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The Marquess of Queensberry Rules

The Marquess of Queensberry Rules


The Marquess of Queensberry rules, often referred to as “Queensberry rules”   is the code of accepted rules that currently govern the sport of boxing all over the world.  They were written by John Graham Chambers, and published in 1867, however,  John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry was the first publicly endorse the code, which is why they took the name “Marquess of Queensberry”. Although published in 1867, fights were held under the London Prize Ring Rules for many years to come.  In fact, the last heavyweight championship bout held under London rules wasn’t until 1889, when John L. Sullivan beat a game Jake Kilrain in 75 rounds to defend his heavyweight championship. The Queensberry rules were the first set of rules to mention gloves in boxing, and were intended for use in both professional and amateur boxing matches, thus separating them in type from the less popular American Fair Play Rules that would be published in 1888, which at the time, were strictly intended for amateur matches.  Before the Queensberry rules were published, boxing had operated under Jack Broughton’s original London Prize Ring rules of 1743, which were revised once in 1853,  and later edited and replaced by the third version of the London Prize Ring Rules published in 1838.     All of the rule sets, previous to the Queensberry rules, were more ruthless so to say. The United States started using the Queensberry rules in 1889, and continue to operate under them in the present day.



The Marquess of Queensberry rules are as follows:


  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 (clinching) 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 favor 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 sprigs be allowed.
  12. The contest in all other respects to be governed by revised.