Reference Entry

Perry, John

Shivani Sivagurunathan

in Oxford Companion to Black British History

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780192804396
Perry, John

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Black boxer who fought and lived in Britain. Perry was born in Annapolis, Nova Scotia. He initially served on a British man‐of‐war for four years and, after being discharged, turned to a career in boxing. His time on the man‐of‐war earned him the nickname John ‘the Black Sailor’ Perry. He arrived in London in 1845 after walking from Birmingham, having hoped to find a patron for his prizefighting along his journey. In London he met Johnny Broome , a former British lightweight champion. Broome trained Perry , and in the following year he faced his first professional opponent, Bill Burton . Perry was an entertaining fighter not simply because he was physically impressive (he was handsome, 6 feet 1½ inches tall, and weighed 212 pounds), but also because he moved with skill and poise. His style of milling was particularly striking, where he would move around his opponent while balanced on his toes until finally delivering clean punches. Burton was a resilient fighter but Perry was the more gifted boxer and eventually knocked the former out. A few months after the fight Perry was transported for life to New South Wales after being arrested for being an accomplice to a group of American forgers. His boxing career in Britain thus ended. He did, however, recommence prizefighting in Australia, where he won the Australian heavyweight championship in 1849 . He remained in the country and went on to train young boxers.

Reference Entry.  272 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History

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