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Boxing is one of the oldest sports and it was introduced in the Olympic Games in 688 BC. The boys' event was added in the Olympic games in 616 BC. Boxing was first mentioned in Homer's Iliad as one of the games held in honor of Patroclus. It was also mentioned in Odyssey, as part of the games held in the island of the Phaeaceans. According to Greek mythology, Apollo was the inventor of boxing.
The boxers wrapped their hands in stripes, called strophia or meilichae, in order to keep their wrists and knuckles steady. These were straps of soft ox-hide, which were greased or oiled in order to be soft. From the 4th century BC to the 2nd century BC, the boxers started wearing a glove made of leather straps that were wrapped beforehand, the oxeis himantes. Holds, blows to the genitalia and reinforcing the stripes with extra layers of leather were not allowed. The athlete that could withstand the blows and make his opponent quit the game or admit his defeat was declared winner.
Ancient vases with depictions of ancient Olympic sports are exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
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