When Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali passed away earlier this year, the world lost a great athlete and champion for human rights.
Many of the current generation may not have heard of this great athlete who rose from very humble beginnings to conquer the world of boxing and remained a favorite of many of the previous generation even as he suffered a debilitating illness that kept him out of public view for many years.
The sport of boxing is a combination of martial arts and martial arts where two opponents use techniques to land punches at each other to win the match. Protective gloves and headgear are part of modern boxing, and it is an extremely popular event in many countries, with the competition escalating all the way to the Olympic level.
Like many other combat sports, boxing has its origins in hand-to-hand combat that has been practiced since ancient times; However, as an organized sport, it was most likely played by the ancient Greeks who we trace the origin of the Olympic Games into in modern times. Inscriptions from ancient civilizations such as the Babylonian, Mesopotamian, and Sumerian civilizations point to evidence of fist fighting with protective hand coverings or gloves.
The earliest reference to the sport dates back to 668 BC during the ancient Olympiad, but it constantly evolved, and our current knowledge of boxing is most closely associated with 16th century prize competitions that were held primarily in Great Britain but quickly spread to other parts of Europe and the United States.
Also in ancient Rome, boxing was a very popular sport. Opponents used leather straps wrapped around their fists for protection. In time, more rugged leather and metal screws were introduced giving them a deadly weapon like the case referred to as a “myrmex” or limb piercer.
The amphitheaters in Rome often held boxing events resembling gladiator fights where the fight to the death was often the spectacle enjoyed most by the spectators. This progressed into bouts where trained martial artists and purchased slaves were trained to fight each other in a designated circle on the ground, the beginning of rules set in place to celebrate the sport and spark the idea of a “boxing ring”.
However, excessive brutality in later years made the Romans abolish boxing during the gladiatorial period around 393 AD. Since then, it was only around the 17th century when boxing reappeared in London in pubs and riverside docks that it largely determined the way boxing matches were organised.