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Boxing (Olympic sport since 1904)

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  Boxing ranks among the Olympic Games' most illustrious sports.

  When it first arrived in the Ancient Olympic Games, the tools of the trade were long strips of leather wrapped around boxers' fists. The fight continued until one man or the other went down or conceded. The Romans followed with a gladiator dimension. They used gloves studded with spikes or weighted with lead, and fights often ended in death, like other entertainment of the day.

  When the modern Games resumed in 1896, the Athens organising committee omitted boxing, deciding it was too dangerous. The sport reappeared in 1904 in St. Louis, thanks to its popularity in the United States, then disappeared again in 1912 at Stockholm because Sweden's national law banned it.

  Only in 1920 did boxing return to the Olympic Games to stay. Hence, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay at the time) and Teofilo Stevenson (a three-time gold medallist) could join names like Theagenes of Thassos and Cleitomachus of Thebes among the legends.

  © IOC

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