What Was Boxing Like in Ancient Times?

Boxing is a combat sport that has been around for centuries. It has evolved over time, with rules and regulations put in place to ensure the safety of the fighters.

But what was boxing like in ancient times? Let’s take a look.

The Origins of Boxing

Boxing can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In these cultures, boxing was often used as a form of entertainment for spectators. Fighters would use their fists to strike each other until one was knocked out or gave up.

Ancient Egyptian Boxing

In ancient Egypt, boxing was known as “heqat” and was depicted in hieroglyphics on temple walls. Fighters would wrap their hands in leather strips to protect them and would fight in rounds until one fighter was unable to continue. The winner would often be rewarded with money or gifts.

Ancient Greek Boxing

In ancient Greece, boxing was a popular sport and was included in the Olympic Games as early as 688 BC. Fighters would wrap their hands in leather straps called “himantes” and would fight until one fighter was knocked unconscious or gave up. Unlike modern boxing, there were no weight classes or time limits.

Ancient Roman Boxing

In ancient Rome, boxing was known as “pugilatus” and was also a popular form of entertainment for spectators. Fighters would wear metal studs on their gloves to inflict more damage on their opponents. Matches could go on for hours until one fighter either gave up or died.

The Evolution of Boxing

As time went on, rules were put in place to make boxing safer for the fighters. In the 17th century, the first set of rules were established in England which included wearing gloves and banning hitting below the belt.

By the 19th century, boxing had become a regulated sport with weight classes, time limits, and specific rules governing how fighters could strike each other. It was during this time that boxing became more popular and began to resemble the sport we know today.


Although boxing has evolved over time, it is interesting to look back at its origins and see how it has changed. From ancient civilizations using it as a form of entertainment to modern-day athletes competing in regulated matches, boxing has come a long way. With proper safety measures in place, it will continue to be a popular sport for years to come.