History of Prize-fighting

Prize-fighting or "pugilism" was one of the first sports to have a written code of rules. In 1743, Jack Broughton created a list of rules after one of his opponents died as a result of a fight. Their were rules against hitting a man when he's down, the right to a thirty second rest after going down, and a ban on hitting below the belt. A great deal of modern day wrestling went on in prize-fighting 7. Punching, scratching, kicking, throwing, stomping, and strangling were all acceptable. Death in the ring was not uncommon. In Birmingham in 1787, two fights in one day ended in death 8. Unfortunately this only heightened the interest. Crowds of up to 10,000 would walk long distances to see a fight. Prize-fighting was patronized by the highest in the land, but for some reason lacked middle class appeal. Huge sums were gambled on fights. In 1786, there were wages recorded up to L40,000, with the Duke of York and the Prince of Wales among the biggest gamblers. In London, many of the prize-fights of the eighteenth century were organized on private estates. There were no gentlemen or middle class people as combatants 9. They were always a part of the working class, and occasionally some were women. Women were often times more vicious than the men. They would often strip each other naked, scratching and hitting until they were completely covered in blood. Many of the fights were organized as a way to settle disputes between two people.


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