The sport of boxing has its roots in many different countries and cultures and has shown significant evolution over the centuries. Modern boxing consists of two athletes fighting each other with their fists in a sequence of typically three-minute rounds. A boxer achieves victory by either knocking his/her opponent to the mat and he/she is unable to rise before the referee reaches a ten-second count (knockout or KO) or if the opponent sustains injuries that are judged to severe for him/her to continue (technical knockout or TKO).
Boxing has seen many forms and progressed through many rule changes. The sport first became to be known as “boxing” in the England during the 18th century. When boxing first emerged as a sport in England there were no official rules, no referees, no weight divisions, and most of all, no gloves. Padded gloves were first introduced in the mid-18th century whereas before the fighting had occurred bare-fisted; this was commonly known as prizefighting.
The rules and regulations that govern the sport of boxing today are based almost exclusively upon the Marquess of Queensberry rules that were put into effect in 1867. Matches take place in a 24-foot square ring that is enclosed on all sides by ropes. A match is split up into a usually predetermined amount of 3-minute rounds. Boxers must fight standing up and only use their fists. Each boxer is given a corner of the ring from which they enter the ring, and where they can receive coaching and some medical attention between rounds.
A match is presided over by a referee who controls the match from within the ring, calls fouls, and monitors the fight. There are also typically three judges that contribute by keeping track of points based on punches landed, knockdowns, and defense. If a fight reaches the predetermined number of rounds and there has not been a knockout, the match’s outcome is determined by the score kept by the judges. Despite the apparent barbarity of boxing, there are strict rules that govern fair play. Boxers are required to only hit with their fists and there is no kicking, biting, tripping, wrestling, head-butting, pushing, spitting, and holding. Also, there is no hitting the back, the back of the head, the kidneys, or below the waist. Any of these are considered a foul and can lead to potential disqualification.
There are some notable differences between professional and amateur boxing. Amateur boxing (college level and Olympic Games) requires headgear, matches consist of only three to four rounds, and a point scoring system is used that does not rely on damage inflicted by the punches. Professional boxing prohibits headgear, the rounds are typically much longer (ten to twelve rounds), and considerable more physical punishment is commonly inflicted and permitted.