Records of boxing activity disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire but it resurfaced in England during the early 18th century in the form of bare-knuckle prizefighting. The first documented account of a bare-knuckle fight in England appeared in 1681 in the "London Protestant Mercury," and the first English bare-knuckle champion was James Figg in 1719. This is also the time when the word "boxing" first came to be used.
In the bare knuckle boxing of the 1800s, the guard had an extended lead arm with the arms held relatively low, with the knuckles facing downward, and the legs very straight, which was effective under the London Prize Ring Rules, which replaced the Broughton rules in 1838. Under the rules, some actions were illegal, such as butting, hitting a downed man, hitting below the belt, gouging, biting, kicking opponent's knees, and grabbing below the waist. A round in match ended whenever a person hit the canvas so rounds could be long and fights often went over 50 rounds. Various throws, such as the cross-buttock and back heel, were used when in close. The extended guard worked well under these rules and with the longer range the fighters used. Under the Broughton Rules, the hands of the guard were held a little higher than under the later London Prize Ring Rules and the legs had more spring in them.
Little is known about the guard used by fighters and fighting rules before the great English pugilist Jack Broughton, a student of James Figg, devised the Broughton Rules in 1743. Broughton also invented "mufflers" (padded gloves), which were used in training and exhibitions. Under the Broughton Rules, not much was considered illegal when compared to the London Prize Ring Rules so a higher guard and quicker stance was necessary. There were no limitations against butting, gouging, kicking, or hitting below the belt. The rules mostly just kept a boxing match from becoming a wrestling match.