History of London Boxing
A Roman Amphitheatre
Early Boxing History
By Gary Holland
A guide to the early history of boxing from ancient times to the Roman equivalent.
Origins of Boxing
Boxing was originally nothing more than bare fist fighting between two willing and sometimes unwilling competitors. As a sport, fighting has been around for thousands of years where it first arose in parts of Africa and Egypt before spreading to parts of Southern Europe. The Ancient Greeks, who held the belief that fighting was a game played by the Gods on Olympus, made fighting a part of the Olympic Games in 688BC.
The Romans had a keen interest in the sport and fighting soon became a common spectator sport. In order for the fighters to protect themselves against their opponents they wrapped leather thongs around their fists. Eventually harder leather was used and the thong soon became a weapon. The Romans even introduced metal studs to the thongs to make the cestus which then led to a more sinister weapon called the myrmex (‘limb piercer’).
Fighting events were held at Roman Amphitheatres
The Roman form of boxing was often a fight until death to please the spectators who gathered at such events. Often slaves were used against one another in a circle marked on the floor. This is where the term ring came from.
In 393AD, during the Roman gladiator period, boxing was abolished due to excessive brutality. It was not until the late 17th century where boxing re-surfaced in London.
last updated: 09/04/2008 at 11:56