The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to Egypt around 3000 BC. The sport was introduced to the ancient Olympic Games by the Greeks in the late 7th century BC, when soft leather thongs were used to bind boxers’ hands and forearms for protection.
Later, in Rome, leather thongs were exchanged for the cestus—a glove studded with metal. Unfortunately, this did not help the gladiators involved, as boxing matches of the era usually ended with the death of one of the contestants.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing came to an abrupt end. It resurfaced in 17th century England, and organised amateur boxing officially began in 1880. Originally only five weight classes were contested: Bantam, not exceeding 54 kilos; Feather, not exceeding 57 kilos; Light, not exceeding 63.5 kilos; Middle, not exceeding 73 kilos; and Heavy, any weight.