The Marquess of Queensberry Rules are the modern amateur and professional boxing rules, developed in 1867 by John Graham Chambers and sponsored by John Sholto Douglas. They replaced the London Prize Ring rules and made professional boxing legal in England. The rules emphasize technique and skill and regulate the game and logistics of the fight, including the size of the ring, gloves, and footwear.
The Marquess of Queensberry Rules are the rules that govern the sport of boxing. The rules got their name because their author, British Amateur Athletic Club member John Graham Chambers, was sponsored by John Sholto Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry. The rules were published in 1867 and superseded the London Prize Ring rules, which were published in 1743. However, the first prize fight using the new Marquess of Queensberry rules did not take place until 1885.
These boxing rules are important not only because they are the modern amateur and professional rules, but also because before the rules were implemented, professional boxing was illegal in England. Before the Marquess of Queensberry Rules were developed, boxing was widely regarded as a sport of the lower classes in England. However, the new rules have made it more socially acceptable for members of the upper classes to enjoy the sport. Chambers’ rules emphasized technique and skill, whereas boxing under the older rules was notorious for brawls that occurred during and after matches.
The Marquess of Queensberry rules contain 12 separate rules but can be summarized as follows. The first thing to note is that the Marquis rules are essentially an addendum to the revised London Prize Rings. That is, where the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry are silent, the revised London Prize Rings must govern.
Most of the rules govern the game itself. Wrestling and hugging are not allowed. Only the two fighters, plus the neutral referee, are allowed into the ring during rounds which must last three minutes each, with a one-minute break. Fallen fighters, fighters on one knee and fighters hanging on the ropes have 10 seconds to get back on their feet otherwise the referee can call the fight in favor of the other fighter. If a fighter in one of these states is hit by the other, the fallen fighter will be declared the victor. If there is some unavoidable interference which makes completion of the bout impossible, the referee is required to name a place and time for a rematch unless the contesting parties agree to a draw.
In addition to the rules of the game, the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry also regulate some of the logistics of the fight. The fight will take place in a 24-foot square ring or something close to that size. The gloves must be new, of the proper fit and of the highest quality, and if that glove fails in any way, its replacement must satisfy the approval of the referee. The fighter’s footwear cannot contain springs.