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Ancient Boxing: A Narrative Discussion from Archaeological and Historical Evidences - Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

Muhammad Shahidul Islam1, Anup De2

1Deputy Director, Office of Physical Education, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh
2Former Research Scholar, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India

Ancient Boxing: A Narrative Discussion from Archaeological and Historical Evidences

Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med. 2022, 11(2), 71-78 | DOI:


Boxing is one of the most popular and ancient striking combat sports where two athletes, generally wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other in a boxing ring for a specified amount of time. Boxing has a golden history that dates back thousands of years, not just hundreds. The most famous evidence of fighting sporting competitions goes back to ancient civilizations: the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt Civilization, Minoan Civilization, Greece Civilization, and Roman Civilization. The present investigation was designed to un- derstand the evolution and pattern of boxing games in the ancient world. This study finds that one of the ear- liest ancient boxing depictions appeared in a terracotta relief based on ancient Eshnunna, a limestone plaque based on the early Dynastic periods of Sumeria, a terracotta tablet was discovered in a tomb near Larasa in southern Iraq, and many more. The study analyzes the extensive literature on the Greek statue of a sitting nude boxer and explains its existence, face, cauliflower-like ear. The study reported some distinguished observations concerning winning rules, awards, gloves, and injuries in ancient boxing. In essence, the current investigators believe that the most notable findings of this study were that no boxing ring was mentioned in literature, the majority of boxers (males) wore beards, and the majority of ancient battles were depicted on ancient Greek pottery. There was bleeding and facial injuries as the sport was very brutal at that time.


Boxing, Ancient civilization, Archaeological investigation, Ancient Greek pottery, Sports injury

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