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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 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

He was said to have had a very abusive father, although it is difficult to ascertain any clear information about his early life. Dhlamini attended a Catholic mission primary school for several years, before leaving his father’s farm in 1935 to make a living in the city of Durban. Dhlamini worked briefly as a gardener, but then headed for the larger city of Johannesburg. It was there that he developed a reputation for his athleticism. He originally had joined a Durban soccer team that had traveled to play in Johannesburg, but decided to stay.

Dhlamini soon became a feared figure in Johannesburg s notorious underworld of criminal gangs Many stories purport to tell the tale of how he became a boxer In one account he supposedly laughed when he first entered a boxing gym because the fighters were wearing cushions gloves rather than sparring bare handed He then mocked the ...

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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 ...

Article

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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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 ...

Article

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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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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Sport  

Ellis Cashmore

Blacks' involvement in British sport dates back to the late 18th century, when black prizefighters astonished spectators with their prowess. That prowess remained a source of fascination for over 200 years, prompting explanations that were often based on, and indeed provided momentum for, racist theories.

1.After the first battle ...

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Teófilo Stevenson, along with champions Roberto Balado and Félix Savón, received training from Cuban national coach Alcides Sagarra. Stevenson fought in the heavyweight class (known as super heavyweight since 1981) and was undefeated in twelve career matches at three consecutive Summer Olympic Games. At his first Olympics, the 1972 games in Munich, West Germany, Stevenson dominated the heavyweight field, winning three matches before gaining the Olympic gold medal when his opponent, United States fighter Duane Bobick, defaulted in the final round because of injury. Stevenson received several lucrative offers to turn professional after his 1972 success, but he chose to remain in Cuba to box as an amateur and to represent his country in international competition. Because of his skills he was widely compared to American boxers Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman Stevenson almost had the opportunity to fight Ali in ...

Article

Phil Vasili

Footballer and soldier born on 28 April 1888 in Folkestone, Kent. From 24 February 1898 he lived at the Children's Home and Orphanage in Bonner Road, Bethnal Green, London. In 1908–9 he came to public prominence playing for Clapton Football Club: ‘catch of the season’ (Football Star, 20 March 1909). The following season he made his first team debut for Tottenham Hotspur in their inaugural game in the first division: ‘Tull is very good indeed’ (Daily Chronicle, 13 September 1909).

He had much to contend against on account of his colour commented one contemporary anonymous journalist Yet Tull is so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men who play football Mysteriously at the end of the following season he was transferred to Northampton Town playing over 110 matches before enlisting in the Footballers Battalion Middlesex Regiment in ...

Article

Kenny Jervis

The first black British boxer to win a world title. Born in Leamington Spa in the Midlands, Turpin was the last of five children. His father, Lionel, originated from British Guiana, and, after fighting in the First World War, had settled in Britain. Less than a year after Turpin's birth his father suddenly died, leaving Beatrice Turpin a widow and single mother. Struggling to survive, she later remarried and settled in Warwick, where Turpin spent his formative years.

Influenced by his brother Dick, he began boxing in the early 1940s, as did Jack, the second eldest. Although potential title contenders, the British Boxing Board of Control stated that non‐Whites could not compete for championship belts. The Turpins' reputation in the boxing world later became instrumental in the lifting of this ban in January 1948 Shortly after Dick Turpin became the first black fighter to win a British title paving ...