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The two lightweight boxers Ricardo "Pelón" Dominguez (left) and Rafael Ortiz during a fight on August 9, 2005

Boxing is a martial art in which two opponents only fight each other with their fists under set rules . The aim is to get as many hits as possible on the opponent or to knock them out of action. The fighters are usually equipped with padded gloves and must be of the same weight class.

A boxing match is under the supervision of a referee's over several one to three minutes continuous rounds played. It is decided if the referee considers an opponent to be unable to continue the fight, if there is a serious rule violation, if a task is signaled or if the regular number of rounds leads to a point decision.

A basic distinction is made between amateur and professional boxes. Amateur boxing is represented at the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games and has its own world championship . Professional boxing matches are organized by commercial boxing associations. Professional boxers have also been allowed to compete in the Olympic Games since 2016.

While competitions man to man probably already since the dawn of human history there that can beginnings of pugilism as an organized sport to the Olympic Games of the Greeks in the year 688 v. To be traced back. Modern boxing evolved from price competitions held regularly in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the middle of the 19th century, the basic rules of modern boxing, the so-called Queensberry rules , were laid down.

Word origin

From the 16th century, the verb “to box” was gradually used in English with the meaning “to hit with fists” and “to hit someone”, the further origin is unclear. From the 18th century on, “boxing” appeared in German as well. In today's parlance, "fist fight" is a synonym or elevated for "boxing, the boxing match".


Antique fist fight

The right boxer signals abandonment by a raised index finger (approx. 500 BC)
Leather thong of the Quirinal pugilist (bronze sculpture, 4th century BC)

The first documented fist fights for the purpose of entertaining people took place as early as 3000 BC. In Egypt . In the following two millennia boxing spread throughout the Aegean region.

The fist fight was first used in 688 BC. In Greece at the 23rd Olympic Games in antiquity . In ancient Rome , fistfighting was mainly performed in gladiatorial fights (leather straps with metal thorns), the Caestus . However, it cannot be determined exactly how old the fistfight really is, as 7000 year old representations show that similar fights were also fought at that time. The Hellenistic bronze statue of the Quirinal pugilist is an impressive archaeological testimony to this. Evidence shows that fistfighting was part of cults and ceremonies in ancient India , China , Korea and Russia, as well as among the natives of America and Africa . These forms of fistfighting had nothing to do with boxing in the modern sense. There were hardly any rules for this.

From Figg to Queensberry

The origins of modern boxing lie in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1681 the Duke of Albemarle organized the first recorded battle. Regular boxing events have been held at London's King's Theater since 1698 . The hands were usually not bandaged, but the knuckles were exposed, which is known as bare knuckle boxes .

The first (minimal) rules of modern times were drawn up by the fencing master James Figg . In 1719 Figg won the first official boxing tournament since ancient times and became champion of England . In 1743, the first major set of rules ( Broughton Rules ) was published, which is sometimes considered the first version of the London Prize Ring Rules (in the broader sense). You were no longer allowed to hit an opponent who was lying on the ground, low blows were also prohibited.

In 1838 these rules were replaced by the London Prize Ring Rules (in the narrower sense). The most important innovations: The introduction of a boxing ring that did not exist before and bandaging of the hands to reduce injuries.

On April 17, 1860, near Farnborough , Hampshire, there was a sensational illegal boxing match between the 33-year-old unofficial English heavyweight champion Thomas Sayers (since 1857, against William Perry) and the seven years younger, larger and heavier American John Carmel Heenan , called “The Benicia Boy”. After a total of 37 laps in approx. 140 minutes, spectators stormed the ring; the fight was rated as a draw - both received a belt, but only Heenan called himself boxing world champion or English heavyweight champion.

The passing of the “Anti-prize Fight Act” of 1861 in the wake of the illegal championship fight practically ended these events, much to the regret also of higher English social classes.

1867–1889 Transitional phase: "Bare-knuckle" boxes and modern boxes exist side by side

In 1867, about 100 years after the introduction of the first rules, the London Prize Ring Rules were changed by an acquaintance of the Marquess of Queensberry in such a way that the first boxing rules for boxing with gloves, the so-called Queensberry Rules , emerged from them.

The first official boxing world champion according to the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry was on September 7, 1882 John L. Sullivan . He also fought partly bare-knuckle , the last time against Jack Kilraine in 1889.

From 1892 - only Queensberry boxes

Boxing, 1954

It wasn't until Sullivan's successor, Jim Corbett, in 1892 that boxing was only Queensberry-style. On April 6, 1893, the longest boxing match in history took place. Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fought over 110 rounds (seven hours). The fight ended in a draw.

At the time, however, some important rules did not yet exist. Among other things, it was not until the 1920s that the boxer who scored a knockdown was sent to the neutral corner; beforehand he could immediately knock the standing boxer to the ground again. It was only after the Second World War that the idea prevailed that a boxer who was knocked to the ground should always be counted to eight (mandatory eight count). Before that, the fight was resumed when the boxer got up again. Nowadays, gloves (eight or ten ounces) are also boxed with different gloves than at the end of the 19th century (four to six ounces). However, such rule changes are not seen as a new set of rules. This is why it is said that the Queensberry Rules are still fought, even if the course of the fight is different today.

Boxing celebrated its premiere as an Olympic sport at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis . In 1906, SC Colonia 06 was founded in Cologne , making it the oldest active amateur boxing club in Germany. On December 5, 1920, German amateur boxers joined forces in Berlin under the name “German Reich Association for Amateurboxen”. The first German championships were held on December 6, 1920. From this point on, the winners were registered in a list of the best.

