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‘What About the Beard in Boxing?’
And Does it Play a Significant Role in Other Forms of Combat: Manny Soprano in the Crackpot Mailbox
Gloved Boxing
In gloved boxing the beard is banned in the Olympic sport, represented by USABOXING in the U.S. with the cited cause the chance that a coarse hair could, in the clinch, end up in a boxer’s eye. In 2002 one of my fighters had to shave his short go-tee off before he could fight.
In pro boxing, it has been noted that a thick beard can pad a chin and fighters have, in some states, been made to shave or trim the beard to less than an inch thick.
Bareknuckle Boxing
In bare-knuckle boxing the beard helps prevent cuts to the chin and offers some padding. I have found that 2 inches of beard does lessen the impact of knuckles and palm on jaw significantly.
Ancient Combat
In ancient boxing the beard was a light protection against leather hand straps and a store of moisture in a sport that had no between round breaks. The beard, along with the hair, also served as a padded liner for the full-faced helmet.
Medieval Combat
There is evidence of the beard as both a handle for grabbing an opponent while he is being stabbed and as padding for a mail coif. Note that any metal ring or plate armor is more effective when an interior cushion is present.
Modern Combat
A friend of a friend was attacked by a half-dozen ebon warriors behind the Hubcap bar in Northeast Baltimore and as he stomped one another slashed his throat. This man was saved by his very thick beard from having his neck artery and windpipe opened.
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