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Tom Sayers (1826-1865), Boxer

Sitter in 2 portraits
One of England's best-known boxers, who participated in the first international heavyweight championship. At just 5 feet 8 1/2 inches tall, he was known as the Little Wonder and the Napoleon of the Prize Ring. Often fighting much bigger opponents, he lost only one bout in his career. His most important victory was scored against Bill Perry (the Tipton Slasher) in 1857. For the international championship, Sayers fought John C. Heenan of the United States at Farnborough, Hampshire, in 1860. After forty-two rounds and more than two hours, when Sayers had injured his right arm and Heenan seemed to be winning, the crowd broke into the ring. The fight was declared a draw, and both men were given championship belts.

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Tom Sayers

by Angelo Francesco Bezzi
plaster cast of statuette, before 1867
NPG 2465


Tom Sayers

by Morris Singer & Co Ltd, after Angelo Francesco Bezzi
bronze figure, 1960 (before 1867)
NPG 2465a