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Anene Ejikeme

Nigerian world featherweight boxing champion, more popularly known as Hogan “Kid” Bassey, was born in the village of Ufok Ubet, Creek Town, Calabar, Nigeria, on 3 June 1932 He was one of five children born to his parents who were cultivators of modest means At the age of eleven Bassey moved to Lagos to live with a maternal aunt and to continue his education Sending a child often the eldest to live with a relative in a town or city with better educational opportunities and with the expectation that the child would later assume responsibility for parents siblings or other relatives was common practice It was in Lagos that Bassey encountered the sport of boxing As a youth he enjoyed school although he was not a great scholar sports however were his passion and he participated in soccer swimming running jumping and other athletics first at school then at ...

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Boxing  

Michael Ezra

Perhaps no sport has influenced African American culture and society more than boxing. Long before the sport was formalized, slaves worked as prizefighters, sometimes gaining their freedom if they earned their masters enough money and prestige through their exploits in the ring. The first American to compete for the world heavyweight championship was Bill Richmond, a black man and former slave, who took on and lost to England's Tom Cribb in 1805. The former slave Tom Molineaux, who gained his emancipation through pugilism, also challenged Cribb for the crown, losing bouts in 1810 and 1811. Long before their official participation in other professional sports, African Americans were making their mark in the prize ring.

Although boxing was the most popular spectator sport in the United States from the late 1840s until the Civil War blacks were excluded from the big money contests that captured the public ...

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Jane Poyner

Boxer and ex‐slave from Tennessee, United States, who made a number of trips to England to fight. Dobbs was born into slavery in Knoxville, Tennessee, and picked cotton until he was 15. A slight man, standing 5 feet 8½ inches and weighing just 9 stone 9 pounds, he trained as a lightweight and welterweight. During his illustrious career he fought over 1,000 matches, not retiring until he was 60. In 1898 he made his first trip to England, where, in an infamous fight with Dick Burge he was offered a bribe by a bookmaker of £100 a huge sum in those days to lose the fight He agreed to the deal and was provided with laxatives before the match but switched with a friend who bore some resemblance to him and who was willing to take the medication Dobbs won the match On the same trip he knocked out ...

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Charles Rosenberg

musician, primarily playing rhythm and blues on the piano, known professionally as “Champion Jack” Dupree, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His parents were killed when he was an infant, in a fire that burned their grocery store, and their names have never been established.

Dupree sometimes said that the fire had been set by the Ku Klux Klan. “All my life, from six years old” he later recalled, “I wanted to work and save up enough money and git enough ammunition and catch them in a meeting and spray them and let em spray me long as I could lay down dead in the field with a few of them I d be happy Norman p 130 Other times he said it was a spontaneous explosion Davis pp 52 53 a fire from an exploding kerosene container used for fueling lamps and the roof fell in Their names ...

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Anene Ejikeme

was born Amadou M’barick Fall, but was also known as Louis Fall. Best known as “Battling Siki,” he took the world light heavyweight boxing title in September 1922, becoming the first African ever to win a world boxing championship title. Just three years and three months later, Siki, aged twenty-eight, was found dead, lying facedown in a New York City street, with two gunshot wounds in the back.

Siki was born in Saint Louis one of Senegal s four communes Little is known of Siki s early life but what is certain is that Siki left Senegal for Europe in his youth although it is not known at what age There he took the name Louis although that may already have been one of his names as European names were not uncommon among Africans born in Senegal s communes Louis M barick and Amadou may each or all have ...

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Michael L. Krenn

boxer, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Little is known of Foster's life before he began boxing. Foster himself admitted that he got into numerous fights as a child and a high school student and was once taken to court for fracturing the skull of another young man with one punch. With few options open to him and a close scrape with the law motivating him, Foster signed up for the U.S. Air Force in 1957, shortly after graduating from high school.

Foster's tremendous punching power soon became evident to his air force commanders during informal inter- and intra-unit boxing matches, and they put him on the service's boxing team. For four years Foster traveled with the team all over the United States and the world. He engaged in well over one hundred fights, losing only three. In 1960 he won the light heavyweight title at the ...

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Jerome Teelucksingh

boxer, was born in the mill town of Atmore, Alabama, the youngest of eight children born to Annie Holyfield, who later moved with the family to Atlanta. Life was difficult for Annie, who bore the burdens of being a single parent and only possessed a grade-school education. She worked many hours to support her family and ensure that Evander and his siblings never felt deprived in the housing projects. One of Evander's brothers, Bernard Holyfield, became a well-known actor and dancer.

