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The sport of boxing came to the United States from England in the late 1700s and took root in the 1800s mainly in large urban areas such as Boston, New York City, and New Orleans.
While initially boxing was illegal many fighters and fights were held in secret to avoid arrest the sport soon found advocates in the late 19th century in the muscular Christianity movement, a religious sect that views sport as way of increasing moral and physical character.
After World War II television took on an important role in professional boxing. It was popular because of its relatively low production costs compared with other sports, professional boxing was a major feature of television programming throughout much of the 1950s and early 1960s.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Muhammad Ali became an iconic figure, transformed the role and image of the African American athlete in America by his embrace of racial pride, and transcended the sport by refusing to serve in the Vietnam War. In the 1980s and 1990s, major boxers such as Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe were marked by crime and self-destruction.
The Amateur Athletic Union of the United States was founded in 1888 and began its annual championships in boxing the same year. In 1926 the Chicago Tribune started a boxing competition called the Golden Gloves. The United States of America Amateur Boxing Federation (now USA Boxing), which governs American amateur boxing, was formed after Amateur Sports Act of 1978 enabled the governance of sports in the US by organizations other than the AAU. This act made each sport set up its own National governing body (NGB). Each of these governing bodies would be part of the United States Olympic Committee, but would not be run by the Committee.
An international organization for amateur boxing was began in 1946 known as the International Amateur Boxing Association. The development amateur scene of boxing has seen the United States as a world beater. The US played a important role in building a respected status for the sport and also popularising and making professional and amateur level boxing . The Olympic champions, the US has won 106 Olympic medals to date: 47 gold, 23 silver and 36 bronzes. Most heavyweight champions of this century originate from the United States.
The first recorded women's boxing match in the United States occurred in New York in 1888, when Hattie Leslie beat Alice Leary in a brutal fight.Barbara Buttrick was the first woman to appear on a televised boxing match.
In the 1990s, Women's boxing had a brief period of popularity due to likes of Christy Martin and Laila Ali. But early into 2000's, the sport fell back to relative obscurity due to lack of promotion, television exposure and poor matchmaking. Many female professional boxers in the United States struggle to make a viable living due to lack of finical opportunities and promotional opportunities. In 2012, interest in women's boxing was revived when women where allowed to compete in boxing at the Olympic games for the first time.
It has since lost out popularity to Women's MMA due to better financial opportunities from organistation such as the UFC.
Boxing used to a popular staple viewing on American television due to its low costs and production values and was broadcast on all the major networks. Since the 1970s is mostly broadcast on PPV channels like HBO.Showtime is another major network that broadcasts boxing the United States.
Since the late 1990s boxing, has declined in popularity for a myriad of factors such as more sports entertainment options and combat alternatives such as MMA's UFC amongst a younger demographic. Lack of mainstream coverage in newspapers and access on major television networks. Also the lack of a US Heavyweight world champion.
It was hoped in 2015 that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight would re-invigorate interest in the sport in the United States but because the fight was disappointing it was perceived as doing further harm to the image of the sport in the United States.