Tom Cribb ( July 8, 1781 – May 11, 1848) was the most famous bare-knuckle boxers of the sport’s golden age, who lived and died in Woolwich, where the road is located. Born in Hanham, which is now in the eastern outskirts of Bristol., he moved to London when he was just 13. Cribb fought 11 incredibly tough fights and ended his career undefeated. He is remembered mostly for his fights against the American former slave Tom Molineaux, one of which Cribb won in 33 gruelling rounds securing him the title of World champion. His second fight against Molineaux in 1811 drew 25,000 spectators, and Cribb’s victory ensured his status as the great celebrity of his time. George Borrow wrote worshipfully of Cribb as “perhaps the best man in England… with his huge massive figure, and face wonderfully like that of a lion.” He retired the following year setting up business as a coal merchant, but the venture failed and he turned to keeping a succession of London pubs, culminating with the Union Arms in Panton Street, which in 1839 he had to sell to pay creditors. He retired to Woolwich where he died in 1848, aged 66. He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magadalen’s, Woolwich – where a monument to his memory was erected.
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