Boxing sports


Basic rules

In a boxing match, only hits with a closed fist are allowed. Any use of any other part of the body (e.g. the foot, the palm, etc.) is not recognized as a counter and must be assessed as a foul by the referee and lead to a warning, point deductions or, in the worst case, disqualification. A regular hit is executed when the hit lands on the front of the head, the neck, the entire body up to the imaginary belt line on the navel or on the arms. Hitting below the belt is prohibited, they are considered a foul and lead to a deduction of points. In addition, hits on the arms or on the glove are not counted by the judges as a counter, as such a hit is considered blocked. Often you see boxers clinging to each other. This can have various reasons. For example, a boxer who is at an unfavorable distance to the opponent has to cling so that the referee separates the opponents and prompts them to take a step back so that distance is again created. Most of the time, however, exhausted or battered boxers take a break this way. Brackets represent a rule violation, but due to the frequency, the referees sometimes tolerate it. However, in order to ensure that the fight runs smoothly, a referee must issue warnings from a certain degree and thus deduct points.

boxing ring

The boxing ring is square and has an edge length of 16 to 24 feet (488 to 732 cm). The edge length of a standard boxing ring is 20 feet (610 cm). The fighting area is spanned by three or four ropes, each three to five centimeters thick and hanging at heights of 40 - 80 - 130 centimeters (with three ropes) or 40 - 75 - 105 - 135 centimeters (with four ropes). The floor area outside the ropes must be at least 50 centimeters wide. The ring floor is elastic and covered with a tarpaulin. In the corners of the ring there are corner cushions, one of which is red, one blue and two white. The word "ring" in boxing ring comes from the ring that the onlookers form around the fighters and has existed with this meaning in English since the 14th century.

Amateur boxing

US amateur boxer in California, 2006

There are fundamental differences between amateur and professional boxing. The rules for amateur boxing are set by the AIBA , the world association of amateur boxing. These rules are also the basis for boxing as an Olympic discipline. Amateur and professional boxing have different rules and can only be compared to a limited extent in terms of technique, execution and tactics. In addition, there are minor differences between the individual associations in the professional sector.

A fight is usually fought in three rounds of three minutes each, with a minute break between rounds. The number of hits decides. A hit is recognized if at least three of the five judges recognize a hit as a hit within one second. This is done by entering it into a computer. This evaluates the entries and displays the hits. This system should make the judgments more comprehensible and restrict manipulation. Wearing a face mask , groin guard (men), chest protection (women), head protection (women and minors, until 2013 also men) and a sleeveless top is compulsory for amateur boxing matches. The color of the top must be clearly different from the trousers so that the belt line is clearly visible. In the case of boxing gloves in amateur sport, the permitted hit area is marked in white to make it easier for the jury to recognize illegal hits.

Age groups

In addition to the division into weight classes , the athletes in amateur boxing are differentiated according to their age (this is a rough division, it is divided into the classes according to reference dates and years):

  • Students male / female 10 to 12 years
  • Cadets male / female 13 and 14 years
  • Juniors male / female 15 and 16 years
  • Youth male / female 17 and 18 years
  • Elite male / female 19 to 34 years

The age difference in comparison matches must not exceed two years.

The maximum age to take part in the Olympic Games and World and Continental Championships is 34 years. The national age limit is 36 years. If there are no specific rules for women, women are subject to the same rules as cadets.

Fight decision

Amateur boxing decisions can be made in nine different ways.

Rating Explanation
KO Victory through rainfall
TKO-A Victory by giving up the fight
TKO Victory by abandoning the fight due to inability to fight or defend
TKO-I Victory through injury to the boxer
n.p. Victory by scoring
draw Same score for both boxers
Disq. Victory by disqualifying the opponent
WHERE Victory by not starting the opponent
NC Termination without decision

Professional boxes

In professional boxing, the number of rounds (three minutes each) can be freely determined, but is usually between four and twelve. After each individual round, three judges independently assess which boxer fought harder in the round. It is also possible that only the referee evaluates the fight, e.g. B. if one of the two boxers was knocked out. If the fight goes over the full number of rounds, the winner is determined by adding the round scores and the auxiliary points. Point deductions are possible as a result of low blows and warnings.

Point judgment

  • Ten point must system
The "Ten-Point-Must-System" is the usual way of notating a point decision in professional boxing today. The winner of the round receives ten points, the loser usually receives nine, with one rainfall it is usually eight, with two rainfall it gets seven. If a round is tied, both boxers receive ten points. Warnings will only be deducted from the points account after the end of the fight.

For example, if a boxer wins all rounds in a ten-round and there is no precipitation and no warning, the verdict is 100-90.

  • What does a boxer get a round for?
The judge Tom Kaczmarek explains in the "International Boxing Digest" from January 1999 the evaluation and refers to the factors:
  1. Clear hits - by far the most important yardstick. The problem here is that it's not just about the number of hits, but also about quality: if a hit clearly leaves a punch, it almost always brings the punching boxer the round.
  2. Effective aggressiveness - this includes activity. If both boxers fail to land clear hits, the more active boxer wins the round.
  3. Ring Generalship - difficult to translate American expression, "superiority in the ring / ring mastery" (boxing skills, cleverness, ring strategy)
  4. defense
  • Extra points
There are extra points (or, strictly speaking, point deductions by the opponent according to the ten-point must system, see above)
  1. with almost all precipitation: If the referee recognizes regular precipitation and counts the boxer concerned, the batting boxer not only receives the round (10 to 9), but an extra point (10 to 8) - unless the knocked down boxer had cleared the round won, so you only score 10 to 9 for the knocking boxer. So he wins the round in any case, the only question is whether with one or two points. More rainfall creates more points.
  2. Warnings: If a boxer repeatedly commits a minor foul (low blow, clamps, unauthorized use of the head) or a more severe foul that does not lead to immediate disqualification (at the discretion of the referee), one or two points may be deducted. This is decided by the referee, who must clearly indicate this to the judges.
  • Variants of scoring
Rating Explanation
Unanimous Decision (UD) Unanimous decision: A boxer is seen in front by all three judges after adding up the scores.
Split decision (SD) Split decision: a boxer is seen in front by two judges after adding up the scores, but his opponent has received the majority of the points from the third judge.
Majority Decision (MD) Majority decision: A boxer is seen by two judges after adding up the scores, the third judge scores the fight as a draw.
Draw (D) / Split Draw / Majority Draw Tie: At least two judges have noted the same number of points for both boxers.

