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Benjamin Caunt (1814–1861) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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 ...

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Tom Cribb (1781–1848) by Douglas Guest, 1810–11 unknown collection; photograph Sotheby's Picture Library, London / National Portrait Gallery, London

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 ...

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James Figg (b. before 1700, d. 1734) by Jonathan Richardson the elder, 1714 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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

See Godfrey, Ambrose, the elder [known as Ambrose Godfrey Hanckwitz the elder]

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James Mace (1831–1910) by Reginald Haines, c. 1904 © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Mace, James [Jem] (1831–1910), pugilist, was born on 8 April 1831 at Beeston-next-Mileham, Norfolk, the son of William Mace (d. 1860), blacksmith, and his wife, Ann (née Rudd). As a boy he showed an aptitude for fisticuffs and violin playing and, although sent to a cabinet-maker to learn the trade, soon embarked on a vagabond life during which he put these talents to good use. While exhibiting his milling and musical abilities at fairs and race-meetings, he attracted the attention of celebrated middleweight ...

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Henry William Mallin (1892–1969) by unknown photographer, 1920 © PA Photos

Article

Mallin, Henry William [Harry] (1892–1969), boxer, was born on 1 June 1892 at 10 Bridport Place, Hoxton, London, the second child of William Henry Mallin (1860/61–1937), a journeyman glass beveller, and his wife, Caroline, née Haggith (1863–1941). By 1901 the family had moved to ...

Article

Marged ferch Ifan (bap. 1696, d. 1793), harpist and wrestler, was probably born in Beddgelert, Caernarvonshire, and baptized in the parish church on 10 May 1696, one of at least eleven children born to Ifan Powell and his wife, Elizabeth Hughes. She became known far beyond ...

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Frederick Percival Mills (1919–1965) by George Konig, 1948 Getty Images – George Konig

Article

Mills, Frederick Percival [Freddie] (1919–1965), boxer, was born on 26 June 1919 at 7 Terrace Road, the poorest street in Bournemouth, the youngest of the four children of Thomas James Mills, totter and marine store dealer, and his wife, Lottie Hilda (née...

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Sir Thomas Parkyns, second baronet (1664–1741) by unknown engraver, pubd 1713 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Thomas Seccombe

revised by Adrian N. Harvey

Parkyns, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1664–1741), writer on wrestling, was born at Bunny in Nottinghamshire; he was the second son of Sir Thomas Isham Parkyns (1639–1684), of Bunny, who became first baronet in 1681, and Anne, only daughter and heir of Thomas Cressey...

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Maker: unknown artist

Isaac Perrins (1750x5757–1801) by unknown artist [Left to right] Tom Johnson (c.1750-1797) and , at Banbury on 22 October 1789] Edgar Astaire Collection

Article

Perrins, Isaac (1750x57–1801), pugilist and mechanical engineer, of whom few early details are known, appears, unusually for a member of the eighteenth-century boxing fraternity, to have been well educated and, as various extant letters in copperplate handwriting show, certainly extremely literate.

Perrins's enduring fame in the prize ring rests primarily on his memorable bout with the celebrated ...

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William Thompson [Bendigo] (1811–1880) by Thomas Earl, 1850 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by Julian Lock

Thompson, William [known as Bendigo] (1811–1880), pugilist, was born at Nottingham on 11 October 1811, the youngest of the twenty-one children (according to some accounts) of Benjamin Thompson (d. c.1826), a mechanic in the lace industry, and his wife, Mary (1769–1851)...