What Boxing Was Like in the 17th Century
Boxing in the past was totally different game. If you’re opponent managed to knock you down, you will get punched again as soon as he’s able to get those power punches loaded. There was no neutral corner, no mandatory eight count.
Around the 17th century, boxing bouts were fought with bare knuckles and with no standard rules.
The picture below shows the end of a brutal boxing match between Ray Campbell and Dick Hyland, battered and bloodied but still able to stare each other down.
Photo: Colorized by Pillowy_Mounds
The report from the newspaper “The Call” of San Francisco:
Ray Campbell, formerly of San Francisco, and a boxer who has established quite a reputation over the short distance route in the northwest during the last few months, came to the front in leaps and bounds today at Steveston, when he cleverly and clearly outpointed the famous “Fighting Dick” Hyland, a former world’s title aspirant in the lightweight ranks, in a 15 rounds bout, which proved to be one of the best ever witnessed around Vancouver. A left jab with a right cross that landed more often that it missed, won the bout for Campbell.
The boxing glove that we see today was in invented in 1743 by Englishman Jack Broughton. But the gloves, or mufflers as they were called then, were only used for practice at the time.
Many boxers still chose to fight with bare knuckles until gloves were finally mandated by the Marquess of Quensberry Rules in 1867. The gloves used then were’nt padded though, and only weighs about 2 ounces. This skintight gloves remained popular until the turn of the century.
The introduction of the padded gloves and its impact on the injuries of the boxers during a fight is a rather controversial issue. Head injuries were less common on bare knuckle fights as boxers purposely avoid hitting the head as it would risk hurting their hands. On the other hand, wearing gloves reduced the amount of cuts.
But according to a research conducted by the British Medical Association, the wearing of gloves does not reduce the risk of brain injuries and may even increase them, because the main cause of a fatal head injury is the acceleration and deceleration of the head, and fighters wearing gloves are able to punch harder to the head.