Minoan youths boxing, Akrotiri (Santorini) fresco. Earliest documented use of 'gloves'
The earliest known depiction of boxing comes from a Sumerian relief from the 3rd millennium BC. Later depictions from the 2nd millennium BC are found in reliefs from the Mesopotamian nations of Assyria and Babylonia, and in Hittite art from Asia Minor. The earliest evidence for fist fighting with any kind of gloves can be found on Minoan Crete (c. 1500–900 BC), and on Sardinia, if we consider the boxing statues of Prama mountains (c. 2000–1000 BC).
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 weapom. The Romans even introduced metal studs to the thongs to make the cestus which then led to a more sinister weapon called the myrmex ('limb piercer'). Fighting events were held at Roman Amphitheatres. The Roman form of boxing was often a fight until death to please the spectators who gathered at such events. However, especially 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.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing