Many of the early physique stars aspired to emulate the classical lines of the Greek and Roman statues.
Here’s a great example, The Boxer of Quirinal, a Hellenistic Greek sculpture from the first century BC. This famous work of art shows an ancient warrior seated, likely resting after a match. This fellow certainly earned his bread, with scars and bruises inlaid with copper adding to the detail. Also of note is the Cestus, which are the leather wraps covering the knuckles of each hand. These were more for increasing knockout power than protection.