Born in 1774 in Virginia, America, Tom Molineaux won his freedom in a boxing match. In 1803 he arrived in England knowing no-one. He met another African American boxer, Bill Richmond, who recognising his talent organised a match for him against his old adversary Tom Cribb. Cribb was a heavyweight champion but Molineaux battled with him for thirty-nine rounds while the crowd shouted racist taunts. Conditions were so bad that the men agreed to a rematch that was held in front of 15,000 people in 1811. However, Molineaux never fully recovered from a low blow to his body received during this fight. He continued to box until 1815, but when he died in Ireland, in 1818, he was penniless.