The Fight Between Bill Richmond And Tom Cribb Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper

The Fight Between Bill Richmond And Tom Cribb Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper

The fight between Bill Richmond and Tom Cribb, Famous Fights Past and Present Newspaper (16 pages) Vol III - No. 96.

8th October 1805, Hailsham, Sussex, England.
Cribb and Richmond’s mutually counter punching styles resulted in a dull bout that Cribb won easily. The disappointing spectacle solidified a grudge between the men, which probably originated after Cribb dropped Richmond as his second after an earlier two fight association; it was a rift that would last years.


*The Life and Adventures of Bill Richmond, the Celebrated Black.
His Great Fight With Tom Cribb.
Part II.

*The American Style of Boxing.

*Splendid Fight in Squire Beaumont's Park between Joe Berks and Dick Deplige.
Christmas Sport In the Good Old Days.


*The Remarkable Battle between Bill Looney and Will Fisher.


*Chats with an Old Pugilist.--No. 3.
How Murphy the Fighter Turned Farmer.

*Leaves from our Note Book.

*Our Portrait Gallery of Present Day Pugilists.
Jack Palmer, of Benwell.

Famous Fights-Past and Present was a weekly sporting newspaper published out of London, England, from March 4, 1901 to 1904, and edited by Harold Furniss. There were a total of 156 issues of a "Police Budget" edition of the newspaper, 16 pages in each. There was also the Shurey's Edition which had 24 pages, with contents reordered.

The newspaper covered the history of bare knuckle boxing, with rare inclusions of gloved fights. It also had a regular section on leading gloved boxers of early 20th century, called "Our portrait gallery of present day pugilists."

Although Harold Furniss is listed as the editor, he couldn't have been the author of the majority of the articles (Furniss was born in 1856, while the lead author mentioned that he had been nineteen years old in 1853). Based on research by John Adcock in Yesterday's Papers, one of the authors was Joseph Frank Bradley, later the editor of The Mirror of Life and Boxing World. Bradley was born in September 1857, so he doesn't fit the details given out by the lead author. Another contributor was W. Willmott Dixon (author of several books, under the pen name Thormanby). He was born on December 17, 1843, so his age doesn't fit the age of the lead author either. In March 1907, the Sporting Life mentioned J. W. Butler as being connected with the Famous Fights.

Many of the stories had previously appeared (albeit shorter and without drawings) in The Illustrated Police Budget, another London weekly newspaper, under the title of "Records of the ring. By an Old-time Sportsman." The last issue of the Famous Fights contained an announcement that the prize fights recollections would be continued in the Illustrated Police Budget, starting with Bishop Sharpe-Bob Hall bout.

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Bill Richmond (August 5, 1763 – December 28, 1829) was a British boxer, born a slave in Richmondtown, Staten Island, New York. Although born in British America, Richmond lived for the majority of his life in England, where all his boxing contests took place. Richmond went to England in 1777, where he had his education paid for. He then apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in York.

In the early 1790s, Richmond married a local white English woman; her name was probably Mary Dunwick, in a marriage recorded in Wakefield on 29 June 1791. Richmond and his wife had several children.

According to boxing writer Pierce Egan, the well dressed, literate and self confident Richmond was a target for race hatred in Yorkshire. Egan described several brawls involving Richmond because of insults. One brawl occurred after someone labeled Richmond a 'black devil' for being with a white woman—probably a reference to Richmond's wife.

According to Egan, Richmond fought and won five boxing matches in Yorkshire, defeating George 'Dockey' Moore, two unnamed soldiers, one unnamed blacksmith and Frank Myers.

By 1795, Richmond and his family had moved to London. He became an employee and household member of Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford, a British peer and naval officer. A boxing enthusiast, Pitt may have received boxing and gymnastic instruction from Richmond. Pitt and Richmond visited several prize fights together.

Boxing Career
Richmond versus Maddox
On 23 January 1804, Pitt and Richmond attended a boxing match featuring experienced boxer George Maddox. After Maddox won the bout, Richmond spontaneously challenged Maddox to a fight, which Maddox accepted. When the fight took place, Maddox defeated Richmond in nine rounds.

After Pitt's death in a duel on 11 March 1804, Richmond left the household and returned to boxing. Richmond began training and seconding other fighters and was soon a regular attendee at the Fives Court, London's leading pugilistic exhibition venue on St Martin's Street in Westminster.

