Boxing guide - London 2012 Olympic Games

Boxing Guide - London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - Time Out London

Photograph: Boxing via Shutterstock

Converted: The boxing hotbed of the East End is a fitting setting for this amateur fighting showpiece where stars of the future, from Clay to Khan, are made.

Confused: Beefcakes being nasty to each other in a tasteless attempt to become famous - and that’s just the women.

RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides

Boxing - The essential guide

Street cred: An Olympic discipline that stays true to its amateur roots; some gold medalists end up on pay-per-view in Vegas and never return, while others remain in the day job and keep going for gold.

Who’s good? Italy and Cuba are among those leading the hunt for men’s medals while Ireland and India have some mean-looking ladies.

The basics: You can win by knockout or points, which are gained for every punch landed on an opponent’s head or body.

Athlete to watch: Ireland’s lightweight gold medal contender Katie Taylor also plays for the country’s national football team and has won more than 50 caps.

Almost useless fact: Boxing in the ancient Olympic Games was brutal and sometimes to the death – although killing your opponent was a bad move because the dead boxer would automatically be declared the winner.

As seen in: From ‘On the Waterfront’ to ‘The Fighter’, boxing is the exception to the rule that sports movies are lame. In literature, Norman Mailer's 'The Fight' and FX Toole’s short story collection ‘Rope Burns’ are among the must-reads.

Do say: ‘The inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics is long overdue.’

Don't say: ‘Hey, he just hit a girl! Oh, they’re both girls.’