The Queensberry Rules

The boxing code was written by John Graham Chambers, a Welshman, and drafted in London in 1865, before being published in 1867 as “the Queensberry rules for the sport of boxing”. At the time, boxing matches were conducted under the London Prize Ring Rules, written in 1838 and revised in 1853. Bare-knuckle fights under the London Prize Rules continued for the next several decades, although the Queensberry Rules would eventually become the standard set of rules under which all boxing matches were governed. This version persuaded boxers that “you must not fight simply to win; no holds barred is not the way; you must win by the rules”.

One early prize fighter who fought under Marquess of Queensberry rules was Jem Mace, former English heavyweight champion, who defeated Bill Davis in Virginia City, Nevada under these rules in 1876. In 1889, the Queensberry rules came into use in the United States and Canada.

 

Rules

  1. To be a fair stand-up boxing match in a 24-foot ring, or as near that size as practicable.
  2. No wrestling or hugging allowed.
  3. The rounds to be of three minutes’ duration, and one minute’s time between rounds.
  4. If either man falls through weakness or otherwise, he must get up unassisted, 10 seconds to be allowed him to do so, the other man meanwhile to return to his corner, and when the fallen man is on his legs the round is to be resumed and continued until the three minutes have expired. If one man fails to come to the scratch in the 10 seconds allowed, it shall be in the power of the referee to give his award in favour of the other man.
  5. A man hanging on the ropes in a helpless state, with his toes off the ground, shall be considered down.
  6. No seconds or any other person to be allowed in the ring during the rounds.
  7. Should the contest be stopped by any unavoidable interference, the referee to name the time and place as soon as possible for finishing the contest; so that the match must be won and lost, unless the backers of both men agree to draw the stakes.
  8. The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality and new.
  9. Should a glove burst, or come off, it must be replaced to the referee’s satisfaction.
  10. A man on one knee is considered down and if struck is entitled to the stakes.
  11. That no shoes or boots with spikes or springs be allowed.
  12. The contest in all other respects to be governed by revised London Prize Ring Rules.