Complexity Analysis in the Sport of Boxing

A general model of the complexity of the sport of boxing has yet to be produced exploring the match play that goes on between combatants. The sport has a long history that dates back to the eighth century before common era (BCE) to the time of ancient Greece. Also known as the ‘sweet science’, most research work has legitimately focused on the combat sport’s long-term health affects concerning brain trauma. This present study seeks to explore the complexity of the sport by utilizing a data set of welterweights (63.5–67 kg). This data set was used to build a contact network with the boxers as nodes and the actual fights as the links. Additionally a PageRank algorithm was used to rank the boxers from the contact network. Devon Alexander was calculated as the top welterweight from data set. This was compared with the rankings of the sport’s notoriously corrupt sanctioning bodies, journalistic rankings, and a more standard non-network based ranking system. The network visualization displayed features typical of many others seen in the literature. A closer look was taken on several of the boxers by the visualization technique known as the rank clock. This allowed for the boxer’s rank history to be tracked and allowed for insight on their career trajectory. Timothy Bradley and Vyacheslav Senchenko had rank clocks that displayed them to be the most consistent boxers in the 2004–2014 decade. These research findings supply further confirmation of value of the network based approach in athletic match play.