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Adrian, Richard William [known as Kid Tanner] (1912–1963), boxer, was born in Fellowship, British Guiana (later Guyana), on 16 March 1912, the son of James Adrian, variously described as a joiner and a prison warder. He later told boxing reporters that aged fourteen, he had become an apprentice auctioneer but by sixteen had embarked on a successful amateur boxing career. Records indicate his first professional contest was in ...

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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...

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Domenico Angelo (1717–1802) by John Hall, pubd 1763 (after James Gwyn) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Angelo, Domenico [formerly Angiolo Domenico Maria Tremamondo]

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See Angelo, Domenico [formerly Angiolo Domenico Maria Tremamondo]

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Okon Asuguo Bassey (1932–1998) by Bernard Zimmerman, 1958 [left, with Jules Touan] ? News International Newspapers Ltd

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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...

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Beaumont, Charles-Louis Leopold Alfred de [formerly Alfred Leopold Charles de Beaumont Klein] (1902–1972), fencer, was born at 26 Alexandra Drive, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, on 5 May 1902, the son of Louis Leopold Martial Baynard de Beaumont Klein (1849–1934) and his wife, Kathleen Mary O'Hagan (1876–1974)...

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James Belcher (1781–1811) by unknown artist, c. 1800 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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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...

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See Belcher, James [Jim, Jem]

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Bell, Vernon Cecil Frederick (1922–2004), founder of the British karate movement, was born on 9 October 1922 at 8 Empress Avenue, Ilford, Essex, the only child of Leonard Cecil Bell (1895–1976), civil servant, and his wife, Elsie May, née Sapsworth (1897–1977). He was educated at ...

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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 ...

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John Broughton (c. 1703–1789) by unknown engraver ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bryan, Benjamin [nicknamed Big Ben] (1753–1794), prize-fighter, sometimes named Benjamin Brian or Brain, was born in Bristol; nothing is known about his parents or upbringing. It is unclear whether he had any formal education; however, letters (apparently from Bryan) which appeared in the press towards the end of his life suggest that he was literate. During his early years ...

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Abraham Cann (bap. 1794, d. 1864) by unknown artist, c. 1850 Exeter City Museums & Art Gallery

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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 ...

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

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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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Cockell, Donald John (1928–1983), boxer, was born on 22 September 1928 at 46 Ouseley Road, Balham, London, the son of Kate Cockell, a domestic servant, of 44 Havelock Terrace, Battersea. He never knew his father. Cockell was apprenticed to a blacksmith and developed a strong physique well suited to boxing. He showed promise as a footballer, but earned money from fighting in fairground booths on Saturday nights, and after rising through the amateur ranks he turned professional in 1946....