Interesting Boxing Facts and Oddities from the Sweet Science’s History

Boxing is a straight forward sport (for the most part) consisting of 17 weight divisions from minimum weight all the way up to heavyweight, but catch-weight fights are often fought between pro boxers nowadays, (as if 17 divisions wasn’t enough). Here’s a run down through some oddities in boxing history you might not know. 


In each weight division there can be as many as four (recognised) world champions, with other titles of lesser value from national, continental, world and a host of others in between, making the numbers of champions run into the thousands around the globe in today’s times.

With three judges, two fighters and one referee, the theater of war is a ring that can actually be a bit of a square, at times.

Boxing is a sport of oddities and contradictions, and just too prove it, did you know a number of boxing matches in the early 1800s were governed under the ‘London Rules’, a set of rules devised by an English boxer named Jack Broughton in 1743?

The basic premise behind them (also referred to as Broughton Rules) was that they subsequently became the London Prize Ring Rules, were that each round in a fight would last until a man was knocked down and only then would a 30-second rest period between each round be allowed for.

The ‘Pugilistic Club’ in London then became the first boxing club to be established in 1814 under the rules.

The Fitzsimmons vs Sharkey Heavyweight Championship bout on December 2, 1896 in San Francisco, California, was the fist and last championship bout refereed by legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, which was probably  just as well, because virtually no one agreed with Earp’s ruling that Sharkey won.

interesting boxing facts

Moving along boxing history’s time line, Bob Fitzsimmons was the first fighter to win three world titles at different weights: Middleweight 1891, Heavyweight 1897 and Light heavyweight 1903.

Jack Johnson who became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908 was once stopped speeding when pulled over by policemen and presented with a $50 speeding ticket.

Johnson casually handed over a $100 bill, as the story goes.  The officer protested that he couldn’t accept $100 and the ticket was only $50.

“Keep the change”, Johnson replied with a smile. He added: “I’ll be coming back through the same way later.”

Dempsey vs Jess Willard in 1919 was the first fight to be broadcast live on  the radio. 14 years later, the first televised boxing match in history took place on August 22 in 1933 between Archie Sexton and Laurie Raiteri, a six round exhibition bout which was broadcast live from London.

In the 1950s South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Japan and Nigeria all claimed their first world champions with Vic Toweel, Jimmy Carruthers, Pascual Pérez ,Yoshio Shirai and Hogan Basseywon all wining titles repetitively.

On September 29 1977, the fight between the great Muhammad Ali and Earnie Shavers featured Elva Shain, the first woman to judge a heavyweight title fight.

That’s just a quick run down through boxing history of some odd facts that many fight fans might not be aware of. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below, or drop us a comment on Facebook or Twitter!

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