Boxing was one of the most popular sports practiced in ancient Greece and was one of the ancient disciplines of the Olympic Games. The Romans adopted the sport as they did with almost all of Greek culture, but in Rome suitors wore metal protectors to fight in order to protect their hands. These protectors were called “cestus” and they had nails on the outside, so more than once the rival was killed in a boxing match.
Although boxing and fighting have always been confused as interchangeable terms, they are different sports since what was generically called fighting more often refers to wrestling. However, boxing is as old as over 4000 BC. The first boxing records come from Egypt and the East before it became a classic sport in Greece. In modern times, boxing appears in the annals after the Duke of Alberman organized a fight between his butler and the butcher in England around 1681.
From then on, boxing only appeared, as we know it today, until the 18th century when it was practiced for money, but boxing gloves were not yet part of the equipment of a boxer. However, it is known that the money involved in these matches came from spectators betting on the suitors.
In 1719, boxing had its first heavyweight champion, Englishman James Figg, and another champion, John Broughton, formulated the first boxing regulations in 1743, regulations which were amended and changed for about a century.
In 1865, the Marquis of Queensberry put in place the regulations in force until today which require the wearing of gloves, hence the last heavyweight champion in bare cut was John L. Sullivan who fought Jake Kilrain in 1889. Even thought, he lost the championship to New Orleans, Louisiana on September 7, 1892 when he was defeated by James Corbett in a bout in which he had to wear gloves.
The first recognized lightweight world champion was English boxer Billy Edwards who won the title by fighting American boxer Tom Collins in a historic bout that began on May 24, 1871 and ended on December 6 of the same year. On the day of the fighting, police appeared at the scene and the boxers were arrested, but resumed the match two days later after paying S1000, but later they were taken to jail and it was only after appealing to the court that they regained their freedom and the right to conclude the match that year.
By the turn of the century, boxing became popular around the world, and the first notable fight of 1900 took place on Coney Island with a match between Jeffries and Corbett. In 1908, Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns in Sidney, Australia, and became their first black boxer to win a heavyweight title in boxing history.