The objective of the site is to document every professional boxer and boxing match from the instigation of the Queensberry Rules up to the present times. BoxRec publishes ratings for all active boxers and all time ratings. Since 2012 the site has hosted Barry Hugman's History of World Championship Boxing.
The site was founded by John Sheppard, an Englishman and former systems analyst for the National Coal Board. Sheppard had never attended a boxing bout until 1995 when he attended a "Prince" Naseem Hamed fight with Hamed's older brothers Riath and Nabeel. Sheppard had considered boxing to be a "barbaric and degrading" spectacle, stating "I sat there watching people punch each other in the head, wondering why they were doing it... I was sprayed with blood, getting more and more miserable." However, Sheppard later explained, "[D]uring Naseem's fight, something clicked in my head. The subtlety of what he was doing, the genius of it all, became obvious to me. It wasn't a disgusting spectacle anymore. It was art, and I found myself cheering."
Following Hamed's split with Frank Warren, Sheppard went to work for Hamed at "Prince Promotions" in 2000. Sheppard then began to compile record of active British boxers in an attempt to aid matchmaking of boxers and then decided to create a website which would store the records of all boxers. The site has grown so much that Sheppard has gone full-time since 2005. As of December 2008, on a typical day 50,000 visitors could view 700,000 pages with the record of 1,300,000 bouts in its database encompassing 17,000 active and 345,000 non-active fighters.
The website is updated by volunteer editors from many countries around the world. Each editor is assigned a country or in some instances, regions within countries and they maintain the records for boxers in that country or region. BoxRec also rates each active fighter by weight division.
This section needs to be updated.(March 2018)
BoxRec has been criticized for not keeping correct records for boxers, especially historic fighters. In 2005, BoxRec applied to become recognized as the official record keepers for the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). The ABC held interviews with both Fight Fax and BoxRec at their 2005 convention. Each applicant made a submission and presentation to the ABC panel which included state commissioners and attorneys. The panel then voted unanimously in favour to award Fight Fax the position. The ABC later revealed that they had undertaken tests to measure the accuracy of the records of the websites and the Fight Fax records were shown to be 100% accurate with BoxRec's was found "to be substantially lower". In 2016, the ABC voted to recognize Boxrec as an official record keeper alongside Fight Fax.
Boxing promoter J. Russell Peltz stated "very few things in life are one hundred percent. But I've come across some glaring errors at BoxRec, mostly in the historical records." ESPN's Dan Rafael noted that "so many people have a hand in BoxRec that the records aren't always accurate. Ricardo Mayorga's record has been wrong for years. There's a mistake on Derrick Gainer's record too."
When asked how important BoxRec was to him, boxing promoter Lou DiBella stated that "anyone in boxing who says he doesn't use BoxRec is either a complete imbecile or lying" and Bruce Trampler, the matchmaker for Top Rank, said that "short of actually being at a fight, they're the best source of information out there."
Boxing journalist Thomas Hauser also asked the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission Ron Scott Stevens what his thoughts were and Stevens was quoted as saying "Fight Fax is the mandated record-keeper for athletic commissions in the United States. But BoxRec does more than supplement Fight Fax. In many respects, it surpasses Fight Fax."
I'd love to get revenge over Carl Thompson, I know I have improved and made the adjustments required, but still I take a look at my record at BoxRec and I see this red blob there, that one loss there really does stick out at me.