It is also a tie if only one judge has been tied and the other two judges have seen the other boxer as the winner (split draw).

If two judges vote for a tie, but the third judge decides in favor of a boxer, it is called a majority draw.

The consequence of these rules for awarding points is that the third rating is irrelevant if two judges score the same result.

Abort the fight

Knockout and termination of the fight

If one of the two boxers is unable to get up after a knockout within a predetermined period of time (10 seconds), the fight is decided by knockout (knockout) . A knockout is not only possible after a strong head hit, but also after a strong liver hit. If the fight is abandoned or one of the combatants gives up, the fight is decided by technical knockout (TKO). A disqualification (see below) does not count as a TKO. If the fight is not decided early, the scoring of the three judges will be evaluated at the end of the fight.

Will be disqualified at

  1. headbutt regarded as "intentional",
  2. gross unsportsmanlike conduct, for example biting, kicking, pushing, excessive clamping, knocking over the opponent, pressing down on the opponent, leaning on the opponent, hitting with the elbow, pressing with the elbow, hitting the back of the head, hitting the neck, pinching the opponent Arm, holding the opponent's head, hitting and pulling the opponent into the blow, completely passive fighting stance z. B. with double cover, hurling the opponent in the clutch,
  3. Look-up that is clearly considered deliberate and has a striking effect,
  4. repeated low blows. The first low impact was disqualified only before the groin guard was applied,
  5. repeated spitting out of the mouthguard,
  6. Entering the ring by a second before the end of the round, even accidentally.

Differences in rules in professional boxing

The rules are almost identical internationally, only a few minor differences are made.

  1. In the USA, for example, the standing eight count, which is common in Europe, does not exist everywhere .
  2. As a rule, there is no "three knockdown rule" in title fights, according to which a boxer who is on the ground three times during a round is automatically knocked out .

Other disputed points:

  1. Can only the referee stop the fight or also the ring doctor?
  2. Can a lap gong prevent a boxer from counting?
  3. In the case of an injury not caused by a blow in the first four rounds, will the fight be counted as a "technical draw", not at all or are the score sheets counted?

Notation of professional scores

Among professionals balances are ( fight record is a mistranslation of the English expression fight record ) recorded with victory-defeat draw: 13-4-2 (11KO) is 13 wins, 11 of premature, 4 losses, 2 draws.

If a fight ends without a score (“No Contest”), for example after positive doping tests, this is mentioned separately, i.e. 13-4-2-1 (11KO). In brackets are the victories through knockout in the broadest sense. In English-language broadcasts, the knockout victories are often marked with the reference “Inside”; Knockout losses are not listed separately on the balance sheet.

Fighting styles


If the boxer lets the opponent come, this is called countering. A boxer who usually fights like this is what is known as a counter-boxer.

A distinction is made between:

a) Stick-and-Move: The counter-boxer tends to step back from the attacking boxer dancing (like Gene Tunney , Billy Conn , Muhammad Ali , Larry Holmes , Virgil Hill ) or standing flat on the floor (like Henry Maske ), which is the case Gives a little more power to punches. The decisive blow is the stiffly struck leading hand, with it the opponent is mainly kept at a distance. If the hitting hand is drawn as a straight line, this is called a one-two combination . In the English-speaking world, such fighters are often simply called "boxers", which is misunderstood, in the German-speaking countries as "stylists" or "technicians", just as if attack boxing did not require any technology. The distance to the opponent approximately at the length of the guide hand (outstretched front arm), outside the reach of the hook , is called "distance".

b) Countering from pure upper body movement (rolling - moving the upper body backwards and to the side; crouching - lowering the upper body forwards) without going back; in the USA, this type of fighting is called To give angles : The boxer stops in front of the opponent and only moves his upper body. This results in a completely different fighting pattern than stick and move and has the great advantage for the countering boxer that he can strike from half distance.

This is especially the fighting style of James Toney , formerly also Ezzard Charles and Michael Spinks , in Europe the English trainer Brandon Ingle has a particular weakness for it, so that Herol Graham, Johnny Nelson and at least even Naseem Hamed boxed like that. Hamed's attempt to keep his hands on his hips is not school-based and makes him susceptible to being hit by the opponent.

c) In-and-Out (German "In-und-Raus"). In Germany mainly known from Sven Ottke , but also the more mature Evander Holyfield , especially in the second fight against Bowe and in the first duel against Tyson, as well as Roy Jones Jr. fought like that. The boxer relies on flexible legs, seldom hits with the leading hand, but waits for an opportunity to counterattack, in which a combination is attacked in the half distance before he retreats back into the long distance. The style is usually most appropriate when the opponent is both taller and physically stronger.

