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Why is a boxing ring square?

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A box is usually square in shape. A ring is round. But a boxing ring is square! Why?

Boxing, also called pugilism, has millennia-old roots. The sport has evolved over the years, but despite its playing field changing from a round to a square shape, the word "ring" has stuck around.

It used to be that a boxing match was just a physical fight between two people. "Ring" might have described the shape that people formed as they gathered to watch the fight. Each person would get a similar view of the action this way. In later years, a circle was often drawn on the ground to mark the boxing area's boundaries.

In 1743, a bare-knuckle fighter named Jack Broughton came up with the first set of modern boxing rules. But it would be almost 100 years before the boxing ring became a "squared circle." When the Pugilistic Society revised the rules in 1838, they also built the first square boxing ring and it has been used ever since.

So why didn't the Pugilistic Society stick with tradition and make the boxing ring round? It's most likely because squares are easier to construct than circles. Squares are more sturdy and provide better flexibility and support. Try it yourself! Which is easier to draw or build, a square or a circle?

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