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K_JKD asked in SportsMartial Arts · 8 years ago

Thoughts on this description of a boxing match from 1727 article?

On the 6th of June 1727, James Figg fought with Ned Sutton - a pipe maker from Gravesend. The bout generated huge interest and amongst the audience were many important names of the time, including Sir Robert Walpole - the Prime Minister.

The first match was to be with swords! Which goes to illustrate that the use of weapons were also part of a boxer's training. The first thirty minutes of the bout were fairly uneventful until Sutton went on the attack, which resulted in Figg cutting his arm on his own sword. Under the rules this did not count, and hence the bout continued. It was in the sixth round that Figg cut Sutton's shoulder, which resulted in Figg being granted the first victory.

After a thirty-minute interval, the "Fist-Fighting" began. After eight minutes Sutton executed a throw which resulted in Figg being dumped at the umpire's feet. Figg immediately regained his feet and went onto to throw Sutton such that he required time to recover as the result of the bad and heavy landing. When the bout continued, Sutton landed a blow that was so powerful that Figg was knocked clean off the stage (ropes were not used at the time) and into the audience. Figg recovered and went onto punch Sutton to the floor, where he then grappled Sutton into submission.

The final bout was with Cudgels, during which Figg broke Sutton's knee and hence secured a three-nil victory.

It seems a lot like gladiator fighting to me or professional wrestling done right lol interesting what they called boxing almost 300 years ago is nothing like what we call it today isn't it?


@keyboard warrior- They had a few different styles at the time mostly left over stuff from the knights hand to hand from what I can gather & I got some sources too.




http://www.scribd.com/doc/87439589/1727-Progymnasm... full book


the theory catch wrestling got its locks & chokes from the japanese is laughable lol but the link to pankration & pale is there somewhere between the holy roman empire and the modern era.

parkyns manuals style goes back to the mid 1500s cornish army fighting at least from what I gathered and probably long before that.

silvers style probably is just as old or older too.

Update 3:

@odee- I'm pretty sure it's smaller bludgeons since he was a master of both the quarterstaff & cudgel at the time.

2 Answers

  • 8 years ago
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    Sounds like sport Brawling to me, no different to what I learned of how Boxing used to be. Keep in mind, Boxing came from Pugilism and Pugilism from Pankration. There was no boxing gloves with ring ropes and shorts like we have now, but it was bare knuckled with two guys smacking each other around for a laugh.

    It goes to show that Sports change greatly over the years. Look at Wrestling and Boxing now compared to 2,600 years ago where they fought to the death. Look at Karate from 1902 to 1935 if you are able to. Back then, the sport wasn't professional or very popular but it was more like a meaner version of MMA. After the war, sport Karate during 55 to 68 was more tame but still dangerous. In 67, Taekwondo was given an official amateur sport after 55 years of existing and back then it was the first combat sport of the century to allow kicks to the head. During the 70's Pro Karate still didn't allow many kicks, around 8 per round. Taekwondo became more tame around the 70's and 80's.

    MMA didn't really become known as a professional sport until 1985 with Pancrase in Japan. Some people will say it was with Vale Tudo but the problem there is that there were no martial arts in Vale Tudo, but it was just men hoping to make money from Circus fights against the Brazilian fighters who were probably Martial Artist.

    Pancrase is where MMA really started growing as a sport but UFC made it more popular in the West during the 90's and back then it was bare knuckled, no weight classes and all the men were martial artist. The only problem with UFC at the time was that they stated that it was a tour to find the best fighting style in the world, but the fighters never fought each other in a Round Robin but in a elimination tournament.

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  • 8 years ago

    Sounds like it would have been folk wrestling or catch wrestling which used to be part of boxing in Ye Olde Brittania.

    I like the concept of sword, fist and cudgel in three separate rounds but I'd be interested to learn if cudgel meant club or staff in this case since the name seems to refer to both on occasion.

    Victory seems to be decided by first blood in swords, knockout or tap-out in boxing and maiming in cudgels.

    Hardcore stuff.

    Sounds like only successful fighters would have a career of more than one match though.

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