Pugilists, Who was the First Ever Bare-Knuckle Champ?

Pugilists, Who was the First Ever Bare-Knuckle Champ?


In 1719, one James Figg was crowned the first bare-knuckle boxing champion of England. In the half-century preceding his achievement, boxing had made a comeback as a sport and spectacle in towns throughout the country, and over the next few centuries would remain a way for young bruisers to earn a few quid on the side or just put food on the table in hard times.


Today, the rule set developed in England in the 19th century governs the sport around the world. Those rules mandate that fighters wear high-quality gloves, so if you’re reading this, you’re already in the right place, as Fight Co carry boxing gloves by Adidas and other great makers.


From Knuckles to Gloves

Boxing’s evolution into the tame, injury-free sport it is now began in 1743, under the Broughton Rules. Developed by then champion John (or Jack) Broughton, these rules disallowed pulling an opponent’s hair and hitting a man while he was down.


Broughton’s rules held sway for nearly 100 years, until they were used as the foundation for the Original London Prize Ring Rules introduced in 1838. The Revised London Prize Ring Rules of 1853 deemed foul a number of other exciting techniques, such as striking or grabbing below the waist, gouging, and head butting. Fortunately, spiked boots – at least those approved by the Pugilistic Benevolent Association – were still allowed and fights were still bare-knuckle. It was also with the LPRR that we got the dimensions of the ring, 24 feet or 7.3 metres squared, and specifications concerning the stakes and ropes.


At the end of the century, however, a set of rules was adopted that would take boxing into downright respectable territory. The Queensberry Rules, named after their chief proponent, 8th Marquis of Queensberry, had been crafted in 1857 by boxer John Graham. They were being followed widely by 1867. Largely retaining the Revised London rules, the new set also prohibited bare-knuckle fighting and wrestling or holding.


Of course, there’s still a world of hurt to be found in the ring, but your equipment shouldn’t be the source of it. Check out our quality stock of boxing gloves from Adidas and other brands – Queensberry Rules say so.

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