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The Black Prince: Remembering Trailblazing Boxer Peter Jackson

The Black Prince: Remembering Trailblazing Boxer Peter Jackson

He gave racism the ole' one-two punch!

Peter Jackson was a trailblazing boxer from the West Indies known as the "Black Prince."

According to The Missing Chapter, Jackson was born in 1861 on the island of St. Croix. He left in 1878 as a sailor, gaining notoriety after fighting to quell a mutiny aboard the vessel, African American Registry reports. Jackson eventually immigrated to Australia, where he took up work as a professional boxer. Famous Sydney boxer Larry Foley trained Jackson to become an international heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing star. In 1886, Jackson became the Australian heavyweight champion, knocking out boxer Tom Leeds in the 30th round. Struggling to find opponents in Australia, he eventually moved to the United States, fighting in matches across the country. 

Photo Courtesy of BoxRec

Between 1888 and 1892, Jackson fought 28 of the best boxers worldwide, losing to none. He was heralded as the 'Colored Champion of the World,' famously fighting reigning champion Jem Smith at the Pelican Club in Soho, London, walking away victorious. He went on to defend that title against Frank Slavin, knocking him out in the 10th round. Jackson had 42 wins over his career, five losses, and three draws with 29 knockouts, BoxRec reports. A lung injury resulting from his last fight against Slavin caused him to retire for six years, not returning to the ring until 1898. 

Over the years, he fought against racism at every turn, being one of the best boxing champions to never compete for a world title. American boxer John L. Sullivan even refused to fight Jackson because he was Black. After 1892, Jackson could not secure any more fights, eventually touring in theatrical productions like Uncle Tom's Cabin. Jackson died in 1901 of tuberculosis due to his injury and is buried in Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane, Australia. 

Thank you for paving the way, Mr. Jackson. 

Photo Courtesy of African American Registry