Winston Churchill once bunked school to attend a boxing match. As the Financial Times summarised the May 1892 bout, Peter Jackson was a slim, well-proportioned “Black Prince”, while Frank Slavin was a model of Victorian masculinity and racism.

Had the fight happened a century earlier, when bare-knuckle boxing resembled mortal combat, the result could have been the death of one fighter. Instead, Queensbury rules applied and at one point the triumphant Jackson expected the referee to stop the fight and put an end to Slavin’s humiliation. ..

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