Poster advertising a boxing match at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties
Printer: Smith, T.
In the early 19th century, boxers did not use gloves and there were very few rules: wrestling was permitted, as was hitting an opponent when he was down. Rules introduced in 1853 stipulated that fights take place in a 24-foot-square ring surrounded with ropes. Kicking, biting, and blows below the belt were forbidden. Tom Cribb, whose "Parlour" is featured on this poster, moved to London from Gloucester in 1794 when he was 13 years old. He won his first public fight against George Maddox at Wood Green on 7 January 1805. In 1809 he became champion in the illegal sport of bare-knuckle boxing, a distinction he held until 1822.