Attack boxes

When a boxer attacks, it has different reasons. As a rule, the smaller man has to organize the fight, exceptions are the "in and out" boxers mentioned above: A smaller man can seldom keep a larger opponent at a distance with his leading hand due to a lack of reach. If one's own physical possibilities (punching power, ability to take, etc.) are assessed as superior in comparison to the opponent, an open exchange of blows with chances of victory is a good choice. Attack boxers are therefore often good takers ( Rocky Marciano , Joe Frazier , Mike Tyson , Roberto Durán , Marvin Hagler , Jake LaMotta , Julio César Chávez , Emile Griffith , Harry Greb or Mickey Walker ). If this is not the case, they may occasionally win a big fight (e.g. Clifford Etienne's win over Lamon Brewster ), but usually lose against good opponents by knocking out, because a weak chin requires a defensive strategy.

If a boxer hits an unusually high amount, it is called a pressure fighter (literally "pressure fighter"), these are or were, for example, Henry Armstrong , Harry Greb, Tony Canzoneri , Mickey Walker, Jake LaMotta, Marcel Cerdan , Emile Griffith, Roberto Durán, Julio César Chavez, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks , at the beginning of his career also Evander Holyfield and today especially Ricky Hatton .

One-punch knockouters who box aggressively are usually not referred to as pressure fighters , but simply asPuncher ( Jack Dempsey , Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston , (especially the late one) Mike Tyson, George Foreman etc.), but their style is almost identical.

Compared to pure (offensive) "punchers", "pressure fighters" have the advantage of being able to score counter-boxers over the numerous hits, while punchers usually only manage this over the entire combat pattern (forward movement, aggressiveness, impact effect, etc.). Frazier won against Ali on points, while better “puncher” like George Foreman were dependent on the knockout.

As Joe Louis and Dariusz Michalczewski showed, the leading hand can also be an effective offensive weapon; Going with the leading hand (and pendulum movement) into the opponent is rather unusual, classic attack boxing is based on upper body movement (pendulum, ducking) as with Frazier, Tyson and Durán, these simply "skip" the leading hand and immediately go in with ducking the half distance.

Offensive fighters who seek an exchange of blows in the half-distance are often simply called "fighters" in the English-speaking world, especially in the lower weight classes, as opposed to countering "boxers". The term is used almost synonymously with "pressure fighter", the latter emphasizes the particularly high number of blows.


Close combat is of particular importance here , as fights are more and more often decided at the shortest possible distance.

Associations (professional boxes)

In contrast to many other sports and also amateur boxing ( AIBA ), there is no central organization in professional boxing that includes all the major regional associations worldwide and thus has the sole right to award the title of "world champion". Instead there is a large number of associations that are somewhat ambiguously called "world boxing associations". However, these are more profit-oriented companies, so that a comparison with other sports associations is difficult to draw. Rather, boxing is very much about the money that goes into organizing a boxing match. One tries to engage two marketable opponents for a fight in order to increase the income as much as possible, since the fee of the associations is usually three percent of the fight exchanges.

Before the 1960s

Before the 1960s, only the dispute between the " National Boxing Association " (forerunner of the " World Boxing Association " WBA, then still based in the USA) and the " New York State Athletic Commission " (NYSAC) was of importance occasionally but not permanently set up counter world champions. That mattered because there were many major boxing arenas in New York , such as Madison Square Garden , Yankee Stadium, and the Polo Grounds.

The European counter-organization "International Boxing Union" (which has nothing to do with the completely insignificant IBU federation founded in 1996) was less influential, as only a few Europeans ( Ted Lewis , Jimmy Wilde , Benny Lynch , Randy Turpin , Georges Carpentier , Marcel Cerdan, Max Schmeling , Ingemar Johansson ) were able to compete with the Americans. On the other hand, foreigners like Panama Al Brown and Jack Johnson rarely boxed in Europe. The IBU was considered to be the forerunner of the European Boxing Union and had more of a continental significance.

Sometimes the British Empire also provided a "British Empire World Champion".

From the 1960s

From the 60s the relative power of the NYSAC steadily decreased, Joe Frazier was the last major world champion, who was recognized by her against the WBA and also beat the WBA champ Jimmy Ellis in a union fight .

In the 60s and 70s, a competitive situation finally established between the WBA and the " World Boxing Council ", which was partly based on the NYSAC, which resulted in a four-way battle in the 1980s through the founding of the " International Boxing Federation " and the " World Boxing Organization " has been.

These four associations are particularly influential today:

  • WBA : Founded in the USA in 1920 as the National Boxing Association , renamed to its current name in 1962, based in Venezuela
  • WBC : Founded in 1963 to compete with the WBA, now in Mexico
  • IBF : Founded in 1983 due to disagreements with the WBA and based in the USA
  • WBO : Association founded in 1988 with headquarters in Puerto Rico

Their influence lies in the fact that they can convince well-known boxers and promoters to box their titles and give them a share of their fight exchange for their "title". Big money is only at stake with these four associations, because titleholders are highly rated in high- circulation specialist magazines such as Ring Magazine (or in Germany, for example, boxing ). It is not worthwhile for a good boxer to box for titles outside of these associations. As a rule, if he holds the title of a competing organization, he is also removed from the rankings of the old associations.

The "World Champion" titles awarded are always provided with a reference to the association from which it was acquired. In the public perception there are always four world championship titles. However, there is the option for boxers to combine several of the titles. This happens quite often in the heavyweight division because the fans here are more intolerant of split titles. However, it depends on the association's consent - this has been refused a number of times in the past.

In the past, it was usually not possible to permanently unite the titles of the WBC and WBO. There was fighting, but afterwards the winner had to choose the association of his choice.

