The most popular perception of boxing might be of legends like Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier trash talking and dishing out brutal knockout punches, but when it comes to Olympic (or amateur) boxing, things are a bit more technical. Boxers compete at a range of weights and wear head protection and gloves with a white stripe across the knuckle. Competition is point-scoring based on the number of clean punches landed. Men box three rounds of three minutes whilst women compete four rounds of two minutes.

Boxing is an incredibly ancient sport with a version having even been competed at the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece. The sport has had to evolve drastically thanks to the dangers of fighting. Today’s amateur boxing matches are built around rules aimed at keeping boxers safe while still providing an exciting spectator experience. As a sport accessible to all, amateur boxing in the 21st century has a major role to play in helping build community cohesion. It is increasingly popular in schools, with a third of English secondary schools now offering non-contact boxing. Thousands are also involved in the sport at a non-competitive level, with many clubs now offering fitness-based sessions and most local and chain gyms providing boxing fitness or boxercise classes. Britain’s London 2012 dominance also gave boxing in this country a major boost and so there has never been a better time to get your gloves on!

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  • American Football
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Diving
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Indoor Climbing
  • Judo
  • Netball
  • Rounders
  • Rowing
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Sailing
  • Slowpitch Softball
  • Snowsport
  • Squash & Racketball
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Yoga

An instant expertís guide to boxing from The Guardian and Team GB