Holyfield s mother constantly reminded him that if he believed in God worked hard and never despaired he would be able to achieve anything he desired Despite his intense religious upbringing Holyfield never wanted to be a clergyman but aspired instead to be a football player for the NFL s Atlanta Falcons a fireman or a boxer It was his mother who introduced him when he ...

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Roy Doron

Nigerian boxer, second African to win a World Championship title and first to defend the title in Africa, was born Richard Ihetu on 14 August 1929, but he is better known by the name Dick Tiger. He was the third child of Ubuagu and Rebecca Ihetu, a prominent farming family in Amaigbo, who came from a long line of traditional Igbo wrestlers. As a youth, he worked in the Aba market selling bottles that he collected and monkeys that he, along with his brothers, would import from the Ogoni markets. He was prolific in sports but eventually settled on boxing, against his mother’s wishes; he trained at the Emy Boxing Club and occasionally fought at the British Army barracks in Aba. His unorthodox style, which he attributed to his lack of disciplined training, caused the British soldiers to nickname him “Tiger,” a name he kept.

Tiger began his professional ...

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Kate Tuttle

Known as Dick Tiger, Ihetu won boxing crowns as both a middleweight and a light-heavyweight. Born in Nigeria, little is known of his childhood, but records show he began his professional career in 1952, compiling a record of sixteen wins, one loss over the next four years. A strong counterpuncher, Ihetu was known for his left hook. In 1956 he moved to England, where his career at first faltered—he won five and lost four bouts in his first year there. But he soon regained his form, winning thirteen out of fifteen fights over the next two years, and becoming the British Commonwealth middleweight titleholder along the way.

Ihetu first fought in the United States in 1959, and by 1962 had won the World Boxing Association middleweight title by defeating American Gene Fullmer in fifteen rounds. He twice defended the title against Fullmer in 1963 fighting in Las ...

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Philip Nanton

Boxer born in St Kitts on 11 May 1798. Kendrick moved to London around 1811, trained under Bill Richmond, and boxed for public entertainment between the years 1819 and 1826. He was described as tall, bony, and athletic, weighing around 13 stone, and ever seeking a fight. On one occasion, when he criticized the methods of Bill Richmond, he and the American started a fist fight in the street. Later he baited Tom Molineaux, and, on another occasion, stood at the door of the Fives Court during a benefit, threatening ‘to mill all the “big ones” ’.

Kendrick's most impressive performance arose when he presented himself, uninvited, at a private sporting dinner in Westminster, on 11 May 1819 offering to fight any of the heroes present The dining table was cleared away and a purse of 25 guineas was put up for the fight ...

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Daniel Donaghy

boxing promoter. Donald King was born to Clarence King, a steelworker, and Hattie King, in Cleveland, Ohio. Don King's father died in 1941 in a steel foundry explosion. In spite of his father's premature death, or perhaps because of it, King sought a life for himself beyond the poor neighborhood in which he grew up. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer, and in order to pay for his education at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), he worked as a numbers runner for local illegal gamblers, transporting illegal betting slips to various bookies in the Cleveland area. Before long, King rose to become one of the city's leading bookmakers. He made more than enough to pay for college, but he quit school after one year to focus on a career in gambling.

King had many run ins with the law in his teens and early ...

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Nazneen Ahmed

The first recorded black boxer in Britain. Lashley fought Tom Treadaway, the brother of a celebrated fighter, Bill Treadaway, at Marylebone Fields on 13 June 1791 The match lasted 35 minutes and ended when Treadaway was knocked unconscious he never recovered from his injuries In match commentaries ...

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Michael Ezra

the longest-reigning heavyweight boxing champion in history. Born Joseph Louis Barrow on 13 May 1914 near the rural town of Lafayette, Alabama, in the Buckalew Mountains, Louis was the seventh of eight children born to Munrow and Lillie Reese Barrow. Munrow Barrow, a cotton sharecropper, left the family when Joe was two years old and was never seen by them again, leaving Lillie to work the land and raise the children alone until she married Patrick Brooks, who also sharecropped.

Tiring of scratching a meager living out of the land and enthralled by stories of prosperity and freedom in the North, Brooks moved the family to Detroit in 1926 settling in a black neighborhood on the east side Things were not much better there however as the Great Depression began to slow the nation s economy Brooks was laid off from his city job as a street ...

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Bob Greene

boxer, paratrooper, and prison guard, was born Theodore Adolphus Lowry in New Haven, Connecticut, the fourth and youngest child of James Wesley Lowry and Grace Editha Mathews. His father was born in what is now Beckley, West Virginia, whereas his mother was a native of Brunswick, Maine.