Until 2002, the WBO and WBA were so hostile that they didn't even come to associations. For example, Dariusz Michalczewski had to abandon his WBO title in the fight against Virgil Hill and was an untitled challenger on paper. After the victory, however, he was stripped of the WBA title he had won because he decided to keep his WBO title. The first accepted union of the WBO and WBA titles took place in 2002 between Acelino Freitas and Joel Casamayor .

The prestige of the individual associations differs slightly. However, it is difficult to name one that is undisputed. Each of the associations has had dubious events in its history. There were frequent discussions about questionable fighting decisions. But there was also financial turbulence. So the WBC was already after quarrels about Graciano Rocchigiani , see there, shortly before bankruptcy.

Two other associations are worth mentioning in passing:

  • IBO (International Boxing Organization) is relatively well known because it bought the independent computer ranking IWBR. However, she never managed to capitalize on it. However, she already had several boxers as title holders, who were rated number one in the independent rankings, although they did not hold any title of the other world associations at the time. A prominent example was Antonio Tarver , who after defeating Roy Jones Jr. linear world champion and was considered a "real light heavyweight world champion " until he lost to Hopkins.
  • WBU (World Boxing Union) is an association that is practically only supported by Frank Warren in South Africa and especially in Great Britain . His former WBU half-world title holder Ricky Hatton beat the linear world champion Kostya Tszyu and thus became a recognized, undisputed world champion of the class, but gave up the WBU title.

Other, practically ineffective associations include: Global Boxing Association (GBA), Global Boxing Council (GBC), Global Boxing Federation (GBF), Global Boxing Organization (GBO), Global Boxing Union (GBU), International Boxing Association (IBA) , International Boxing Council (IBC), International Boxing Union (IBU), Professional Boxing Union (PBU), World Athletic Association (WAA), World Boxing Board (WBB), World Boxing Federation (WBF), World Boxing Foundation (WBF), World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF)

Award of further titles

Box postage stamp, USSR 1963

Award of the "regional" title

In addition to the world championship titles, the world associations also award some regional championship titles. The main reason for this is that the associations can secure additional income through so-called sanction fees, which they charge from the organizer or levy on the boxers' match markets. This is why boxers, whose citizenship does not actually belong to these regions, fought for these titles. Boxers can gain prestige with these titles, but the most important benefit is that they can look forward to an advantage in making the leaderboards. The most important titles are the intercontinental titles, which are not restricted to a specific region and can lead to the nomination as mandatory challenger of the world champion in the event of multiple defenses (usually three). In addition, each of the big four associations awards a US championship title. These titles are generally awarded by regional boxing commissions subordinate to the association. Examples for this are:

  • WBA-NABA: This sub-organization awards the North American title of the WBA. Well-known (former) title holders include Nikolai Valuev - who shows the above-mentioned curiosity, because theoretically a Russian couldn't be a North American champion -, John Ruiz and Edison Miranda
  • WBC Mediterranean titles: These titles have been awarded since 2007 and are considered to be relatively insignificant. They include the countries of the Mediterranean region. The most famous title holder is the Turkish heavyweight boxer Sinan Şamil Sam , who secured the title on October 19, 2007 against the Croatian Ivica Percovic by a unanimous decision on points.

Other examples are the WBO Asia Pacific title, the WBA Fedelatin title and the IBF Pan Pacific title.

In addition, there are titles such as the European Champion or the European Union Champion, which is not awarded directly by the major world associations, but by smaller regional associations that are associated with the world associations. The European title is awarded by the EBU , which is associated with the WBC.

Junior World Championships

Another title awarded by the world associations are the professional junior world championship titles. These are usually awarded to boxers under the age of 25 in fights over ten rounds (not twelve, as in "normal" world championships).

Boxing as an Olympic sport

Boxing was first included in the modern Olympic program in 1904 in St. Louis . However, only Americans took part, a total of 44 in seven weight classes (flying, bantam, feather, light, welter, medium and heavy). In 1908 , 42 boxers from four countries (32 British, seven French, two Danes and one Australian) competed in five weight classes (bantam, feather, light, medium and heavy), with the Australian Baker as the only non-British rider in the top position (second in middleweight). In 1912 there was no Olympic boxing tournament because boxing was forbidden in Sweden at the time . From 1920 to 1948 there were eight weight classes , from 1952 to 1964 ten and from 1968 to 1984 eleven weight classes. To this day there have been Halbschwer ( 1920 ), Halbwelter and Halbmittel ( 1952 ) and Halbfliegen ( 1968 ). In 1984 the heavyweight division was divided into classes up to 91 kilograms (heavy) and over 91 kilograms (super heavy). Since 1936 , the technically best boxer in the Games has been awarded the Val Barker Cup .

In 2012 women were allowed to start for the first time (in 3 weight classes with a total of 36 starters). The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had refused to include women's boxing as a demonstration sport in the program of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.


The fighting time in the Olympic Games is 3 times 3 minutes (effective), with 2 breaks of one minute each (for women 4 times 2 minutes with 3 breaks of one minute each). A referee directs the fight, five judges evaluate it according to a fixed point system. Since the 1996 games , the best boxers have been ranked according to the world rankings (similar to tennis ). Boxing has long been the only Olympic sport that only amateurs were allowed. However, the world boxing association AIBA decided to also allow professional fighters from the 2016 Olympic Games.

Organization in Germany

The German amateur boxers who feel committed to Olympic boxing are organized in amateur boxing clubs, some of which are steeped in tradition and whose history goes back to the 19th century. In contrast to the professional "boxing stable", which represents a professional bond between the boxer and a specific boxing entrepreneur, the amateur boxing clubs are subject to German association law and are not intended to serve commercial interests, but the common good.

