Boxing has been popular since the Ancient Greek times. Boxing dates way back to 688 B.C. It was a very popular sport for the gods and the people that praised them. Back in the Greek days, boxing was used as entertainment for the gods. People that praised the gods were the ones that fought for the gods. Fighters would not wear much protection when they fought. They wouldn’t even wear clothing. When they fought, they would have to be completely naked. They didn’t even wear boxing gloves because it wasn’t thought of as a dangerous sport at the time, They had to fight naked because it showed the gods that they weren’t cheating and were completely vulnerable when fighting.
In 27 B.C., boxing was very big and important and big in the Ancient Roman Empire. There were no rounds in fights and there were no weight classes. There were boxing gloves that were used and there wasn’t a time limit that they had to fight within. The fight is over when one of the fighters gives up or can’t move. This was a dangerous time for boxing because they don’t have protection, but they also “fought to the death”. Not only was boxing used as entertainment, but it was also used as military training for soldiers that were preparing for war. The Romans took boxing to a whole different level of dangerous. “They inserted metal spikes in the boxing gloves, known as caestus” (Gems, 4). The Emperor would pair his Roman fighters with Greek fighters as practice for war. Slap boxing was known as sparring for practice. It was safe enough for the fighters to practice without getting hurt. “There is some evidence that the Roman caestus was adopted by fighters in Africa” (Gems, 5).
African fighters would wrap their hands with a thick rope that would protect their knuckles when fighting but at the same time would also hurt the opponent they were fighting. Boxing became more technical in Africa. The fighters had a stance that consisted of the leading hand acting as a shield or protection from the opponent’s punches. And the back hand would be used as the “power hand” as I like to call it.
Boxing has always been a male dominant sport, but women changed the game when they too wanted to start boxing. Women started to show interest in fighting in the 1700’s. Although women weren’t looked at the same when they fought, this was a way of women showing that they wanted to be equal to men. Women usually didn’t fight because it wasn’t ladylike, but there was a select few that wanted to fight because it showed men that women could be tough as well. Women’s boxing became an Olympic sport in the 1900’s… 1904 to be exact. Women’s boxing was looked at differently in the Olympics, but women all over the world made women’s boxing look amazing.
There are several boxers around the world that have made a huge impact on the boxing community and how people view fighters in general. One boxer that people looked up to was Muhammad Ali. Ali started boxing in 1960 and retired from boxing in 1979. He is one of the worlds most famous and pristine fighters. He was born in 1942 and died in 2016. Not only did he make a huge impact as a fighter, but he also made a huge impact as an African American, Muslim fighter. Back when he was first fighting, it was different to have a black fighter in the ring, especially with a white opponent. Religion was a huge role in Muhammad Ali’s life and that played a big role in how he fought and how he portrayed himself before, during and after a fight. He was a very confident yet humble fighter. He was banned from boxing for about 3 years because of his religious beliefs. He refused to join the military because of his religion. In the time that he took a break from boxing, he used that time to speak up about religion and his beliefs as a whole. People respected him because of how he spoke about what was important to him. He was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. This was an important time for him because it gave the public a view of what happens when you stick up for what you believe in. Muhammad Ali was given the nickname “The Greatest” because he was such a respectable fighter and everyone loved him, despite what happened when he was arrested.
A very popular movie about a female fighter that has made a huge impact on the women’s boxing world. She was known as the first women to die in an amateur match in the United States. Before she started boxing, she was a waitress at a restaurant making minimum wage. She only fought one match and it was the last fight of her life. After taking over 50 hard punches to the head, she had brain damage and was put into a coma because of the amount of blows she received. Throughout the movie, it shows how hard her training had to be if she wanted to be a great fighter. She trained like a man, with the men. She wanted to fight to make more money and she was very dedicated to her fighting and her practice. She did some little fights that weren’t a huge deal, and eventually did her first and last amateur fight. She had trained so hard for this moment that she had been asking for forever. The fight was worth so much money, which is why the movie is called “Million Dollar Baby”. This movie made a huge impact on women’s fighting because it shows the dangers of how fighting can affect your brain and your body. It gives people a reason to be careful when fighting and tells you that you need to be careful when it comes to fighting, especially as a woman.
