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Boxing

Learn about this Summer Olympic sport

April 27, 2012
CAMERON SPENCER—GETTY IMAGES

Italian boxer Roberto Cammarelle (left) and Chinese boxer Zhang Zhilei (right) fight for the Men's Super Heavy title at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Boxing has a long Olympic history. The rough-and-tumble combat sport debuted at the Ancient Games nearly 3,000 years ago. Its road to the modern Olympics proved a bit rockier. When the Games were revived in Athens in 1896, the organizing committee deemed boxing too dangerous to include in the program. Boxing was reinstated at the 1904 Summer Games, only to be knocked out again in 1912. The sport finally stepped back into the Olympic ring to stay in 1920. A women’s competition will make its debut at the 2012 London Games.

Rules of the Game

Boxers battle each other according to weight class. For men, the divisions range from light flyweight (for fighters weighing up to 108 pounds) to super heavyweight (for fighters heavier than 201 pounds). All challengers must officially weigh in on each day they compete.

Boxers are paired off at random. There is a single-elimination tournament for each of the 10 men’s weight classes and three women’s weight classes. Men’s matches are made up of three rounds, each lasting three minutes. Women’s are held over four rounds of two minutes each. Competitors get a one-minute rest period between rounds. There are several ways to win, including knocking out your opponent, but the most common victory is earned by points. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the contest becomes king of the ring.

Unlike other Olympic sports, the two boxers who lose in the semifinals do not fight each other. Instead, they both receive a Bronze medal.


Click here to read about cycling at the Olympic Games.

Click here to go back to “Summer Olympic Games.”


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