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History of the Sport

The sport of Boxing has an incredible history dating back to the days beyond the Roman Empire in 3000 B.C.  Boxing’s deep roots in history are evident in the famous fresco of the two young boxers found on the Greek island of Santorini, circa 1600 B.C. The sport was introduced to the Olympic Games by the Greeks in the late 7th century B.C. At that time, Greek boxers used thongs of soft leather to bind their hands and forearms for protection. Later, in Roman gladiatorial matches, studs were added to the leather thongs and the matches often ended with the death of one contestant. These combats were so barbaric that they were eventually banned in 393 B.C. With the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing disappeared and then reappeared in the 17th century in England.

Basic issues governing the sport were finally solved when in 1867, John Sholto Douglas, the 9th Marquis of Queensbury, established a set of boxing rules making boxing a safer sport.  The “Queensbury Rules”, which restricted where blows could land, limited rounds to three minutes and made padded gloves mandatory, are still in place today with some modifications. The principle of fighting with padded gloves instead of bare fists marked the beginning of modern day boxing as such.

To this day, Olympic-style bouts are shorter (three rounds of three minutes) than those in professional boxing, and scoring rules are designed to favour the skillful boxer over the merely powerful boxer.

Over the last decades, many changes have been introduced to the sport of boxing. Although headgears had become compulsory at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the decision was overturned for Elite male boxer in 2012 as studies indicate that the removal of headgear will reduce the number of concussions and improve peripheral vision. Moreover, an electronic 10-point scoring system was introduced after the 2012 Olympic Games after the much-criticized punch-count system had been implemented at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. All five judges score the bout; each judge appoint 10 points to the winner of each round and between 7 to 9 points to the loser depending on the performance.

Moreover, the boxing world took another big step in 1994 as they recognized Women’s boxing for the first time, but it still took almost two decades before the discipline was added to the Olympics in London 2012. Although there is still a gap in gender parity, there is major progress happening as more women’s weight categories will be added in the Olympic Games program and women’s boxing will be added to the Canada Games’ program starting in 2023.

Since Boxing Canada came into being in 1969 as a National Sport Organization (as the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association) our Association has been a world leader in revolutionizing our sport over the past 30 years.  We were the first country to develop stringent Medical and safety standards for amateur boxing, and making the use of headguards mandatory for all amateur boxing competitions.  We were one of the first countries to implement a Competitor’s Record and Medical Passport for all boxers.  We were the first country in North America, and one of the first countries in the World, to sanction amateur boxing competitions between females, thus leading to a strong female National Team who excelled at the first ever World Female Amateur Boxing Championships held in Scranton, Penn., USA in December of 2000.

If you'd like to learn more about the qualification process for the Canada Games in this sport, please contact your Provincial/Territorial Sport Organization. More information can be found by visiting the link below.

Boxing

Notable Alumni

Lennox Lewis
Boxing
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Ray Downey
Boxing
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SIMON KEAN
Boxing
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