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John Sholto Douglas Queensberry, 8th marquess of

Queensberry, John Sholto Douglas, 8th marquess of, 1844–1900, British nobleman, originator of the code of rules that governs modern boxing. He served in the British army and navy and later was a member of (1872–80) the House of Lords as representative peer from Scotland. He is famous for drafting (1865), with the aid of John G. Chambers, the Queensberry rules for the sport of boxing. This code of rules, superseding the London prize-ring rules that had been introduced (1743) by Jack Broughton, contained the basic provisions that govern boxing today. The rules were gradually adopted in both Britain and the United States and by 1889 they were standardized. In 1895, objecting to the liaison between his son, Lord Alfred Douglas, and Oscar Wilde, Queensberry left an insulting letter to Wilde in a public place and was sued for libel by the writer. In this libel suit, which Wilde dropped, information was brought to light that led to the conviction of Wilde for immoral conduct.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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