Not surprisingly, the brutal sport of boxing has roots in prehistoric periods. The earliest records of boxing are from archaeological evidence discovered in Africa that are said to be dated around 4000 B.C. Of course, the sport’s popularity spread and cave paintings that depicted boxing were found around 1500 B.C. in places such as the Mediterranean.
Boxing then moved on to ancient Greece, where barbarians would sit face to face and punch each other until one of them was dead at times spikes and the like were used to quicken the process and most of the time the opponents were naked with the exception of wrappings to protect their arms. Fortunately, around 688 B.C., this form of boxing passed and boxers soon were practicing on punching bags and were allowed to wear leather straps and breastplates to protect their arms and chests.
Boxing then took on many forms, depending on the country in which it grew popular. For example, China merged boxing with wrestling during the Zhou Dynasty and utilized a combination of attacks, including throws and pressure point attacks. Ancient Buddhist history also mentions a form of boxing particularly, a boxing match between Buddha’s cousin and half-brother.
In the Buddharata Sutra, a martial art form of boxing was written about and this particular form of boxing was known as Vajra Mushti. Boxing also took its place in ancient Rome, being more popular among prisoners attempting to win their freedom by winning a boxing match. Boxing did not last long in Rome, however, although it gained so much popularity that even free men and nobles fought in matches. In 500 A.D. Theodoric the Great prohibited boxing in any form.
Boxing took off in London, however, and early fighting around the year 1743 didn’t have any weight limits or really, any rules of any kind. Many boxers fought with bare knuckles and this made for a very brutal sport thankfully, rules such as “no blows below the belt” were enforced and the sport began to morph into the martial art that we know today. Olympic boxing and women’s boxing also gained in popularity, however, the two have not generally mixed well.
There will be no women’s boxing in the Olympics during the year 2008 and not many expect it to be an official sport at the 2012 Olympics either. Boxing became most popular in the Western world with professional boxing also known as prizefighting. Many people like to watch this type of boxing on television and many movies were made about this type of boxing, including the spectacular Rocky series. Boxing still remains popular today, despite its extremely prehistoric and often barbaric origins.