Amateur boxing made its entrance in the UK & Ireland in the latter half of the 19th century. Seen as a more technical and safer form of boxing, it became popular in schools, in universities, and in the armed forces. It was an Olympic sport by 1904.

In this variant of boxing, competitors wear gloves with a white stripe across the knuckle, and headguards, and they fight a restricted number of rounds, Nowadays, men normally fight 3 rounds, each of a duration of 3 minutes. Women box 4 rounds, each of 2 minutes.

A competitor scores by landing a punch on the middle of his/her opponent’s head, or on the torso (above the belt). The judges do the scoring, while the referee concentrates on ensuring that only legal blows are deployed, and prevent the use of holding. Referees will also stop the bout in the event of injury, or a serious imbalance between the boxers.

Male amateur boxers box at a range of weights: 48kg; 51kg; 54kg; 57kg; 60kg; 64kg; 69kg; 75kg; 81kg; 91kg; 91+kg. Females at: 46kg; 48kg; 51kg; 54kg; 57kg; 60kg; 64kg; 69kg; 75kg; 81kg; 81+kg.

Since 1941, the International Amateur Boxing Association has been responsible for the global game. Within Ireland the Irish Amateur Boxing Association is responsible for the ultimate preparation of the elite athletes for Olympic Games.

The 2012 London Olympics seen women boxing for the first time, at three weights: 51kg; 60kg; 75kg.

Amateur boxing in the 21st century is a vibrant, healthy and safe sport that is attracting more and more converts, as participants and as supporters. It delivers as a competitive activity; it is a great fitness sport; and as being accessible to all, it has a major role to play in helping build community cohesion. It has a past to be proud of, and a great future to look forward to.