The history of boxing dates as far back as human history. Its earliest documented history is as far back as 3000 BC Egypt. Mention of boxing was also seen in Homer's Iliad during the funeral ceremony for Patrokulus where they had "prizefights" during the ceremony.
Induction into the Olympic games
Boxing was officially introduced as an event in the Olympic games in the late 7th century. Fighters would use cestus, soft leather thongs wrapped around their hands and forearms, for protection. During the Roman's Gladiator Period the equipment changed, metal studs where added to the leather studs and fighters now had to fight to death. As a result boxing was abolished around 393 AD it was deemed too brutal.
Resurfacing of Boxing in LondonBoxing didn't resurface until the early 16th Century in London. The English Aristocracy developed a keen interest in recovering the knowledge and tradition of antiquity. Boxing now became as a means to handle disputes among the rich. Wealthy patrons would support their pugilists and put huge wagers down on their fights. This is where the term prizefighters was coined.
Jack Broughton, by name of John Broughton, the reigning champion from 1734 to 1758, was the first to introduce a boxing school, also formulator of the first set of boxing rules, and inventor of mufflers, the precursors of modern boxing gloves. Broughton invited high society gentlemen to make the change from sponsoring fighters to becoming fighters themselves.
Coming to AmericaAs boxing moved across the sea into America in the early 19th century, it was not very popular at first. Boxing really started to gain popularity when Theodore Roosevelt became an advocate. During Roosevelt time as a Police Commissioner he urged his officers to train in the art of ars pugandi. He believed boxing was a way "to vent out man's animal spirit".
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Boxing AdvocateWhen Roosevelt became President he continued to box as a way to keep active and in shape, a practice he started as governor of New York. Roosevelt as a result lost vision in his left eye due to a cross from a young captain. This accident was a tightly guarded secret.
Here is a quote from Teddy Roosevelt Autobiography: "I had to abandon boxing as well as wrestling, for in one bout a young captain of artillery cross-countered me on the eye, and the blow smashed the little blood vessels. Fortunately it was my left eye, but the sight has been dim ever since, and if it had been the right eye I should have been entirely unable to shoot.”
"Accordingly I thought it better to acknowledge that I had become an elderly man and would have to stop boxing. I then took up jiu jitsu for a few years."
Boxing has come a long way from its primitive and borderline savage roots. Now its a world spectated sports with a huge fan base. The improved technologies of gloves, mouth guards, and headgear, have improved the safety of the sport and help place boxing as one of the top sport in the world.