When Was the First Box Match Held?

The first box match was held around 3000 years B.C. in the city of Uruk, the capital of the ancient Sumerian country. It means that organized fistfights from which a sport emerged took place a couple of millennia before the first recorded boxing match in England.

When Was First Recorded Boxing Match?

The first recorded boxing match took place in the late 17th century England. On 6 January 1681, the Dook of Albemarle organized a bare-knuckle fight between his butcher and a butler.

Who Won In the First Boxing Match?

Butcher was the first man to become victorious in the recorded boxing match. His opponent, the butler, turned to be overly gentle. However, in those times, there were no precise rules or weight classes. This meant that heavyweight could confront a lightweight and be considered for a fair victor. There was also headbutting, eye-gouging, choking as well as throwing. Deaths were not a rare occurrence either.

First Boxing Matches in the History – Ancient Summer

Ancient Sumer was positioned within the fertile crescent in the area of Mesopotamia which sprawled between Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Around 3000 B.C. Sumers took this area from old Ubaid people and established domination. They inhabited city-states amongst which Uruku was the most magnificent one. With possibly 80, 000 people and 6 miles long defensive walls Uruk was a candidate for the biggest city in the world. And as it is the case with all centers of civilization, gaming spectacles were taking place. One of them was ancient boxing.

Boxing In Uruk: Did It Really Start There?

The earliest depiction of boxing comes from the Sumerian relief in Iraq from the 3rd millennium B.C. However, there are claims that reliefs have been discovered around Baghdad dating back to 7000 B.C. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that boxing is as old as mankind itself but it is very likely that first organized fist-fights took place when civilizations developed from hunter-gatherer tribes into a more advanced agricultural society. Having this on the mind, the cradle of civilization with its biggest city-state Uruk would be a perfect candidate for this martial art.

Sumerian terracotta relief the first box match ever held
Terracotta relief of two Mesopotamian Boxers

How Did Boxing In Uruk Look Like?

It is not so likely that there were rings or any kind of fences. Circles of the crowd around the piece of earth where fighters collided is a more probable description. Before the match would start, bets and tokens would be exchanged between spectators and the ones organizing the event. Fighters carried no gloves. Those were bare-knuckle confrontations. Elbows and head-butts were probably included as well as throwings. Like in the middle-age England deaths were not a rare outcome. Weight categories hardly existed. It is the reason most boxers probably aimed to gain weight rather than reduce it like it is the case in modern days.

How Did Sumerian Boxers Train?

In modern times, when related to sport, the word individual is just an empty term as every successful athlete has a whole team of people helping him to achieve his full potentials. Two to three well-planned practices with the correct food and resting regime are a must for anyone who wants to make any kind of noticeable professional success. Gyms with high-quality equipment and adequate sparring partners need no mentioning. It wasn’t like that in the old Sumer. Sparrings were very hard. With low medicine capabilities, injuries from bare knuckles had much more severe consequences. Having more than a few missing teeth was a must for any ancient boxer with more fights. A bulk of sand enwrapped with animal fur and fastened for a pillar was how punching bags were set and used. Gyms which were called differently at the time(the term is yet unknown) were based on stones. Copper and bronze were used for weight handles while ropes also had an important role in training. However, for an athlete, all the gyms in the world have no value without proper eating.

What Did Sumerian Boxers Eat?

In the old times, people couldn’t be picky about their meals. Members of agricultural societies ate what they farmed. Wheat, barley, lentils, beans, garlic, onions, milk, and milk products were all on their eating menu. Meat, usually from goats or sheep and occasionally cattle, was rarely consumed as animals were too expensive to kill. Sumerian boxers probably ate meat a little bit more than the average person.

How Ancient Boxers Gained Weight?

We have mentioned that, in the absence of weight classes, it was rational to gain weight and achieve the strength advantage over the opponent. While modern scientists and nutritionists have elaborated plans for both quick and safe weight gain, back in the ancient Sumer, it was reduced to just eating. Bread and honey were centers of nutrition for those how wanted to get more mass quickly. A lot of food combined with weight lifting and punching fur bags was how fighters attempted to turn fat into usable muscle.

Barley – Sumerians Drank Beer

Barley was an inevitable ingredient in almost every meal ancient people in these areas had. Barley cakes, barley paste, or just plain barley were all forms of different forms this cereal used for suffocating hunger. While having barley on an eating menu helped Sumerian boxers to lose weight, the existence of this cereal in food circulation also had a different effect. Barley is a perfect production input for making beer. Ubaid people, predecessors of old Sumerians, were the ones who started making it around 6000 years B.C. People always enjoyed alcoholic beverages consuming them for the purposes of fun and relaxation. It would be irrational to assume that Sumerian boxers didn’t face the temptations similar to those that modern athletes confront on a daily basis. However, overdrinking would, as it is to be expected, lower their fighting abilities.

Wheat – There Was Always Bread to Gain Fat From

Wheat is used for making bread. Actually, wheat is the best grain for producing it. Even in the old Sumer, bread was an every-day occurrence. As it stands in present times, its overconsumption led to an increase in both weight and fat levels. As it was already mentioned, fighters used it in nutrition to get bigger.

Beans, Garlic and Onion

Making a list for these is enough as their positive effects are widely known.

Meat Goes to Champions

As it was previously stated, in the old Sumer, animals were too expensive to kill. Therefore, eating meat was a rare occurrence for less fortunate social classes. However, boxers did make money. Those who were more successful were capable of affording meat more often.

Honey – Sweats In the Cradle of Civilization

When it comes to sweets, honey was the prevalent ingredient. Eating it sole or in a form of simple cookies was a temptation ancient citizens faced on a daily basis. Boxers were no exception.

How Would an Ancient Boxer Look Like When Compared to Modern Fighters?

If a Sumerian ancient boxer would be compared to modern fighters, he would most likely look like an average man. Yes, there were big and strong guys back then, but without modern supplementations, there is no way that a male, regardless of his genetics, would be capable of being physically competitive to modern athletes.

Boxing in the Old Greece

Two females of the ancient greece engaging in a boxing match
The First Usage of Boxing Gloves Was Recorded In The Old Greece

In 688 B.C. boxing became part of the Olympic games. There were only age categories and leather thongs were wrapped around fists to protect hands. Wool was set below the leather to provide additional protection of palms. As for the outer part, hard straps of leather were attached to make punches more damaging. A boxing match had had no fixed time duration and it would end only when one of the fighters would submit or die. Boxing was considered to be the most dangerous combat sport.

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