Zombie Boxing

Look here, sir. I am a humanitarian and I think it crude and primitive to pit two humans against each other. No matter what rules you impose upon the contest, you are emulating gladiatorial bouts of old. People get hurt, sometimes die. Surely we are better than that?  
— Isaac T'Shano, Zombie Boxing promotor
    Sometimes called Zomboxing or Stiff-Fights, the practice comes in many variants with generally the same premise: undead are put in a cage or pit with each other to tear each other to pieces for the entertainment of the crowd. At first outlawed, most nations soon came around to exploiting the sport instead both for money and to subdue the populace with entertainment.      


  In its most simple incarnation, Zombie Boxing is straight-forward. Two undead are placed in an enclosure together and when the ring bells, ordered to fight. With no concern of injury or fouls, the battles can be spectacularly vicious and the more bloody, the better the crowd tends to like it. There are no rounds and few rules, but most matches last between five and fifteen minutes. A night of fights will have many fights lined up and simply keep going until the night is at an end or there are no more undead left to do the fighting.   The teams around the undead who fight are small and consist of a controller and a Nekrocanics.   The Controller is the one who issue command to the undead from the side of the ring, telling them when to duck and when to strike whenever the undead is not acting on its own accord. Controller like to claim that it is they who make the difference between victory and defeat, but it is questionable how much they actually affect the fight. More of then than not, they are merely the owner of the fighting dead.   Nekrocanics are what could be loosely called a ring-side physician and could less charitably be called zombie repairmen. They stew together ripped flesh, reattached limbs that have fallen off and so on.     The common form of Zombie Boxing see the zombies batter each other with their hands though biting is permitted and frequent. If a match runs on too long, it is customary to begin dumping more damaging implements into the ring for the undead to use at their controllers urging, such as hacking blades or baseball bats.      


  Even though Zombie Boxing is a new sport in itself, it has not taken long for variants to the basic concept to emerge with varying degrees of popularity.    

Man Versus Corpse

  The most common variant is to replace one of the fighters with an actual human. As the living tend to be quicker and more agile than the dead, these often become endurance matches with the undead becoming punching bags for the more skilled, living fighter to show off spectacular techniques and attacks on. On occasion, two or more undead will be set up to fight a living. Fatalities do happen, but the element of danger make it all the more popular.  
Ever since the Kelban Tournament, muzzled have been tightly attached to any Stiff put up to fight against a human.


  The matches known only as Chaos take places on much larger arenas, such as a football field. Teams of undead are thrown against each other, often with melee weapons and the carnage can be spectacular.    
There is no end to the ways that Necromancy has reinvented the world and sports is no exception. From Zombie Racing to Stiff Skeet-Shooting, the dead find their way into all manners of sports for the masses to enjoy.   Not all are quite so bloody and gruesome - but when you have a contestant whose health is no concern, many figure "why not?"

The Undead

  The stars of the show, the world has been transformed by the undead. There are more walking dead in the world than there are living, and they do everything from man factories to fill the trenches in the Long War. It didn't take long before someone thought to themself: but what if we made them box?   Read more about the Undead    
by 13th Gate Escape Room


  There could be no undead without Necromancy. Ever since magic was industrialized, what was once abominable has become everyday. It is no more strange to see a Nekrobiotek raise the dead than it is to see a man make a hammer for carpentry.   Read more about Necromancy    
Betting on Zombie Boxing is a common past-time even for those who can't make it to the matches themselves. While only few dead are notable enough to become names by themselves, the teams behind them can earn repute for having a particularly vicious stable of undead.

"Iron Dead"

  Some variants of the sport see the undead clad in crude armor to make them last longer even as they batter each other with all manner of weapons. In some cases, one armed and armored undead will be set to run the gauntlet of unarmed undead with the bet being 'how long will they make it'?    
Nekrobiotek are not particularly fond of the phrase "zombie". They always use the term undead, but if it smells like a zombie, walks like a zombie and moan like a zombie, many are content to give them a catchier name than "undead".

Cover image: by Alex Horley


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10 Dec, 2018 01:30

You're not wrong. This is going to be hard to outdo.   I really like this more concise format, it's nice and... dare I say... punchy?   What other crazy silly things do the dead get used for since they're so common?

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

10 Dec, 2018 21:39

There's absolutely some fun things there: like I mention at the bottom, zombie racing or zombie skeet-shooting... I might definitely write a few of those during WorldEmber :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
12 Dec, 2018 18:30

This is a brilliant article, beautifully presented. As always, Q, you're way ahead of the game.


Three Questions

1) Are there classes of fighters depending upon the sex, size, and general condition of the corpse?

2) Is there a "major league" of zomboxing which does a better job of commercializing the product? If it's just rounding up some zombies and watching them fight until they're all shredded, it doesn't seem like there would be a lot of profit in the sport. A brief sidebar talking about an epic fight between two "champions" would be great.

3) How do people feel about seeing dead relatives in the arena? It's one thing to have them sent off to war, but another thing entirely to go out for a night of entertainment and find yourself watching your dead brother get torn to pieces.


Sideways Observation

The government may resent that prime-quality undead are being "wasted" in this manner rather than patriotically going to the front lines to do their part for the war effort. Either you could have this be an underground sport or you could have politicians banging the table in front of the cameras and demanding that someone should do something about this senseless waste of prime cannon fodder.

Sideways thinker and hospitaller of the Inner Sanctum