Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bruising n.

[SE bruise + sfx -ing]

boxing; thus any form of fighting with the fists; also attrib.; thus bruising match/battle, a boxing fight; bruising shop, a boxers’ training gym.

[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 745: The combatants were, in point of strength and agility, pretty equally matched; but the jailer had been regularly trained to the art of bruising.
[UK]Eve. Mail (London) 17 Feb. 1/4: The left eye is completely black, and the deceased exhibited altogether the appearance of one who has been engaged in a brusing match.
[UK]Morn. Advertiser (London) 12 Feb. 3/2: A bruising match between a shoe-maker [...] and a waggoner [...] took place on Saturday.
[UK]Chester Courant 28 May 3/4: On Tuesday the bruising-match [...] between Molineaux, the black, and Rimmer, was fought with all the savage brutality that makes such meetings.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 20 Aug. 4/6: The sum of money, which [...] he had not acquired by honest means, but by some unlawful gaming upon the bruising match.
[UK]Westmorland Gaz. 4 June 4/4: The lower orders and swell blacklegs of England are wont to assemble at a bruising match.
[UK]Preston Chron. 11 Nov. 2/5: A bruising match, for £100, took place near Andover.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes I 101: At that time the Sunday newspapers contained many and many exciting reports of boxing matches. Bruising was considered a fine manly old English custom.
[UK]Thackeray Adventures of Philip (1899) 536: Mugford always persisted that he could have got the better of his great hulking sub-editor, who did not know the use of his fists. In Mugford’s youthful time, bruising was a fashionable art.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Oct. 4/2: There was a little bruising match [...] the next day, and proceedings at law are talked of.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Mar. 24/2: Interprovincial bruising-battle between heavyweights, Ted Sullivan [...] and Tim Nolan [...] occurred at Golden Gate [...]. Neither is a champion.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 May 24/2: If a referee at a bruising match were treated in this way they’d be a howl throughout the land.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Sept. 26/2: Joe’s pub. and bruising-shop have apparently gone where all his other possessions went – up the gargoyle.