Clio Edition 4 - page 44

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‘The Broughton Rules.’ The
incentive behind this was
the large number of deaths
caused by this new sport,
as Broughton searched
for a way to keep boxers
safe. Before the Broughton
Rules, fighters were allowed
below-the-belt punches,
and furthermore, once
down, a fighter would often
continue to be attacked
until unconscious or even
dead. Broughton’s rules
remedied this, introducing
three new aspects to the
sport. Firstly, if a man
went down and could not
continue after a count of
30 seconds, the fight was
forfeited, during which time
he could not be attacked.
The second rule disallowed
punches below the belt, and
the final rule introduced
what were then known as
‘mufflers,’ a form of padded
glove, however these were
encouraged rather than
made compulsory. To
Broughton, boxing was a
‘true British art,’ a view
shared amongst many
at the time. Pierre Jean-
Grosely, a contemporary
of Broughton’s, remarked
that boxing was a “special
form of combat” not “merely
congenial to the character of
the English” but “inherent
in the English Blood.”
It was around this time
when this ‘truly British
sport’ began to gain huge
momentum, particularly
growing in popularity
amongst the aristocracy,
with the 1780’s seeing the
first golden age of boxing.
British patriotism fuelled
by the war with France at
the time saw a huge surge
in boxing’s popularity, with
newspapers beginning
coverage of the sport. As
well as this numerous
schools and academies
opened across the country.
One of the largest appeals to
the sport at the time was its
embodiment of the ideas of
the enlightenment period,
as neither wealth nor class
was required to compete,
thus being seen as a great
leveler in which all classes
could compete on equal
footing.
However the dawn of the
Victorian Age in Britain
saw a collapse of the social
standing of boxing, labeled
a ‘low and de-moralizing’
pursuit. A desire for
morality and righteousness
attributed to this period
did not correlate with the
gambling and violence
associated with boxing, and
what had previously been
seen as a ‘true British Sport’
became something unfit
for a gentleman. Boxing in
Britain seemed to be fading,
its appeal lost amongst the
ideals of the time; but the
British had not finished
adding their legacy to the
sport. In 1867, John Gram
from the Amateur Sports
Club introduced the 1867
James Figg, British
Boxer
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