Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pugilism (Latin pugil, "boxer"), fighting with the fists, a form of sport which was once very popular in England. The only kind of boxing that is still legal is that in which padded gloves are used. The "father of British pugilism" was John Broughton (1705-89), who in 1742 opened a theatre for boxing in Hanway Street, leading from Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road. He was the first to discard the backsword, quarterstaff, and other weapons hitherto used in public fights. The rules drawn up by him remained in force till 1838. Of the pugilists who succeeded Broughton in the championship, those whose names are best known were John Jackson (1769-1845), the friend of Byron and Moore, whose polite manners earned for him the name of "Gentleman Jackson;" Tom Cribb (1781-1848), a man much esteemed for his straightforward and simple-minded character; and Tom Sayers (1826-65). A prize-fight was witnessed by the allied sovereigns during their visit to England in 1814, and again by the Shah of Persia in 1873; but the increased vigilance of the police has now driven British pugilists to the Continent or America.