In a sixteen-year boxing career that was interrupted by World War II, Lowry became the only fighter to twice go the ten-round distance with Rocky Marciano, who was known for his knockout punch and who finished his career as the undefeated world heavyweight champion.

On 1 June 1946 in New Haven, Lowry married Marjorie Frances Parris, whose brother, Fred Parris, was the lead singer of the Five Satins and wrote the hit song “In The Still of the Night.” Ted and Marjorie had three sons: Wayne, Kenneth, and Kevin Ted married ...

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David Dabydeen

African‐American boxer who gained a significant reputation in England. Molineaux was born in Virginia and was the slave to a wealthy playboy who frequently used him in fights against other slaves. In one particular event Molineaux's master bet $100,000 that he would defeat another slave in a match and promised to grant him his freedom should he win. Molineaux won and left for England in 1803, where he met and subsequently trained under Bill Richmond, another African‐American boxer of consequence. Molineaux's first match in England was against Tom Blake, whom he knocked out in the eighth round. Richmond prepared Molineaux for his important fight against Tom Cribb, an opponent whom Richmond had never managed to defeat. In December 1810 the match between Cribb and Molineaux took place at Copthorne near East Grinstead and after 39 rounds Molineaux lost The fight was an especially trying one ...

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professional boxer and actor, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, to George Florence, a World War II veteran, and Ruth Norton, an activities director at a hospital, who would later marry John Norton a fireman and police dispatcher From an early age Norton excelled in sports which he claimed protected him from much of the racism that pervaded his hometown In high school Norton became a star in football baseball and track and field Although gifted intellectually Norton did only the work required of him and as a result did not do well in school However his athletic achievements led to scholarship offers from over ninety institutions Fearful of venturing too far from home Norton accepted a football scholarship from Northeast Missouri State University later Truman State University a teacher s college where he played basketball and football During his sophomore year Norton got into an argument ...

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Shivani Sivagurunathan

Blackboxer who fought and lived in Britain. Perry was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia. He initially served on a British man‐of‐war for four years and, after being discharged, turned to a career in boxing. His time on the man‐of‐war earned him the nickname John ‘the Black Sailor’ Perry. He arrived in London in 1845 after walking from Birmingham, having hoped to find a patron for his prizefighting along his journey. In London he met Johnny Broome, a former British lightweight champion. Broome trained Perry, and in the following year he faced his first professional opponent, Bill Burton Perry was an entertaining fighter not simply because he was physically impressive he was handsome 6 feet 1½ inches tall and weighed 212 pounds but also because he moved with skill and poise His style of milling was particularly striking where he would move around his opponent while balanced ...

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Kate Tuttle

The first African to win a world Boxing title, Louis Phal was a light heavyweight whose 1922 defeat of the French champion Georges Carpentier won him international fame and, later, the status of a legend. French West African–born Phal has been the subject of two novels and one documentary, yet very little is known of his early life. According to the African American cultural critic Gerald Early, the competing strains of myth and fable about Phal are a portrait in contradiction.

By some accounts an orphan adopted by a French soldier, Phal was depicted as an illiterate primitive by most of the Western press. One obituary in the African American newspaper the Chicago Defender, however claimed he knew seven languages He certainly spoke French having moved as a child to France where he served with distinction in the French army during World War I Known as an artless boxer ...

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David Dabydeen

African‐Americanboxer who settled in Britain and became the first black boxer of international repute. Richmond was born in Cuckold's Town near New York and was a servant to a British general based there who later became Lord Percy, the Duke of Northumberland. In 1777 Percy sent Richmond to Yorkshire to study, after which he became an apprentice to a cabinetmaker in York. He taught himself how to box and subsequently turned to prizefighting in London.

Richmond apparently created his own style of sidestepping and dodging the bull rushes of opponents. He was a formidable fighter despite his small physical structure. In 1805 he defeated two respected fighters the Jewish boxer Youssop and Jack Holmes otherwise known as Tom Tough and his reputation took off A major fight with Tom Cribb one of England s most feared boxers and a future national heavyweight champion saw an ignominious defeat ...

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Olympic champion boxer, was born in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, to Hays Sanders, a municipal garbage worker, and Eva Sanders, a homemaker. Sanders, the oldest male child of the family, was mature and physically strong, even at an early age. He and his friends exercised vigorously as children, collecting coffee cans and then filling them with cement and connecting them to steel bars to make weight sets. As Sanders grew during his teen years, he continued working on his strength and speed, becoming a star athlete in football (he played wide receiver) and track and field (specializing in the four-hundred-meter run) at Jordan High School in Watts.

After high school Sanders attended a nearby junior college in Compton California At Compton Junior College he continued to excel in football as both a wide receiver and end With the urging of a local coach he ...