Today, the boxing ring is actually a square. Was the boxing ring ever a ring?
Jack Broughton developed the first set of formalized rules for boxing in 1743, with the goal of making boxing more of a civilized competition. The impetus for these rules came, in part, from Broughton’s defeat of George Stevenson, who suffered severe injuries and died a few days after the pair’s fight.Broughton Rules loosely governed most boxing matches for nearly a century before they were replaced by the London Prize Ring Rules in 1838. Notable to the topic at hand, among these new rules can be found the following:
That the ring shall be made on turf, and shall be four-and-twenty feet square, formed of eight stakes and ropes, the latter extending in double lines, the uppermost line being four feet from the ground, and the lower two feet from the ground. That in the center of the ring a mark be formed, to be termed a scratch; and that at two opposite corners, as may be selected, spaces be enclosed by other marks sufficiently large for the reception of the seconds and bottle-holders, to be entitled ‘the corners.’
Although by these rules the boxing ring was no longer circular, the term ‘ring’ was so ingrained in boxing vernacular that it remained after the ring became square, sometimes being referred to as the “squared circle.”