George Nicholls (1775-1832)Boxiana III. Copyright British Library Board. All Rights Reserved.
Nicholls was the only fighter to defeat Tom Cribb (20 July 1805). This is a rare occasion where George Sharples drew his pugilistic subject in working garb. Nicholls, a butcher, appears to have been wearing a form of protective smock.
Egan was aware that some ‘friends of the CHAMPION’ had encouraged the myth that Cribb enjoyed an unbeaten career by ‘withholding the name’ of his vanquisher, but he is determined that his publication will not perpetuate injustice:
‘For want of a BOXIANA, to record their valorous deeds, Heroes and Tyros of the fist have […] been suffered to “steal ingloriously to the grave”, and their qualifications buried with them’ (Boxiana I).
Egan faithfully recounts crucial moments from this contest:
‘The coolness and good temper of NICHOLLS appeared so predominant throughout […] that not only his fortitude was preserved, but added vigour to his judgement […] CRIBB became rather puzzled and perplexed from his tactics being thus foiled’.