Boxing is a martial art and combat sport in which two people throw punches at each other, usually with gloved hands. Historically, the goals have been to weaken and knock down the opponent.
While people have fought in hand–to–hand combat since before the dawn of history, the origin of boxing as an organized sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game in BC 688. Boxing evolved from 16th– and 18th–century prizefights, largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid–19th century, again initially in Great Britain and later in the United States.
Throughout the 17th through 19th centuries, boxing bouts were motivated by money, as the fighters competed for prize money, promoters controlled the gate, and spectators bet on the result. The modern Olympic movement revived interest in amateur sports, and amateur boxing became an Olympic sport in 1908. In their current form, Olympic and other amateur bouts are typically limited to three or four rounds, scoring is computed by points based on the number of clean blows landed, regardless of impact, and fighters wear protective headgear, reducing the number of injuries, knockdowns, and knockouts. Currently scoring blows in amateur boxing are subjectively counted by ringside judges, but the Australian Institute of Sport has demonstrated a prototype of an Automated Boxing Scoring System, which introduces scoring objectivity, improves safety, and arguably makes the sport more interesting to spectators.
Professional boxing remains by far the most popular form of the sport globally, though amateur boxing is dominant in Cuba and some former Soviet republics. For most fighters, an amateur career, especially at the Olympics, serves to develop skills and gain experience in preparation for a professional career.