Boxing began the first time two combatants raised fists at each other, in either battle or play. Some reports place the beginning of boxing as a sport at 6000 years ago in Ethiopia. From there, most historians agree, the Greeks continued the tradition with some form of boxing at different eras. Boxing was believed to be a game of the gods and became a part of the Olympics in 688 B.C.
If you're looking to improve your boxing or just seeking to prevent boxing injuries it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that's just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.
The early boxing glove during these times was simply leather thongs to protect the hands and wrists. The Romans added metal studs to these leather thongs. They then became weapons instead of protection. Later spikes were added, as well. These matches were gladiator-style fights with slaves pitted against each other in fights to the death for entertainment.
The rise of Christianity brought an end to this early version of boxing. It became organized again in England during the late 17th century. It resurfaced in 1681, when a London newspaper reported a bout. In 1698, the Royal Theatre in London hosted many scheduled fights. This early version of the sport was a mix of boxing and wrestling, although striking with the fist was encouraged.
James Figg, who was a fencer as well as a boxer, opened a boxing academy and began to add a degree of skill to the sport. A student of his, Jack Broughton, who became known as the "father of English boxing", was instrumental in implementing some formal rules. Broughton's rules included no hitting below the belt and the addition of a squared off area, instead of a ring of spectators. These rules governed the "bare knuckle" era of boxing. Even though it was a bare knuckle era, Broughton also introduced the first gloves, known as mufflers. These, unfortunately, were only used during practice, and not during bouts.
In 1838 additional rules were introduced by the Pugilistic Society. The rules, called the London Prize Ring Rules, standardized the ring to a 24 foot square with two ropes around the outside. They also introduced the first breakdown of rounds. If a fighter was knocked down the fight took a 30-second break, then the fighters were given 8 seconds to "come to scratch" in the center of the ring, unaided.
The next major rule changes were sponsored by the Marquess of Queensberry in 1866. These rules included a limitation of the number of 3-minute rounds, called for the mandatory use of gloves, and eliminated gouging and wrestling. These rules moved the sport toward a more standardized set of rules. Although, even today the rules are not standard everywhere. Due to the lack of an international governing body the rules vary by country, and even by states and regions within the same country.
The weight classes in professional boxing are fairly standard and consist of eight major divisions: flyweight (up to 112 lb/50.8 kg); bantamweight (118 lb/53.5 kg); featherweight (126 lb/57.2 kg); lightweight (135 lb/61.2 kg); welterweight (147 lb/66.7 kg); middleweight (160 lb/72.6 kg); light heavyweight (175 lb/79.4 kg); and heavyweight (unlimited). Junior divisions and a cruiserweight class have also been recognized in recent years.
Due to the 3-minute rounds of intense activity, with only a short 30-second rest between rounds, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning are essential to the boxer. Both upper and lower body strength are required by the boxer, also. Good coordination, body and spatial awareness are also important to the fighter.
Boxers require a great deal of core strength and a solid base of strength from their legs and hips. Upper body muscular endurance and strength are essential. A strong neck helps a boxer absorb the blows to the head. Strong wrists are important to hold the fist in the proper punching position.
The major muscles used by the boxer are:
A good conditioning program to keep these muscles strong and flexible will help ensure boxing success and keep the boxer healthy for future bouts.
Among other injuries, a boxer may be subject to a broken nose, fractured ribs, sprained wrist, concussion, and orbital fracture.
The Top 3 Boxing Stretches
Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective. Below are 3 very beneficial stretches for boxing; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions beside each stretch.
|Assisted Reverse Chest Stretch: Stand upright with your back towards a table or bench and place your hands on the edge. Bend your arms and slowly lower your entire body.|
|Rotating Stomach Stretch: Lie face down and bring your hands close to your shoulders. Keep your hips on the ground, look forward and rise up by straightening your arms. The slowly bend one arm and rotate that shoulder towards the ground.|
|Standing Toe-up Achilles Stretch: Stand upright and place the ball of your foot onto a step or raised object. Bend your knee and lean forward.|
While the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you include a wider variety of exercises. So to improve your athletic ability, reduce injuries and really take advantage of all the stretching exercises on offer, grab a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility (Handbook, DVD & CD-ROM).
In total, they include 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretching exercises for every major muscle group in your body. Plus, over 80 printable stretching routines for 22 sports and 19 different muscle groups.
The DVD also includes 3 customized stretching routines (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core, plus a bonus CD-ROM that allows you to print out over 80 stretching routines that you can take with you where ever you go.
The Handbook and DVD will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly. Plus, you'll also learn the 7 critical rules for safe stretching; the benefits of flexibility; and how to stretch properly. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility for yourself.