‘Ireland’ and ‘boxing’ are two terms you often hear together; a proud nation or fighting people, subjugated to the colonial rule of the British, the ability to defend oneself and stand one’s ground was a necessary trait.
Fight sports have a long history in Ireland, but in 1911 the Irish Athletic Boxing Association was formed, and 13 years later the first Irish boxers entered the 8th Summer Olympics – more than 2,500 years after the first Olympics boxing bouts.
The Role of Betting in Boxing
The roots of modern-day boxing can be traced back to ancient Greece, but the clearest link, and most familiar form of boxing, begins in the 19th century with Marquess of Queensberry rules.
Before this, London Prize Fighting was a popular form, and large sums of money were bet on this bare-knuckle incarnation of the sport. However, the rules, whilst being relatively strict and codified, often left room for questionable betting practices.
When the Queensberry rules were introduced in 1867, the confidence of bettors was renewed. In addition to this, the introduction of the ‘fair sized’ boxing glove meant new forms of play developed – defensive manoeuvres grew greatly in importance – which in turn lead to developments in the forms of bet.
Whilst these rules are still followed in contemporary boxing, the sport saw a decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many nations considered the sport to be illegal, mostly due to middle-class sensibilities. However, the black market of illegal bets was as strong as ever.
With the introduction of the 10-point scoring system in 1968, boxing betting became much more sophisticated. Today we see some of the largest sports bets and purses in the history of all sports.
The Greatest Bet
One of the largest sports bets involving an Irish fighter was placed in 2017, on the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. The bettor placed more than $1.2 million on Mayweather to beat the Irishman.
The William Hill Nevada sportsbook took the bet at -500 odds, which paid out a massive $240,000!
The fight was McGregor’s first foray into professional boxing. During his first-ever fight, he fought the world’s greatest fighter. Nevertheless, the charismatic UFC fighter managed to land the second-most pay-per-view sales of any fight in history, coming second to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in 2015.
The New Platforms for Betting in Irish Boxing
The largest Irish boxing bet tells us something important about trends in boxing betting. Betting takes place online these days – there’s no doubt about it.
Most boxing betting occurs online, through large sportsbook sites. These sites, thanks to their size, offer complex markets full of different bet varieties. In addition to this, these sites offer convenience and ease – anyone can bet on anything within a few minutes browsing on their phones.
Boxing and betting grew side by side until both were made illegal and outlawed around the early 20th century. After that, and until online betting, if you wanted to place a wager, you’d have to go to a casino Ireland bookmaker and place your bet. However, now, that’s a thing of the past – all betting is online, even the bank-breaking million dollars bets on Conor McGregor.
All in all, boxing and betting have come a long way – and now YouTube boxing bouts are popular, who knows where they’ll go next.