Bill Richmond, a.k.a. the “Black Terror”, was the first African-American to be labeled an international “prizefighter.” Born a slave in the area that is now called Richmondtown in Staten Island, Richmond also served as a hangman during the Revolutionary War. His most famous hanging was Nathaniel Hale, the first American to be labeled a spy.
Richmond was born to slaves in New York in 1763. Around the end of the 18th century, Richmond, then 14 years old, was sent away to be educated in cabinetmaking in Yorkshire, England. But after being prompted to fight after an argument with a soldier, he spent more time boxing than making cabinets. Having his first professional fight in 1804, the self-taught welterweight would fight men 4 and 5 times his size and win.
Richmond earned his prizefighter status after he defeated Jack Holmes in 26 rounds at Kilburn. He was most famous for his fight against Tom Cribb, a famous English bare-knuckle boxer. Although Richmond was faster than Cribb, he was beaten in the 60th round of the match. In 1809, he won 100 guineas after beating George Maddox after fighting 52 rounds.
After he retired from boxing, Richmond married a wealthy woman and bought a pub called the Horbill-se and Dolphin with his final winnings of his last fight. He also opened a boxing academy to teach young men his boxing skills.
In 1999, Bill Richmond was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.