According to history, Bill Richmond was the first African American bare-knuckles fighter/boxer to gain international recognition across Europe.
He was born a slave on August 5, 1763 in Richmondtown, Staten Island, New York.
Richmond served as a hangman during the Revolutionary War. In 1777, after the English troops invaded New York, Bill Richmond was given the duty to serve General Earl Percy—the Duke of Northumberland.
During his stay in the United States, General Percy noticed incredible gifts and talents in Richmond, such as wisdom, intelligence, and speed. The 14-year-old Black American boy had the ability to entertain guests and imitate them with funny impressions.
On his way back to England, the Duke of Northumberland took young Richmond with him and sent him to school in Yorkshire. His encounter with several prejudiced people in the streets led to the discover of Bill’s gift of boxing. From that moment on, the young athletic boy made his career as a boxer, fighting a total of 19 professional matches. Due to his character, nobility, and passion, Bill Richmond became the first African-American to be inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
In this article, we will highlight some little-known facts about the pioneer fighter.
On July 8, 1805, Bill Richmond knocked out Jack Holmes in a fight in England
After defeating a Jewish fighter known as the Fighting Youssop in May 1805, Richmond was matched with a professional boxer Jack Holmes. Known as one of the leading fighters in England, Holmes was beaten and defeated by Richmond after 26 rounds on July 8, 1805. The defeat gave Richmond a new identity as a rising star and the first Black American to fight at a professional level during that time.
His wisdom and self-esteem made him a member of the royal family
Assigned the duty to serve the Duke of Northumberland, Bill Richmond’s wit, sense of humor, and confidence gave him a chance to become a member of the royal family, despite the color of his skin. He studied in Yorkshire as a cabinet maker before becoming a professional boxer.
Richmond had an extremely successful career: 17 wins in 19 fights
Although he was disadvantaged due to the color of his skin, Richmond viewed boxing as a ticket to greater achievements. Having fought with some of the toughest English fighters of the time, Richmond managed to achieve a successful boxing career of 17 wins in 19 fights.
Richmond was completely self-taught.
One amazing thing about Bill Richmond is that he never received any boxing tutors throughout his career. His self-taught skills of speed, excellent footwork, and endurance were developed mostly on the streets, where he wrestled English boys who tried to challenge him due to the color of his skin.