Why are Boxing Rings Called That When They are Square?

The earliest known instances of fist fighting
as a type of sport date back to around 4000 – 3000 BC, but these historical fights don’t
resemble the boxing we know today. They seem to have leaned more toward the “anything
goes” method of unarmed fighting. The modern form of more regimented bouts didn’t
begin until the early 18th century. At this time, boxing matches had no mandated
boxing ring, no gloves, no referee, and no scantily clad women announcing the next round. Spectators tended to crowd around the fighters
in a roughly circular ring, which may or may not have been drawn out on the ground before
the match. In 1713, Sir Thomas Parkyns described a typical
match as including eye-gouging, choking, punching, head-butting and other such street fighting
tactics. This all changed when Jack Broughton developed
the first set of formalized rules for boxing in 1743, with the goal of making boxing more
of a civilized competition. The impetus for these rules came, in part,
from Broughton’s defeat of George Stevenson, who suffered severe injuries and died a few
days after the pair’s fight. Saddened by the death of his competitor, Broughton
wrote the “Broughton Rules” to minimize the harsher aspects of the sport, like forbidding
striking below the belt, not allowing hitting a competitor when he was down and giving him
30 seconds to recover and continue the fight, lest he be declared the loser. While it has been suggested that Broughton
insisted on a squared off area to replace the ring of spectators, adoption of the official
roped off square boxing ring didn’t appear until about a century later. This particular innovation was designed to
protect the boxers from the fans who would often get too close to the fight and occasionally
interfere in the old drawn circle rings. Broughton Rules loosely governed most boxing
matches for nearly a century before they were replaced by the London Prize Ring Rules in
1838. Notable to the topic at hand, among these
new rules can be found the following: That the ring shall be made on turf, and shall
be four-and-twenty feet square, formed of eight stakes and ropes, the latter extending
in double lines, the uppermost line being four feet from the ground, and the lower two
feet from the ground. That in the centre of the ring a mark be formed,
to be termed a scratch; and that at two opposite corners, as may be selected, spaces be enclosed
by other marks sufficiently large for the reception of the seconds and bottle-holders,
to be entitled ‘the corners.’ Although by these rules the boxing ring was
no longer circular, the term ‘ring’ was so ingrained in boxing vernacular that it
remained after the ring became square, sometimes being referred to as the “squared circle.” The London Rules were further improved upon
about three decades later by John Graham Chambers with his proposal in 1867 of the “Marquess
of Queensberry Rules” (named in honor of boxing enthusiast John Douglas, the ninth
Marquess of Queensberry) from which modern boxing rules are directly based. The primary changes from the London Rules
revolved around requiring opponents to wear padded gloves, forbidding attacking and opponent
with anything but one’s hands, requiring any competitor who was downed to get back
up within 10 seconds or forfeit the match, and setting the rounds at three minutes with
a one minute break in between. As with the London Rules, the new rules continued
to refer to the roped off area as a “ring” despite its actual shape. The longest known boxing fight in history
took place in New Orleans on Apr. 6, 1893, between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke. The fight was for the lightweight world title
and lasted 111 rounds! After seven hours of brutal fighting, when
the bell sounded for the 111th round, both fighters – dazed and exhausted- refused
to come out of their corners and the referee ruled the bout as a no contest. So yes, after 111 rounds of using their bodies
as punching bags, the contest ended in a tie. Jack Marles, a London dentist, introduced
the first mouth guard for boxers in 1902. At first, the safety measure to protect a
fighter’s teeth and mouth was used only in training sessions. It wasn’t until 1913 that the first boxer
wore one in an official fight. It didn’t take long for mouthpieces to catch
on among boxing to reduce injuries to the teeth and mouth. Until the mid-1700s, boxing was mostly of
the bare-fisted variety. When Jack Broughton designed boxing gloves
in the mid 1700s, he introduced them at his gym as training tools to reduce injuries to
boxers’ hands and faces prior to official fights. While many think that the introduction of
boxing gloves made the sport safer, the opposite is true. Since the head is pretty much the hardest
part of the body, punching it with a bare fist with extreme force is likely to cause
damage to the fist. As such, bare-fisted fighters tended to concentrate
on landing punches to softer parts of the body, thus sparing the head from being knocked

100 thoughts on “Why are Boxing Rings Called That When They are Square?

  1. Simon, what happened to your other new channel? I don't remember what it's called, but can't seem to find it…

  2. MMA might be bloodier but in the long term is safer because the smaller gloves mean less head trauma. Add in the automatic KO instead of standing 8 count and it’s not even close.

  3. So is the wrestling ring call a ring when if fact is a square (or a hexagon in TNA) call a ring for the same reason

  4. Also, back in the old days, before the rules were much stricter, some boxers would even put broken glass, and nails in their gloves. In order to gain an advantage over their opponents. Edit

  5. 0:20 Yeah back then it was much more like early mma. It's interesting how that basically disappeared as a legitimate competition for centuries and made a huge comeback recently.

    The Greeks were some of the first to use boxing and wrestling, I wonder how a few of they're best would fare in a UFC bout. Their nutrition and technique would be inferior, but obviously they had the same weapons and they lived in a culture that was perfect for creating elite athletes. They were well paid, highly respected and there wasn't football or basketball to lure away the best athletes.