Richmond versus Cribb
By 1805 Richmond had defeated the Jewish boxer Youssop and Jack Holmes. These wins gave Richmond the opportunity to challenge the famous Tom Cribb to a fight. During the bout, Cribb and Richmond's counter punching styles resulted in what observers considered a "dull bout". Cribb won, leaving Richmond in tears. The contest solidified a grudge between the two men that would last years.

Richmond versus Maddox II
In 1808, Richmond returned to boxing. After several quick wins, he secured a rematch with George Maddox. The contest, in August 1809, demonstrated Richmond's mastery of 'boxing on the retreat'. He battered Maddox mercilessly, winning the bout. A spectator, William Windham, MP, later argued the skill and bravery demonstrated by both boxers was as impressive as that displayed by British troops in their triumph that year at the Battle of Talavera.

Molineaux versus Cribb I and II
Richmond's winnings allowed him to buy the Horse and Dolphin pub near Leicester Square in London. It was at the pub that Richmond probably met Tom Molineaux, another former American slave. Richmond immediately saw Molineaux's potential as a boxer. Richmond decided to put aside his own boxing career and train Molineaux. Their goal was to challenge Cribb, now the national champion. With Richmond as his trainer, Molineaux decisively won two fights, then challenged Cribb.

In December 1810, Cribb and Molineaux fought at Copthall Common in East Grinstead, Sussex. It was an epic contest, and one of the most controversial bouts in boxing history—Cribb won, barely, amid the chaos of a ring invasion and whisperings of a long count that had allowed the champion longer than the allowable 30 seconds to recover in between rounds. Molineaux, many maintained, had been cheated.

Historians disagree about whether the alleged bias shown to Cribb was motivated by racism, nationalism or fears on the part of Cribb's backers that they would lose their wagers. Certainly, before the fight there was nervousness about the prospect of a Molineaux victory, with the Chester Chronicle claiming that "many of the noble patronisers of this accomplished art, begin to be alarmed, lest, to the eternal dishonour of our country, a negro should become the Champion of England!"

In October 1811, Molineaux and Cribb fought a rematch, which Cribb won easily. After the match, Molineaux fired Richmond as his trainer.

Richmond versus Shelton
Having lost money brokering and betting on the Molineaux-Cribb fight, Richmond had to sell the Horse and Dolphin and rebuild his fortune. He became a member of the Pugilistic Society, the sport's first governing body in the United Kingdom. In May 1814, at age 50, Richmond fought Jack Davis and won.

The victory over Davis encouraged Richmond to accept a fight with Tom Shelton, a respected contender who was about half his age. After suffering a horrendous eye injury early on, Richmond beat Shelton down after 23 rounds. When the fight was over, Richmond jumped over the ropes with joy to celebrate the defining moment of his career. "Impetuous men must not fight Richmond," Egan declared, "as in his hands they become victims to their own temerity … The older he grows, the better pugilist he proves himself … He is an extraordinary man."

Later Life
Such achievements warranted a title shot, but with Cribb inactive, Richmond opted for retirement instead. His position among England's leading pugilists was assured; he twice exhibited his skills for visiting European royalty and was among the most respected and admired of pugilistic trainers and instructors. Even more remarkably, Richmond was one of the pugilists selected to act as an usher at the coronation of George IV in 1821, earning a letter of thanks from Lord Gwydyr and the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth.

In his later years, Richmond became close friends with Cribb. The two men often conversed late into the night at Cribb's pub, the Union Arms on Panton Street in Westminster. It was here that Richmond spent his last evening, before he died at age 66 in December 1829.

His body was interred in the burial ground of St James's Church, Piccadilly, which was located some way from the church, beside Hampstead Road, Camden, London.

Nathan Hale
Some historians have claimed that on September 22, 1776, Richmond was one of the hangmen who executed Nathan Hale. However, Luke G. Williams, in his biography of Richmond, entitled Richmond Unchained, claims that the Richmond who served as the hangman of Hale was not Bill Richmond, but another man of the same surname. Williams writes that:

