How Was Boxing Played in the Ancient Times?

Boxing is a sport that has been around for centuries and has evolved over time. The sport was played differently in ancient times as compared to what it is today. In this article, we will delve into the history of boxing and how it was played in ancient times.

History of Boxing

The roots of boxing can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was practiced as an Olympic sport. The Greeks introduced the concept of using fists to fight in a structured manner, and this paved the way for modern-day boxing.

In ancient Rome, boxing was known as “pugilism,” which means “fist fight” in Latin. The Roman version of boxing was more brutal than the Greek version, and it involved fighters wearing metal studs on their gloves.

Ancient Boxing Rules

In ancient times, there were no weight classes or rounds like there are today. Fighters would fight until one of them could no longer continue or surrendered.

The only rule that existed back then was that fighters could not bite or gouge their opponent’s eyes out. Apart from that, anything else was fair game.

Fighting Techniques

Fighters in ancient times had different fighting techniques than what we see today. One such technique was called “milling,” which involved standing toe-to-toe with your opponent and exchanging blows until one fighter couldn’t take any more hits.

Another technique used by ancient boxers was called “infighting.” In this technique, fighters would get up close and deliver short-range punches to their opponent’s body.

Equipment Used

Unlike modern-day boxing gloves that are padded and designed to protect the fighter’s hands, ancient boxers used leather straps called “cestus” on their hands. These straps were filled with metal plates or studs to inflict maximum damage on their opponents.

Apart from the cestus, fighters did not wear any protective gear. They fought in the open air, and the only thing that separated them from the audience was a rope.


In conclusion, boxing has come a long way since its inception in ancient Greece. While the sport has evolved over time, the basic principles of fighting with fists have remained unchanged.

Ancient boxing was a brutal and unforgiving sport that involved little to no rules or regulations. It is fascinating to look back at the history of this sport and see how it has transformed into what we know today.