Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ll know that the biggest boxing match of the year took place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening. Anthony Joshua knocked out his opponent, Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round, making this one of the most exciting fights in recent years.

There has definitely been an increased interest in boxing in the UK in the last few years. Let’s take a look at the rise of boxing in the UK and see how this mesmerising contact sport has gone from strength to strength.

The Marquess of Queensberry rules

London is the birthplace of boxing as we know it today. Gloved prizefighting, as it was called then, is thought to have begun way back in the 1600s, with the Marquess of Queensberry rules first being written in 1867. The rules were formulated by British sportsman, John Graham Chambers, and have underpinned boxing ever since.

The first boxer to be recognised as a heavyweight champion was James Figg in 1719. This was a bare knuckle fight. The last bare knuckle champion was the American John L. Sullivan in 1889, when he won against Jake Kilrain.

Wembley sold out in 25 minutes!

Nowadays, boxing has reached an incredible peak in popularity. The fight between Joshua and Klitschko sold out in just 25 minutes, and it’s not uncommon for fights between world titleholders to sell out in even less time.

British boxing has enjoyed a a huge deal of competitive success over the years, with boxers like Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Chris Eubank making headlines both inside and outside of the ring.

Facts about boxing

  • The record for the most amount of knockouts over his career is held by Archie Moore, who had one of the longest boxing careers in the history of the sport.
  • In 1949 there was an official boxing match held between a man and a bear. Needless to say, the bear won.
  • Willie Pep is the only boxer to ever win a round without even throwing a punch.
  • Boxing has been around for millennia. It was one of the first sports in the ancient Greek Olympic Games.