Boxing (pugilism, prize fighting, the sweet science or in Greek pygmachia) is a martial art and combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, reflexes, and endurance by throwing punches at an opponent with the goal of a knockout with gloved hands.
Amateur boxing is an Olympic and Commonwealth sport and is a common fixture in most of the major international games - it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of one to three minute intervals called rounds. The result is decided when an opponent is deemed incapable to continue by a referee, is disqualified for breaking a rule, resigns by throwing in a towel, or is pronounced the winner or loser based on the judges' scorecards at the end of the contest.
The birth hour of boxing as a sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game as early as 688 BC. Boxing evolved from 16th and 18th century prizefights (detailed further down the page), largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid 19th century, again initially in Great Britain and later in the United States. In 2004, ESPN ranked boxing as the most difficult sport in the world.