Women's boxing in Germany

As early as 1911, Paul Maschke (known as Paul Edwards) recommended women in the first German boxing textbook “Boxing. Fencing with natural weapons "boxing to maintain" youthful grace, smooth movements and [...] health. "

Women boxing

In 1921 women's boxing was banned by the German Reich Association for Amateur Boxing and in 1925 by the Association of German Pugilers, also in the professional field.

In 1976 a fight announced as the "European Championship" was organized between Brigitte Meereis and Ursula Döring. In 1986 there was an exhibition match between Birgit Nuako and Mario Adorf, which was broadcast on ARD . A year later, in 1987, there was a professional boxing match between Rosi Bernstein and Helfrich. Both fighters received a fee of 200 marks, but had to pay a fine of 2000 marks because women's boxing was not yet legal at the time.

It wasn't until 1994 that the first women's professional boxing match officially licensed by the Women's International Boxing Federation took place in Germany between Regina Halmich and the Dutchwoman Fienie Klee .

At the same time, the then theology student Ulrike Heitmüller campaigned for official women's boxing competitions in the German Amateur Boxing Association (DABV) . She gave interviews, wrote letters to the editor, gave a lecture at the DABV main committee and fought against the fitness trainer Marion Einsiedel in a boxing show that was also televised . In May 1995, the DABV finally voted with 337 yes to 269 no votes in Duisburg for the participation of women in official DABV competitions.


Ernst Oppler : Boxing match in the Berlin Sports Palace, 1920
Rola El-Halabi (right) in a fight

As one of the oldest forms of human competition, boxing has a long tradition and is, for example, part of the modern Olympic Games , which first took place in Athens in 1896 . Boxing became very popular in the 1920s. Prominent artists such as Ernst Oppler , George Grosz and Renée Sintenis captured scenes in the Berlin Sports Palace . Other spectators of the fights in the Sportpalast included Enrico Caruso , Richard Tauber , Hans Albers , Fritz Kortner and Bertolt Brecht . To this day, Max Schmeling , who was active more than 60 years ago, is considered one of the most popular athletes. The same applies on a world scale to Muhammad Ali , who became known far beyond boxing in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s, the broadcaster RTL achieved market shares of over 70 percent with box broadcasts in Germany. Up to 18 million TV viewers watched the World Cup matches by Axel Schulz and Henry Maske in front of the screens. The music tracks Conquest of Paradise and Time to Say Goodbye sold a total of almost five million copies, with Time to Say Goodbye being dedicated to a mask when he took part in his last fight for the time being. Ten years after his narrow point defeat by Virgil Hill, Henry Maske won the battle of revenge against the American.

Nowadays, heavyweight fights for the world championship are the most highly endowed sports competitions. Today, boxing is one of the most popular sports worldwide in terms of passive participation - in Germany it was ranked second among the most popular sports watched on television in 2012. However, it is not among the top 12 most widely practiced sports. However, boxing is controversial due to the open display of violence, the danger to the health of athletes and its attraction to the demi-world environment.

Risk of injury

In both amateur and professional boxing, there is an acute risk of injury to the parts of the body that have been hit as well as the parts of the body taking the blow. On the other hand, no reliable, methodologically correct causal connection between medium and long-term health risks, especially those with neurological sequelae, and boxing has been established. This is due to the fact that, despite the long tradition of boxing, only a small number of systematic studies on the neuropsychiatric consequences are available and control groups are difficult to define. Overall, the risk of injury is controversial. On the one hand, the BMA (British doctors' union) is calling for a general boxing ban due to the health risk. On the other hand, it is argued that the boxers are under the supervision of the trainer as well as the referee, the judges and the ring doctor. These can break off a fight if the boxer's health is seriously endangered (technical knockout), although this is reserved for the referee in professional boxing.

Considering the pathological consequences, it is essential to differentiate between professional and amateur boxing, as amateur boxers are usually medically examined once a year and before the fight (including EKG, eye and laboratory examinations). Professional boxing matches are carried out without these extensive protective measures. In the case of acute complications, neuropsychological and neurodegenerative risks, a clear difference can be made between professional and amateur boxing, although better protection for amateurs cannot fundamentally avoid the considerable dangers of boxing.

In the Deutsches Ärzteblatt a review was presented in which the contents of the essential original and review articles from the years 2000 to 2010 on the acute, subacute and chronic neuropsychiatric consequences of boxing were selectively evaluated. This points to the peculiarity of boxing, since in contrast to other health-endangering sports in boxing it is decisive for victory or defeat whether it is possible to hit the opponent with an acutely effective skull with an impact speed of the fist of up to ten meters per second. To inflict brain trauma in which the head may be set in motion with more than 50 times the acceleration of gravity.

In summary, in addition to the rule-compliant lesion of the opponent, for example through a commotio cerebri (KO), there is a considerable risk of acute head, heart and bone injuries in competition-oriented boxing. Post-acute neuropsychological deficits outlast most of the subjectively perceived consequences of blunt traumatic brain injuries. The repetitive brain trauma of a long career can lead to boxer dementia with a neurobiological similarity to Alzheimer's disease. However, a new study questions whether frequent blows and bumps on the head can really cause chronic traumatic brain damage. This chronic traumatic encephalopathy is associated with deposits of tau protein in the brain and cognitive and motor impairments.

In retrospect, the most common causes leading to death in the boxing ring were cardiac complications, tears in the liver or spleen, and head and neck injuries such as tears or thrombosis of larger cerebral vessels, epidural bleeding, subdural hematoma and other injuries.

