The art of fighting with the fist. A sport in which 2 opponents fight each other with gloved fists inside a usually elevated ring -- a square canvass-covered mat surrounded by ropes with each attempting to win by knocking out or scoring more points than his opponent.

The sport has developed from bare-knuckle fighting, in which a round lasted until one fighter was knocked down, to a contest conducted in 3-minute rounds with 1-minute rest periods between rounds and having the emphasis on tactics of attack and defense.

A boxer is not permitted to use any part of his body other than his fists in parrying blows. To be legal, all blows must land above the waist on the front and sides of the body and head.

A referee in the ring supervises the fight, separating the fighters when they clinch and ensuring that the blows are fair.

If one fighter is knocked down, he is given 10 seconds in which to rise or he will be counted out by the referee. If the round ends before the count is finished, however, the count may be stopped and the fighter is then ‘saved by the bell.’

During a knockdown, the other fighter must retire to a neutral corner. The rules forbid kicking or wrestling with an opponent or hitting an opponent when he is down.

The referee has the power to stop the fight at any time if he feels one fighter is unable to continue or is in danger of suffering a possibly severe or permanent injury. The other fighter then wins on a technical knockout. If no knockout or technical knockout is scored, the winner is determined by the decision of usually three or more judges. There is no universal scoring system. Some fights are scored on the basis of the number of rounds won, some on points – the boxer who wins the round gets a number of points and the other fighter is given fewer points and the one with the most points at the end is the winner – and some on both round-by-round and a points system. When both systems are used, it is technically possible for one boxer to win more rounds but lose the fight on points. Because of the obvious advantage enjoyed by a large man in a bout with a smaller opponent, boxing is conducted in weight divisions.

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