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Boxing is often called the Western martial art, but it’s more accurately identified as a martial sport. Since the appearance of humans, competition for food, mates and territory, people have undoubtedly been attacking each other with fists. The oldest record of boxing dates back to 4000 B.C.; an Egyptian pyramid from that era contain hieroglyphics and mural paintings that show men punching each other with laced gloves that have twine wrapped halfway up their forearms—similar to traditional muay boran kickboxing in Thailand.

The foundation for what most associate with typical Western-style boxing is arguably the unarmed fighting sport of pankration (Crete, 648 B.C.), which included bare-knuckle fighting, i.e., boxing. Although the pugilistic sport then spread to many Western countries, the first documented account of bare-knuckled fights occurred in 1681 in England. The sport eventually became known as prizefighting (today’s boxing), with the first recorded bare-knuckle champion being Englishman James Figg in 1719. Heavyweight champion Jack Broughton introduced the first set of boxing rules in 1743. These set the stage for the Marquess of Queensberry rules for amateur boxing in England. Created by John Chambers in 1867, Marquess of Queensberry rules became the foundation for today’s professional boxing rules.

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