Boxing deaths

According to the Manuel Velazquez Boxing Fatality Collection , over 2000 boxers have died in the ring or as a result of a boxing match since the Englishman John Lambert in 1724.

Prominent deaths

  • Pedro Alcázar (1975-2002), WBO world champion in super flyweight
  • Sonny Banks (1940-1965), first professional to knock Muhammad Ali to the ground
  • Andy Bowen (1864-1894), played against Jack Burke in the longest boxing match to date
  • Frankie Campbell (1904–1930), American heavyweight
  • Randie Carver (1974–1999), Golden Gloves Champion and NABF title holder
  • Kim Duk-koo (1959–1982), WBA World Championship challenger in lightweight
  • Angelo Jacopucci (1948–1978), European middleweight champion
  • Leavander Johnson (1969–2005), IBF lightweight world champion
  • Davey Moore (1933–1963), world featherweight champion
  • Johnny Owen (1956–1980), European bantamweight champion
  • Greg Page (1958–2009), WBA heavyweight champion
  • Benny Paret (1937–1962), welterweight world champion
  • Choi Yo-sam (1972–2008), WBC world light flyweight champion
  • Ed Sanders (1930–1954), Olympic heavyweight champion
  • Roman Simakov (1984-2011), WBC Asian light heavyweight champion
  • Lito Sisnorio (1982-2007), WBC junior flyweight champion
  • Robert Wangila (1967-1994), Olympic welterweight champion

Amateur boxing

The strict protective regulations, the bans after knockout and the much earlier counting, the 10-ounce gloves (in the heavyweight 12 ounces) and the restriction of the competition to three rounds reduce the health risk. Nevertheless, even with amateur boxing, deaths and serious injuries cannot always be prevented. In 2013, however, head protection for adult (“elite”) boxers was abolished after large studies from the USA and Canada had shown that head protection was rather counterproductive for professionals in the ice hockey and football league: First came lateral acceleration caused increased brain damage due to the great weight of the head including the head protection weight, and secondly it was shown that head protection was much more aggressive and more risky. Terrifying numbers have been documented among 40-year-old demented ice hockey and football players.

Statutory prohibitions

Professional boxing is banned in Cuba , Iran , Iceland and North Korea , and fights only take place on an amateur level. In Sweden , the 37-year ban was partially lifted in 2006. In Norway , the ban that had existed since 1982 was lifted in 2014. In Germany there was a police boxing ban until 1918, but the first German boxing club (SC Colonia 06, Cologne) was founded in 1906.

