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A QUICK HISTORY OF BOXING


PhilBoxing.com


Many of us do not really have a complete grasp on exactly when and how boxing started. Boxing in general is classically defined as a SPORT "which involves the art of attack and defense protected by padded gloves". That's the easy meanig in the modern times.

According to the records of the GAB's sports library and with the references submitted to this writer by Mr.Emmanuel Flores, the Boxing Division Chief of the GAB, boxing has acquired its series of evolution from an ancient "barbaric sport" into a "civilized one". It has evolved through the times and can be categorized as follows : Ancient Greeks Pugilism and Modern Eras.

In the classical literature of Illiad and Aenid by Virgil , it is noted that this primitive form of boxing was formally introduced in the year 880 BC .I couldn't imagine the rudiness of its form and system , if there were any during those times.

"Ancient fighters fought completely naked with the cesti bound on his hands and wrists.Cesti are knucle dusters worn to enhance the power of the blows of the protagonists which are usually heavy"..the historical files have it.Fighters or boxers then were denied of boxing shorts, shoes, mouthpiece and adequate padded gloves.The fighting style is completely animalistic without any rules of referee-judge so to speak. The common form of blows delivered are swinging and hammering types.Because of this , the fighter's ears during those period are very much liable to injuries."Swollen and mis-shapen ears are the trademarks of Greek boxers."

It was only in the 6th century where boxing as a sport became popular in Italy. The files in the library continues "boxers from the outlying provinces were imported to compete in the first great Roman games.A school of boxing was established in Euteria,while Emperor Caligula brought boxers from Africa to compete in the gladiatorial games. Its popularity lasted until the fall of the Roman empire"...A truely barbaric sport in its historical sense.Human before who engaged in boxing were considered pawns for entertainment without any regard to their safety and life's protection.

Then the era of Pugilism came.This is the period when and where the practice of "fighting with bare knuckles " began and it originated in England towards the end of the 17th century.What is amusing here in this time is the fact that "it became a form of public entertainment when the strongest of young men travelling top the countryside.They would go to different places or villages sparring with each other of fighting with some of the audience ,brave enough to engage them .All these are done for monetary gains" During these times the rules seemed to emerge, but still considered so brutal.Here are some of the rules: "After the rest period ,at the sound of the bell ,both contestants are required to go to the scratch line. The fighter who is unable to go to the line is declared the loser.Later,the ring which used to be a piece of rope held by the spectators was made more permanent when four stakes were set up to from a square with the rope placed around them.The winner of the fight gets his prized money,which is placed in the purse attached to one of the stakes.This is an assurance that the winners will be paid." This was the beginning of the word purse which now denotes the fighter's renumeration for the fight.But because of its roughness and deemed tumble in nature , Pugilism was declared illegal in England.

At the turn of the 18th century ,fighting or boxing reached the areas of the United States of America after some English settlers and the soldiers arrived who fought in the war of independence.But the manner of the fights were established in illegal form and were held in the "barns,barges,lumber camps and in other secluded places".Years after the entrance of this fighting or boxing in the US , stables and boxing arenas were created by boxers and ex-boxers themselves.This was somehow the beginning of evolution where boxing is no longer a type of "barbarism" or "animalistic fighting".

Great boxers who have acquired fame during those period were bare knuckle champion as acknowledged by history is an Englishman James Figg who fought in the years 1719-1720.He was regarded as an instrumental figure in setting up an amphitheatre in Oxford ,London.In the US, the most porpular pugilist is Tom Molineuax ,a former slave who has beaten almost all comers in the US in the early 1800's.He even invaded England and fought successfully against Bill Burrows and Tom Blake.He only lost to Tom Cribb and died in 1818.

The modern era of boxing is now characterized by "the use of padded gloves, existence of stringent rules and regulations.It was in 1866 when modern boxing began , when the people of the world got tired of bare- knuckled boxing simply because of its brutality in nature.In 1705-89 padded gloves were developed by British pugilist Jack Broughton...From then on , gloves , trunks ,medical , offcials of the ring,rules and regulations and most of all boxing organizations all over the world as sanctioning bodies have been created.The governments of the globe had also established boxing commissions,here in the Philippines the GAB , in order to ensure the safety , protection and most of all the civility in conducting fight promotions domestically and abroad.

Boxing today is in its finest form and system of sporting competition.It has now become the center stage of most lucrative business-entertainment industry where the nations of the world engage in to achieve global recognition and excellence.From the generation of Pancho Villa in the early 1900's down to Flash Elorde ,and now the Pacquiao era , our country is well respected in the world.With our latest victories over Mexicans , the Philippines has already secured a momentum of respect and accolade in the international community of boxing competition.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Alex A. Paglumotan, GAB Commissioner.


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