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Angelo, Domenico [formerly Angiolo Domenico Maria Tremamondo] (1717–1802), fencing master, was born on 6 February 1717 in the Italian seaport of Leghorn, the eldest of six brothers, sons of Giovanni Tremamondo, a merchant from Leghorn, and his wife, Catrina Angiola, née Malevolti...

Article

Bassey, Okon Asuguo [known as Hogan Bassey, Hogan Kid Bassey] (1932–1998), boxer and sports administrator, was born in Creek Town, Calabar, Nigeria, on 3 June 1932, the eldest of five sons of Chief Asuquo Bassey. He was educated at Creek Town School, Calabar...

Article

Thomas Seccombe

revised by Dennis Brailsford

Belcher, James [Jim, Jem] (1781–1811), prize-fighter, was born at his parents' house near St James's churchyard, Bristol, on 15 April 1781. His mother was a daughter of John Slack (c. 1721–1768), the noted pugilist, who defeated John Broughton in April 1750. Jim (or Jem) Belcher...

Article

Broughton, John (c. 1703–1789), pugilist, was born of unknown parents, probably in London, although claims have been made for Baunton in Gloucestershire. He was apprenticed rather late in life (31 May 1723) to John Martin, a Thames waterman, and assigned the same day to the latter's brother ...

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by Dennis Brailsford

Cann, Abraham (bap. 1794, d. 1864), wrestler, the son of Robert Cann, a farmer and a wrestler in Devon, and his wife, Mary, was baptized at Colebrooke, near Crediton, Devon, on 2 December 1794. Having inherited from his father a love of sport, he soon defeated ...

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by Julian Lock

Caunt, Benjamin (1814–1861), pugilist, was born in the village of Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire, on 22 March 1814 (some sources give 1815), the son of Robert Caunt, a labourer, and his wife, Martha. He was baptized on 15 May 1814. His father, a tenant of ...

Article

Cooke, Sir (Ernest George) Stenson (1874–1942), secretary of the Automobile Association and fencer, was born Ernest George Cooke at 9 Shrubland Road, Haggerstone, London, on 5 October 1874, the second of the three children of Silas Cooke (1850–1925), a clerk who worked in a stationer's business and who later became a dealer in wine, and his wife, ...

Article

Cooper, Sir Henry (1934–2011), boxer, was born on 3 May 1934 at the Lying-In Hospital, York Road, Lambeth, London, the elder identical twin and second of three sons of Henry William Cooper, tram conductor, and his wife, Lily, née Nutkins. At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...

Article

Crabtree, Shirley [performing name Big Daddy] (1930–1997), wrestler, was born on 14 November 1930 at St Luke's Maternity Home, Halifax, one of at least three sons of Shirley Crabtree, a stonemason's labourer, and his wife, Marian (née Briggs). His father's mother was a music-hall actress and apparently named her child after the eponymous heroine of the ...

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by Julian Lock

Cribb, Tom (1781–1848), pugilist, was born at Hanham in the parish of Bitton, Gloucestershire, on 8 July 1781, the son of Thomas and Hannah Cribb (he had three brothers and three sisters). He moved to London at the age of thirteen and worked as a bellhanger, then became a porter at the public wharves, and was afterwards a sailor. From the fact of his having worked as a coal porter he became known as the ...

Article

Dupree, William Thomas [known as Champion Jack Dupree] (1909–1992), boxer and blues pianist, claimed in official documentation to have been born on 4 July 1909 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, the son of George Dupree and his wife Georgiana, née Washington, whose plantation names revealed their slave ancestry. His father was reputedly of part Congolese and his mother of part Cherokee Indian descent. Other sources have cited both earlier and later variations of his date of birth. The uncertainty derives in part from a lack of definitive evidence and possibly also ...

Article

Farr, Thomas George [Tommy] (1913–1986), boxer, was born on 12 March 1913 at 3 Railway Terrace, Blaenclydach, Rhondda, the sixth of eight children (four sons and four daughters) of George Farr, miner, and his wife, Sarah Ann Owen. Farr's mother died when he was ten, and his father was soon afterwards struck with paralysis, dying a few years later. ...

Article

Figg, James (b. before 1700, d. 1734), prize-fighter, was born in Thame, Oxfordshire, of unknown parents. Little is known of his early life but by 1714 he was living in London and a scholar of the renowned master of the noble science of defence, ...

Article

Gorman, Bartholomew [Bartley] (1944–2002), pugilist and Gypsy leader, was born on 1 March 1944 in a barrel-top wagon at Home Farm, Giltbrook, Nottinghamshire, the eldest of the three sons of Samuel Gorman, a scrap iron and rag dealer of Irish descent, and his wife, ...

Article

Gully, John (1783–1863), prize-fighter, racehorse owner, and politician, was born on 21 August 1783 at The Crown inn, Wick, near Bristol, where his father was the landlord. During Gully's boyhood, the family moved to Bath, where his father became a butcher, and he was brought up to his father's trade. After his father's death the business gradually declined, and at the age of twenty-one ...

Article

Hackenschmidt, George (1877–1968), wrestler and philosopher, was born on 20 July 1877 at Dorpat, Estonia (then part of the Russian empire). Little is known about his parents, other than that his father was a dyer, and despite his Germanic-sounding name, was of Swedish origin. ...

Article

Haig, Dame Mary Alison Glen [née Mary Alison James] (1918–2014), fencer and sports official, was born on 12 July 1918 at 10 Alma Road, Islington, London, the only child of Captain William Charles James (1883–1955), an officer in the ...

Article

Hamilton, Douglas Douglas-, fourteenth duke of Hamilton and eleventh duke of Brandon (1903–1973), boxer, aviator, and politician, was born on 3 February 1903, the eldest of the seven children of Alfred Douglas-Hamilton, thirteenth duke of Hamilton (1862–1940), and his wife, Nina Mary Benita Douglas-Hamilton, ...

Article

Humphries, Richard (c. 1760–1827), prize-fighter, often called the Gentleman Boxer, was probably the son of an army officer who, during his son's boyhood, became destitute on discharge. Humphries appeared as a young boxing instructor at rooms in Panton Street, Haymarket, London, and gained rapid popularity, particularly among upper-class sportsmen, impressing with his fine physique, his elegant boxing style, and—not common among the fistic professors—his polished manners. At first he skirted the edges of the prize-ring, acting as second to the champion, ...

Article

A. F. Sieveking

revised by Julian Lock

Hutton, Alfred (1839–1910), swordsman, born at Beverley, Yorkshire, on 10 March 1839, was eleventh and youngest child and seventh son of Henry William Hutton (1787–1848) of Walker Gate, Beverley, captain in the 4th (Royal Irish) dragoon guards (retired 1811). His mother was Marianne (...