Legendary boxing matches

  • On June 19, 1936, the German boxer Max Schmeling met the undefeated "brown bomber" Joe Louis , who was known as the best boxer in history and was considered invincible. Hardly anyone gave Schmeling a chance to beat Louis - especially Louis himself, who gave his opponent little importance. Schmeling, who studied films of his opponent's fights on the model of his predecessor world champion Gene Tunney , however, had recognized a weak point in Louis boxing style. After punching her, he let his left hand drop too low and so exposed the left half of his face, especially the temple. So had to swallow Louis during the fight hardest by Schmeling's rights and in the 12th round finally knockout. Go.
  • Marked by his first defeat against Max Schmeling , Joe Louis sought a fight for revenge against the man who had defeated him. Schmeling, who was cheated for the already scheduled title fight against Jim Braddock , got the chance to box for a world championship title again, since Louis had won the title fight as the loser in the elimination fight and had become world champion by defeating Braddock. This time the pressure on the two boxers was particularly high. The struggle was stylized as a symbolic confrontation between the systems, and Schmeling was declared the representative of the racist Nazi regime . Ironically, the black Joe Louis became the champion of the then white America , which was itself racist towards its black citizens. On June 22, 1938, the two met again. This time Louis knew exactly what to expect. He won in the first round with a technical knockout.
  • February 25, 1964. The young aspiring Cassius Clay got the chance to fight for the world championship against Sonny Liston . The fight as well as the rematch were named Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston . Once again, a previously blatant underdog was crowned the winner after the fight. Liston gave up at the beginning of the 7th round because he did not hit the light-footed Clay, but was permanently hit himself. A year later, on May 25, 1965, there was a fight for revenge between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay, who from then on called himself Muhammad Ali . Already in the first round Liston was on the ground and lost the fight by knockout. Many spectators suspected a cheating because they did not see a clear blow that hit Liston. But in slow motion you could see that Liston was badly hit by Ali. This lightning-fast punch went down in history as "Phantom Punch" or "Anchor Punch".
  • Since Muhammad Ali refused to do military service (it was at the time of the Vietnam War ), the boxing associations dominated by American interests pushed through the withdrawal of his athletic title. He wasn't allowed to box again until the early 1970s. After 2 development fights he faced the new world champion "Smokin 'Joe" Frazier . This Fight of the Century (German: "Kampf des Jahrhundert") brought two boxers together on March 8, 1971, who had been undefeated until then. It went down as one of the most spectacular and best title fights in the history of heavyweight boxing. Frazier taught Ali the first defeat. In the 15th round he had sent Ali onto the boards with a powerful left hook and won on points. Ali's PR methods practiced before the fight, some of which he insulted Frazier personally, turned the two opponents into archenemies.
  • Joe Frazier was dethroned by George Foreman . Muhammad Ali had meanwhile fought and defeated all relevant opponents in the world rankings in order to offer himself as the only relevant opponent. So he got another chance to box for a world championship title. Ali was considered an outsider against Liston 10 years ago. Foreman was considered a brutal puncher who had knocked out all his opponents in a few rounds. Don King organized the fight, which was fought on October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa Zaire (today: Democratic Republic of the Congo ) and was known as " Rumble in the Jungle ". Ali realized that he had no physical chance against Foreman and saw the only chance to win in his tactic called Rope-a-Dope . After he demonstrated his superior speed in the first round, as he once did against Liston, so that the anticipated assault would take Foreman's base, he let himself be driven against the ropes by Foreman from the second round, leaning his head back and protecting with his hands his torso so that Foreman's fists couldn't do any harm. During this time, he often called Foreman provocations like “Is that all you have to offer?” Or “My grandmother hits harder!” The maddened Foreman beat himself tired in the tropical heat. With the number of laps running, Ali came out of cover at the end of each lap and covered Foreman with quick head hits. At a propitious moment in the 8th round, Ali knocked the exhausted foreman down with nine consecutive head hits and finally won the fight by knockout.
  • Joe Frazier wanted to be world champion again and again competed against "the greatest", Muhammad Ali . Don King organized the fight again. This time it was to take place in Manila , Philippines . Hence its famous name " Thrilla in Manila ". It was the last of three fights Ali and Frazier fought against each other. Frazier really wanted to defeat Ali because he didn't like him - he was always provoked and insulted by him. The two met on September 30, 1975. It was a very hard fight. Both went at a fast pace. Ali dominated the fight at the beginning, seemed to be heading for an easy win. But Frazier, known as a late starter, came up more and more, worked his opponent with numerous effective body hits and was able to bring his dreaded left hook to the goal more and more often. In the middle of the fight, it seemed like he was going to run over Ali. However, this caught himself, got everything out of himself and increased to his highest performance. So he was able to turn the fight, which was fought in a 40 ° C hall, and dominate again in the end. The increasingly exhausted Frazier had completely puffy eyes and was virtually blind, so he had to take the worst head hits, but "Smokin 'Joe" did not give up. After the 14th round, Frazier's supervisor Eddie Futch stopped the fight because he thought the health of his protégé was in danger. The victorious Ali immediately collapsed in the ring. Both boxers ended up in the hospital.
  • An ambitious young boxer with a special fighting style boxed his way up the rankings in the mid-1980s and got the chance to become world champion: Mike Tyson . He was nicknamed "Kid Dynamite" because he was only 20 years old and had a fight record of 27 wins and 0 losses. Almost all fights were decided in the first round by knockout or TKO. So also his first world championship fight against Trevor Berbick on November 22nd, 1986. Already in the 2nd round Berbick looked exhausted and after another downpour the fight was over. This knockout became world famous because Berbick kept trying to get up, but kept falling - a hit in the ear had disturbed the sense of balance. Mike Tyson was the youngest world champion by then, and a little later he combined the world championships of the associations WBA , WBC and IBF .
  • The undisputed world champion of all classes Mike Tyson defended his title for three years and no one could stop him. At some point he too believed he was invincible. This and the fact that Tyson had enormous personal problems ultimately led to his sensational loss to James "Buster" Douglas . On February 11, 1990, Tyson had a nightmare. He was clearly inferior in boxing, but was able to knock Douglas to the ground at the end of the 8th round, but the gong saved him. In the 10th round Douglas "Iron Mike" missed an uppercut and immediately followed up with combinations. Tyson went to the ground and now tried to pick up his fallen mouth mask and put it in his mouth. These images of the once invincible Tyson went around the world and caused a sensation in the boxing world. James "Buster" Douglas lost his first title defense against Evander Holyfield .
  • On November 9, 1996, the boxing world was looking forward to the long-awaited match “Tyson vs. Holyfield ”. Tyson, who became world champion again, defended his title here. But the ravages of time also gnawed at Tyson's boxing talent. Holyfield won the fight by TKO in the 11th round. The fight for revenge became a scandal. On June 28, 1997, the two boxed again for the world championship title. In the third round, Tyson bit off a piece of his opponent's right ear, Holyfield. There had never been anything like it before. Tyson were then deducted two points by the referee. When Tyson bit Holyfield's ear a second time in the same round, he was disqualified after this round for this gross unsporting behavior and suspended for a year. The compensation amount was three million US dollars. Tyson said the reason for the bite attack was that he received several headbuttons from Holyfield.
  • When his designated challenger Jarrell Miller was no longer an option due to a positive drug test, the British heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, who had previously defeated Wladimir Klitschko, had to look for a replacement. The somewhat corpulent Mexican-American boxer Andrés "Andy" Ruiz Jr., against whom Joshua competed on June 1, 2019, was awarded the contract. After the 15-1 outsider Ruiz, who was regarded as an "emergency solution", had to go down in the third round, he sent the reigning heavyweight world champion Joshua to the boards twice in round 4, with the second rainfall in particular making an impression on Joshua. After he was sent to the ground twice by Ruiz in the 7th round, the referee stopped the fight after the fourth knockdown, as Joshua did not answer his questions sufficiently and did not seem fully conscious. This TKO win of the blatant underdog Andy Ruiz Jr. was immediately declared one of the greatest sensations in recent sports history and has since been compared to the victory of James "Buster" Douglas against Mike Tyson.

See also




Web links

Wiktionary: boxes  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Boxing match  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Boxes  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  17. Joseph R. Svinth: Death under the Spotlight: The Manuel Velazquez Boxing Fatality Collection. In: Journal of Combative Sport. Retrieved April 15, 2016 .
  18. ↑ Professional boxing allowed again. Article in Focus dated November 30, 2011. Accessed March 5, 2015.
  19. Norway's boxing ban knocked out. Retrieved December 18, 2014 .