Why Boxing Rings Are Called ‘Rings’ When They’re Clearly A Square?

Whether you like boxing or not, chances are you know that this sport takes place in a square-shaped box. But have you ever wondered why do we call them ‘rings’ despite being square?

Well, because a loyal I’m A Useless Info Junkie reader should know the answer to this question, here it is.

The name boxing ‘ring’ comes from the early days of boxing when the fight took place in a hand-drawn circle on the ground. Viewers gathered around the circle watching the two fighters in a circular manner, hence forming a spectator ‘ring’. Even though boxing matches now occur in square-shaped areas, the name stuck and that’s why we still call them ‘rings’. Here’s how a boxing ring looked like back in olden days: (the article continues after the ad)

Photo: ScienceABC

This hand-drawn circle was the boundary with the fighters containing the fight inside that space. As usually happens with fights when people gather around to watch the event, the boxing match viewers formed a circle around the fighters and therefore, people started referring to the enclosed area as ‘the ring’.

During those times, fighters did not wear any gloves, no referee was used and the fight had no actual rules. This changed in 1743 when a man called Jack Boughtonis (nicknamed the Father of Boxing) decided to develop the first set of rules of the sport. He tried to make boxing safer and more of a… civilized sport by adding rules such as not allowing to hit your opponent when he’s down, forbidding all those below-the-belt strikes and generally minimizing the harsh aspects of the competition.

The square ring as we know it today (with the ropes acting as boundaries) appeared around a century later. This specific design was chosen in order to protect the fighters from all the fans who would gather, and often interfere with the boxers in the old drawn-circle rings.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: The Reason Why Circus Acts Are Performed In 42ft (13m) Rings 

Photo: rafeejewell / Flickr
Sources: Why Is A Boxing Ring Called A ‘Ring’, Even Though It’s Actually A Square? | History of Boxing

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