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Boxer redirects here; for other meanings, see Boxer (disambiguation)
Boxing is a combat sport where two opponents score points punching with padded gloves at the head, chest and stomach, fighting within a boxing ring. Boxing contests are found throughout antiquity. Greek boxers would wear boxing gloves (not padded) and wrappings on their arms below the elbows, but were otherwise naked when competing.

Women's boxing was virtually unknown until the 1990s, but now attracts small numbers of competitors and spectators.

In amateur boxing (the version of the sport found at the Olympic Games) the primary emphasis is on landing scoring punches rather than concern with doing actual physical damage to one's opponent (though it still occurs). Competitors wear protective headgear, and box for three rounds of three-minutes each. Each punch that lands on the head or torso is awarded a point. A referee[?] monitors the fight to ensure that competitors use only legal blows (a belt warn over the torso represents the lower limit of punches - any boxer repeatedly landing 'low blows' is disqualified). Referees also ensure that the boxers don't use holding tactics to prevent the opponent from swinging (if this occurs, the referee separates the opponents and orders them to continue boxing. Repeated holding can result in a boxer being penalised or, ultimately, disqualified).

If a competitor is punched sufficiently hard to have trouble continuing the fight, and the opponent inflicted this condition with only legal blows, the match is over and the competitor still standing is declared the winner by knockout. In amateur boxing, referees will readily step in and award knockouts even if the competitor is only relatively lightly injured.

Professional bouts are far longer (consisting of anything from four to twelve rounds), headgear is not permitted, and knockout wins are usually only awarded when the competitors are knocked down and stay on the canvas for ten seconds (or are repeatedly knocked down, a "technical knockout", or TKO). At any time, however, the referee may stop the contest if he believes that one participant can not or should not continue to box. In that case, the other participant is also awarded a technical knockout win, which in the boxer's record also counts as a knockout win (or loss). A technical knockout would also be awarded if a fighter lands a punch that opens a cut on the opponent, and the opponent is later deemed not fit to continue by a doctor, because of the cut. If a boxer simply quits fighting, or if his corner either tells the referee the boxer will not continue or throws a towel into the ring (signalling they are quitting), then the winning boxer is also awarded a technical knockout.

In case no knockout or disqualification occurs in professional boxing, the fight must go to the scorecards. Professional fights have three judges each, and each of the judges must use the 10 point must system: Under this system, each time a boxer wins a round in the judges' eyes, the judge gives that boxer 10 points, and the other 9, with points deducted every time a boxer suffers a knockdown or loses a point because of illegal blows. If the judge deems the round to be a tie, he or she may score it 10-10. When the fight reaches its scheduled distance, all scores are added, round by round, to determine who won on each judges' cards. When all three judges have the same boxer as the winner, this is a unanimous decision. When two judges have one boxer winning the fight and the other one has it a tie, this is called a majority decision. When two judges have one boxer win the fight and the other judge has the other boxer win, this is called a split decision. In the case one judge gives his or her vote to one boxer, another one gives it to the other boxer and the third judge calls it a tie, this is a draw, and its also a draw when two judges score the fight a tie, regardless of whom did the third judge score the bout for, and when all three judges scored the fight a tie.

In England, judges might score the fight under a 5 point must system instead, and they might also award half a point to the loser (example 4 and a half points) if desired, except when a world title fight is being held. Although generally referees do not act as judges, in England, referees are sometimes allowed to score too, although they can not score in world title fights held there either.

In the rare case a fight can not go on because of an injury caused to one of the competitors by a headbutt, there are different rules: If the fight has not reached the end of round three, (in some places, round four), the fight is automatically declared a technical draw. If it has reached beyond the end of round three (or four), then the scorecards are read and whoever is ahead, wins by a technical decision.

Serious injuries are far more common in professional boxing, a sport with considerable (though waning) spectator appeal, but with a large number of dubious organisations promoting "world championship" bouts and a long connection to organised crime.

It used to be that fights were traditionally fought for up to fifteen rounds in professional boxing, more than anything during most of the 20th century. But the tragic death of boxer Duk Koo Kim in November of 1982 after a fight with Ray Mancini began to change that, and by 1988, all fights had been reduced to a maximum of 12 rounds only.

Medical authorities around the world have consistently argue for a ban on boxing (or at least the changing of the rules to prevent blows to the head) because of the brain damage found in large fractions of professional boxers, but such calls have not been successful, both on civil liberties grounds and the argument that banning boxing would lead to underground, illegal bouts with far fewer safety regulations than currently.

However, boxing may be better than the real alternative, dueling. There is some reason to believe that English gentlemen quietly promoted boxing as a humane alternative to the deadly Irish Code Duello. Certainly it was promoted by the class of English gentlemen that were prone to duel, and many observers said that dueling with pistols was too dangerous a way to maintain anyone's honor.

By 1867, when the John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry lent his name to John Chambers[?]' rules, sporting fisticuffs had become a nearly perfect replacement for dueling. It made for a satisfyingly brutal and (for the loser) humiliating fight but it was nearly impossible to cause permanent damage. One indication of this movement is that the rule-makers of the time promoted the rules for "amateurs," a code word for noblemen. Another is that swank clubs and gymnasia took it up with a will, leading to its present popularity. Another is that even now, there is a tradition of urging hot-headed young men to "get in the ring, and work it out."

In Mississippi City[?], on February 7, 1882 the last heavyweight boxing championship bareknuckle fight took place.

See also:

If you are looking for the computarized term of Boxing, look here instead:

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