Why are boxing rings square?



This is one that often features in my English classes – along with ‘why is pineapple called ananas or similar in almost all other languages but it is called pineapple in English?’

One of my students last week floated this theory:

Before when there was a fight there was no rope to separate the fighting area from the spectators so people naturally formed a circle around the fighters. This became known as a boxing ring. When they thought of putting ropes up to form a barrier it was impossible to make it in a circle so they made it in a square but kept the name. 

What do you think?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. My father was a boxing ‘second’ and taught me to box. We watched all the matches. That is not say my contribution is the only possibilty. I understand that the ‘father of boxing’, Jack Broughton referred to the small area in the middle of the fight area as the ring 1743. It was where the boxers stood together at the start of the match. The Marquis of Queensbury Rules state the fight is to take place in a 24 foot ring, no mention of round or square. The London Prize Ring Rules 1838 revised 1853, states the bouts were to be held in 24 foot square. We never had pineapple as a child so know nothing about its name.

Leave a Reply