Boxing's origins can be traced back to Africa as long ago as 6000 BC, in what is now known as Ethiopia. It first spread to the ancient Egyptian civilization and from there to Mesopotamia. Egyptian boxers used a type of glove that was worn up to the elbow, a custom also found in Crete and ancient Greece, where references were made to boxing in Homer's Iliad. Boxing was a popular spectator sport in Ancient Rome. In order for the fighters to protect themselves against their opponents they wrapped leather thongs around their fists. Eventually harder leather was used and the thong soon became a weapon. The Romans introduced metal studs to the thongs to make the cestus which then led to a more sinister weapon called the myrmex meaning quite simply limb piercer. The Roman form of boxing was often a fight until death to please the spectators who gathered at such events. However in later times purchased slaves and trained combat performers were valuable commodities and their lives were not given up without due consideration. Often slaves were used against one another in a circle marked on the floor. This is where the term ring came from. In AD 393, during the Roman gladiator period, boxing was abolished due to excessive brutality. It was not until the late 17th century that boxing re-surfaced in London

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