Perhaps, people had used their fists to settle disputes for many centuries before anyone thought about the organization of such meetings for the entertainment of others. There is evidence relating to 4000 BC, showing the spread of the sport across the valley of the Nile and Egypt. Boxing began its existence at around 1500 BC on the island of Crete. In 688 BC it was first included in the program of the ancient Olympic Games. In ancient Rome, there were two kinds of boxing: boxing for sport and gladiator boxing. Ancient Rus was famous for fist fights "wall on wall".
Boxing used to be different in those times: it didn't mean powerful knockout punches and good defense. It became like this only in the 20th century. In the old days, English fighters used bare fists without gloves. Boxers resorted to wrestling tactics, they threw each other on the ground, and the contestants had the same level of physical training as the sportsmen have nowadays and the fights used to end very quickly and they were usually accompanied by terrible injuries. On the other hand, the matches always lasted for a very long period of time. In most cases, they ended because one of the contestants was rather exhausted than defeated.
It might seem incredible, but the explanation is pretty simple: their hands bandaged, boxers could not apply their blows at full strength. One of the basic rules of the "old heads" was not to parry or evade the blow, but to receive it onto some bony area of the face or the head so that the enemy would injure his fists.