Fist-fighting sports first appeared in Italy between the 12th and 17th
centuries. The sport resurfaced in England during the early 18th century
in the form of bare-knuckle boxing, sometimes referred to as prizefighting.
Early fighting had no written rules. There were no weight divisions or
round limits, and no referee.
The first boxing rules, called the London Prize Ring rules, were introduced
in 1743 to protect fighters in the ring, where deaths sometimes occurred.
Under these rules, if a man went down and couldn't continue after a 30
second count, the fight was over.
The rules permitted a fighter to drop to one knee to begin a 30-second
count at any time. A fighter, realizing he was in trouble, had an opportunity
In 1838 the rules were expanded and later revised in 1853. They stipulated
* Fights in a 24 square foot ring, surrounded by ropes.
* If a fighter was downed, he had to rise in 30 seconds to continue.
* Biting, headbutting, and hitting below the belt were declared fouls.