At its core, boxing is a contest in which two combatants engage hand-to-hand for sport. The first proof of pugilism was found in Egypt, dating back to 3000 B.C., with the sport then spreading throughout ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean. The sport was also accepted into the ancient Olympic Games in 688 B.C.
Boxing debuted at the Olympic Games at St. Louis 1904. Open to amateur boxers from all nations, only Americans actually entered the competition, winning all 18 medals. Boxing would become a permanent fixture of the Olympic Games, absent only at Stockholm 1912 because Sweden had a ban on the sport. Boxing was the last all-male sport at the Olympic Games. Women’s boxing had been a demonstration sport at St. Louis 1904, but London 2012 marked the first time that it was on the program officially. Boxing has been on the Pan American Games program since the inaugural edition in 1951.
The competition is run as a single elimination bracket with boxers placed into a draw to determine opponents. The top-ranked boxers are seeded to ensure they do not meet in the early rounds. The losers of the semifinal bouts do not face each other in a bronze medal bout. Instead, they are both awarded bronze medals, as in other combat sports at the Olympic Games (taekwondo, judo, wrestling). Boxing began this practice at Helsinki 1952.
A single boxing match is called a bout. A men’s bout is comprised of three 3-minute rounds. A women’s bout is comprised of four 2-minute rounds. There is a one minute rest period between rounds.
There are five judges for each bout, each given a randomly selected position around the ring. Before each bout, the Scoring System will randomly select three of the judges whose scores will be the only ones counted. At the end of each round, each judge must determine the winning boxer of that round and award a score of 10 points to the winner and award six to nine points to the loser, depending on to what degree the round was lost. A score of 10-9 indicates a close round, while a score of 10-6 means the losing boxer was overmatched. Each round must have a declared winner. At the end of a bout, the winner is determined based on the total score of the judges and will be declared the winner by points on either a unanimous or a split decision. Judges must independently assess the number of quality blows to the target area, domination of the bout, competitiveness, superiority of tactics and technique as well as any infringement of the rules.