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robert.snell1@ntlworld.com

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GEORGE HORTON & THE CRIBB BROTHERS

Bristol along with London and the Midlands, was another hotbed for prize fighting and spawned such celebrated pugilists as Tom Cribb, Jem Belcher, Hen Pearce and many more. One such pugilist although never hitting the dizzy heights of the above mentioned did fight both Cribbs, Tom and his younger brother George. Before that though George Horton also known as “The Pretty Pugilist”, who was born in Bristol in 1782 had already taken part in five other contests around Bristol. Standing about 5’ 10” and weighing in at around 182lbs., a butcher by trade was also known to be handy with both fists, strong and durable, although limited in boxing skills. His first recorded fight in 1805 was against Ned Weston, which he won in 15 minutes, he followed this later that year with a 25 round draw with Pardoe Wilson. In 1806 with a win and a loss against James Kelly and Jack Lancaster respectively he then had another win against Pat Ford in 1807. Later that year came his fight with George Cribb, the younger brother, by about 2 years to Tom Cribb, who had just claimed the Championship of England from Jem Belcher. The fight came off at Sea Mills, Bristol in September of 1807 with George Cribb making his recorded debut in the prize ring. The two handed attack by Horton against his slower moving opponent wore the game but outclassed Cribb down in 15 rounds that lasted just 25 minutes. Horton called out his older brother Tom Cribb for a crack at his title in May 1808 with it being the first time the butcher had fought outside Bristol. For a 100 guinea purse Tom Cribb and George Horton stepped into a ring at Woburn, Herts. where Horton was vanquished by the more powerful Cribb in 25 rounds.