Boxing Roman Style
African boxers, terracota c. 100 BC
One danger in discussing Roman history is that it's easy to romanticize* the way in which they lived. The sheer bloodthirstiness of the Roman mob is hard to comprehend from a distance of more than 1600 years, and they didn't even have the modern excuse that "at least it isn't real" to fall back on. On the contary, they much preferred their violence verisimilis.
*Talk about a fortuitous choice of words!