A Style of Western Boxing has been around for a long time and there’s evidence of it going back to over 3500-4000 years, with depictions/descriptions of it from Iraq, Crete and Egypt. It has also been a sport as far back as 700 BC and was an Olympic sport as early a 688BC. There was much development and promotion of the sport in Britain from the 16th century on, which was also known as prize fighting during it’s earlier development.
Fist fighting including bare-knuckle fighting has continued to be a sport/unarmed dual throughout the centuries. The name boxing appeared around the early 18th century and the sport had very little in the way of rules. By the mid 18th century the boxing champion Jack Broughton brought in some rules, which included a 30 second count for a downed opponent, no hitting a downed opponent and the introduction of padded gloves for training. By 1838 the London Prize Ring rules were introduced, where matches were now held in a square ring and biting, head-butting and hitting below the belt were disallowed. In 1867 the Marquess of Queensberry rules were introduced by John Chambers for amateur fights, which included timed rounds and intervals, a 10 second count, no wrestling and standardised gloves.
Western Boxing/prize fighting during the 19th/early 20th century was still considered a brutal sport and was outlawed in many countries. It took a long time and a lot of work to make it a regulated and recognised sport, which came about through stricter rules and regulations and of course promotions which earned many lots of money.
Competitive Western Boxing is held in a square roped boxing ring, with a referee and a number of rounds (professional bouts are usually 10-12, 3 minute rounds). There is normally a 1 minute corner time between rounds were advice is given, water is taken in and any cuts/swelling is seen to. A win is either decided by a knockout (or sometimes 3 KO’s during the match), a referee stoppage, a towel thrown in by the corner to say their fighter has had enough, or by points awarded by judges if it goes full distance. Modern boxing doesn’t allow hitting below the belt, to the back of the head, the back, kicking or the use of any other part of the body except the gloved knuckles, also disallowed is head-butting, holding (a breath clinch is ok), tripping, pushing, biting, or spitting. There are weight classes and fighters are normally matched up with opponents in the same weight class.
Amateur boxing has been an Olympic sport since 1908 with 3-4 rounds. The rounds are scored by hit points and the fighters wear headguards and normally a vest as well. Amateur boxing is also part of Commonwealth sports. See Olympic Boxing here.
As Western Boxing is a very popular sport that is also highly organised and regulated there are a large number of organisations and associations. Listed here are just a few of them:
Amateur Boxing Association (ABA)
Golden Gloves Association of America
Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA)
Canadian Amateur Boxing Association
Amateur Boxing Association of England
International Boxing Federation (IBF)
World Boxing Association (WBA)
World Boxing Council (WBC)
World Boxing Organization (WBO)
World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF)
United States Boxing Association (USBA)
British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC)
European Boxing Union (EBU)
Western Boxing Training
Training for Western Boxing can include strength training, endurance/conditioning, speed, agility, stamina, flexibility and reflex training. This training can take the form of running/treadmill work, cycling, shadow boxing, various bag work, skipping, weight/bodyweight training and sparring.
Boxing training can consists of learning how to move and place your feet, how and where to hold your hands/arms, defensive moves/positioning (slipping, bobbing, blocking, covering up, clinching, footwork and evasion), punches (jabs, crosses, counter strikes, hooks, uppercuts, straight punches) and any combination/variation of these and a few others that aren’t specific or just happen to happen at the time.
Sparring plays a big part in preparation for competitive fights, while much can also be carried out individually with heavy bag work, speed ball work and focus pad work.
Western Boxing Equipment/Gear Used
General training wear will depend on the club you join, but will normally be any comfortable sports clothing. Competitive clothing for amateurs will consist of boxing shorts, vest, socks and boots, while professionals are not expected to wear the vest, but can have an optional ring jacket on entry to the match.
Boxing gloves (various weights)
Body protection – sparring
Speed balls/bags (various)
Heavy bags (various)
Celebrity Western Boxing Practitioners or who have had training
Marion Morrison (John Wayne)
Movies featuring Western Boxing
|The Prizefighter and the Lady
|City for Conquest
|Body and Soul
|The Harder They Fall
|Monkey On My Back
|Requiem for a Heavyweight
|The Great White Hype
|Play It to the Bone
|Joe and Max
|Against the Ropes
|Fighting Tommy Riley
|Million Dollar Baby
|Resurrecting the Champ
|Strength and Honor