  6. Finally someone outside of boxing circles pointing out that wearing gloves is bad for boxers health! Ex boxer here, and I would rather have had a few more scars on my face than the brain trauma. Knowing what I know now, I would only box bareknuckled, if I had to do it over again. Our knowledge about the danger of head trauma is the deathknell for this sport. A matter of time, imo.

  7. This was cheating a bit, many of the bonus facts and points were already discussed in the silly boxing stance video.
    But i guess they were relevant enough to be repeated, anyway, i'm enjoying this channel a lot.
    Also, i saw that Technology Connections also watches your video's, that is a fun dorky tech channel

  8. 0:59 I knew that from Total War: Empire. I love how these developements pop up in the game although they have no effect on it.

  9. Since Tax Day is upon us can you do a video on any unique and interesting facts on why and how we came to filing and who pays what based on dependents and tax brackets. Etc.

  10. I always thought it was called that because of the bell that rings at the start and end of match… I never thought about the shape… and… it's still called a ring even if there's no official fight(no bell) Huh. Welp, I love how you and others put questions in my mind.

  11. A coven of witches calls four "corners" in the ritual of "casting the circle." So witchcraft is another way to make a square circle.

  12. You didn't tell when boxing rules added jet engine sounds when weaving the upper body and throwing hooks. ✈️🥊

  13. 1:26 many of the lowercase “s”s are modified “f”s unless it is used as a plural. Is this how they used to write them back then?

  14. I grew up with boxing my kids watch MMA . It is exciting but ugly. Boxing with its bobbing and weaving looks like ballet by comparison MMA has elbows to the head and chock holds it’s a brutal ugly sport and yet I like it .

  15. Wrestling (classical & sumo) is done in a ring too. I dunno about other 1v1 martial arts, but a ring-out is usually a point or win or whatever. So it makes sense for the modern equivalents to still be called rings.

  16. Boxing "rings" are round, and Madison
    Square Garden is round.

    Enough madness to drive a middle school
    teacher CRAZY!


  17. I just yesterday watched your video on "why old timey boxers used that weird stance", and I think about 3 minutes of this video here are taken directly from that one! 😛

  18. Marquis of Fantailler rules!
    "A set of rules in the noble art of fisticuffs developed by the Marquis of Fantailler which involved chest out-thrust and fist balled in a spirit of manly aggression, as well as places were you are not allowed to hit an opponent. "

  19. Rings of onlookers occur natural when a fight occurs. Look at a schoolground fight of 2 kids, a ring of kids will surround it. I myself once came across a ring of people watching a fight between a suspect and a cop trying to arrest him. So, yea, the official rules turned the ring into a box, but a ring is ingrained in people`s minds when fights occur.

  20. So, i thought of a possible topic i would be interested in… what happens to cars and/or trucks when an insurance company "totals" the vehicle, pays the owner for it, but then keeps it?

  21. Tom Hupper’s answer on Quora from December 2017 is word for word this video:

  22. Bare-Knuckle boxing is currently making a fierce come-back. I'm not so sure that it's all that much safer, if at all, than regular boxing with gloves O_O

  23. Interesting facts on boxing. Me and some mates were just discussing why ring is square , dimensions of and why are rules called Marquis of Queensbury a few weeks ago. This explains all so thanks for posting.

  24. I enjoy that you brought up the danger that gloves brought to boxing. I love watching bareknuckle boxing, it is honestly much safer and often more eventful.

  25. Would you please do a video answering question “why (at least in the U.S.) do we drive on a ‘Parkway’ and park on a ‘Driveway?’”

  26. I had heard that boxing gloves result in another disservice to the boxer: That the boxer doesn't learn how to punch properly because the gloves provide so much padding. The result of this is being, if the boxer actually punches someone with a bare fist, they are more likely to break their hand. Is this true?

  27. In addition to the gloves making boxing more dangerous, the size of the gloves also contributed to the danger.

    When gloves were first used in matches they were smaller than the gloves used by the competitors in mixed martial arts. These small gloves kept the combatants from punching their opponents in the head too much. However, as time went on the size was increased. The larger size gave the fighters more confidence to punch a person in the face. This lead to more knockouts, but it also lead to people being punch drunk.

  28. Do a video on why humanity is constantly building hard edged and even square objects, houses, buildings and products despite living in an entire universe with very few hard lines and is literally comprised of spheres.

  29. Did you see Bare Knuckle FC 5 it was a recent event bare knuckle boxing they didn't really go for the softer parts of the body they was more cutting each other's faces open using their knuckles

    Bare knuckle boxing seemed more of cut your opponent's face open so much that he quits or get your opponent to break his hands and then cut open his face till he quits

  30. Difputes? This video only brings me more questions. Did f make an s sound in that time period again sorry but dafuq?

  31. My theory is that they cordoned off a square "ring" because it's easier to improvise a square than a circle. 🙂

  32. Loving the podcast, I am sure it has been a challenge to balance content between 2 mediums. Looking forward to the next podcast! Bonus Fact: this is my favorite channel along with China Uncensored, America Uncovered, Business Casual, & Company Man among a few others! Keep up the good work!

  33. It references eight posts and ropes in the recommended regulation. That would be an octagon wouldn't it?

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