Health in the boxing industry is a very important thing. If you can’t box because you are hurt, then you can’t make money. Boxers are known to have a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s because of how much they get hit in the head. People could break bones in their face and even break their skulls open. Because there isn’t much protection from brain damage, especially in professional boxing fights, there is a higher risk for brain damage. “The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says that 90% of boxers sustain a brain injury.
Boxing may account for fewer deaths than some other sports but the numbers of boxers suffering brain damage are believed to be much higher than recorded” (Kennard, 1). I have learned with my own experience in fighting, that the heavier the weight class, then harder the fighter hits, which is why it is known for heavier weight classes to get hurt easier. The force of a punch feels like you are getting hit with a hammer in the head if hit in the right spot.
Boxing can also have a bad impact on your eyes. As a fighter people are more susceptible to having eye damage and people are even known to go blind. Getting hit in the eye is a given when you are a fighter because one of the main targets that boxers go for is the face. The face not only gets you more points in a match but is a really easy way to end the fight quickly.
A common health concern for boxers is concussions. They are very common with boxers, especially male boxers. If you do not get a concussion at least once in your fighting career, are you really a fighter? Parkinson’s disease is also a very common occurrence for retired fighters. Parkinson’s disease is when the brain is a disease where the brain can no longer produce and make dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical balance that controls your bodies movements. For example, a person that has Parkinson’s disease, will have shaky hands and won’t be able to control the way their hands shake. The more their hands shake, the worse the disease is. There is history of this disease in my family and every time I went to the doctor for my great grandma who had Parkinson’s, the doctor always said that there was really no for sure reason why she got it. But in a different view, boxers are more likely to get this disease because they get hit in the head so often that the balance in the brain will eventually stop working.
Cuts and bruises are small injuries that come with boxing. But the dangers of these cuts can make a huge negative impact on a fighter’s health. When fighters bleed and contact another fighter’s cuts, it can cause AIDs. AIDs is a very dangerous disease that affects the bodies immune system. AIDs are also very deadly. Boxers around the world are known to die or become very sick from AIDs. Boxers that fight for a very long time, especially in a professional match, are more likely to get AIDs or HIVs. These diseases are usually not known to be cured. Having these diseases should show boxers or even the boxing committees that there should be more precautions when it comes to safety and health of their fighters.
Fighters are also known to struggle from eating disorders. It is not as common in men as it is in women. Women usually already have body image issues and suffer from judgement of others. If a woman weighs too much they get judged, if they weigh too little, they get judged, and even the women that are really muscular get judged for looking like men. Because people make these images of women, it is hard for these females to look at themselves and not want to change to make people happy. Weight loss and weight gain is a huge deal when it comes to fighters. You have to make a certain weight class in order to fight. If you don’t make weight, you don’t get to fight. Fighters will starve themselves just to make weight for a fight, and then they won’t have the energy to actually fight. Weight is a big deal to fighters, even after their fighting years, they still have problems with body image. When people think of boxers, and fighters in general, the stereotype is that they must be muscular, abs, and strong legs. Some fighters aren’t like that. They can be skinny, or they can be fat. All that really matters in a fight is if they make weight before the fight. Eating disorders are big deal when it comes to light weight fighters.
All the stress of losing weight for a fight can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia. Boxers believe that their training is leading to them being healthy but can actually lead to the body being dangerously unhealthy. Anorexia is an eating disorder that often plagues light weight fighters. This disorder is when in pursuit of weight loss, the body doesn’t consume enough food to keep up with their training. Eventually, the body will start starving itself to the point of where it can be deadly to the fighter. Anorexia doesn’t just affect the body, but I can also affect the mind. Once you suppress the feeling hunger for so long, the mind forgets that it is hungry and will end up starving. Anorexia is more common with females rather than men because there is a certain stigma that women must look a certain way in order to be accepted in society. This body shaming is very common with female athletes and especially with female boxers. The way female boxers are supposed to look (according to the people watching these fights) is skinny with a little bit of abs. They are also supposed to have muscular/ lean arms and legs. But if they look too muscular, they get made fun of or judged for being too big.
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