"So we circled about, with terrors and scruples, like fighters not daring to close"
19th century boxing stance
Public Domain19th century boxing stance - Credit: Currier & Ives

Boxing stances of the 19th century differed from those employed in the modern sport. Whilst today fighters will guard themselves by keeping their arms bent close to their bodies, their forebears kept their arms extended at a little over waist-height with the palms facing upwards. They advanced with small, shuffling motions and attacked with straight punches thrown from a vertical fist, using the bottom three knuckles to connect with the opponent. 

 

Watch footage from a 1894 boxing match: