In the 18th century the sport became popular again, especially in England, where it was known as bare- knuckle boxing. It was at this particular time, that the word „boxing“ got popular.This early boxing did not underlie any rules. 1743 the first significant regulations, known as the Broughton Rules, were defined by the boxer Jack Broughton. The London Prize Ring Rules (1838) present a further development of the Broughton Rules. 1867 the London Prize Ring Rules were modified, now being called the Queensbury Rules. This body of rules consisted of 12 rules, which were supposed to guarantee a fair standing boxing match in a 24 feet square boxing ring. Each round lasted for 3 minutes, with one minute break between each round.

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Ring, Referee, Rules

A boxing match is carried out in a square boxing ring, the length of the sides varies between 16 and 24 feet/ 488 and 732 cm. The ground of the boxing ring is covered with plastic material/ a tentcover and outside of the ropes, the ground must be at least 50 cm broad. The four corners of the ring are padded and covered with red, blue or white material. Duration of a boxing match: a boxing match is usually carried out in 3- minute rounds, the number of rounds varies. An Olympic match consists of 3 rounds, a professional match can last up to 15 rounds, amateur fights usually consist of 4 rounds. In between the rounds, there is a 1- minute break. In the ring a referee who monitors the fight, is present. Outside of the ring, up to three judges are present. They evaluate the fight and award points.

Modern Rules

A boxer is not allowed to engage in the following actions during a fight: punch the opponent below the waistline, hold on to the opponent, bite, push, spit, kick or trip the opponent. The boxer is only allowed to punch with a closed fist, not with any other part of the arm (elbow). It is forbidden to punch the opponent on the back, on the neck, in the kidney area or on the head. If a boxer disobeys the rules, he/she can lose points or even be disqualified. At the end of each fight a fight record is drawn, in which victories, defeats and draws are listed.

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Boxing styles

Boxing is divided into a defensive and an offensive style. Defensive boxing means, that the boxer lures his opponent to come close and then counterattacks. Offensive boxing means, that the boxer attacks his opponent with a large number of punches. In any event reflexes play an important role.

Boxing organizations in professional boxing

  • WBA - World Boxing Association
  • WBC - World Boxing Council
  • IBF - International Boxing Federation and
  • WBO - World Boxing Organisation

Boxing at the Olympic Games

Since 1904 boxing is an Olympic discipline, represented in the following weight categories: light fly-weight, fly-weight, bantam-weight, feather-weight, light-weight, 60- 64 kg, 64- 69 kg, 69- 75 kg, light-heavyweight, heavy-weight, super heavy-weight. The duration of a fight in the Olympic Summer Games is 4 times 2 minutes, with three 1- minute breaks between each round. There is one referee in the ring with five judges outside the ring, which evaluate according to a specified point system. Up till today, only male amateur boxers are allowed to participate.

Male and female boxers

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  • Laila Ali (2002 IBA; 2002 WIBA & IWBF; 2005 WBC)
  • Theresa Arnold (1997 IBA)
  • Karen Bill
  • Bonnie Canino (1997/1998 IFBA)
  • Deirdre Gogarty (1997 WIBF)
  • Regina Halmich (1998- 2000, 2005 WIBF)
  • Diana Mary Dutra (1995 IWBF)


  • Jack Dempsey (Worldchampion in Heavyweight 1919- 1926)
  • Joe Louis (Worldchampion in Heavyweight 1937-1949)
  • Rocky Marciano (Worldchampion in Heavyweight 1952-1956)
  • Muhammad Ali (Worldchampion in Heavyweight 1964-1966, 1966 WBC; 1967 WBC&WBA; 1974-1978 WBC&WBA; 1978-1979 WBA)
  • Mike Tyson (1986 WBC; 1987-1990 IBF,WBA&WBC; 1996 WBC&WBA)
  • Roy Jones Jr. (2003-2004 WBA)

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