Between now and this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio we will be focusing on the different sports and Team GB athletes to keep an eye out for. The latest Olympic Spotlight sees us concentrate on boxing.
WHERE: Riocentro – Pavilion 6
WHEN: August 6-21
MEDAL EVENTS: 13 (Men’s: light flyweight, flyweight, bantamweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, super heavyweight. Women’s: flyweight, lightweight, middleweight)
DID YOU KNOW:
During the Roman Empire, boxers used gloves studded with metal, which often resulted in the death of one gladiator.
ABOUT THE SPORT:
While people have fought in hand-to-hand combat since before the dawn of history, the origin of boxing as an organised sport is thought to be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic sport in BC 688.
Records of Classical boxing activity disappeared after the fall of the Western Roman Empire when the wearing of weapons became common once again and interest in fist-fighting waned. However, the sport resurfaced in England during the early 16th century in the form of bare-knuckle boxing sometimes referred to as prizefighting.
The first boxing rules, called the Broughton’s rules, were introduced by champion Jack Broughton in 1743 to protect fighters in the ring. Under these rules, if a man went down and could not continue after a count of 30 seconds, the fight was over.
Broughton encouraged the use of ‘mufflers’, a form of padded bandage or mitten, to be used in ‘jousting’ or sparring sessions in training and in exhibition matches.
In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry rules were drafted, specifying that fights should be “a fair stand-up boxing match” in a 24-foot-square or similar ring. The rules also saw the introduction of gloves of “fair-size”.
Boxing has been contested at every summer Olympic Games since its introduction to the programme at the 1904 Games in St Louis, with the exception of Stockholm 1912 because Swedish law banned the sport at the time.
Women’s boxing was introduced to the programme for London 2012, and from Rio 2016, male athletes no longer have to wear protective headgear in competition due to a ruling by the AIBA and IOC that it contributes to greater concussion risk.
Each National Olympic Committee is permitted to enter up to one athlete in each event. Six places (five men and one woman) are reserved for the host nation Brazil, while the remaining places are allocated to the Tripartite Invitation Commission.
Because non-AIBA professional boxers are eligible to compete for the first time at the Olympics, a total of 37 places have been reserved and thereby distributed to pros; 20 are qualified through the AIBA Pro Boxing Series with two for each event, while 17 are qualified through the World Series of Boxing.
For amateurs, qualification is based on the APB and WSB World Rankings, APB and WSB World and Olympic qualifier, the 2015 World Championships, and the 2016 World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
For the women’s events, qualification is based only on the 2016 Women’s World Championships.
DID YOU KNOW:
Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, almost did not go to the Rome 1960 Games – where he won a gold medal – because he was scared of flying.
TEAM GB SUCCESS:
Team GB’s boxers first took to the Olympic podium at the London 1908 Games and produced a clean sweep of medals with the exception of middleweight silver – won by Reginald Baker, representing Australasia.
A. Henry Thomas (bantamweight), Richard Gunn (featherweight), Frederick Grace (lightweight), Johnny Douglas (middleweight) and Albert Oldman (heavyweight) were the gold medallists.
Team GB currently sit third in the medal table behind the USA and Cuba, with a total of 53 medals – 17 gold, 12 silver and 24 bronze.
At London 2012, Nicola Adams won the first ever women’s Olympic gold medal, beating China’s Ren Cancan 16-7 in the final at the capital’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre.
That year, Team GB topped the overall boxing medal table with five medals in total, including three golds for Adams, Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell.
TEAM GB HOPES FOR RIO:
Ten men and two women will make up Team GB’s largest Olympic boxing squad for 32 years at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Reigning Olympic champion Adams returns to the line-up after adding World, Commonwealth and European Games gold medals to her name since picking up the flyweight crown four years ago.
World Championship bronze medallist and Commonwealth champion Savannah Marshall is the other female representative and will compete at middleweight.
For the men, Commonwealth and European Games Champion Joe Joyce will fight at super heavyweight with Lawrence Okolie named in the heavyweight division.
Joshua Buatsi is selected at light heavyweight with Commonwealth Games Champion Anthony Fowler at middleweight. Josh Kelly and Pat McCormack are selected to fight at welterweight and light welterweight respectively.
European Champion Joe Cordina is set to compete at lightweight, while European silver medallist Qais Ashfaq will fight at bantamweight and Muhammad Ali and Galal Yafai round off the team in the flyweight and light flyweight divisions.