The boxing gloves that we see today were originally long strips of leather that were wrapped around the fists of the boxers. There were no referees around to call for fouls or violations. The boxers will continue to fight until one of them is unable to get up or concedes to the fight.
Romans also used gloves with spikes or with lead wrapped into the leather strips. Deaths were a common occurrence in boxing matches but men who won were lauded with praise from all over the empire and achieved superstar status. However, this presented problems to the participants.
When the modern Olympic Games returned in 1896, the organizers decide that they cannot continue with the ancient rules attached to boxing so they omitted it from the Games. It was only allowed back in the 1904 Sts Louis Olympic Games. In the 1912 Games in Stockholm, boxing was again disallowed due to Sweden’s ban on the sport.
Boxing finally returned (and stayed) to the Olympics in 1920 due to the popularity of boxers like Muhammad Ali. In order for boxers to qualify for the Games, they have to go through regional qualifying tournaments. The geographic areas are divided into Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Oceania.
Each boxer is judged according to their boxing skills, the country they represent as well as their weight division. They must also be at least 17 years old and not more than 34 on the day of the match. The boxers are randomly paired and will fight in a single-elimination match. Weight divisions include light flyweight, flyweight, bantam weight, feather weight, light weight, light welterweight, middle weight, light heavy weight, heavy weight and super heavy weight.
The gloves used weigh 10 ounces and they must conform to the standards set by the AIBA. Boxers are identified with red or blue colored shorts. The bouts are held in rings measuring 6.1 meters and each side of the square has four ropes running parallel to it.
There are four rounds for each bout with one-minute intervals between rounds. Competitors are scored according to points or knockouts and judged by a panel of five judges. Scoring is electronic and judges have buttons in front of them that they can push to register the points and whoever has the most points, wins.