The Richmond as hangman theory took root due to a coalescence of circumstantial evidence: numerous accounts of Hale's execution feature references to a black or mulatto hangman named Richmond (for example, the 1856 book Life of Nathan Hale: The Martyr Spy of the American Revolution, refers to the 'negro Richmond, the common hangman'); artwork of the execution published by Harpers Weekly in 1860 shows a black man holding the hanging rope; and then there is Richmond's connection to Percy and the British military, as well as the proximity of Staten Island to the site of Hale's execution in Manhattan. Given this series of coincidences, it seems a reasonable enough piece of speculation. However several hitherto ignored sources from the eighteenth century directly contradict the possibility of Richmond being involved. Quite simply, Hale's hangman may have been black and named Richmond, but he wasn't Bill Richmond. Rather, as reports in the Gaines Mercury and Royal Gazette indicate, he was a Pennsylvania runaway with the same surname as Bill who ended up working as the hangman for the notorious Boston Provost Marshal William Cunningham. The hangman Richmond absconded from his duties in 1781, Cunningham offering a one-guinea reward for his return a full four years after Bill Richmond's likely departure for England.

Tom Cribb (8 July 1781 – 11 May 1848) was an English bare-knuckle boxer of the 19th century, so successful that he became World champion.

Cribb was born near Bristol but moved to London before starting professional fighting. He undertook a series of fights between 1805 and 1812 when he retired, becoming a coal merchant and then publican. His career has been commemorated with the name of a pub and in literature.

Born in Wick which is near the Hanham area of Bristol, Cribb moved to London at the age of 13 and after working as a bell-hanger got work as a coal porter in Wapping.

His first fight was on 7 January 1805 at Wood Green in Middlesex, now part of north London. Victory here, followed by another a month later, persuaded him to become a professional pugilist, under the supervision of Captain Robert Barclay. In 1807 Cribb beat Jem Belcher. In 1810 Cribb was awarded the British title. On 10 December 1810 he fought an American, former slave Tom Molineaux, at Shenington Hollow in Oxfordshire. Cribb beat Molineaux in 35 rounds and became World champion. The fight was controversial for two reasons: Molineaux was injured when the crowd invaded the ring, and Cribb at one point seemed to have taken longer than the specified time to return to the centre of the ring. Cribb retained his title in 1811 by beating Molineaux at Thistleton Gap in Rutland in 11 rounds before a large crowd. Cribb had also beaten Molineaux's trainer Bill Richmond.

In 1812, aged 31, he retired to become a coal merchant (and part-time boxing trainer). Later he became a publican, running the Union Arms, Panton Street, close to Haymarket in central London.

George Nicholls was the only fighter to defeat Cribb (20 July 1805). The foremost prizefighting reporter, Pierce Egan, was aware that some "friends of the CHAMPION" had encouraged the myth that Cribb enjoyed an unbeaten career by "withholding the name of his vanquisher" (Boxiana, vol. 1).

In 1839 he retired to Woolwich in south-east London where he died in 1848, aged 66. He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magadalen's, Woolwich – where a monument to his memory was erected.

Cribb's tomb in the shape of a lion resting his paw on an urn still stands in Saint Mary's Gardens in Woolwich. Also in Woolwich, a road in the Royal Arsenal area has been named in his honour.

The Tom Cribb pub is located at 36 Panton Street, Haymarket, London. This is the same address as the Union Arms, which was numbered 26 Panton Street, but later renumbered.

There is a popular local legend in the Bristol area that Cribbs Causeway, a road not far from Hanham that has given its name to a major out-of-town shopping mall, retail park and entertainment complex, was named after Tom Cribb. Despite being proved to be false this has not stopped the legend from continuing.

Tom Hyer, first recognized American Heavyweight Champion, portrayed the character "Tom Cribb" in a scene from Pierce Egan's "Tom and Jerry, or Life in London" during a single performance at the National Theatre (Boston, Massachusetts), 9 March 1849.

An English footwear brand named after Thomas Cribb existed between 2003 - 2007. The brand name "Thomas Cribb" is currently registered to the creators of the brand.

Tom Cribb also features prominently in George MacDonald Fraser’s novel Black Ajax, a fictionalised account of Tom Molineaux's life.

He is mentioned in one episode of the Victorian crime drama Cribb, in which one of Cribb's men speculates whether he is descended from the famous boxer. The episode is largely centred on prize-fighting.

Cribb's fights with Molineaux was turned into a 2014 play by Ed Viney called Prize Fighters.

Cribb is also mentioned in novel "MAULER" by Shawn Williamson. He appears to introduce the exotic Tasmanian Tiger (thylacine), the hero of story, also known as Mauler and Cu´chulain. Cribb introduces the dark exploration of the animal through the market of violence, explored by Captain Potter as a cruel dog fighter against mastiff dogs in White Heaven, 19th Century.