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Object of the month – July 2024

A silver plated, two handled cup with lid presented at Thame and District Boxing Club and named The James Figg Cup. The cup was originally purchased and presented to the best boxer on the night of the club’s shows in Thame. The first winner was Paul Tillen in 1982. The cup was also presented to the best boxer in the ABA Home County Senior Championships of Great Britain starting in 1995

The cup is currently on display in our Active Thame Exhibition, as part of the James Figg collection, with a fascinating display on the story of sport in Thame.

James Figg was the first recognised British champion of Bare-knuckle boxing. Born in Thame in the late 1600s, one of seven children, Figg fought his early contests in the town. It is believed he won 269 of his 270 fights and he remained the undisputed English bare-knuckle boxing champion for 11 years from 1719, claiming the title Champion of England. He ran a fighting school in central London and his clientele often included noblemen. By 1730 James Figg had largely retired and it was left to his proteges to take centre stage and bring in spectators. He died in 1734 and remains known as the ‘Father of Boxing’ for his role in popularising and teaching the sport.

Figg based himself at the Greyhound Inn in his early days. In 1832 the pub changed to the Abingdon Arms until 15 years ago when it was renamed the James Figg in honour of its links to the famous boxer. He is commemorated with a blue plaque outside the pub in Thame High Street.

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