How Much Do You Know About the History of Boxing?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Have you ever wanted to hit someone? Well, these people do it for a living!

Boxing, as a sport, has been around since the beginning of recorded history. In the Meditteranean region, references to fighting for sport have been recorded in places such as the Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was also a game of competition in the original Olympics from ancient Greece. These early fighters often wrapped their hands in leather and fought until someone couldn't continue or one of the competitors died. Obviously, a sport that vicious couldn't last, and over the centuries, boxing has developed as rules and regulations have helped the sport become safer and easier to judge.

The modern era of boxing really started to form in the 18th and 19th century. Set rules and promotions have helped the sport spread around the world, where boxers are capable of achieving world-wide fame. Countries from where many boxers come from often see their country's fighter as a symbol of national identity, defending the pride of their home country. Although the popularity of the sport sometimes wanes, boxing still has a large following, and huge fights are global events.

If you truly believe you're a boxing expert, see if you can pound this quiz into the ground!

Which English boxer invented the first set of rules for boxing?

As his popularity grew, Jack Broughton opened an amphitheater to hold boxing contests under his set of rules. His rules were known as the London Prize Ring Rules.


Which set of rules was created in 1865?

These new rules were published in 1867. With these rules, gloves replaced bare-knuckle boxing.


Who were the Marquess of Queensberry Rules named after?

Though John Douglas was known for endorsing these boxing rules, he also made history for his dispute of homosexuality with Oscar Wilde, an important English author. This resulted in Wilde leaving England for France, where he eventually died.


Who was the first heavyweight champion in the gloved boxing era?

John Sullivan officially finished his career with a 40-4 record, though he actually fought hundreds of fights. He was known as the "Boston Strong Boy."


Who was the first three-division world champion?

Bob Fitzsimmons was the lightest heavyweight champion ever. He supposedly rarely trained, relying instead on his natural skills.


From what country was Tommy Burns?

Besides Burns, no other heavyweight fighter from Canada has won the championship. He was known for holding matches against fighters of different races and ethnicities, wanting to be the champion of all the world.


Who was the first African-American heavyweight champion?

Jack Johnson was known as the Galveston Giant. He fought at a time when segregation was widespread throughout the United States.


Who fought in "The Fight of the Century"?

Most promoters tried to make this a fight about race, a white man versus a black man. However, both of these fighters showed great respect for each other before and after the fight.


What was Jack Dempsey's nickname?

Jack Dempsey helped push boxing popularity from 1914 to 1927. He retired with a record of 54-6-9.


What was Rocky Marciano's record when he retired?

Rocky Marciano was one of very few boxers who finished their career with an undefeated record. Roland La Starza came the closest to defeating Marciano in 1950.


What state was Joe Louis from?

Joe Lewis entered World War II during the middle of his boxing career. He would be used to help attract others, particularly African-Americans, into the war.


Who was the first person to beat Sonny Liston?

Sonny Liston is often associated with being involved in the mob. In fact, many people believe this involvement got him killed.


Who fought in the "Rumble in the Jungle"?

Boxing professionals gave Ali little chance of beating Foreman. Even many people in Ali's camp didn't believe he could win.


In what war did Muhammad Ali refuse to fight?

Muhammad Ali won gold at the 1960 Olympics at the age of 18. From the age of 25 until he was 29, Ali was banned from boxing for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.


Who was the last boxer to face Muhammad Ali?

After a fight against Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali was clearly not the same fighter anymore. His bout against Trevor Berbick would put the final nail in the coffin for Ali's boxing career.


What was Larry Holmes' nickname?

Larry Holmes won his first heavyweight championship in 1978. He defended the title 19 times before finally losing.


Who was known for saying "float like a butterfly"?

Muhammad Ali was famous for his trash talk. In fact, he was often his own best promoter throughout his career.


From what country was Julio Cesar Chavez?

Many people, particularly in Mexico, consider Chavez as the greatest Mexican fighter of all time. Some even consider him the greatest boxer of all time, no matter the country.


What was Julio Cesar Chavez's record when he was finally defeated?

During his career, Chavez won six championships throughout three different divisions. His undefeated streak lasted 13 years.


Who won the "Thrilla in Manila"?

This fight was one for the ages as both fighters went back and forth. Eventually, Joe Frazier's side threw in the towel because both of Frazier's eyes were swollen shut.


How old was George Foreman when he won his last heavyweight championship?

At 45, Foreman was the oldest heavyweight champion ever. He would retire three years later at the age of 48.


Who was NOT one of "The Fabulous Four"?

Throughout the late 1970s and '80s, these fighters all competed against one another in several magnificent showdowns. Most of the fights were often title defenses.


Where did Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran have their first fight?

Not long after this fight ended, a rematch fight was scheduled. Having lost, Sugar Ray Leonard believed he could catch Duran out of shape due to celebrating his victory in the first match.


How old was Mike Tyson when he won the heavyweight championship?

Mike Tyson was the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing when he won the title in 1986. Tyson still holds that record.


Who was the first person to beat Mike Tyson?

Tyson's career started off with a bang, or a punch. He won his first 19 fights by knockout, most of which were in the first round.


Who's ear did Mike Tyson bite?

Tyson lost his first fight to Holyfield in 1996. When they fought again a year later, Tyson was ill-prepared and ended up resorting to nasty tactics in the fight.


Who was Evander Holyfield fighting when a man parachuted​ into the ring?

Evander Holyfield competed in three fights against Riddick Bowe throughout the 1990s. He lost two of those fights.


From what country was Lennox Lewis?

Lennox Lewis competed in a total of 44 fights. He finished with a record of 41-2-1.


How many fights did Sugar Ray Robinson have?

Sugar Ray Robinson competed in lower weight classes, but he was an exceptional fighter. In fact, critics started calling him the best "pound for pound" fighter ever.


What was Oscar De La Hoya's nickname?

Oscar De La Hoya had success early in his career. Not long after graduating high school, he won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in the lightweight division before going on to have a successful professional career.


Who was Evander Holyfield's last fight against?

Evander Holyfield competed in the boxing ring until he was almost 50. He finished with a 44-10-2 record.


Who was Mike Tyson's promoter?

Don King worked with legends like Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes. However, he was best known for working with the hard-puncher, Mike Tyson.


How many times did Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali fight?

The second loss of Ali's career was against Ken Norton in 1973. Ali would face Norton two more times, winning both of those matches.


From what state was Michael Spinks?

Michael Spinks was Leon Spinks' brother. Both fighters won heavyweight championships during their careers.


In what year did Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler fight?

With Leonard coming out of retirement to fight, Marvin Hagler was seen as a for sure winner. However, Leonard took the victory by split decision.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!