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Like horse-racing, boxing is a sport of the working and the upper classes: historically a way to achieve fame and wealth for the former and a public school and varsity event for the latter the first Oxford v Cambridge bouts were held in 1897.
Fist-fighting seems to be an almost basic human instinct, and as an organised sport can be traced at least as far back as the ancient Greeks, with similar tussles seemingly enjoyed even earlier by the Minoans, Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians.
But modern boxing is a rather different animal: where once bare-knuckle bouts were the norm, sometimes fought for hours and with wrestling manoeuvres part of the tactics, since the Marquis of Queensberry rules were published in 1867 a rather more scientific approach has been needed, with somewhat more civilised contests the result.
Amateur boxing has thrived in Britain for a hundred years and more, sometimes providing a focus for some young lives that otherwise have none. And it is a sport that requires incredible fitness, as anyone who has ever pulled on the gloves and sparred for two or three rounds will know. Local boxing clubs have been the first step to glory for legends like Henry Cooper, who learned his trade at Eltham, and they remain so to this day. Most of those boxing at club level will never turn pro of course, but for the lucky, gifted, and determined few what starts off as a way of getting rid of energy and aggression can turn into a lucrative career.

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Recommended Books:
The Lonsdale Boxing Manual
The Lonsdale Boxing Manual
King of the World
King of the World
Boxer's Start-up: Beginner's Guide to...
Boxer's Start-up: Beginner's Guide to...

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A Picture of Britain
A Picture of Britain
Ashes Fever
Ashes Fever
Coast
Coast
Churchill
Churchill

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