What is Boxing? - Definition & Rules

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Boxing is well known sport throughout the world that has become a very popular fitness trend for people who want to lose weight or get in shape. This lesson will education the reader on the definition and rules of the sport of boxing.

More Than Just a Fist Fight

The sport of boxing has produce some of the most famous (and controversial) athletes of all time. Names like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and George Foreman (before he started selling his famous grills) are synonymous with the sport of boxing. The 'Thrilla in Manilla,' a fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, is considered one of the most popular sporting events in history. This sport is still quite popular around the world and in the U.S., with some boxing matches being watched by millions and millions of people.

Boxing has also become a popular fitness trend for people who are trying to lose weight or get in better shape. If you don't believe that boxing is a great workout, try punching something as hard as you can for three consecutive minutes and you'll find out how great of a workout boxing can be!

The sport of boxing has produced some of the most famous athletes in history, such as Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali

What Exactly Is Boxing?

Boxing is a sport that has been around for thousands of years, becoming an official Olympic event in 688 B.C. There is even evidence of boxing occurring in ancient Egypt. Modern day sport boxing involves two athletes punching each other with padded gloves, trying to knock their opponent down and out. These fights usually last three to twelve rounds, with each round usually lasting three minutes.

In the fitness industry, there are countless boxing gyms and boxing boot-camps across the country that can be joined by pretty much anyone. These types of workouts usually include various types of punches bags, jumping rope, and other common exercises performed by boxers (think about all the training montages in the Rocky movies).

These high intensity types of exercise in boxing makes it a great form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that involves large groups of muscle, stresses the cardiovascular system (in a good way), and increases a person's rate of breathing. Again - try punching something as hard as you can for three consecutive minutes and you'll see how fast your heart will be beating and how hard you will be breathing!

Boxing workouts are a great form of aerobic exercise.
boxing exercise

Rules of Boxing

There are several different rules that are followed in professional boxing. Some common ones include:

  • A referee much be present in the ring.
  • A boxer cannot wrestle or hug their opponent.
  • If a boxer gets knocked down, he must get up on his own with any assistance from other people.
  • Boxers are classified based on their weight (boxers only fight an opponent in the same weight class)
  • A boxer hanging helplessly on the ropes is considered knocked-down
  • A boxer cannot punch an opponent who is knocked down
  • Gloves must weight between 8-10 ounces in professional fights
  • A boxer cannot punch their opponent below the waist

Boxing workouts often involve performing several different types of boxing exercises for three consecutive minutes each.
speed bag

Obviously, most of these rules of professional boxing do not apply to people who are using boxing as a form of aerobic exercise. Many types of boxing workouts will include several different stations, with a different type of boxing exercise at each one. For example, one station may involve punching a punching bag, while another station will involve jumping rope. Oftentimes, a person will perform the exercise of each station for three minutes (the same length as a round of boxing), take a short break, then move to the next station's exercise and perform it for another three minutes. This sequence mimics what a boxer will go through during an actual fight.

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